It was a lovely sunny day for a change after weeks of rain and wild weather so my wife and I took a birding date to Olympic Park Reserve, Sydney. This park was constructed to host, recreate and house the 2000 Olympic Games. It is extensive, having many walking and riding trails through parks, mangroves and around lakes, and is currently used for weekend family recreation and also to educate school students on conservation and aspects of ecology biology. The main lake is usually a haven for breeding flocks of Red-necked Avocet and Black-winged Stilt, as well as several species of migratory waders, which all should have arrived here by now. But sadly to our disappointment none of these birds were present at all, just the usual waterbird inhabitants. However, we did enjoy some of the waterbirds and passerines present. The only birds seen breeding this year at present on the breeding islands were Australian White Ibis, Australian Black Swan and Chestnut Teal.

As we viewed the waterbirds from the lesser lake this pair of Australian Black Swan, decided to take off and do several laps around the lake for us, finally flying off to the other lake. There is some interesting facts in my second book Flight of a Fledgling where this bird is also featured regarding dealing with grief and how there is good grief . These birds feed on water weed and insects, the male and female look identical, except the male is usually larger than female and more aggressive.

As we walked around to the middle lake, where there is usually very few birds, we spotted this beautiful Eastern Great Egret in breeding plumage, fishing patiently and reflecting beautifully, in the centre of the shallow lake.

Eastern Great Egret fishing patiently

One of the features of the tiny Superb Fairy-wren is that their detection is predictable at any given location during the day due to their territorial foraging circuit. We found pairs and families in all the usual places along the track. The thick heath and low lying bushes make great places for these birds to safely hide and forage beneath. We were blessed to see a pair together in a bush. The male had just had a wash in the lake and was trying to dry off, looking quite disheveled. It was such a delight to see them flickering about on this bush out in the open in the sun, and not being frightened of us watching, which is the usual.

Male and female Superb Fairy-wren sunning

Further along the track we saw this very smart male on show in full breeding plumage.

Most males are currently in breeding plumage at present as it is Spring breeding season. Fairy-wrens can breed up to three times a year and will morph in and out of breeding plumage on each occasion, which indicates to the females when he is available to mate. Recent studies show that the females chase after him, sometimes even at night, and even though he might mate with several females he will choose to stay faithful with his chosen partner and assist in raising and protecting the family. Another find was this Little Egret with breeding plumage hiding in the shade, waiting in hope of catching a fish when the tide changes.

Along the side of the track a pair of Australian Brush Turkey were scratching for worms and insects. Though this young male appeared to be practicing mound building, exercising the kick-back technique these birds are notorious for, often wrecking suburban gardens. The mature male has a long yellow tassel hanging from his neck which he uses to attract the female to mate. The female lacks this extension.

This took place as a Pied Currawong watched us with great interest from the shade of a tree nearby. I have featured this bird in the Second Edition of my first book What Birds Teach Us for its opportunistic traits, teaching the universal principle, that what goes around comes around or as Paul the Apostle also put it, what we sow we eventually reap.

We walked around further past the lake to the old rusting wreck of a ship in hope of finding birds resting there. We had seen Black-fronted Dotterel there in previous years, but not a bird was seen there. What we did see was several families of juvenile Silver Gull resting by the river. These birds are dappled brown and have dark eye, leg and beak features. The adult is standing to the right as a caring parent.

This Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike was managing to keep high on a tree, as they do, to also watch for any food opportunities.

After passing this Australian White Ibis foraging in the lake, which is good to see, since they have gained themselves a bad reputation for raiding garbage bins and messing up suburban streets in great numbers. Now they breed in the palm trees in these towns. They are known here as bin chickens, and are also featured in the second edition of my first book.

Have a wonderful week birding and stay warm, as it has been colder than usual in many parts of the world this week, including here where the wind has been unrelenting. Don’t forget, the best Christmas gift for your loved ones be they young or old can be purchased securely here online or from one of these stores.

The quote Learn from Yesterday raises some interesting issues when one studies human behaviour. Many people do not learn from their own history, or from world history itself. The very first profound statement in my very first history lesson I received was that: the only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history. Funny about that, I have never forgotten that, as a result I studied Geography instead and followed up on it to find he was correct, and it summed up human frailty to a tee, and how history continues to repeat itself.

The second point Live for today is very seldom true for most stressed out people, as they strive to achieve for their future or to prove their unfortunate past wrong. Stop and smell the roses is much needed. A counselor once told me I needed to do this and I thought it was crazy, but I know the value now. Birding in the bush helps us do this, it truly a blessing to rediscover the joy and peace of enjoying each moment as a gift and delight in it, as we will never have it again. Live with ‘an attitude of gratitude’ for the now, and not destroy ourselves stressing over that which has happened in the past, has not happened yet or may never.

Finally, Hope for tomorrow, many avoid hope, and constantly but often subconsciously experience fear of death and the future. Much is based on the fear judgement and punishment resulting from a guilty consciences. Many hide thoughts and guilt from past events, sinful acts and crimes. Many engage in all forms of amusement, entertainment and drugs to put such thoughts like that out of their minds. Research has shown that our brains protect us from our most unpleasant thoughts by helping us forget by placing them to the back of our minds so they wont upset us. Life has many instances where we need to be employing the principle: ‘to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

There are many who have no hope in their life and have chosen to have a non-faith basis (agnostic), fate based (luck and superstition) and hold beliefs that offer no future hope (evolution, science and many religions). However clever we might think we are, each of us has formed our own belief system which we live by. Research has shown that many with a faith/hope/love basis to their life are more trustworthy, honest, and live happier, longer, less stressful and more productive lives, being less likely to fear the future or avoid discussing or preparing for their death. These people generally seek to make their life count in the present, and place more attention and focus on maintaining good relationships and helping others than trying to save and protect their own life and gain more possessions and social position (false security).

Jesus was revolutionary when he said: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” from Matthew’s Gospel 6:25 (NIV). He went on to warn us about the error of placing too much emphasis on possessing and striving after perishable things, rather than imperishable eternal life with God. As the famous saying says: ‘you can not take it with you ‘or ‘you came into the world with nothing and you will leave it the same way’. Since we are essentially spiritual beings living in physical bodies, which eventually grow old and die, what we have learned and gained spiritually in our life journey will be essentially all we will take with us, when we leave this world to confront our Maker.

One of the lessons learnt in psychology from the Covid years was that of how flock mentality influenced many to make their important decision regarding whether or not to vaccinate. Many have confessed sick and dying in hospital beds how they believed their mates rather than the government, and thus regretted it. There was no conspiracy only stubborn prideful rebellious hearts that preferred to believe a lie, rather than submit to authority, even when it had their best interests at heart. This rebellion against authority is in us all, and has its roots in our anger and rebellion against the authority of God our Almighty Creator, to whom we all must one day give account. Isaiah was not wrong when he said in Isaiah 53:6: “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
    We have left God’s paths to follow our own.”
but the rest of this verse brings us much hope in the promise of a perfect sinless Savior who would suffer the punishment for our rebellion and put our lives right again with God, so we can live free of guilt and fear of death in peace and love, and know him as Father and Friend. “Yet the Lord laid on him the sins [disobedience, rebellion] of us all.”    

Jesus, in every way a human like us, yet had done nothing wrong deserving punishment, lovingly and willingly took our wrong and disobedience upon himself and suffered it to death on a Roman Cross, to fully pay our debt to God for all time, on our behalf (in place of us) so that we might become Gods righteous clean obedient children, through faith in Jesus. This is all a gift to those who humbly put their hope and trust in Him.

Worth going for a long walk in the forest and pondering …

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To introduce people to our amazing Australian Birds

To learn from them better ways of living a healthy happy life

Adv. Dip. of Counselling and Family Therapy

© W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023


    • Thanks Sandra, yes Egrets are very patient and still birds as they stalk their prey. My main challenge is our bright Australian sun often over exposes the white subject in bright sunlight with this Mirrorless camera, it is good when the light settings are optimum.


  1. There may not have been the usual suspects at the lake but, what you did see was fantastic! All would be lifers for me. The little male Fairy Wren is beautiful and by its behavior (shaken that booty) knows it. 😀😂

    I hope you’re having a lovely week, Ashley.

    Liked by 1 person

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