Last weekend my wife and I travelled to Canberra, our nation’s capital, to visit family. While there we took a walk through the National Botanic Gardens, which is another place where my books are sold, in their bookstore. As it was late in the afternoon,, we visited the recently included Banksia Garden area with its own dedicated study buildings. banksia is one of Australia’s most unique and iconic plant groups, providing food for many different species of birds, especially to the many honeyeaters during the colder winter months when nectar is scarce, and the parrot family where their seed pods are favoured by the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. The species we see in our local national park is Banksia ericifolia, pictured below.
It was lovely to view the new garden structure and how it was thoughtfully designed to include many different species of Banksia, some of which require special conditions. These flower heads are rich in nectar when in full flower, yet they grow in the poorest of soils, often sandy acidic soils. During the winter months when nectar is scarce due to very few flowering plants, these and the Mountain Devil flowers provide food for the many honeyeaters. While we were there we watched these New Holland Honeyeaters feeding from them in the afternoon sun. Sadly, I had left my camera at home and had to use my phone to capture the following:
The New Holland Honeyeater gets its name as one of the first birds sighted and named after Australia’s Dutch name, as the early Dutch explorers found our land before the French and British. It is only one of over 74 species of honeyeater which Australia is famous for. These honeyeaters are found throughout Australia having several subspecies. They generally prefer the harsh scrubby sandstone coastlines, where the Banksia flourish.
Here is some phone movie footage of the bird feeding. It can feed upside down if it desires. This is possible because the honeyeaters possess a tubular tongue which they push in and out, allowing them to suck nectar from within the flower similar to a drinking straw.
On our return trip home the next day we took a detour to the popular tourist town of Bungendore where we know where to find often rare and not frequently seen waterbirds. As Lake George is full at present after heavy rains, our sighting areas did not give us our usual finds. Though we did see this pair of Hoary-headed Grebe from a distance in non-breeding plumage. The other ducks were too far off to get a good look.a
A single tiny Black-fronted Dotterel was dottering around the dam, as a pair of Teal curiously passed it by
We then drove in town to a farm dam we usually saw good birds and found this pair of Australian Shelduck resting and preening by the dam. The female has the white eye ring.
At one stage I was wondering about this four footed male Shelduck, until I realized that the male was perfectly shielding the female from our view.
Also by the dam where this pair of Pacific Black Duck resting. They made a lovely picture together against the blue sky. This family flock of Grey Teal also were enjoying the dam.
Though we only saw a few birds, we were delighted and blessed to be out and about on this beautiful Autumn day, as we travelled home.
Enjoy a wonderful week and the pleasure and excitement of birding, including the healthy benefits it brings. Check out my website for more info on birding and its benefits both physically and emotionally, from my Home Page or click below:
Don’t forget the Beautiful Bird Books are the ideal gift for all ages, and some are buying them as Mother’s Day gifts for those moms that love birds.
As we approach the colder months, while breeding and nesting are furthermost from the minds of most Australian birds, there are several bird species which will breed during winter. We are seeing more birds extending their breeding season as the warmer temperatures endure for longer. The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is one such bird, whereby some of their species are already preparing fresh nesting holes by chipping out small pieces of wood in large eucalypt trees using its powerful beak and then kicking them out. We saw this one yesterday in our local national park.
This action brought to mind the need to remove all the obstacles in life to make room for a new life, for the above Cockie it is to make room for a new life for his family. Unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment are actions and attitudes that clog up human lives and prevent new beginnings from being possible. Not only are these attitudes proud and selfish, but self destructive, and one of the largest contributing factors toward emotional, mental and physical impairment to one’s health. Raising blood pressure, increasing stress, adrenal overload, heart conditions, digestive conditions, and a general lack of peace and joy. This ultimately, if not dealt with appropriately over time, leads to imploding anger causing depressive disorders and passive aggressive behaviours or exploding anger that builds and erupts into abuse and violence.
The payback culture of our selfish judgmental secular society does not encourage us to forgive when wronged, but Jesus showed us this is vital to getting our life back on track and maintaining our joy and peace and relationship with God. It has become such a large issue recently that Forgiveness Therapy has been introduced into counselling, based on the model which Jesus gave. How well we forgive will eventually impact how we are forgiven. Jesus while dieing unjustly on a Roman cross, forgave each of us all for everything we have ever done wrong and ever will do selfishly against others and God, encouraging us to do the same. When someone is held in unforgiveness we only hurt ourselves and those around us. It has been explained as ‘the victim drinking poison and then watching and hoping the perpetrator will die.’ When we forgive it gives us a fresh clean slate for a new life ahead, which will bring blessing to many, as does the Cockie when he joyfully raises his new family.
“and forgive us our sins, [in the same way] as we forgive those who sin against us.” – Luke 11:14
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13 (NIV)