On a beautiful warm Autumn day my wife and I drove to a birding spot in western Sydney called Wianamatta Nature Reserve, which is managed by NSW National Parks. This was originally part of the Australian Defense Force communications station, but after its abandonment was allowed to restore to its original habitat and given back to the people and flora and fauna of this region to enjoy.

As there are no facilities at all there, we took our fold up camp chairs, thermos and fresh Date, Ginger and Walnut bun I had baked, so we could sit and watch the birds in a quiet undisturbed setting. Very few people actually come here, and even know it exists. While we sat giving thanks for this quiet moment together, enjoying our cuppa-n-cake we were blessed with the presence of a White-eared Honeyeater, a western bird found in these dry open eucalypt forests. This is a bird we do not see in the forests along our coast.

If you look carefully at the larger photo below, you will notice a white substance on the back of the eucalypt (gum) leaf on the left, this is a substance called lerps which the honeyeaters and many other small birds love to lick off the leaf. Lerps is like sugar candy to the birds giving energy. It is the protective coating of the psyllid insect larvae. The mature insect is a tree-louse which sicks the life out of the tree and the plants it attacks. The brown dead patches on gum leaves and the holes in the leaf are where the corrosive chemicals in the larvae have been killing the leaf. Some birds such as Pardalotes, eat both the larvae and the lerps and others just the lerps.

After out morning coffee break and our observation of the honeyeater actively removing an insect from a hole in a tree branch, we made out way along the track toward an area where we usually see particular birds, hoping to see the Red-capped Robin again, which has not been seen here for a couple of years. We noticed a stack of fungus by the base of a tree where a tiny Red-browed Finch was sitting watching us pass by.

We were surprised to see so few birds but the Double-barred Finch which are always see here were here but in much fewer numbers. Finches are small seed eaters, mainly grass seed and occur in small flocks. Their call is quite unique with very high pitched sounds, some of which are outside our hearing range.

We were surprised that many of the birds we expected to find were not present, including the rarely seen Robin, so we made our way down to the creek which flows through the reserve, which is the only water source, a place near which we usually find our best birds. Sure enough my wife found the beautiful Eastern Spinebill feeding along the track. This is another honeyeater, having the long curved beak able to easily access the depths of tubular flowers, that other honeyeaters find difficult. This bird is extremely timid of humans, making it difficult to photograph. However, it did not notice me for a minute or two and I captured these shots.

It was just a few minutes after I made the comment to my wife that we had not seen the beautiful Yellow Thornbill at all, that my wife spotted several moving together through trees not far from the creek. The Yellow Thornbill is another western bird not found on the coast. Thornbills are tiny energetic, fast moving insectivorous birds which remove insects as they move methodically over branches of trees.

We also saw its cousin the Brown Thornbill, which is also common to our coastal forests, but it was more elusive than the yellow on this occasion.

We could hear the elusive male Golden Whistler calling along the track, but it was not till near the end of our walk that it made an appearance to check us out, as they do. These birds have a beautiful and varied song which rings out through the forest, making a bush walk a more enjoyable experience. They usually sing the most during Spring-Summer when courting and nesting, and tend to be quieter in the colder months.

This is its contact call when locating its mate.

On leaving the reserve we decided to climb the foot of the Blue Mountains NP and visit Glenbrook for a lunch date. As we walked through the town common (green) my wife amazingly spotted a Pacific Baza sitting in a tall eucalypt tree and called me to get my camera. This raptor was being pursued by a small family of Noisy Miners and a male Magpie. They had gathered to mob it believing it to be a threat. To their dismay it flew right back to its nest, which was in another eucalypt tree nearby. Baza mainly eat large insects, frogs, fruit, small mammals and small nesting birds. They have a peculiar way of hunting, by flying headlong into and through a tree canopy catching insects as they pass through it. This bird is not endemic to Australia, and is also found in the tropical forests of New Guinea and the pacific islands.

May you enjoy an amazing week and stay peaceful and well. May you have time with your partner and/or family for a ‘birding dateand together enjoy the birds and the health benefits of walking in God’s Garden, we call nature, which have been studied and documented here.

I have shared in my past reflections, that it is not so much what we say, but how we say it, that is most important to those we are speaking with. We all feel more about what we are hearing than we listen, without even being aware at times.This grades how we assess the one speaking to us, as to what level we value their friendship. With children it is black and white, they feel and sense emotion more than we realize. No matter what a parent may say to a child, and put their take on it, they usually have already interpreted the truth from their sensitivity to emotions and expressions which they have felt.

How we express ourselves communicates far more than the words we say. In fact, for most people, including children we may want to encourage to obey or comply, kindness, understanding and compassion in our words will always win attention and favorable response. We all have a strong desire to be respected, loved and acknowledged for who we are. When these needs are not met in a loving family, by loving kind and gentle expression and words, being also expressed by loving physical touch and embrace, we try to win them by striving to win alternative approval for ourselves, attempting to make ourselves popular/accepted by following/pleasing our significant people or peer group (often resulting in one doing things they may not personally approve of: e.g. drugs, tattoos, crime).

Love depleted people may try to find their significance in their work, sport, music and other achievements, always trying to fill that love deficit of approval respect and acceptance as a person in this world, which many call identity. Sadly, none of this is necessary when a person finds that God is their true Father and they are loved far more than they could ever realize. This love deficit was well described by Blaise Pascal when he stated: There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every [person] which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” Cognitive Scientists also agree with this in studies they have done, on how readily people engage faiths with a need to find their identity and purpose. We can only find our true identity in the One who created us, just as we find our flesh identity in our fathers, so we find our true identity both physical and spiritual in God our Heavenly Father. When we come to know God as True Father, we are at peace in ourselves and realize that we do not have to prove ourselves to anyone anymore, but enjoy the love and acceptance that flows from the heart of Jesus Christ, who bought back our lost identity through his suffering, death and resurrection on our behalf, removing the separation between us and God that our ancestral rebellion had created for us and everyone.

“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.” – 1 John 3:1 (NLT)

 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” – John 1:9-13 (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


    • Thanks Deborah,
      Yes It is always an adventure, ‘It’s like a box of chocolates ’cause you never know what ya gonna get’, as Forrest Gump says 🙂 We just had a whole day Birding Date out birding together with a picnic lunch, commencing with a breckie at the cafe, and saw so many MFFs (Mixed feeding flocks) which was surprising for this time of year, though it was the most perfect Autumn day ever after our early winter blast. My second grandson loves birding with us when he comes to stay, and always says how he loves going on our ‘adventures’, as he calls them.
      We also love engaging with other birders and families and sharing birding facts with them for which they usually are grateful. Plus many return to the National Parks shop to check my books out, which is a bonus also.
      You and yours have a most enjoyable week also my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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