What a better start to our New Year than a New Years Day birding walk in our local Oatley Park Reserve.

As we walked along the track we were both aware of an eerie silence – there were no birds calling, no not one. The only sound of the occasional Sulphur-crested Cockatoo screeching, which was normal for them. We noticed the Noisy Miner were all putting out an unusual call, which we soon worked out its meaning. Walking further along the track we met a birding acquaintance who frequents the park and studies its birds, and he kindly pointed out the nest of what appeared to be a Collared Sparrowhawk, which nests around the same area each year. This raptor is not seen a lot in our area, but is a feature when seen. It is often difficult to distinguish this bird from its look-a-like Brown Goshawk. At first I saw the juvenile nestling standing in the nest. The appearance of this nest answered our question as to why the birds were very quiet. If they had not already been eaten or served up to young Sparrowhawks, they were lying low and keeping quiet as the word had passed around the park that a bird eating raptor was in residence. This explained the unusual behaviour of the Noisy Miners also, as they all gave out their warning signals, which sounded the same throughout the park.

Later from a better viewing point, we saw what looked to be three nestlings and the adult female in the nest. Notice the bright staring eye of the adult in the nest, while the juveniles have dark brown eyes and look mottled grey and brown as they do, for nest protection. I was able to catch this brief movie clip, though it was difficult as it was some distance away and obstructed’

Collared Sparrowhawk nest

Here are some more shots I managed. The female is waiting with the nestlings to protect them while her partner is off preying on food, which will consist of small birds in the park. The parents will tear up the bird into small morsels for the nestlings to eat. These birds are found in Australia. New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. Click on photos to enlarge them.

Sparrowhawks mainly prey on small birds. and in a similar way to Pied Currawong, will work our how many nesting birds are in the vicinity, before nesting, to ensure adequate food for their young. This what a parent would look like. These photos are from our birding in the desert of Central Australia some years ago, as it watched a flock of Zebra Finch resting in the shade nearby.


During our walk we noticed that most of the Angophora costata (Sydney Redgum) trees were shedding their bark, which is a peculiar trait to this beautiful and interesting tree, which I have mentioned in many of my blogs, as a perfect tree for nesting parrots and owls. This is the reason these trees always look so unmarked or non blackened by fire after bushfires, while all other eucalypts remain black and shabby. The bark of this tree appears to almost retard burning. The beautiful pinks and greys along with the tree’s natural artistic beauty and shape of its branches make it an artist’s delight. You will notice the bark piling at the foot of the tree.

These trees, all shedding together are a beautiful descriptive example to us of starting the new year with a fresh new start, casting off the old past and adorning the new hope of a better future for us and a new season of growth, emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually. Similar to the Angophora tree we can shine fresh joyfully hopeful expectancy ,into the blackened damaged hearts of frightened and angry hopeless world.

A Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year to all my dear blogging friends.

“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand..”
– Psalm 16:9-11(NIV)

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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

21 Comments »

  1. Hello Ash,

    A very Happy New Year to you and your wife!

    Ah, that explains the eerie silence during your birding outing. Very exciting to hear about the Sparrowhawk nestlings, but I can imagine how the little birds must be terrified. For us bird lovers, it is exciting to read these updates through your blog.

    I hope to write a detailed update soon, and wish you and your wife a blessed week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Takami, and thank you for your warm blessings. Yes it is very terrifying when a raptor takes nest in a territory of forest where birds have lived and nested forever. They can flee to another place, which many of the territorial birds do not do, or lay low and be quiet and on the lookout. The Noisy Miners send warning messages to all the birds, as they are the great vocal communicators which most birds understand their calls. Have a wonderful week my friend 🙂

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  2. Well done to locate the nest. They are such furtive birds. Their trademark.

    Also lucky that the adult didn’t get upset and have a sweep past. I’ve been bailed up a couple of times by nesting Sparrowhawks, and a very close pass has made me acutely aware of their stealth and agility

    The young don’t seem to be too far from fledged as the barred feathers are showing very nicely. The young are great to watch, as apart from being quite noisy callers early on, they seem to play hunting games with each other through the canopy.

    We sometimes walk in an area localy where after severe bushfire some 30 years or more back, the lovely Sydney Redgums were planted in abundance. We were there just recently and they were in a fine state as they shedded that thick bark to reveal the lovely colours underneath.
    s

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David,
      Yes it was a great find. We were hoping to check them out again today but Winter has returned with a vengeance, with more heavy rain and strong cold winds. The weather was perfect at Wagga yesterday. The male was about but out fetching food at the time, only the female was with them at the time. Yes the red gums are one of the most beautiful of our trees, unique in shape, colour and structure, certainly great for nesting. Enjoy your weekend.

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    • Thanks Sandyroybessandbugzy, Yes the raptors are very clever high end birds that plan where they nest, similar to those of the crow family, especially Currawongs, where they are going to need to provide for their young, as other birds do with their food sources. We love the Red Gums, their shape, colour and structure and their interesting odour also, which I enjoy, and my wife does not. Enjoy your weekend 🙂

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    • Thanks Lisa, Raptors are some of the most popular of birds to birders, and as you said powerful, they are so majestic, skillful and clever. They have the best eyesight and most accurate assessments when preying. All the very best for the new year my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Chrissie, thanks so much for your encouraging comments, they are much appreciated. Yes hope is the greatest message the world needs at the moment, and so many are looking in the wrong places to find it. Enjoy your weekend my friend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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