As one week elapses since my recent surgery, we thought it time to take a walk in our local birding park, so we set off and commenced walking on our usual track to the ponds. As we approached our track, there was an eerie silence, which remained as we walked. The usual noisy and rowdy birds were not calling.It was good seeing the Banksia spinulosa flowers in bloom, providing food for the Yellow-faced Honeyeater which are prevelant in our parks during the winter months, which I had difficulty photographing.

As we walked along the track commenting on the silence my wife noticed the entrails of what may have been a small mammal, possibly a possum. She immediately remembered that she had learnt that the Powerful Owl did not eat entrails, and that we had just passed the nesting hole which it apparently uses this time of year.

There was no activity at the nesting hole that we could detect, but we had been informed by another birder, some time ago, that the male Powerful Owl watches and guards the nest from deep within the mangrove trees on the creek side of the track. My wife with her legendary spotting eyes, found him sleeping directly inline with the nest.

Powerful Owl sleeping while guarding nest.

Considering the darkness inside the thick mangrove cluster, I managed to get some reasonable shots, with the limited clear vision through the trees. As per usual, the owl hangs the remains of its prey from a talon. Powerful owls help keep our pesky possum population at bay, being its main food source. As Common Ring-tailed Possums make up its primary diet, with the occasional Sugar Glider and straying domestic cat. Owls, gliders and possums are nocturnal creatures. The Powerful Owl,Australia’s largest owl, rightly deserving its name, has little difficulty catching and carrying these creatures through the air. It appears it has used most of the prey already to feed his wife who is most likely inside the nesting hole where she will sit for 38 days hatching her two dull white eggs. They nest here from mid Autumn through to Winter. These birds mate for life.

We left the owl and continued down the track, and as we did we noticed we were being followed by a very quiet and curious female/immature Golden Whistler. This is bird is known to come up close to observe you and do this many times along the track, in a similar way to the Eastern Yellow Robin and Grey Fantail. We did not see the colorful male, as he is more elusive, though we heard him occasionally.

The Whistler is known for its interesting characteristic of turning its head upwards looking above it. Both male and female do this. It may be a way of observing the underneath side of the eucalypt leaf for lerps, their bird sugar candy, and also a way of viewing insect activity. I have included a male from a past walk.

As we approached the ponds we found these two White-faced Heron, our most common Heron. One fled to a tree which its partner continues fishing on the far side of the pond, where its reflection provided a lovely addition. It was looking for small fish and marine creatures, often stirring up the pond bed with its feet to unearth grubs and insects, which it can detect with its feet.

While we walked past the reeds the sounds of the Superb Fairy-wren could be heard. The male was now in its non breeding plumage, and was no longer blue and black, with only its blue tail remaining. The female posed a few seconds for us. Note the red facial characteristics and brown tail. These tiny birds suffered greatly when the Collared Sparrow-hawk was feeding its chicks, which I posted a month ago, annihilating several families of birds.

One of my wife’s favorite birds, the Spotted Pardolote was sighted high in the canopy of a small eucalypt tree. This is one of our tiniest birds, and has a most beautiful intricate pattern on its head and back, appearing quite plain yellow beneath. It is one of the most difficult birds to photograph due to its speed and the way it stays in the thick of the high upper tree canopy, where they feed primarily on lerps, and the underlying larvae of the tree louse. The population is rapidly declining, and are often the target of the more aggressive Noisy and Bell Miners, which are known to kill them, as are other larger omnivorous birds. This male we managed to trace, to the utter delight of my wife. Notice it is looking beneath the eucalypt leaf, as that is where the white sticky lerps are found. Click on photos to enlarge them.

The Pardolote is featured in my book “What Birds teach Us” which is available here online from my secure store.

The Eastern Crimson Rosella made an appearance as they search for seed pods remaining from last summers fruit.

As we returned we passed the Powerful Owl again and noticed he was now fully awake, and staring right toward us.

Have another wonderful week and enjoy the warm sunshine, be Autumn or Spring. These beautiful still warm crisp May days are ideal for birding, especially since most of the venomous snakes are hibernating.

However, the Red-bellied Blacksnake does not necessarily hibernate, and one needs to be on the lookout for it sunning itself on along the tracks during the cooler months. They are venomous but are also generally timid and will usually move out of the way rather than attack, except when they are with young or unduly antagonized, then stay clear. Our snakes sense vibration in the ground and have poor hearing for high pitched sounds, having no ear drum, though their unique inner ears can detect some low pitched sounds, so stamping of feet is the best measure to move them on. I have walked quite close past them with little concern, but if their head is raised, stay clear.

One interesting find while on our walk was this parakeet which my wife spotted. We took some time trying to identify it, as it was high in a tree some distance away, and we failed to do so until we went home and looked up this bird on the internet. It is an Indian Ring-neck Parakeet or Parrot, someone’s escaped pet most likely, as these birds are known for being sought after for pets, though they do need some special care.

My wife and I later thought it was an interesting coincidence, since the highly regarded Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, was presently in Australia visiting our Prime Minister. He spoke to a sell out audience of over 20,000 Indian -Australians at our Olympic Park stadium, where he praised them for helping to build mutual trust and respect for his country and ours.

Coming to live in a foreign country can be very threatening and highly stressful, especially when the language is not your mother tongue, and you have not mastered it with all its nuances. This is further heightened by the fact that you may not know anyone and have not friends and family there. It may be difficult for the Indian Ring-neck Parakeet to find its way outside of captivity, especially in a country with very different forests and native foods. God who created the world and all of its peoples, loving them each the same, encourages us to be kind and helpful to foreigners in our country. Australia in the past has had a very bad history regarding treatment of those who are not white Australians, but this has changed in recent years, as hundreds of thousands of people from countries all over the world flood into ours, the lucky country. We all need respect acceptance and love, and those who give it, receive it back and enjoy a joyful, peaceful life.

“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colosians 3:12

“Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice.” – Deuteronomy 24:17 (NIV)

““Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” – Deuteronomy 27:19

“The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the foreigner residing among you.” – Numbers 15:16

The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” – Psalm 146:9

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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 Donna,
      Yes what a great find, and now we know where it is we can follow the progress and maybe see the nestlings eventually.
      My recovery has been going well, and with the loving prayers of friends better than usual, but still mending. Have a blessed week my friend.


  1. I loved the owl! We have an owl pair in our neighborhood. I’ve seen them in the trees in early morning before the sun has risen. And now and then we hear them. I love to hear them. My husband thinks the noise is annoying! 🦉🦉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lisa, that’s lovely tat you get to hear the owl, we live too much in suburbia to enjoy that. I have a friend who complains about bird calls in the morning, I know several men in particular, including my son-in-law who have reported to me about annoying birds that wake them in the morning. I love hearing all my local birds they make me want to worship with gratitude. I love how they sing for me after their baths.
      Have a great week Lisa !

      Liked by 1 person

      • We live on the edge of town (although building up all around). We have a river/wash area close by and we get animals in our neighborhoods sometimes. Like coyotes and javelina! And owls 😊 It makes me sad that we are building up all the nature areas.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Ashley,
    A great day out and the Powerful Owl is a very good find. Not easy to spot as they seem to be able to find the thickest part of the bush to settle in for a nap.

    The Ring-neck is considered a feral pest and in some areas like WA are on an alert list,
    “Indian ringneck parakeets are declared pests with the potential to damage cereals, oilseeds, horticulture as well as stored grains, and even backyard fruit and trees. They may also compete with native species for nest hollows and food”

    We have one in a local botanic gardens, that seems to have survived quite well for a number of years. Why its never been removed I don’t know.

    How lovely to find the Whistlers. Such a pleasing tune to make the bush dance and sing.

    Looks like the weather is turning ugly on us here after some glorious autumn days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks David, and especially for filling us in about this ring-neck. We are becoming more alarmed at the feral/introduced birds that have come into our country and breeding in recent years. The introduction of European waterbirds into some national parks here as an experiment with our wildlife shocked us, and it is known that these birds are aggressive and I have seen how they dominate and chase off our native birds. I do hope this ring-neck does not find a mate and start hanging around. The Whistlers have gone quiet a bit here for winter, but they do call to each other occasionally, and yes when we go to our favorite park, it is the first sign of Spring when all the couples are calling along the track, and it is beautiful. I can see the cold front coming, it will hit us tomorrow, stay warm and safe my friend, the Covid is bad again here and up the coast.

      Liked by 1 person

      • HI Ashley,
        The seasons and the habitats seem to be changing in unusal ways and it seems to affect the local creatures and wintering over birds in impredictable ways.
        Yet is spite of all that we currently have 5 pairs of Black-shouldered Kites in various stages of nesting. I worry of course because of the rain and cold weather, but the birds seem to rise to the challenge. (At least I hope so0

        I also despair about the covid situation, its like people have decided to ignore it and hope it just disappears.

        We are both still “Unicorns”, (apparently a term for those that haven’t had covid–yet!). Why Unicorns, I asked and was told because they are rare –and I always thought they were mythological 🙂

        Take care, hope you are regaining your strength and that good weather and fine times return soon

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Cindy, it has been a good recovery thus far, praying it continues. We were so thankful seeing the owl, as we have only seen it in this park many years ago with two of its young. We are hoping we might see these young also when they emerge.


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