Anzac Day is a sacred day to Aussies and Kiwis, as we commemorate those who gave their lives for our freedom during the many wars over the last hundred and more years. My dad was one of them, though he did return home alive, his PTSD destroyed the quality of his life as a husband and father.

We are all casualties or victims of war in one way or another. Its effects continue into the lives and generations of those who follow, those who never fought in a war.

Many families are at the street marches and out having family picnics, which included my wife and I. It is a custom to make Anzac Biscuits to eat on the day. These oatmeal biscuits kept our Diggers alive and were a welcome and tasty snack, and easy to make. My wife always complains I make them too large, but I like them that way.

As we sat quietly by the river in our local national park and ate our lunch we watched the tiny Superb Fairy-wren, the males having now eclipsed out of their breeding plumage to look very similar to the female. I would laugh sometimes when friends would tell me that their lovely Blue Wrens (as many non birder Aussies call them) have disappeared from their gardens during the winter months. I would explain regarding the breeding plumage, which is explained in my second book ‘Flight of a Fledgling’ This is what we saw as we ate our lunch by the river, notice the male retains its blue tail, is more brown/grey, white chest and lacks the facial red lines around the eyes of the female:

As we ate our lunch we were visited by a male and female Australian Magpie, though the male was very friendly and looking for a feed, which it did not get, so it went back to looking for beetle larvae in the ground. You will see below how it listens for the minute sounds and then pecks it out of the ground with its rock hard beak, which is one of the hardest beaks in a bird, and no bird or human comes away uninjured by that beak when attacked.

Along the track we met many families with their children, and engaged with them sharing our knowledge and the our many bird sightings, as they inquired. We also met with our fast moving little Brown Gerygone, I mentioned a couple of posts ago.

A bird we heard calling many times during our visit but could not see as it fed from lerps high in the canopy was the Yellow-faced Honeyeater, a winter inhabitant of our coastal forests. I managed only one capture.

Here is a sound file of the Yellow-faced with the high pitched call of the bright red and very tiny Scarlet Honeyeater who is also a canopy dweller chasing lerps they are often found together in trees this time of year.

The male has the bright red body, and is attracted to red flowers of Grevillea and Mountain Devil when they are out, though when they are not, the Banksia ericifolia flower cones will do just fine.

We heard this call continually as several small flocks of Scarlets flew high up in the canopy mostly out of sight. They are so hard to see being such a tine bird, though when they are in the sun our on a limb there redness makes them stand out. The female has only a slight reddish colouring on chest only, but we did not locate any.

The Brown Thornbill, another tiny insectivorous bird similar to the Gerygone was also seen and hear making its beautiful purring call as it moved through the tree in search of small insects.

It was also lovely to hear and see the tiny Red-browed Finch which are grass seed eaters. They are spotted by their distinct bright red brow. These can also be included in the group of birds known as Firetails, due to their bright red tail.

We saw a recently build arboreal termite nest which the Kingfisher family (Kookaburra and Sacred Kingfisher) had not yet made into a nesting site.

Another little bird we always see but never feature much is the Grey Fantail. These are part of the family of Flycatchers, often seen fanning their tail and also catching insects in flight stopping mid air. These friendly birds will follow you closely down the track hoping you will stir up insects on the path for them to collect, in a similar way to the Eastern Yellow Robin. which eluded us on this occasion.

We saw a birder relatively new to calling, aiming his huge lens up at this Sulphur-crested Cockatoo nest. We watched as this faithful pair defended their nest high in a eucalypt tree.

Lastly, this pair of Australian Wood Duck were grazing on the lawn by the river as they do, being grazing ducks, which like the Cockies also pair for life. The Aussie Wood Duck is a good example of parent cooperation, and excellent fathering.

Australian Wood Duck pair: Female and Male

Enjoy another week birding as the seasons change and many species reposition themselves worldwide for the next season. If this is your first visit to my blog and website, take a few minutes to check our my interesting pages on birding tips and facts from my Home Page. Also check out my very unique books by clicking the image below:

As we departed from our birding date, I noticed this fig tree growing high up, out of a hole in a eucalypt tree. The seed had probably been dropped in the hole by a nesting bird feeding its young, most likely a Cockatoo, which normally nest in this hole. The big fig tree which many birds, especially the Satin Bowerbird, feed from is nearby, and the figs are not yet ripe, so the tree is empty of birds at present. Birds are Australia’s main seed distributors and important to the continuation of our forests. However, this tiny plant will grow into a massive fig tree, and could be interesting to watch how it develops.

Sometimes we are suddenly placed or displaced, as it may appear at the time, in very unusual or challenging circumstances. Most of us will experience this occurring in life at some time or other, and we will be faced with the question as to ‘What do I do ?‘ Our fathers and grandfathers left their quiet healthy rural farm lives and were planted on a destructive, noisy, dangerous, life threatening battlefield with death and injury looming all around them. Like the fig growing out of the tree (above), they had to adjust and accept their circumstances and selflessly focus on the task at hand, to protect their country, and the lives of those fighting alongside them.

They where made grow and flourish where they were planted, regardless of how unpleasant, fearful and stressful it was. This is a lesson to us all to adapt and realize that every situation we find ourselves in is actually part of God’s preordained plan for us to grow in character and flourish for his glory and praise, and the blessing, encouragement and support of others, and not our own selfish ambitions. Unfulfilled ambitions of our own result in disappointment, anger, frustration, and ultimately depressive disorders when they are not surrendered to the reality of the current circumstances. Accepting and being content with difficult circumstances was a legacy the Lord Jesus displayed while on earth, and shares today through the gift of his Holy Spirit, where one can know the depths of his love for them, and that he always has the best interests at heart for those who love and trust his leadership and lordship in their lives.We need to always be above and not below our circumstances, and the most productive way is for us to submit to God’s loving will and intentions to guide and bless us in our lives. Challenges are opportunities to shine, bloom and grow.

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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


  1. Thank you brother for sharing of this special day, Anzac Day. You always draw me to learn more so I looked up the commemorative holiday. I felt even more compassion for those who suffered when I learned the day falls on April 25th, Armenian Martyrs Day. Most people don’t realize the longstanding impact of war and genocide, such as the PTSD of your father and my grandparents who were genocide survivors.
    Your post balances human tragedy with the medicinal beauty of God’s creation and His sustaining truths. Thank you for all of that, especially the truths of God’s sovereignty amid the gross crimes of man against mankind. While I love the birds and wish a Magpie would come to me to feed, I read every word of the narrative – both speak to my heart and I thank you Ashley.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa Beth, for your always encouraging and inspiring comments of appreciation for our Lord’s beautiful Creation, it is always appreciated. Yes, it is so sad that one persons madness can be responsible for so many deaths and so much suffering, and continues to currently occur in the world. I always remember my history teacher’s initial comment when he dais: ‘Let me sum up the history of mankind in one sentence. ‘The only thing that we learn from history, is that we do not learn from history, but keep making the same mistakes.’ Of course the sin of man will constantly be at work right to the last day, as we move into the end times drama. Our Magpies are so intelligent, that they learn to know who they can trust, and are quite brave knowing they can walk right up to and stand next to people they trust as the one in my post. I have several Magpies I see in our park and I can walk within a foot of them without them worrying, but if someone else comes along they will scamper away. Enjoy your week dear sister.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Deborah,
      Yes the traditional ANZAC biscuit recipe has undergone some variation over the years especially by those who produce them commercially. The old recipe my mother told me and taught me to make as a young boy was a cup of plain flour, cup of rolled oats, cup of desiccated coconut, cup of brown sugar (or less) , 4 oz butter. 1 tsp bicarb, 2 tbs boiling water, 1 to 2 tbs golden syrup which is the key ingredient often substituted with honey. Australia is a big sugar cane producer, and this was a popular sweetener when I was a lad. This all gets mixed and placed out on a tray, cookie sized blobs and baked at 160-180 C (320-350 F) for 20 minutes.
      Let me know how you go, they are very more-ish and do not last long. It is traditional to bake and share them at the Anzac day picnic. Enjoy your week my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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