This week my granddaughter from the country, spent time with us here in the city during her school holiday break. Last month two of my grandsons did likewise. This was an excellent opportunity to introduce her to birding. Thankfully she was already excited about doing one of our birding adventures, as she had heard from her brother how much he enjoyed it. My daughter and her husband had already done the ground work of giving them an appreciation of Creation, and its many wonders. About 8 years ago, in their Gap Year, they travelled around Australia in a caravan with their 2 young children. We always the grandies to bring a list of what they want to do while with us. Here are a few highlights. The list included a visit to our Taronga Park Zoo which is said to be one of the best zoos in the world, and has one of the best views in the world, sighting Sydney Harbour.

Our trip to the zoo included visiting the Australian bird aviaries of course. In particular we wanted her to see one of Australia’s critically endangered, The Regent Honeyeater. Attempts at saving this bird have resulted in the largest public conservation program in Australia over the last ten years. The zoo breeds these birds for release each two years, in an attempt to prevent its extinction as breeding numbers drop drastically. In 2021, 58 Regent Honeyeaters were released in the Lower Hunter Valley, and breeding activity was documented along with assimilation of zoo-bred birds into wild flocks. There zoo bred birds have over the years developed slight variations, mainly around the flesh colored eye ring. I have been blessed to have actually seen several of the wild non banded (bred in the wild) honeyeaters in the last ten years. Here is some footage of what we saw. The problem also lies in the language of the wild birds not being passed on to the young, as the zoo bred birds have been bred in captivity and their language over time has changed. This creates a problem for breeding wild birds with zoo bred. You get to hear it calling in this video.

You will notice below the well demonstrated flesh colored eye ring in a wild bird I photographed in the bush, an amazing gift, compared to the lighter more yellow eye-ring of the zoo bred bird.

Another item on her list was a birding adventure, where we took her to our local Royal National Park, or the Nasho as we know it, where she was thrilled to see the Diamond Python her brother saw when he was there last month.

My granddaughter saw and heard many birds on our walk and was engaging her binoculars with my wife, to view a world up close seldom seen by most people. She was delighted to see so many new birds, and especially the Superb Lyrebird which she heard performing , as one imitated various bird sounds including Kookaburra, Currawong, Parrot, Miner to name a few.

On the track my granddaughter thought she saw a Brush Turkey, but she saw her first Superb Lyrebird, a pair of youngsters from this years brood. They were still downy on the front. One appeared more female with the rufous throat and the other possibly in a couple of years begin to form into a male. Both will appear like their mother till approaching maturity.

But for my wife and I it was the first sighting of a Crested Shrike-tit for us in this park which put the cream on the cake. This energetic tiny bright colored rainforest bird with a tiny beak, spends its day high in eucalypt trees prying bark off, looking for grubs and other insects hiding beneath the bark. They are difficult to photograph due to their size, shyness and constant movement. They are often deep within the canopy of the tree. Often the only way you will detect them is the sound of falling bark. The amazing thing about this bird unlike other bark removing birds which have long beaks for the purpose, this little bird uses its strength and whole head action to accomplish the task. It was amazing to watch large sheets of bark peel off.

We visited a very large shopping centre, a place young ladies love to explore which are not found in country towns. We also visited the Sydney Technological ‘Powerhouse Museum’ which we always take our grandies to, where they learn and interact with principles in technology and science.. One of the last fun things we did was to play in the water park on a hot afternoon.

One of my favorites at the zoo is the Meerkat. I love watching them play. This one was resting like an old man in an armchair.

Lastly, as I do with my grandies each visit, to do a plug for my books which bear their names in the dedication. These books are sold in the National Park Visitor Centres throughout NSW. You can purchase them there or click the photo below to purchase here securely online. This book is a a beautiful and interesting introduction to Australia’s popular birds, and an excellent gift for a Primary School child.

Read what two of my bloggers said when they reviewed my first book on their websites some years ago.

Click here to read a review by an Australian who purchased the first book: “What Birds Teach Us”

Click here to read a review from an American purchaser of the first book.

This Could Be The Most Helpful Gift You Give Your Child During Their Formative Years to Assist Them In Making Good Life Choices for Their Future.

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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

22 Comments »

    • Thanks Deborah, we had such a lovely time with her she is such an energetic young lady. She did enjoy our walk and learnt many new things which is always a delight to us grandies. She has a great interest in reptiles, so to see the snake first up was a great plus for her as well as the several water dragons. We did not see any lace monitors on the walk, which would have made her day. We had to check out the reptile area at the zoo also. Our enjoyment was mutual 🙂

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  1. I very much enjoyed your sharing your birding adventure with your granddaughter! Another budding birder in the family!! 🙂 She will learn so much from you and your wife, along with wonderful memories. Great sightings, photos and videos, Ashley! I even enjoyed the video of Sydney, gorgeous.

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    • Thanks Donna, yes she, like her brother enjoys birding with us, and is learning about birds and sharing it with her dad and mum who send me occasional photos and video for ID. Thankfully they are a very nature loving family. We had such a delightful time with her, she is such a joy, which is the product partly of her Christian parents.

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    • Thanks Chrissie, yes she has a beautiful smile, as a very joyful and intelligent young lady. She was a delight for us both, and so different to having the boys. The list concept was great as she enjoyed ticking off each wish as we did it. We managed to complete the list successfully and to her approval. The boys had their lists which were different, but had one or two similar desires. The main thing is that they have lots of fun, laughs and huggs from us while they are there. Board games and no TV in the evening are the go.

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing your precious granddaughter with us! I so appreciate the videos and audios and often look up the species to find out more. I found a clip of the Superb Lyrebird with his tail opening up in a stunning array, chirping.
    Through the eyes of a godly man, one can marvel at even a snake and see its beauty!
    You and your wife will see one day the eternal value in all you do, extolling the glorious details in our Father’s creation.
    Thank you brother!

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    • Thanks Lisa Beth, it was a lovely time with her on her first stay alone with us, she is such a delight, and a product of wonderful Christian parenting. Thank you for your always encouraging and uplifting comments dear sister, you are a gemstone in our Lord’s crown.

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    • Thanks Sandra, I am so glad my daughter and her husband have strict control over the use of technology items in their home, even over what they view on TV and it has paid off for them, as both their children have a rich appreciation of Creation and all its wonders from a young age and are vibrant joyful children. Praise God !

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    • Thanks Denzil, yes the books are my legacy to the youth of today, and to a better future for them. It incorporates my birding experience and knowledge of bird behaviour with my family counseling knowledge to develop a very uniquely Australian teaching tool, which a child and adult can enjoy reading. Thanks for your welcome comment. 🙂

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      • I’ve just started a new nature blog https://denzilnature.com/ and your books look like a good fit for a post on them, if that is OK with you? Are they only available through you or via Amazon for example? And I see you can send them overseas, but do you also have an e-version perhaps, although your pictures look so much better on the printed page of course.

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      • Thanks Denzil, Congratulations on your new blog ! I will check it out. My books are only available overseas via my website or bookshops that sell my books online. My books are sold within Australia in about 70 locations. I do not have any e-versions as the photographic aspect and layout of the books does not lend itself to it. I am currently awaiting a reprint of the first book as it sold out of print again. It is a long process getting the printed colour tones right, and the cost of paper and printing has gone up drastically since Covid, which has been challenging. All the best my friend 🙂

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      • Yes it is hard work establishing markets, and even getting the books printed just the way you want, as it has been over 8 years now and several reprints due to selling out stock. I have a rest from marketing as I believe the books sell themselves now, and my sellers back my legacy hobby and its concept which is wonderful. They tell me my passion is what inspires them to sell the books. I have a third book in the wings when I sell enough, as each book pays for the next print.

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  3. You are already thinking of your legacy, passing it to your grandkids. It’s not easy to fill your shoes, you have a lot of experience and mainly you are a man of G-d. I hope they do follow your steps. Thank you, my good friend. 🙂

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    • Thanks my friend, for your most encouraging words. I am very committed to give my grandchildren a wonderful and active experience with me when I have the opportunity. I love having one on one time with them to discuss their faith and understand where they are at. I have a lot of fun and enjoy playing with them and teaching them about life and God’s Creation.

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