The decline in migratory shorebird numbers is becoming alarming. The Eastern Curlew is but one of many shorebirds that has a conservation status of: Threatened. Fewer numbers are returning each Spring. In fact some have decided to actually stay over and spend the whole year on our beaches and river tidal flats for they know the journey north has become more perilous as the Asian countries where they usually stop to refuel and rest, have reclaimed and continue to reclaim many of their feeding grounds for human industry. In addition to this people from these countries continue to kill the birds when they land to sell them for food at their local markets. BirdLife International has been trying to stop this practice by educating and assisting poachers to farm domestic fowl if they agree not to poach.

Eastern Curlew foraging on tidal mudflats

Did you know the Eastern Curlew population worldwide has reduced by 80% in 40 years due primarily to human activity ? One of the great qualities of our own Australian indigenous population is that they cared for the land and never took more from it than they needed each day. They valued the balance and saw themselves as part of the ecosystem. They did not rape the land for their own selfish gain. Species only became extinct in Australia when the European settlers bearing rifles came to Australia, indiscriminately shooting everything that moved, because they could or because it threatened their introduced agricultural techniques. BirdLife International along with BirdLife Australia and American conservation groups are trying to install measures to preserve the remaining migratory bird numbers. Their unusually long curved beak enables them to pry well below the wet sand to retrieve small crustaceans and worms.

This is one of the reasons this, our largest and most eaten migratory wader, is so shy and afraid of humans. The sighting of a person on the beach they are on will send them off making their classic alarm cry. Below is a photo of what we use to see each Summer.

This Spring, and now Summer, we have not seen the return of our Godwits. Other birders have also commented in different parts of our east coast and other parts of the world, that they also have noted the same with other species of migratory shorebirds. These photos are of a pair that did return or have stayed over. Other than these, we have seen no others as yet. The one Eastern Curlew does have a partner who has flown off earlier, but this is all we ever see here now, and usually flying off with their alarm call. Click on photos to enlarge them.

Now for the first time we have become concerned for our Bar-tailed Godwit, which I mentioned last week had not returned to our beaches as yet. This pair is all we could find of this amazing wader having a slightly upward curved beak having a similar diet to the Curlew. Again on sighting me, they flew off, which usually does not accur so quickly with this bird.

Unlike our non migratory wader, the Pied Oystercatcher, which is now endangered here due to human and dog destruction of their beach nests, the local conservationists have lobbied local councils in some areas to build islands, such as the one on the river in Botany Bay to allow them and other waders to breed undisturbed.

We have entered a time of the escalation of the extinction of many different species, of our native birds and animals, while ferule and introduced species from northern hemisphere flourish often at the expense and demise of our own.

Have a wonderful week and do not forget to check out my website and books here online from my home page, if you are new to my weekly blog.

One comforting and assuring truth that we both experience, is that of knowing there is Someone Much Greater and more able than ourselves looking out for our best interests. One of the amazing experiences of our relationship with our Lord Jesus and our Father God, is his answers to prayer and at times the miracles that occur when he answers in humanly explainable ways, which can only be God. Many can testify to God’ s goodness and I would like to share about my mobile phone, which some of you know I had recently lost on a birding walk.

My phone had fallen off the belt clip while I was filming near the low tide shore line without me realizing and I did not notice it missing till I reached home some time later. I immediately drove back and re walked all the places I had gone, including the tidal mangroves, where thankfully the water had not reached the area I had walked yet. It could not be found. I phoned my wife who later came with me to check again and it was still not found. BY now the tide had come in and if I had lost it on the beach tidal flats it would be under water. We both were praying that God would recover the phone and that someone would find it and return it. We did not know how they would do that, or if they would be honest, and try to hack it or misuse it. We prayed for a miracle of God’s grace and favor believing that God would act on our behalf. While we had a peace about it, we remained concerned should it fall into the wrong hands as these phones today contain so much of our lives and identity. FindMy was not set up on my iphone.

My wife remained very positive about it that it would be found, and by the next morning on not hearing anything or having rung around police stations and still no phone, I became despondent. She started loudly playing worship music of hope and God’s provision and I began to be re encouraged. My wife’s mobile phone rang and a lady told her that her 3 year old daughter found my phone floating on the tide in the water that morning and it was still working so she was able to get the emergency contact number from it to phone her.

As we’re praising God we immediately went to visit the lady and her daughter who handed the sand ridden phone to me, which was still working and we thanked her, giving two of my books. The little girls loved the bird book and held it close to her chest in delight. Her mum believed it was also a miracle, and we were all so thankful that this honest person returned it to us. The phone had travelled in and out on the tide, as it was lost on the sand and it may have been covered by water even when we went looking for it.

After cleaning out the sand from its ports and cover and recharging it (though it still had a little charge left) it has been working ever since, well over a week. This certainly is a miracle which is unexplained in human terms. God acted on our behalf to bless us with an answer to our prayers as we left the problem with him. When we ask with faith and rest in him to answer, believing he will, he will be on our case for us. He loves to bless his children who trust in him. We give him all the thanks, praise and glory for he alone is worthy of it all.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6,7 (NLT)

Thethecried out to the Lord itheir trouble, and he brought theout of their distress.” – Psalm 107:28 (NIV)

<<< Back to Top of Page >>>

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


  1. I am seeing similar things over here Ashley, I used to go out and be able to hear so many birds singing and lately I have noticed a lack in the morning bird songs. We see it happening all around us where people are cutting down trees to put up another store that we really do not need. I thing there are enough of them now. Like you said, our Father is in charge and he knows everything that goes on. We each have to keep doing our best to preserve nature the best we can 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sandra, what you say is so true, and the best we can do is speak up for our feathered friends through the conservation groups who are confronting our governments on these issues. We have a government here that has back flipped on its policies several times, and our conservation parties are being funded to keep them honest.


  2. Fabulous captures, Ashley, I love these long-beaked birds and their amazing ability to feed and preen with them! The decline in your migratory birds shorebirds is staggering and very sad, to know they are disappearing is tragic to mankind.

    LOVE your cell phone loss and recovery story, truly amazing. God works in mysterious ways!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello my friend,
    I am sad to see that it’s not just my country that is missing the presence of the migratory waders this year. From record breaking heat waves and other weather crises, it has been yet another challenging and strange year.

    So happy to see the Eastern Curlew as the star of this post. They used to regularly stop by the wetlands in Japan during migratory season, but as you noted and explained in your post, have become extremely scarce in recent years. It is very alarming. As such I have yet to see this shy beauty in person but keep hope that day will come.

    What an amazing miracle you experienced! How lovely that the little girl and her Mum discovered your phone and they were moved to return it to its owner. It’s a double blessing to know your phone is working well despite being washed along the tide. I am so happy that this stressful situation had such an incredible outcome. It’s wonderful that they loved your bird books and we pray for a wonderful friendship! It’s amazing how these moments of humanity can and do happen – it gives us hope.

    I will be in touch again soon via email. All our best to you and your wife as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami, yes it is very alarming that the strange weather patterns seem to have had adverse effects on our wader migrations. Thanks again for your encouraging comment, it was a great blessing to have my phone back intact and still working. My brother said he dropped his phone in water and it worked 2 days and then died, but I know that even after it was drenched many hours in the ocean it was our Lord that preserved and answered the prayers to keep it safe and in working order despite the apparent impossibility of it occurring. Enjoy the rest of your day dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The declining bird populations and rising endangered and close to extinction of species is so incredibly sad and tragic. We are the stewards of God’s gorgeous world. We need to do better fast for Him and for all creatures great and small. Thank you for this wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cindy, I so agree with you it is the lot we were given to care for this world and its inhabitants, but sin has so wrecked the balance and selfishness, pride, exploitation and greed have replaced love, respect, kindness and peace. Thanks again for your comment my friend.


  5. What a great post! While I am super sad about the declining birds (my heart breaks), I know there is a bigger plan in place. Someday we will be in a wonderful place just filled with wonderful creatures! (and hopefully those we loved and lost 😢) And just WOW about the phone! Amazing! I hope it keeps on working for you for a long time! Thank you for sharing your story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Lisa for your encouraging comments. Yes it is a great joy to look forward with an assured hope to a much better world than our presently decaying world. Sadly many are deceived thinking that it is actually evolving into something better, but God has so much more for us in the new creation, and we have already been confirmed this is only temporary, as we all must leave it some day. Yes the phone is another wonderful gift of grace and love from our Loving Father.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think this season has been a particularly good season for return of waders. Our usual numbers of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints are not to be found. Perhaps the incessant heavy storms, strong winds and tides being pushed in over the mudflats has had something to do with it.
    Like wise many terns have not yet made significant appearances.

    All very strange.

    I laughed, about your fone disappearing and reappearing.
    Some years back I used to carry one on a hand strap in my pocket, and somehow the strap caught on a boxthorn bush as i moved past.
    Like you I didn’t notice until I was home. Frantic search. No sign. Back to walk over the forest, and of course no sign.
    Gave up. Bought new fone.
    About a week later I was up in the same area, and walked past the same bush. Dangling on the end of the bush was my fone.
    I wondered if the resident Kangaroo population might have used it to dial Menulog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha Ha ! that’s funny David, and I had a friend do similar when his car was stolen. He waited a few weeks and thought it gone forever and the day after he bought another the police returned it. Yes the wader issue is a grave concern to many birders at present. I do miss seeing my little clan of Godwits. Enjoy your week, it feels like winter again here. Certainly an unusual Summer.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s