Rain, rain and more rain has been the normal here this year, though we had a few perfect days. On one such day my wife and I decided early that […]
Rain, rain and more rain has been the normal here this year, though we had a few perfect days. On one such day my wife and I decided early that morning to fill our Thermoses and gather our gear for a 2 hour drive, heading up to the Southern Highlands, situated on Great Dividing Range south west of Sydney. We love escaping to this area for a birding date as it is quiet and away from everything noisy, just the sound of the wind and birds. This reserve called Barren Grounds National Park was specifically set aside to save the critically endangered and now scarce Eastern Ground Parrot and Eastern Bristlebird. Though we have seen the Bristlebird we have never seen the Ground Parrot, not have most birders who have travelled here in search thereof. Both birds live in the undergrowth of the extensive heathlands and seldom fly, but come out when they feel safe to graze. The Ground Parrot is a beautiful bird, but very elusive, and at the best most birders only get a short glimpse and a green blur as it escapes under cover.
On arrival the temperature was about 12°C and a cold wind was blowing. After a cup of coffee we set out on our walk along the main trail. We were saddened by the lack of birds, though the wind would have contributed to this, despite it being a lovely clear blue sky. It was a lovely time for us to talk together uninterrupted, as no one passed us along the way, we had the place to ourselves.
Finally we saw our first bird, or should I say it first saw us, and in character with its usual curiosity came to check us out as most Robins are prone to do. We have seen this little guy on past walks here, and he never lets us down for a photo or two when he is around, this Eastern Yellow Robin. Interesting that I have named 3 birds here that start with the title Eastern, as they are found on the East coast of NSW, and their cousin counterparts are over on the Western side of our large country. Thankfully the many Banksia trees are flowering as is the pretty White Tea Tree. This little Robin kept moving around and watching us from a distance for several wonderful minutes.
This small bird normally grazes on open ground, such as the track, and will sit on a low branch observing it until he sees an insect moving. It will very rapidly fly down and snatch it up and return to the branch. Most of our Robin are ground feeders, except the Rose Robin which feeds in the trees. All are Robins are insectivorous, which means they can live almost anywhere, though they are essentially a rainforest and woodland bird. The classic pose of this bird is that when it lands to check you out, it usually clings to the trunk of a tree and looks directly at you, hoping you might move along and stir up insects it can feed on, It is not uncommon to have this bird follow you or even go ahead of you on the track for a little while seeking opportunity for insects.
When I did the cover for my 2nd book Flight of a Fledgling, I had great difficulty searching for a photo of this bird in flight, there appears to be very few, due to its extremely rapid and often unforeseen movements, as most flight photos are blurred at the best. A birding friend Greg Miles supplied the main cover photo, which was the only one I did not take. So I was pleased to get this one shot of it going to the ground.
The only other bird we saw enough to photograph was this pair of New Holland Honeyeater which also love the rugged heathlands, but are mainly here to feed on the Banksia nectar.
After our two hour walk we drove to a nearby tourist town where we enjoyed a lovely lunch date. Later visiting one of my book sellers at the local Southern Highlands Visitor Info Centre, to find they needed more books, as they are selling well in most centres while many try to catch up with their postponed holidays due to 3 years of Covid restrictions. While we did not see many birds, or even flowers, we enjoyed the time together away from the hustle and bustle of city life, which birding so often affords. We both were very thankful for a wonderful day out together, as we walked talked and prayed.
A few days later when my wife and I were walking home from having voted for our Federal Election, we were delighted to find one young Spangled Drongo, sitting on the power line we walked under. As I did not have my camera at hand after walking home, returned to find the bird still in the same area. These birds usually only migrate down from the north during the Summer months and return during Autumn Winter to sunny Queensland. It was unusual to see it still here. Maybe the parent did not take it home, and it decided to stay. These birds are like flycatchers, and catch insects in the air on the fly, returning to the same place, similar to the Rainbow Bee-eater and other Flycatchers. They have a beautiful iridescent sheen when in bright sunlight. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy sky and rain was ensuring when I took these photos. It is identified by its classic fish tail and red eye.
Enjoy the rest of your week. Welcome ! if this is your first visit to my blog and website and take a few minutes to check out the helpful information on birding and its benefits. This website encourages birding (birdwatching) as a healthy re-creative past-time. Also check out my unique books, they make excellent gifts fr your children and grandchildren, at any age, and they authentic Australian made, showcasing Australian birds.
Click here to find out more.
Many bloggers and lone birders both male and female have sadly shared over the years how they would love it if their spouses would enjoy birding with them. I have often had comments telling me how blessed my wife and I are that we both love birding, and in fact when God put us together, neither of us knew that we both were birders until some weeks later. Here are some tips to consider to encourage your non interested partner:
- Begin the process by inviting your partner out for a Birding Date, which will include a lovely lunch, possibly at a lovely location near your birding site;
- Ask them if there is anything they would like to do or visit near the location and be ready to join them in it. Sometimes for me it is window shopping or driving around so my wife enjoys the day doing something special she loves, which is what a loving spouse would do;
- Plan the event with their input and specify for starters a set time, so they know they are not going to be locked into a day of following you around bored. For starters say an hour or 2. Make sure you stick to the time you agreed, remembering that over time this will increase as the partner feels you are respectfully including them. Make sure you ask them if they are in agreement, assuring them that the walk in the fresh air is healthy exercise.
- Show her the binoculars, or even visit a store where you will purchase a pair for her as an encouragement, but not under obligation. My wife has a very versatile small set which are very high quality, powerful and specially designed for women, as they can even fit in a large handbag. We purchased at the London Wetlands Centre when we visited there.
- Treat the birding outing as a date and a picnic, take a Thermos and cups and cook a nice slice or batch of cookies to bring, which makes it all the more enjoyable. My wife loves it when I especially bake a batch of Anzac biscuits or bake a date and walnut loaf to enjoy with our coffee as we sit together on our fold out chairs alone in the bush with the birds.
- Suggest this time alone is also a time to talk about important things in life, and to pray together for guidance into the future.
- Make sure there is never any compulsion, but be ready to back off if the partner is not ready. Be sensitive to them as you introduce the concept, and be ready to match your outing with: “I will go with you if you will do…. with me.” something they may want to do with you which you may not necessarily enjoy. This is good loving relationship. Over time after several birding dates, who knows ! you may win a partner to birding. I have heard testimonies of this where the wife over time became the one who planned the day and the places to bird.
So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband..” – Ephesians 5:33 (NIV)
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:1,2
“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18