As we continue in lock-down and restricted to a 5 km radius of movement from our home, birding is almost impossible, but for our backyard birds, which are always a treat, as they become more trusting of us being around them. As I was writing this post one of our adult Crested Pigeons came and looked into my study window to call on my help as it was pursued by a coalition of Noisy Miners. When the Miners saw me through the window they fled, and the Pigeon was safe and happy to sit and watch me. Within seconds, it was included in this post. This bird has often come to me to save it and its brood from local terrorist attacks from Miners, Ravens and Currawongs.
Our Primulus also delight us as we sit having coffee and lunch in our courtyard in the warm Winter sun, as Noisy our local supervising Noisy Miner bathes and splashes before our eyes, letting everyone know about it. He is happy for us to watch a few feet away, We are suppose to leave for our holiday today, but it is cancelled (again) due to extended lock-down.
Primulus in full bloom
Noisy announces he is bathing
This weeks post features 4 of our largest endemic birds, 2 of which are flightless (Emu and Cassowary).
Male and female Emu
female emu cooling off in the Murray River
The Emu (1.5 – 2 m)is the worlds second largest living bird by height and is found all over the Australian Mainland, and not Tasmania. Dwarf emus (once hunted to extinction in just 5 years of settlement) once inhabited Kangaroo and King Island in Bass Strait. The Ostrich is the tallest, and also found wild in parts of Australia, as they are feral, being introduced from Africa. The Emu is a very unique bird of the semi desert, open woodlands, farm paddocks and grassy plains where it feeds on grasses and other vegetation. It has several great survival properties which assist its ability to thrive in the harshest conditions. It can go long distances without water and can run up to 50 km/hr for a long period, outrunning its predators, as you will see in the video below where it ran alongside our bus, maintaining speed for about 7 minutes. It has two eyelids per eye, a specialized second closing opaque eye lid to protect it from dust storms. It uses its tiny wings to cool itself.
Here is a pic of one leading its young along. Notice how they are striped to assist in their camouflage. Emus also have very powerful feet which can tear down a metal fence and open up a human body if provoked, which usually only occurs if they believe their young are threatened. They have been known occasionally to cause serious injury and fatalities when excessively provoked, but this is rare.
The Brolga (1.7 – 2.4 m) is Australia’s tall, graceful, elegant bird, known for its dancing courtship displays and bugling calls. I have never seen them dance in the wild, but have mainly seen them in northern Australia in the sugarcane country, but can be found in pairs in far northern and much of eastern mainland Australia. This wading waterbird is found in fresh water lagoons, lakes swamps and flood grasslands feeding mainly on wetland plants, insects and amphibians.
The Jabiru or Black-necked Stork (1.9 – 2.2 m) are a large wader bird often found alongside the Jabiru in wetlands and lagoons and basically in the same locations (as seen in the following video). Both Brolga and Jabiru can fly well. The Jabiru feed mainly on very large quantities of fish, molluscs, and amphibians.
The male has a dark eye and the female a yellow eye.
male and female Jabiru
We were blessed so see a family of juvenile Jabiru fly and soar on the thermals with their new found wings while at Cairns wetlands.
The Southern Cassowary (1.5 – 1.8 m) is labelled the world’s most dangerous bird, responsible for death and serious injury of humans. It is a rainforest bird found in northern Queensland and important in maintaining the rainforest ecosystem, though currently listed as endangered with number dropping due to loss of habitat, illegal hunters, dogs attacks, and road fatalities. They feed on all forms of native fallen fruit, but will eat small vertebrates, invertebrates, fungi, carrion and plants. This one was more tame and checked out this caravan park daily for food.
Their long razor sharp bladed central toe can rip open a human or animal in seconds when they jump up. The female is taller than the male having a taller head casque (helmet).
Male with juvenile Cassowary
Have a wonderful week and stay safe.
Find out more about our Aussie birds and educate your children with my book releases available here at my online store. The most significant gift you could give to encourage a happy and healthy life, by assisting them to make wise life choices.
” I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety.”
As we in Sydney continue in lock-down with cases and deaths continuing to rise due to this extremely unbelievably contagious Delta strain, it has been wise to stay away from people as much as possible. Things can only get worse in the following days as we see the results of defiant non mask wearing anti-authoritarian anarchists begin to suffer the consequences of their foolish activity in their disgusting violent rally last weekend. It begs belief that people can be so selfish and foolish, only return home to possibly place their loved ones in danger of catching the virus. That being said, I have chosen to focus on our beautiful red breasted Aussie Robins, which are the true Red Robins of our world, a title the European Robin has held throughout history. I decided to publish a chapter from my latest book “Flight of a Fledgling” to highlight not only the Robins but also a truth from which is gleaned: – the importance of integrity of character. This is a quality becoming less honored in today’s secular humanistic society. Click on the pages below to enlarge and read the text.
Have a great week and stay warm and safe.
If you have not purchased your copy of my books yet take this opportunity to explore my /birdbook pageand purchase gifts for your loved ones, gifts that will not only introduce them to our interesting Aussie birds but also teach valuable wise life skills for a healthy happy life. The price below is for Australian residents only it is AUD $48 for all other countries per book.
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” – Proverbs 10:9
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” – Proverbs 11:3
“Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.” – Proverbs 13:6
“Make a treegood and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” – Matthew 12:33
As we move through our second week of Covid contact isolation (which means no leaving home or making personal contact) and the extended Sydney lock-down, as Delta continues its rapid spread here in many places close to home, my wife and I have been enjoying our time together, as she continues to work from home and I continue writing my 3rd book. During our coffee and lunch breaks in our courtyard while enjoying the warm winter sun, the Primulas and Pansies are flowering in all their glory.
When we enjoy our breaks together in the courtyard, my wife checks the Crested Pigeon nest which is well hidden deep within the tree branches, with her binoculars. The Crested Pigeon is one of our many native pigeons found all over Australia. We discovered several days ago, in extreme gale forced winds, 2 fluffy additional bodies perched huddled together, away from the nest, with both parents deep inside the tree as the tree swayed with the icy cold winter wind gusting and howling up to 95 km/hr (59 m/h). Occasionally a parent would stand guard across the road and watch the nest in the wind. Notice the crest bent over and feathers blown.
We checked them the next day, they survived, and watched the parents do a tag team feeding tour, back and forth, also collecting an occasional throat full of water from our birdbaths below the tree to take to the thirsty fledglings.
Juvenile Crested Pigeons out of nest and in the wind.
The next day in the warm sun the weather had settled and we got some glimpses of the babies catching some Vitamin D.
I had been vigilant listening from my office for any alarm calls from the pigeons and Miners who now also oversee the welfare of the pigeon family, occasionally sending a scout to check they are alright. On several occasions now I have come to the assistance of the pigeon family when under attack by the local Currawong pair who you see hear enjoying the facilities, but the one in the tree is also covertly checking noticing the nest, and hearing hoot of the adult pigeon warning.
as well a Australian Ravens which have also taken a recent interest. You may remember this clip from last week:
Thankfully the sound of a dozen Noisy Miners mobbing the Raven and Currawong, brought me to the pigeons assistance, as I call out the Miners chase off the intruders. I have come to respect my resident miner coalition and they have, like the pigeons, and several other birds, come to trust us and allow us to watch them bathe and drink from our birdbaths.
Crested Pigeon parent gathering water for its young in the tree above
On several occasions the parent Crested has come and landed right next to me while sitting or standing in the courtyard, as if to say “How are things going ?” On two occasions it flew and landed right next to me for protection, being pursued by predator birds, which I chased off. Yesterday one of the new juvenile pigeons lost its way and ended up at the back door, looking a little scared, yet not terrified.
We were at a loss as to what to do as we did not want the bird rejected by the parent so we left it alone and brought water, but it just sat and waited, allowing me to get close. While I hung out the washing I heard the parent calling it in, and in seconds it flew up into the tree and made its way back to the nest, calling back to the parent.
These generally quiet, soft voiced, placid birds have an additional way of communicating danger and their intentions, by using the sound generated by their wing beats. They can signal their partner and young by the intensity and tone.
After lunch in the sun yesterday, we left some crumbs on the table for the Pigeons, which we do not normally do for wild birds, but these have almost become wild pets to us, and any food at this time will only help their busy cause. This morning I saw a parent pecking up the crumbs. Their normal diet is native grass seeds and plant seeds as well as insects and some leaves.
It was quiet near the nest today as the cold winds return. Not many birds attended the bath today,just the wing sounds of the parents running the food tag-team, as one comes in the other leaves, and so their day is spend feeding their young.
Despite our lock-down and forced isolation we were lovingly provided for as we enjoyed our resident bird family, bringing another live pair of replacements into the world. How wonderful is that, and we can see most of it from our sun room windows !
Have a wonderful week and stay safe and warm. To my friends also in lock-down, hoping that this wave resolves soon. It now appears our holiday is postponed again, and only God knows when I will have time with my grandchildren again after 2 years of disappointing cancellations.
I received another encouraging comment this week on how my books have blessed a family, which I will briefly share: The parent, a nurse, shared how grateful she was for my book “What Birds Teach Us” and how her husband and herself have been reading the book to their Kindergarten child each night. She shared how he is excited to learn the names and identify the many birds in the book, and that he is really enjoying it. She also shared how she wants to purchase several more copies for gifts to her extended family. Click here to purchase your copy safely online, it could also be a book to help young ones through the Covid lock-down and keep them busy.
If you are a birder and have grandchildren or nieces and nephews, why not introduce them to our Aussie birds and at the same time assist them to navigate their formative years with positive, helpful life skills that will help develop their character to make wise life choices for a happy and healthy life.
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Looking through old holiday pics I found the New Zealand thermal pools and geysers. These reminded me of the current tensions, pressures and anxieties bubbling up beneath the surface in our country at the moment as many of us are in forced lock-down in an attempt to quell the incredibly infectious Delta strain of Covid recently introduced by overseas travelers. Grief and disappointment run high. Our holiday is cancelled, but that is miner to the many who have lost livelihoods and even members of their family because of this virus. It is a time to refocus on what is important to our lives, God is trying to get the world’s attention.
Human effort alone will not quell the virus, especially while there are people who believe it is a hoax or they have authority issues about obeying the health orders. As we sit at home deep in thought reflecting, we realize that we can’t plan tomorrow any more, and we need to live a day at a time and be thankful for each moment and breath we breathe.
That we have enough food for today, somewhere to live and some one who loves us and cares for us. These reflections of our Creator connecting with each of us, making us aware that he provides everything we need and have, it is ours but only on lone. We are each deeply loved and each of us unique and individual, created to enjoy loving relationship with those we share this space with and with our Creator, who reflects his love in his generosity in allowing us to enjoy and share in it in this our life. We enter this world with nothing but our lives and leave it the same. The words of the world’s wisest man Solomon, who also was the world’s most wealthy and powerful man in his time:“What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless. A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the disobedient he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” – Ecclesiastes 2:22-25
“The Lord will keep you in perfect peace, as you long as you keep your mind and thoughts directed to him, as you trust in him.” – Isaiah 26:3
As lock-down continues, and cases from the Delta strain continue to increase in Sydney, my wife and are now in quarantine isolation due a possible contact, and are not permitted to leave our home for two weeks. This means I had to be creative with this post and chose to feature our two unique Australian geese, which I have named the goose from the north and the goose from the south.
The Cape Barren Goose is only found mainly on the fields and shores of South Australia, Victoria and the islands surrounding and including Tasmania, making it my southern goose. This large goose is endemic to Australia and is found in large flocks, grazing on grassy paddocks and on the shores of lakes, swamps, rivers and coastline. Male and female look alike and have a unique yellow cere across their black bill. Below one is grazing on Maria Island NP in Tasmania.
The footage below was taken on the mudflats at the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia. These birds are quite shy of humans and may take to water if approached.
These geese are herbivorous, feeding on common island tussock grass and spear grass as well as other herbs and agriculture from farmed crops, such as barley, clover and legumes.
The Magpie Goose (previously known as the Pied Goose, hence its current name) is found in large flocks mainly in wetlands, swamps rivers and lakes of coastal Queensland and Northern Territory, with small settlements in northern NSW and the Hunter Wetlands Centre in Newcastle, thus it is my northern goose. This unique Aussie goose has features unlike others, having strongly clawed toes that are webbed only on their basal halves (i.e. only partly webbed).
Magpie Goose partly webbed feet with clawed toes.
These birds breed in large number during the northern wet season, building their nests on the reeds in the middle of swamps and rivers.
Magpie goose female nesting.
They are also herbivorous but in addition feed on roots from reeds and aquatic plants. They are known for their classic honking sound, which you will hear in the following video compilation.
This footage is from the Townsville wetlands in Far North Queensland during winter. Here waterbirds gather as the lakes and swamps dry up before the next summer wet season, when they will replenish.
Here are some photos mainly from the Hunter Wetlands replenishment experiment, where they trying to resettle these birds in NSW where they were depleted being hunted and shot for food during early settlement. Our First Australians fed on these birds as part of their staple diet, and possibly continue to do so in our indigenous Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
There are two other species which are named Pygmy-Goose, being small and duck sized yet having the beak of a goose. which are not as common and found in the tropics of Far North and Northern Queensland. The Cotton Pygmy-Goose male and female are extremely shy and are usually in the middle of swamps and lakes, making them difficult to photograph. Below a female (left) and male (right)
The Green Pygmy-Goose is also found in the Northern Territory and features a beautiful iridescent back plumage. The male has a green neck and the female a white.
I do hope everyone is safe and warm and keeping well during this most unusual season of history.
I always love exploring the origin of words, names and phrases (etymology) having studied some Greek and from my previous medical background, so I investigated the origin of the slang expression you silly goose !‘ and as usual found several very different suggestions, so I listened in on the geese to see if I could get a clue.
We are proud for Ash Barty winning Wimbledon on Sunday, and how she has become a great role model for our young women. Australia has turned out some greats over the years. One of the great legacies we can leave our family, friends and extended family (including our local community) is the role model we display in the way we live and love. I will share some of the last few paragraphs of my book “Flight of a Fledgling” from ‘Leave a legacy of love – the importance of Hope.’
Anxiety, and fear of the future, as well as unresolved guilt, anger and resentment from the past, rob us of joy in life. The birds live an uncomplicated life, by always mindfully living in the present. Like us, birds live in the hope of fulfilling their life purpose, to pair, mate, nest and raise their young. Unrealistic hope leads to disappointment when expectations go unfulfilled. This is why we need to ground our hope in an obtainable objective belief that will produce positive observable results in our lives.
In conclusion, it is wise to prepare for the reality of the future, when the time unavoidably comes to leave this earth. In order to experience peace and acceptance, in your passing, it is wise to prepare a Will to ensure your family and loved ones are cared for, and that it is kept up to date. It is also wise to simplify your life, by becoming less attached to material things and more focused on leaving a legacy of loving relationships.
Click on the book page above to visit my /birdbook page and purchase this book, it will make a great gift for your teen and young adult, and may also encourage you.
White-browed Scrubwren looking concerned but not worried.
During the current lock-down we are entitled to a one hour walk each day. The problem is that people who normally do not grace our reserve came in large numbers in order to escape being inside all week, especially those with school children, as one more week of school holidays at home comes around the corner. This made it difficult at times for my wife and I to adequately distance ourselves on the bush tracks. However, with low bird numbers and very few birds calling, being out of the breeding season for many, we did manage to quickly catch a shot or two as we made our way along our favourite local walking trail.
This little White-browed Scrubwren jumped around on the shrubs beside the track in very close range, unperturbed by our presence. These insectivorous active little birds usually can be heard moving beneath shrubs and bushes and make occasional appearances on top to move to new locations in their territories. Here is some previous footage to give an idea of how it moves, sounds and forages.
As it was almost low tide we did see the small flock of resident Royal Spoonbill working the shallows on the other side of the creek. They were in a difficult position for us to capture a quick shot, but here they are on a previous occasion near the footbridge.
This male Chestnut Teal caught my eye there also and had to catch this one.
Nest preparation and guarding was well under way for some Rainbow Lorikeets, found occasionally disappearing down nesting holes in Angophora trees.
As I showed last week the wattle is in full bloom as is now is the native eggs and bacon flower of the Pultenaea villosa plant.
Another small insectivorous bird we nearly always hear and seldom manage to get good photos of on any bush walk is the Brown Thornbill, which I also features in last weeks post. This all-season- all-weather little trooper, similar to the scrubwren, is very fast moving and makes a beautiful high pitched purring sound, which varies on different occasions. Similar to the Scrubwren the males repeatedly call to indicate their presence and movements to their partner and young. I did not manage to catch the pair together due to them meeting in the dark Mangrove foliage near the bridge.
Here is recorded footage of the sound this bird was making as it merrily eluded us deep in the Mangroves, hence the photos have been enlightened.
Another family we always see or hear calling when we visit is the Laughing Kookaburra. This one had come to ground to capture a worm and then took off. This giant Kingfisher is a unique Aussie icon, and one of the most placid of birds, easily befriending humans with food.
This Grey Butcherbird gave me opportunity to catch it flying from a dead tree. Refer to last weeks post to hear its amazing call.
Sadly, that was all we managed to catch, except for the two brothers, as I call them, who always came close when they see us, as Magpies have amazing memories and ability to recognize and remember faces, and can pass this information onto their young. I have watched these Maggies grow from juvenile to maturity over the last few years. They have been in previous posts also.
Enjoy your week birding and stay safe. Things are not yet improving here in Sydney as we remain in lock-down, as many scramble for vaccination. I just stay at home writing my next book.
The video below was filmed while I was finishing this blog post, being disturbed by the prolonged noisy call of a lone Australian Raven that was hanging around our house. This bird species normally keeps well away from our home and birdbaths, which are heavily guarded by the local Noisy Miner coalition.
Territorial birds often gather together to remove a common enemy or a perceived threat from other intruding birds or from birds of their own species. The best example is our small extremely bold and aggressive honeyeater, the Noisy Miner. By calling together their coalition (the designated fighters and guarders of their territory) this small bird becomes a force to be reckoned with, having no fear and showing no mercy. They can take on every manner of bird, animal and even humans on rare occasions.
When their is a perceived threat the mobbing call goes out by a Miner calling in the coalition, as you can hear above causing the Kookaburra pair to be quite concerned, but trying to remain. Kookas are one of the few birds that Miners have trouble moving on as they are so tolerant and placid. Eventually, if they do not leave, the Miners employ back biting if their first mode of attack fails.
This small bird has learnt that their is strength in numbers and that working together for the common good, achieves the best results, offering security and protection to their females and young. Their mobbing call will often also summon other local birds to assist, of different species who also share their territory, such as the Grey Butcherbird seen in the above video, as they all rallied to protect our vulnerable nesting Crested Pigeons, in the tree above our birdbaths, from the sneaky marauding Pied Currawong which has been attacking the nest and the parents on it. They drove it far away, and I now know they have done this several times now for the pigeons, how cool is that !
They will even attack on their own image as they are unable to identify it as a bird in their clan, when they see their own face in a car rear vision mirror.
In times of disaster and common threat, it is also interesting how we humans will ally with those whom we would not normally associate, to achieve a common good for the benefit of both parties. This has been the theme this last couple of years regarding the Covid situation, where the slogan we are in this together rings true. Taking this to the next level we can see that our acceptance of people, unlike the birds, is often based on our perception and bias rather than on any immediate threat or active cause.
The current suffering and plight of street people experiencing our coldest winter, those poorer families struggling to survive due to the effects of the Covid, the many affected by previous bushfires, floods, drought and storms, and now mouse plagues who have not received any financial assistance to recover, reminds me of how really blessed we are, and that we each stand together on an equal platform, we all hurt, we all have needs, and we all matter, but some have been blessed with more favorable circumstances and better means than others to assist those that don’t.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25
“Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.” – Psalm 112:5
“Give generously to [those in need] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow [citizens] who are poor and needy in your land.”-Deuteronomy 15:10,11
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6
Variegated Fairy-wren female viewing Red-bellied Black Snake sunning.
A couple of days before an unexpected sudden Covid lock-down I went for a health walk in our local Oatley Park Reserve, from which I have posted previously many times. To my surprise it was as if I was not aware of what season it actually was here, I could have mistakenly thought it was Spring or at least late August (Aussie bush Spring). Firstly it was the many blooms of the two species of native wattle that grow here.
Secondly, the number of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets beginning to nest. Though we are on the border of the two distinct nesting seasons for these birds being in Sydney, it seems strange to see such activity in full swing. However, the absence of the Spring migrants and other nesting songbirds brings us back to reality. Here a male Cockie puts on a protective warding off performance to other Cockies who want to steal his nesting hole. Note the cone erection and wing flapping to make him more threatening. Sorry for the poor footage, he was some distance away.
Cockie families were gathered around their regular nesting holes preparing for the new season. As I have shared in previous posts, these birds nest in the same area each year, and choose the Angophora costata tree (Sydney Red Gum) for nesting due to the many holes it leaves in its growth and death.
At this time of year most members of the Parrot family, of which Australia is very well endowed with many and varied species, are eating the native eucalypt gumnuts, wattle seeds and Casuarina pine cones of the previous Summer, which is their primary food for now as you can see here..
These Cockies are noisy at the best of times, right through the day you can hear them squawking and shrilling, and it is good they do not roost near our home, as they make their loudest racket at dawn and sunset when coming and going from their roosting sight, which is not hard to find as they leave much faecal mess, feathers and broken off tree twigs on the ground below, due to their naturally destructive behaviour, as they are always testing out and strengthening their powerful beaks, designed for crushing seed pods and seeds..
The Rainbow Lorikeets also compete for nesting holes in the same trees and both species nest alongside each other often causing alarm to the other as they protectively guard their area. Many Aussies are not aware how brutal and dangerous Rainbow Lorikeets are to other birds that try to attack or displace them. They are one of the few bird species that other birds, such as Miners, think twice about attacking, because of the deep wounds their beaks inflict. They are super protective of their partners because they pair for life.
With booming home prices in Sydney now well over the million dollar mark for a run down one bedroom apartment, that makes real estate more expensive than real, and not the quality of the purchase. This couple of Rainbows are checking out this nesting hole and making their decision. Though the price may be right, the most important factor is: ‘Location, Location, Location !’ She scratches her head as he awaits her decision, at least if she says yes to this one, there is minimal renovation required and it has a nice northerly aspect which will protect from the harsh winter winds.
Rainbow Lorikeet pair looking to nest
Listen as these tow groups of Lorikeets communicate to each other as they feed from different trees nearby each other,
The other resident seed eater is the Eastern Crimson Rosella. This guy was searching on a rock face for seed, as the competition in the park has become more so during the middle of Winter. These birds have a series of calls and are often confused with the untrained ear with the call of the Bell Miner.
As you are aware only resident all year round birds are present here in Winter which includes the other bird I love to see and hear, the Grey Butcherbird, my favourite songbird. Listen as you hear just a couple of his great repertoire and the laugh he makes. You will hear the Lorikeets in the background as they moved him on. He is also an eater of small birds and a threat to those nesting. He was too high in the tree for me to spot as I followed him along.
Grey Butcherbird (borrowed from a recent post of mine)
Down in the ponds this lone Dusky Moorhen was fishing for aquatic grasses, which is their primary food. All of the other resident waterbirds had left.
As I walked along our favourite birding track by the mangroves and native Casuarina trees, where we always find Brown Thornbills, busily scanning and constantly moving among the branches for insects. I heard a family group moving across the trees and recorded their constant location call, of which I just love the purring sounds they make.
Brown Thornbill in Casuarina tree (checking me out for a few seconds)
By now you are probably wondering about my feature photo of the female Variegated Fairy-wren viewing the Red-bellied Black Snake sunning itself in the warm Winter sun, thankfully on the side of the tack and not on it. As I shared in a previous post, this snake does not hibernate like all the rest, and is commonly seen sunning itself on and by the tracks in Winter. Though it is poisonous it is not usually aggressive and will try to keep out of the way of humans. It is the better snake to have in your forest, as it drives away the more aggressive and more poisonous Eastern Brown Snake.
Firstly, I apologize for describing the female fairy-wren in last week’s post as a Superb. On further observation I realized, and should have picked up by the more intense colour of the tail and darker facial features that it was in fact a female Variegated Fairy-wren of which we have 5 subspecies in Australia, this one being the eastern coast race lamberti. Both Superb and Variegated Fairy-wrens share the same forests here in Sydney. The latter is more frequently found in the west and all over mainland Australia.
the best profile of the female
the rear of the bird
This is often all you will see of this bird
the tail in profile
The clincher was that the non-breeding male was also present with her as they hopped around in and out of the low bushes, making my job to capture them almost impossible. I spent quite some time, as they teased me. Here is today’s pic of the same male taken during the spring breeding season for comparison of breeding and non breeding (eclipse) plumage changes. Notice he only has traces of blue on his flanks and maintains his blue tail and lacks the dark chestnut eye rings and lores markings. The feature of this bird, which my wife loves as one of her favourites, is just how bright this blue is in sunlight, as it outshines the other Fairy-wren species.
breeding plumage September
non breeding plumage June
Here are more shots I managed to capture, where the flanking blue is more visible. Note just how small these birds are and how their size and speed make it easy for them to hide and move about undetected, but for their high pitched location calls, which they make much less than the Superb species.
non breeding plumage June
As these birds are territorial and predictable, in that they circumnavigate the same area several times a a day, we can observe the same bird families throughout the year, which makes it great for showing birder visitors and friends these birds with a relative reliability. Here is the bird April last year shown in a previous post and seen in the same area, before developing its warmer winter plumage.
Enjoy your week, and stay warm and safe. We and all greater Sydney are currently in a 14 day lock-down as the delta variant runs its course through our city after a relatively virus free period. Poor implementation of hotel quarantine has been the major cause for outbreaks so far, being introduced from overseas residents and airline staff returning home. The good side for us is that the weather is cold, wet and bleak and not good for birding, and the birds are in their resting season or in migration.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of my website pages for more birding information. Also check out and purchase my unique books on Australian birds and their peculiar behavioral characteristics. They are excellent gifts for your child and grandchild as they will not only enjoy learning about our birds but also learn to make wise life choices as each birds teaches a valuable life lesson.
Take a look at this unusual phenomenon that caught my eye while I was birding the above post.
The effect of the light reflecting off the illuminated water on the shaded trees, whereby the rippling gives this strobe effect which at first was quite eerie until I worked out what was causing it.
There are many amazing and unusual occurrences in nature that we see in our lifetime, at many we marvel as to how they occur, and others using careful observation combined with the collected wisdom of the ages we learn and deduce an explanation. We do not have perfect knowledge, as our knowledge is constantly evolving and often being corrected as further facts and better ways of measuring are devised.
The Covid vaccines are a good example, as is the constantly mutating envelope virus that they address. The knowledge about this virus is evolving along with the virus as it mutates to survive. Many have had one or two vaccinations with no or very minimal side effects, a very small number have had adverse reactions, while others are afraid due to adverse media reporting to be vaccinated or to receive their second jab to complete their immunity.
From one whom in a previous lifetime, worked in immunology and immunohaematology, it is known that every year, from almost every kind of vaccination, a small percentage of people experience side effects, and in some very rare cases, serious life threatening, usually due to unique and unusual inherited and sometimes acquired chemical imbalances in their body chemistry. These poor outcomes are seldom or never reported by the media. If they did very few would get vaccinated and protected from serious life threatening infections. It is the current focus on the Covid virus and its global involvement that has attracted over-rated media interest and reporting, with the sensational attempt to squeeze a story.
All medical procedures and vaccinations have their statistically calculable risks of less than 5% which is the maximum predictable statistical aberration rate for most tests and procedures. The good thing is that in real life, where careful guidelines and stopmeasures are in place and being observed, there is very rarely any adverse reactions or aberration events and the statistical error is much much lower, as the medical profession have been trying to get across to the public, after the media have helped to promote fear from their sensational reporting.
If we allow fear to stop us moving forward in the case of the Covid vaccination, then it should also prevent us driving or even being a passenger in car, as statistically this is more dangerous, with possible serious complications caused by accidents, which may affect several people in one instance. We know it is unhealthy to have such fears, and there are many that receive counseling with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help overcome these unhealthy fears. One thing the Covid has taught us all is that not one of us know and can plan what the next day or even hour will bring, For those who enjoy a solid faith platform and belief system, step out in faith, enjoy the ride, and believe and pray for a good outcome.
Even if you struggle to believe in God, from a non biased counseling point of view, you can only benefit from trusting in him both emotionally, mentally and physically, as faith is a much healthier place for us than fear, for this we were designed originally to live by faith and trust, on which our whole society functions and remains intact. Enjoying a solid truth based faith platform for one’s life is vital to a healthy long life, and this has been scientifically supported and verified.
“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness…” – Psalm 91:2-6 (NLT)
Last Friday my wife and I went for a birding date in the Royal National Park, it was a beautiful winter’s day, the only problem was as we walked along the track was the absence of different bird calls. The main call was the prolific Yellow-faced Honeyeater as small flocks scoured the tree canopy for lerps and blossom, constantly calling to each other and occasionally playing chasings.
As we scoured the river bank for Kingfishers, but found none we noticed this Little Corella popping its head out of a very tight nesting hole, as this is the beginning of the breeding season for several of the Parrot species, and the competition is on between Corellas, Lorikeets, and Cockatoos for nesting holes in the smooth barked Angophora costata trees known as Sydney Red Gums.
This Corella has chosen the smooth barked Scribbly Gum tree due to the high Ccocky population in the park, where most holes are taken. I have arrowed some of the scribble patterns made by a small insect in the bark which gives this tree its name,
Here are a couple of Rainbow Lorikeet guarding the nesting hole as the female sits on the eggs inside. Note one is the traditional hole in the tree and the other a termite nest which was originally holed and also used each spring for nesting by the local Kookaburras and Kingfisher. The greenery used inside is an interesting addition for comfort. The hole on the left comes with a covered porch, quite salubrious.
Along the track we were watched by this young Kookaburra as it sat quietly, as they do watching and waiting for a food moment with its very keen binocular eyesight. They don’t appear to be looking for food, but they are, on the ground below, ready to dive down and pounce on worms, lizards, snakes, large insects and mice. I classify the Kookaburra as our most placid bird.
Not far away the opportunistic Pied Currawong can be heard calling, also in search of an easy food moment.
I would like to share my resident Pied Currawong bathing, something I seldom see as this bird is so secretive and very conscious of being watched, considering it secretly watches opportunistically to take advantage of others. He just happened along as I was writing this post. I held the camera while keeping myself out of view, notice how he looks around cautiously.
One of the most difficult birds to photograph due to their fast non stop movement and love of dark under canopy protection is the Brown Gerygone (pronounced Ger-ig-on-ee which is its identifying call). These little guys are such a challenge.
On the river nearby this Australasian Grebe was spending time with a Dusky Moorhen having a quiet moment together. I have included a pair captured cruising a few days earlier in our nearby park, with remaining breeding plumage from the previous breeding season to distinguish non-breeding from breeding plumage, note particularly under the Grebe’s chin, and ear area. You only see Grebes together when breeding or with young, for the rest of the year they tend remain alone, often being found in the most unexpected places, but usually in the middle of a pond or lake, and never on land. They are excellent divers, and dive to escape danger as well as forage underwater for small fish and aquatic insects.
It was quite unusual and premature for this local species of Wattle to be flowering this early, in the middle of Winter, as it normally is the first flower traditionally marking Spring in our country, usually late August-September.
Lastly, the only other bird we saw long enough to photograph was this adult female Variegated Fairy-wren. Notice the orange eye and beak markings and the light blue tail, the non breeding male lacks the eye rings and lores and has a dark beak, and a much darker richer blue tail with light blue wing flanking. I enjoyed capturing the different tail postures of this little lady as she jumped around
Enjoy your week and stay safe and warm. We are masking up again as another recent Covid outbreak looms in our city causing concern and possibly affecting our plans for the weekend and a visit from two of my grandsons in two weeks who have missed four opportunities over the last two years to have time with us. If this is your first visit check out the rest of my website for more helpful birding info.
Meanwhile here is an interesting video about this bird with the big inquisitive yellow eye, unique to our country, and how he features in the 2nd edition of “What Birds Teach Us” – the perfect gift for your child and grandchild. You will also hear some of the many amazing sounds these birds make.
Click on the cover below to find out more about The Beautiful Bird Book:
It is an interesting observation that those who practice a particular behaviour often suffer from the fear of the same occurring to them, and this fear may be later be actually realized, self fulfilling ‘what goes around comes around’ or ‘what one sows so they shall reap’, which is a universal principal taught in most cultures and belief systems.
I have used the Currawong from among many other birds to highlight this characteristic and highlight how it is much more peaceful and helpful to look out for the needs of others rather than trying to take advantage of them in an opportunistic manner, whether devious or not. Repeated behaviours become a label which may stick even after one has corrected an unhealthy or selfish behaviour. We see how devastating the media can be to a person’s reputation, even when allegations are proved to be untrue, the mud sticks. They also are very opportunistic, similar to the Currawong, gaining an advantage at someone elses expense. So it is, this principle works itself out in our lives, the guilt and fear of being caught or found out runs strong in our mind and emotions affecting the peace and harmony our lives and relationships. If unresolved may result ultimately in emotional and physical illnesses.
Pied Currawongs arguing over their spoils
One thing I have observed throughout my lifetime, is that it is often those who make the loudest noise and react to the wrong or inappropriate behaviour of others, that blindly are guilty of doing the very same or similar themselves. We need to extend more grace and forgiveness to each other as we appreciate, that each one of us, are or may be damaged stock or fragile, hurting beings or even walking wounded. We are affected and shaped by our imperfect past, we are people who err occasionally, and possible of making unwise judgments and assessments of ourselves and others. This is why Jesus said these hated words we all cringe at: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:2. No this is not a just some religious principle, but a universal life principle, and one which I have had to learn myself the hard way, and the more I see and understand God’s kindness and mercy to me, the more I realize how much I need to extend grace and forgiveness to others, and uncover my own blind spots so as to be a more authentic person.
In the light of the above discussion, many churches and people have misunderstood the implied meaning of Jesus’ words in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our wrongs in the same way that we have forgiven those who have wronged us.” – Matthew 6:12 Considering he never did wrong to anyone but loved them, and forgave all who did and said wrong against him, he was not asking for forgiveness, as many imply, as forgiveness came as a complete and finished work through his death on the cross for all who believe and receive him. He was calling us to account daily and keep short lists, to realize the gravity and cost of this amazing grace and forgiveness he gave to us as a free undeserved gift, so that we would likewise experience his love and peace as we forgive with the same loving and humble spirit. This is always a reminder to me that we can only give out of the abundance of that which we have already received, and…
Last weekend my wife and I drove to the little country town of Dungog at the southern foot of the Barrington Mountains, about 220 km north-west of Sydney for a special booksigning Saturday morning arranged and sponsored by one of my current best book-selling shops Sassafras Dungog. It was a great success and a most enjoyable morning meeting the locals, including their children and signing books. This was preceded by a 15 minute radio interview by their community radio station, to which many responded. There was face painting and other activities on the morning. Here is a brief collage of the time. This has been the first time since Covid that I have been invited to do this again.
As you can see it was a very cold winter morning, as it is out west in winter, but that did not stop the continuous line of people queuing to have their books signed, many having bought several, which is often the case as it is a great gift idea. I was overwhelmed with delight when a grandfather came especially to share how he gave a copy of my book to his grandson who has been the subject of persistent disturbing bullying, and how the chapter on dealing with bullies helped him to a good outcome. These are the testimonies I hear from time to time which almost bring tears to my eyes. If I can help one child or one adult with these books I have achieved my goal and legacy.
While there we were hosted to Blue Gum Cabins set in the bushland of the rainforest nearby. Each morning being greeted by the sound of Kookaburras calling.
Followed later by the continuous chime of Bell Miners (bellbirds) in the tall eucalypt trees that overhung our cabin in the very cold morning Winter air. These birds are usually heard but not seen and a challenge to photograph as they blend into the tree canopy so well and constantly move about. They control the area and we witnessed larger birds being bullied by them till they left.
You will hear them in this rather poor movie clip of a family of non breeding Superb Fairy-wren hopping about some distance from our cabin in and out of the thicket.
Non-breeding males retain their blue tail and don a white belly, they will start to morph as Spring approaches.
Superb Fairy-wren male
Here is some footage of a Pied Currawong being harassed early in the morning.
Each morning this female Australian Brush Turkey would come foraging around the cabin, the male is most likely controlling the temperature of the egg mound somewhere in the bush. Once she lays her eggs in the mound she is free to wander, and has nothing further to do with her babies, as they will hatch, struggle to escape out of the mound, and if they survive that, flee from the father who may attack them, to begin life foraging alone with no upbringing.
Australian Brush Turkey
The beautiful Eastern Crimson Rosella family would eat grass seed on the field below the cabin some distance away, looking stunning in the sunshine.
This Willy Wagtail was happily feeding continually on insects near our cabin and quiet unperturbed by my presence.
This Grey Shrike-thrush was hanging around trying to be inconspicuous in the trees, and also created a challenge for us as it would flee when we saw it. He was very quiet, as many of our songbirds are in Winter, it will sing in the spring.
The greatest birding delight was to watch small flocks of the tiny Yellow Thornbill ( predominantly a western bird) rapidly move through small bushes and trees that overhung a creek. We had to stand on the bridge and avoid traffic to catch a photo, which is always the greatest of challenges with these tiny fast moving insectivorous birds. These are but a few of the many taken which blurred or were hidden as these birds are very sensitive to human approach.
While we were exploring the town we saw this Blue-faced Honeyeater (another western bird), sitting on a wire, but quickly left when it saw us looking at it, but caught a glimpse of its partner before it fled deep into a nearby tree. This aggressive honeyeater has quite an attractive coloration.
Just before we met friends for coffee at “Cafe Deaddog” we stopped at this small creek-side park just out of town and got a view of the White-headed Pigeon which is found in these parts.
Of course this area has many other forms of wildlife including Platypus (which we did not see) and wallabies grazing near our accommodation.
A most enjoyable weekend had by all and many books signed and sold. A big thank you to Sharon and Andrea at Sassafras Dungog for hosting the event and inviting me.
Have a most enjoyable week staying warm and staying safe. We found out today that another outbreak threatens the northern parts of our city. Here we go again !
If this is your first visit take a few minutes to check our the many pages of my birding website and my book releases of which “What Birds Teach Us” has been acclaimed by many Visitor Centres and some gift stores and bookshops as their current best selling book, especially during the Covid. The saying I have heard several times is “The Book Sells Itself !”
While we did not have time to see many birds while away, it was good for us to get away and enjoy some country hospitality having been locked-down city dwellers through the Covid. I would like to share a humorous cartoon someone posted on Facebook.
One of the interesting things we noticed about the lovely country folk on the weekend was that the locals were very friendly and good for a chat and you seldom saw a mobile phone in their hand. They communicated quite freely, which I enjoyed, having been a country lad for most of my life. One of the sad realities in the city where I live is that many people will not talk with you and have their heads bowed over a phone. If they are talking aloud it is to someone on their phone as they have ear pieces inserted. I and others have shared how often have young adults run into you as they walk while watching their phones. If I try to strike a conversation on a train or bus they look strange at me and then give a short answer and return to their phone or tablet.
The saddest fact now is that many families have both parents viewing their phones in an addictive manner and the children are left to play on their own, and are not being lovingly supervised. This has led to occasional instances children being lost or locked in cars on very hot days, but most of all frustrated angry children becoming disrespectful undisciplined as they try to get the parent’s attention. Even sadder and more selfish is that many young parents think that by allowing the child to spend their time alone in their rooms with digital devices they are adequately occupied and safely out of their way. How are children going to relate to their parents and socially, how are they going to learn life skills and basic care for themselves, or get adequate sunshine and exercise if this is where they are encouraged to spend their time. Obesity and other associated ailments are on the rise in children as a result.
The greatest gift we can give our children or grandchildren while growing up is ourselves and our time not material things, how well our children grow and develop depends on how much we have taught them by example in their formative years. These topics are expanded in my recent book release Flight of a Fledgling.
“Discipline [instruct or demonstrate love to] your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their [demise or failure] death.” – Proverbs 19:18
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
“Fathers,do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them…” – Ephesians 6:4 (NLT)
Last Wednesday was a perfect still, blue Winter sky day before the cold wet day that followed. So on the spare of the moment we decided to have a birding date, as my wife wanted a fishnchip lunch followed by a whale watch. Cape Banks at the northern entrance to Botany Bay in the Botany Bay National Park, Sydney is one of the best viewing spots for the Humpback and Right Whale migration up the coast at present. On arrival as we walked past the thick bushes we could hear, but not see very well, many small birds including the Superb and Variegated Fairy-wren and Yellow-faced Honeyeater.
Non breeding male Fairy-wren
a pair of Yellow-faced Honeyeater
On our approach to the cape this lone White-faced Heron was stalking about.
As we made our way up onto the rock platform where we get a 180° ocean view from above we noted this rock formation among many.
I mentioned to my wife that a family of Australian Pipit lived on this rock platform among the small shrubs and grasses, and within minutes we saw the pair doing their usual strut: run stop freeze. Run stop freeze etc They run so fast it is difficult to keep up with them. I muted the sound due to wind noise, the birds were not calling while we were there, as they seldom do.
One appeared of lighter plumage than the other but they appeared to be together most times. These birds are often found along the coast on these sandstone rock platforms. They pair to breed.
Pipits are found all over Australia and have five races of which this race, australis is the nominate. They mainly feed on insects and their larvae as well as seeds. They spend most of their time foraging on the ground and only fly to escape danger, as they are territorial.
We both kept scanning the flat sea for signs of whales but to our disappointment not one appeared the whole time. A local said she saw many yesterday, but that’s how it is. As we sat cuddled and looked out together my wife was suddenly alarmed that someone was behind her. It was a very friendly male Australian Magpie. These very intelligent birds learn quickly that humans are good for food, which we had none to share. It later followed us around. This birds feeds from the ground in a similar way to the Pipit.
Click on link below to view an amazing story of how God sent an Australian white-backed Magpie into the life of a young lady living alone suffering anxiety and depression. It will give you an idea of how intelligent, playful and community minded these birds are and warm your heart. Click on: Lees Birdwatching Adventures Plus and a big thanks to Lee for having posted it on her blog. As we moved to a new location on the rock we saw the Pipit again, and caught it flying off as it saw us moving.
We noticed several birds passing bye about 100 meters out to see, and my wife said they were not gulls but had a yellow head. I knew immediately they were Australasian Gannets, which are occasionally seen along the coast, as are their young, this time of year, because they move north to escape the freezing Southern Ocean cold.
Thankfully the afternoon sun was behind us and dropping fast being winter so we managed reasonable clarity considering they were out fair distances and many shots were needed to get reasonable captures. These ocean birds are expert fishers, as fish are their main diet and they can locate fish from over 10 meters above the water and dive rapidly as they fold back their wings making a perfect splash into the ocean to retrieve their catch and eat it as they float on the surface. They are able to herd fish into dense shoals. I managed to catch a dive as it plunged to the water.
As we were about to walk back to our car as the sun started getting lower we saw this pair of Pied Cormorant pass and several Crested Terns.
Pied Cormorant pair
As we were about to drive off this Common Starling glimmered in the sun as it sat enjoying its warmth before it slipped away. It it quite beautiful in sunlight despite its vagrant pest status in our country.
Enjoy your week and weekend and stay warm and safe. Our hearts go out to those back in lock-down. I will be in Dungog on a special booksigning Saturday this week during the Long Weekend celebrations.
This award winning artist, Helen Leane, is painting artwork from photos in my book and they will be on show also. I will be doing a radio interview in the morning. They will have face painting (birds will be the subject), live music and I will be showing my special bird book promotional movies.
While we did not see a whale on the day, we both had a whale of a time just sitting together and enjoying sharing the moment. This reminds us that it is not only about the outcome, otherwise we would become disappointed easily when we do not have the desired outcome, but it is more about the journey, and enjoying the ride together. We enjoyed the Gannets and Pipits, and the lovely still blue ocean as we sat on the headland. It is also a popular wedding photo spot.
“I will consider all yourworks and meditateon all your mighty deeds.” – Psalm 77:12
Last Sunday afternoon my wife and I went on another birding date to our local Royal National Park, the world’s second declared National Park and later became the Royal in 1955 to honour of the queen’s 1954 visit to Sydney when she passed through it by train. As we walked along our usual walking trail, we noticed how quiet it was, very few birds were calling or even visible, it was already a changed season when birds are fewer and call less. Most birds like warmth and usually call more in the breeding season, both of which are months away. As we walked I suddenly stopped and my wife drew back as right in front of us on the track was the usual Red-bellied Black Snake innocently sunning itself in the Autumn sun, as the air is much cooler here in the mountains.
While these snakes are venomous and their bite poisonous, they are not usually aggressive and will try to retreat and only attack if threatened or with their young. They are the better snake to have around, as they kill the more aggressive and more deadly Brown Snake. I am well acquainted with them as years ago I had a family of large ones living in tall grass on my property near the dam and I hardly ever saw them. So I quietly said to my wife “Come on love, just quietly walk around it”. I reassured a young couple who were following us that it was safe to walk past, though the snake had raised its head and was watching us. I also reassured them that their eyesight is not that good, and they rely on vibrations in the ground and air which their thousands of body sensors pick up. So they followed me safely around the snake which laid across much of the track and we made our way as I chatted with the couple, as I do.
It was good to see the new blooms of Banksia ericafolia out on many trees, being one of the few sources of winter nectar to the honeyeaters, apart from any of the few flowering eucalypts. The Eastern Spinebill in particular love to draw from these nectar filled treats.
Eastern Spinebill feeding
So far our long walk had given little birding pleasure, though we rejoiced in that it was such a beautiful perfect still Autumn day which we enjoyed sharing together. Finally we came to a spot on the edge of the rainforest where we could hear many Scarlet Honeyeaters chiming in the trees above, and large mixed feeding flock of very small honeyeaters were moving rapidly around this vine which overhung the track. The sound of both the Yellow-faced and Lewins Honeyeater joined the chorus as they busily fed. The very tiny Scarlets, as you know, usually do not come near the ground, but dine high in the eucalypt canopy.
But then we shared an amazing moment when a male Scarlet Honeyeater came down to feed from the overhanging vine and we captured several rare flight shots of this bird.
To see how tiny this bird is to see, especially from a 30 to 40 meter tree top this was from a distance, as the bird is extremely human shy.
Not to mention the shots of him feeding. Please be aware that some enhancement of the lighting was required as in some instances there either was too much or not enough, which is one of the difficulties with rainforest photography. I was unable to capture the female as she kept well hidden in the foliage.
Here is what this little guy sounds like.
We made our way back to the park Cafe for a lovely lunch. As we were finishing lunch after chatting with a young couple nearby and having checked the park’s shop to see how my books were selling, we heard the sound of Noisy Friarbirds, a winter bird we seldom see here, eating from the fruit of the introduced trees near the river, so I hurried over, and so did the waitress some minutes later with the bill. These birds are rated as one of our noisiest birds and their classic call draws a birders attention. They are actually another large honeyeater.
Here’s what they sound like, it is similar to the Red Wattlebird’s call, but more monotonous. You will also detect in the middle of the recording the brief sounds of the Rainbow Lorikeet and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.
Have a wonderful week and stay warm and safe.
If this is your first visit “Welcome !” and feel free to check out the pages on my website from my Menu or Home Page.
It is good that my opportunities to speak at schools and do book signing mornings are beginning to return again as Covid outbreaks have been paused in our state, after a year and half of only working from home.
The greatest challenge to a person entering a dense rainforest is coping with the reduced light, which can give an eerie feeling. Some become quite afraid and very cautious, especially overseas tourists whom I have led through them. Their fear is already conjured of deadly snakes, spiders and birds, not to mention blood sucking leeches and the fear of loosing your way, which I have done on occasions walking alone in unfamiliar forests, it can be very scary. It gets very dark, very quickly when the sun is not shining over its canopy. I soon reassure them that our rainforests in NSW are very safe places to walk, apart from leeches in the wet season when you always carry some salt or a box of matches. Most of the deadly creatures live in the dry woodland areas or in the forests of Far North Queensland. Where the light does break through it can be very beautiful
Much of our fear comes from perceived threats, either from misconceptions or erroneous information, which may never be realized. When we have a guide or someone who is familiar with the forest we feel safe and can enjoy the experience. Fear is our biggest enemy in life as much as it is our greatest protection from choosing to endanger ourselves. As I am quoted saying Fear Freezes and Faith Forwards. To navigate life safely and wisely we need the best kind of advice, encouragement and assistance we can get. The best is from our manufacturer, the Author of Life himself in the Bible. Also my published books, which though they never mention God at all, contain the wisdom and help needed to navigate a healthy and happy life: – emotionally, physically, socially and mentally. When it is all said, the proof is in the pudding.
“The honor of good people will lead them, but those who hurt others will be destroyed by their own false ways.” – Proverbs 11:3
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” – Galations 6:7
or… ‘What goes around, comes around.’ which is highlighted and explained in my book “What Birds Teach Us” with the behaviour of the Pied Currawong.