Spring has come after good rains that have helped wash away the 4 year drought. Daily temperatures are already climbing unseasonably, causing concern for the approaching bushfire season. The good news is that the forests are alive again with the sweet song of birds courting and nesting. Some calling in the hope of locating possible mates for the season while others preparing to nest, call to one another as they frolic in the sub canopy in the courting process. This locating call of the Golden Whistler was heard all through the forest as about six pairs were heard along the track in our local National Park during our early morning weekend walk. Some were still seeking a mate and putting out location calls, seeking love on the forest dating internet.
As it was early and still very cold as the sun had not yet broken into the forest, it was also poor light for capturing the already difficult to photograph Golden Whistler male and females on this occasion, though those who follow my blog have seen them on many occasions. You can see both male and female in this post.
The great gift granted us on this walk was to see one of the two birds we have been wanting to see all Winter, which appear this time of year, the other we have not seen at all. The bright male Scarlet Honeyeater appeared for a few seconds and fled on sighting us. This timid bird is usually difficult to catch a glimpse of because he spends most his time high in the dark upper canopy of the tall forest eucalypts. As you can see above, he stands out against the green background, as tiny as he is. The more timid female eluded is completely, as the more colourful male took our immediate attention. My wife at first thought she could hear their sweet high pitched call and she was correct because soon after we saw him for a brief moment. The red colour helps them hide among the red native flowers when they forage low on native Bottlebrush and Grevillea. Numbers appear to be down from last year, possibly the fires.
As you can see above, the Australian King Parrot is actively nesting. This is one of our most colourful birds, again the red stands out against the green, and the male is almost all red apart from his wings and tail. These birds have a similar call sound or chime to that of the Eastern Crimson Rosella (pictured below), another beautiful local bird. Here the male and female which pair for life are resting together.
Many mistaken the call of these birds with that of the chime of the Bell Miner (Bellbird). As I have shared previously, if you only hear one bird chiming and not too loud, it will most likely be the Rosella or King Parrot. Birds of the Parrot and Cockatoo families use holes in trees for nesting, which our local eucalypts provide in abundance.
As the sun shone into the valley and illuminated the tall palms we approached the the place of our last sighting of the Topknot Pigeon, and lo and behold, the flock were continuing to feed on the ripe palm fruits, we felt truly blessed to see them again and in such good light.
We just got a glimpse of this tiny Red-browed Finch.
We got excited for a few moments when we heard the call of several Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo in the trees on the hill above us, but could not see them, but for a few occasionally flying off. We thought they had all left, but for the continuous call of what appeared to be a young male having been left sitting alone in a tree. After much looking through branches we located it, but was in the bright sunlight which over exposed its beautiful tail.
We heard the constant song of a Superb Lyrebird for quite some time as we waited expectantly for it to emerge from the embankment below, but it saw us and went quiet, missing a visual opportunity. This what it sounded like.
There were many other birds we were unable to get good photos of, either due to the lack of light or too their fast flight from us, remembering that the bird brain sees, hears and responds much faster than ours. Because most shots are manually focused due to the bird size and surrounding vegetation, it is a challenge on every occasion to get one good photo, especially with my failing eyesight due to the hereditary eye condition of my left eye. It is both blessing and miracle on many occasions that I get a good photo at all, for which I am truly thankful. I feel very blessed for every day that God’s kindness sustains my sight.
Just to hear the multiplicity of bird song was a shear delight, as the forest which for months was fairly quiet, came alive once more. The call of life, new relationships, renewed relationships and prospective new life was electrifying the air. As we joyfully made our way back to our car we passed under the Big Fig which is known for feeding many of the Satin Bowerbird families in the forest. Sure enough as I explained to a family sitting under the tree about the Bowerbirds, the buzzing sound occurred, and we were able to show them both female (pictured below)as well as the elusive male (pictured above), as several birds foraged for remaining figs, which are the main diet of these birds. Notice the satin blue plumage in the sunlight of what appears black in the shade.
Notice also the female plumage how she blends so well into the tree, another protective provision by Intelligent Design. The both sexes of her babies will look just like her for up to four years and males will gain their full satin colour at about six years. By then the males should have learnt how to build a bower, and furnish it, as well as have his courting ritual (dance and song) down pat. My recent book release “What Birds Teach Us” explains both in photo and text the Bowerbird courting ritual. The bower should look something like this, though usually it is less exposed and under thick foliage, which may allow the sunlight in on his bower at a particular time of day as below. The one below is in a rainforest under a very tall tree canopy:
If this is your first visit to my weekly birding blog and website, welcome !
If you explore my Home Page and Menu at top of page, you will find more helpful birding information, especially if you are considering it as a recreational hobby or pastime.
As mentioned above, you may want to find out about my Beautiful Bird Book “What Birds Teach Us” where you will both see in beautiful colour and read in easy reading text about our unique Australian birds and what helpful life skills we can learn from them, since we know from recent research that birds are very intelligent.
For my Aussie followers, my book is now available in many towns throughout NSW as well as in most capital cities in Australia, and in particular places interstate, which are listed in the Bookstores page. I would be grateful if you recommended it to a visitor centre, book or gift store near you, that does not already stock it.
Have a wonderful week, and stay safe. Our thoughts and prayers go to all our blog followers who are in lock-down and suffering loss and deprivation because of the current global crisis.
The beauty of the Bowerbird male is only realised when the sunlight shines into it’s plumage, otherwise it could be mistaken for a Raven or a male Koel, but for its eye and beak colour. The light gives beauty and value to the bird, especially when it performs its courting ritual before the prospective female while standing in its carefully decorated bower of blue objects, which he believes enhance his appearance. The light must shine on him to reveal his true glory and desirability as he dances before the bower.
For the Bowerbird it can differentiate mistaken identity from a distance when the sun shines off it. Light brings clarity and truth to everything it touches, exposing what otherwise remains hidden whether it be good or bad. So people who shine or are illuminated in both truth and integrity of being, Jesus says:
“Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” – Luke 11:36 (NIV)
“The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. ” – John 1:9-12 (NLT)
“This is the message we heard from Jesus[c] and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” – 1 John 1:5 (NLT)
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – 1 John 1:5
W. A. Hewson (Adv. Dip. Counselling & Family Therapy).
‘To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,
So we can learn from them how to live a healthy and happy life.’
NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.