With the return of Spring comes the return of our wonderful migratory waders, in particular my favourite, the Bar-tailed Godwit, featured in my book as the most endurant bird. This bird has been tracked travelling 16,000 km (9,942 miles) non-stop for 6 to 8 days directly across the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Australia and New Zealand. At the end of Summer it will journey all the way back, via the Asian coast to breed, that’s an amazing 32,000 km in one year. In a bird’s lifetime, it is estimated, they travel to the moon and back 2.5 times. You can see the orange breeding plumage they gained before they left in Autumn still blotchy as it disappears for their non-breeding Summer in Australia. Click on photo to enlarge it.
Breeding plumage disappearing on rump of Godwit
To get an idea of size and how small they are, see how tall they are beside this Silver Gull. Again you can note remnants of breeding plumage on the male.
Comparison of size with Silver Gull
The female is slightly larger in size with a longer beak than the non-breeding male, as seen below.
Non-breeding male next to a female Godwit
The beach where we see these birds is protected (apparently) for these birds, however, I had to remind one family to leash their dog as they encouraged it harass these birds as they fed on the tidal mud flats. The dogs are actually banned from this beach, which makes one quite angry at the selfish disregard and arrogance that many people display for our wildlife safety.
Flying to safety
Nearby in a creek flowing onto the beach we found this lone Royal Spoonbill decked out in full breeding plumage attempting to sleep in the wind. As you will see in the footage below his afro hairdo as a humorous dimension to the bird. Spring brings with it the breeding plumage in many resident waterbirds.
These birds breed well away from humans, often with other non-migratory waterbirds, in fact they are known to permanently desert their nest should a human approach or disturb them off it. It was strange to find this bird sleeping as the tide was going out, so I think it was quite happy to stay by the fresh running water of the creek.
Also grazing the mud flats were a small flock of Australian White Ibis (nesting mates to the above Spoonbill).
Australian White Ibis flock
Another sign of Spring was this pair of Australian Pied Oystercatcher. These birds pair for life and are often seen in breeding pairs, especially now as this is the season. These birds are now listed as Endangeredin NSW due to their nests being disturbed and destroyed on beaches by humans being permitted to drive 4×4 WD vehicles on NSW National Park beaches without a concern for the delicate habitat of these very shy birds. It amazes me that they be allowed to do this, particularly on a beach protecting wildlife. The fencing off of breeding areas has worked for other bird species.
Aust. Pied Oystercatcher
Aust. Pied Oystercatcher
Aust. Pied Oystercatcher
Aust. Pied Oystercatcher
It was an enjoyable walk along the beach just before sunset, as my wife and I look forward to exploring more of the wader feeding areas in future weeks.
On closing, I share these photos of a nesting pair of Sulfur-crested Cockatoo we saw in the Royal National Park recently, protecting their nest from impending intruders. The action of sacrificial, unconditional love seen in bird parents is an inspiration to us of true parenting which when carried on as the family develops, in a love shown between spouses, is modelled for the fledgelings. As parents we always need to be aware it is our actions that speak loudest to our children, not our words. Words are given validity by the quality of the love we live and demonstrate firstly to our spouse and then to our children. Children learn most about what love is from watching how mum and dad love each other.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18
Have a wonderful week!
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I was greatly blessed today to receive a very extensive review of my new book “What Birds Teach Us” in a post by Jen an American blogger who purchased my book here online recently: “Birds, Blooms and all things Beautiful”
You might like read it (click on link above) and also read more reviews and information and purchase your copy through the security of PayPal on my BirdBook page.
Last weekend was the last weekend of the Mudgee Wine and Food Festival held this time each year. Friends living in Mudgee invited us to share the experience with them, so off we went for a wonderful weekend of wine, food and fellowship, where both my wife and I experienced some most enjoyable wineries and their fruits. On the way over the Great Dividing Range we visited Lake Wallace in the hope of spying the Blue-billed and Musk Ducks which are known to live there and can be the most elusive ducks on the planet. Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel sightings occurred on several occasions during the weekend and I managed to get some lovely flight shots, as the light illuminates the spread tail feathers. Click on photo to enlarge.
The Australian Kestrel or Nankeen Kestrel as it was previously known to most, is one of our smallest falcons, about the same size as the Australian Hobby, and feeds mainly on insects as well as small mammals, birds and reptiles. It is seen hovering high over its prey with rapid wing beats before ascending on it from directly above often catching its victim by surprise. The Australian Kestrel below was sighted at Lake Wallace as we were leaving. It had caught something and was eating it high on a power pole in the distance.
We were not disappointed at Lake Wallace, though human shy as they were, the Blue-billed Ducks swam off immediately they sighted us sighting them. My photos were thus taken from some distance. The breeding male has a bright Blue bill. The female is a grey colour and looks almost identical to a female Musk Duck. The reason why this small freshwater duck is seldom seen is that it spends almost all its life afloat and well away from humans, often in the middle or far side of lakes.
The Musk Duck male has the strange large round protuberance from its neck hanging down which it increases in size when fanning its tail during mating season. The duck gets its name from the musk smell it emits from a gland on its rump. Both the Blue-billed and Musk Ducks share similar characteristics: spend most of their life afloat, sleep afloat, swim very low in the water, have tails that fan to impress their mates, shy of humans, both are diving ducks, eat similar food, stay in family groups. The female Musk Duck has a much smaller protuberance, see below. It is not an easy duck to photograph.
Another pleasant surprise was the discovery of this pair of Hoary-headed Grebe an inland grebe which we seldom see. It gets its name from its streaky hair-do.
On the grass we spotted a small flock of Yellow-rumped Thornbill foraging for grass seed and insects. These small birds are mainly insectivorous but will eat seed, and since it is drought insects are not as plentiful.
Small flocks of Yellow-faced Honeyeater flew in and out of trees by the lake with amazing synchronization.
We drove the last leg of the 3.5 hour journey to Mudgee where we were greeted by our friends. Later we made our way to the Putta Bucca Wetlands on the Cudgegong River, but were disappointed as the drought had affected bird numbers here also. Our attention was first drawn to the whistle of the Whistling Kite which was resting on dead tree. The bird soon left after spotting us near the bird hide.
Our most interesting find was this only pair of Australasian Shovelers cruising in the distance. The more colourful male leads the female.
Australasian Shoveler male
Australasian Shoveler pair
Australasian Shoveler pair
Australasian Shoveler pair
Australasian Shoveler female
A pair of Black-winged Stilts were also present.
There were many passerines also in the trees around the wetlands including the main honeyeater found out here, the tiny White-plumed Honeyeater. The white plume is quite distinctive on the side of its neck. These are quite playful birds and are often chasing each other and showing affection to each other, strangely enough often in groups of three.
A most delightful observation was of this loving pair of Red-browed Finch, only just visible through a small clearing in the dense tree foliage as the sun lit their faces up for me to capture these shots. Remember it is Spring here so birds are busy pairing off.
Red-browed Finch pair
Red-browed Finch pair
Red-browed Finch pair
The Red Wattlebird, one of Australia’s largest honeyeaters, made his appearance , but you usually hear its ‘choc choc’ (choking sound) before you see it.
Here’s the call of the red Wattlebird…
This Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike watched us as we left the wetlands area.
The long dry winter following a very hot dry summer has had its toll on our state’s animals, birds and trees. Our farmers are suffering as are their livestock and crops, We have had some rain but not drought breaking rains. When you travel over the Great Divide you get to see how dry it really is. Despite the dry the Golden Wattle blooms in all its glory. It is interesting how we do not notice which trees are wattle as they all look green but when they all flower together in Spring one realises just how many there are. This particular tree at the wetlands caught our attention as every inch of the tree was covered with blossom.
The overall glory of the tree in blossom is due to millions of tiny blossom balls.
This highlights the fact that people notice, remember and favour us when we bloom and shine forth in our encounters and relationships with others, even those we have only met once. My experience has been that God’s favour rests on those who exude joy and loving interest in the people that cross their path. Sometimes its a smile, or a word of appreciating and encouragement, people remember you, even if they do not know your name. This impact is like the blooming wattle, the more we all do this, the brighter the place will become. I once heard the testimony of a Suicide Assist trainer how he smiled at a passing man and it saved his life, as he was on his way to die. This man years later, attended the Suicide Assist course and when asked by the instructor (who did not know or recognise him) in front of the class “Why are you doing this course?” He answered: “Because this man here smiled at me and gave me hope when I had none, as I was on my way to act our my suicide plan.” WOW! We can all make a difference and it costs nothing to do, in fact it strengthens our immune system and makes us healthy people in all aspects of our being.
“Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 14:16
Have a wonderful week! I have been asked to stay on for another month at my work part time, after a two week vacation. God is good!
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In our early years of bird watching, becoming birders, my wife and I would excitedly seek out new species which birders term lifers (having been sighted in the wild for the first time). I like to distinguish for my own sake a truelifer from a species I might view for the first time in a zoo or avery. This was the case with the rare and elusive Regent Honeyeater pictured above, notice the leg band. Because many of the birds in the wild now are banded, being ex zoo release birds, it is difficult for you to know if I shot this in the wild, but no, this was shot at Taronga Park Zoo, Sydney. Click on photo to enlarge.
Regent Honeyeater feeding on Grevillea flower at Zoo.
Regent Honeyeater feeding on Grevillea flower at Zoo.
I had photographed this bird many times at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney, where the birds are bred as a conservation effort in captivity, then banded, and released into the wild in their breeding areas. It was not till last year, that I photographed several non-banded birds in the wild that I was satisfied that I had a true lifer. See below…
Regent Honeyeater in Capertee NP
Regent Honeyeater in Mugga Ironbark blossom
Regent Honeyeater feeding on Ironbark blossom
As novices, my wife and I excitedly sought out holiday locations with the view of including birding as a vital part of our time-away. Many a committed birder knows the frustration of spending much time and money pursuing particular new or rare birds only to come home disappointed, this occurred many times with the above bird before I finally found it in the wild. Notice the more beautiful plumage and more classic bare skin around eye with the wild non zoo bred bird at the top of the page.
Our mission together was to passionately engage as many new species of our beautiful and varied Australian birds as possible, eventually covering most of our country and surrounding islands. One book initially assisted us in seeking good birding locations, a well written and easy to follow book a friend gave me as a gift one year: ‘Best 100 Birdwatching Sites in Australia.’ by Sue Taylor. This is a book we highly recommend to those, like us, pursuing birding as an enjoyable recreation.
Sue Taylor’s book cover
Interesting enough, and long before I received this book, the front cover depicts the location and bird that originally hooked me into birding as a hobby and recreation. Yes, the Red-tailed Tropicbird (my trading logo and avatar) on Lord Howe Island, where I travelled to see this ‘backward flying bird’ as I first called it.
On a holiday to Western Australia, after visiting my son in Perth, we ventured down to the Margaret River region on the bottom South West tip of the continent. It was here that we started to realise and consider something we had not noted previously. My wife, the spotter (binoculars), would occasionally say to me, the shooter (camera), “Take this bird, I think it is different from ours!”. What she meant was the bird in question was also found in our local area, but it had some noticeably different characteristics to the trained eye, which she could observe better with binoculars. As you can see below it can be difficult to note any fine delineating characteristics between the south west WA race longirostris
and the eastern NSW, we see at home race novahollandiae
Back home, processing our birding treasures from the holiday, I discovered from consulting my field guides, my wife was correct. We had opened another exciting door and challenge to our birding experience, taking it to the next level. We had entered the field of seeking the various subspecies or races of particular Australian bird species. A race (subspecies) as it is termed in the ornithology books, is a morphologically distinct group of birds that can interbreed within the same species. This is where the captured still image is vital so morphological details of each bird can be studied in detail at home on the computer allowing race distinctions to be detected allowing correct classification.
New Holland Honeyeater Eastern race NSW
New Holland Honeyeater SW WA race.
These birds look very similar, sometimes identical, but there are differences in appearance, which are usually found groups geographically located by location. For example, I noted the race differences of the Masked Lapwing I featured from my recent Far North Queensland post comparing them to our local Sydney Masked Lapwing race. Primarily, the facial mask differed slightly in each of the two locations, northern Australia and southern Australia.
Masked Lapwing Northern race.
Good field guides list the various names of the current races, the morphological differences and their geographical location on the map of the country. Notice I used the word current, as ornithologists today are constantly reclassifying birds using more complex and scientific (genetic) means, than previously was the case. Older field guides will vary in the naming of some birds. In Australia several species of bird, found also in neighbouring countries, have been reclassified into new specifically geographic subspecies beginning with the name Australian or Australasian… Two recent examples as Purple Swamphen if found in Australia, is now Australasian Swamphen and the Darter in Australia is now called the Australasian Darter. The species Anhinga anhinga (specie name followed by subspecie/race name) has a subspecies (race) of Anhinga melanogester which is the Oriantal/Indian Darter BUT NOW Australia has its own subspecies Anhinga novaehollandiae. The Latin race name means New Holland (the Dutch name for Australia), since they were the first Europeans to discover it in 1606).
One of the first honeyeaters to be named (scientifically described) was the New Holland Honeyeater (discussed above) as it is one of the most prolific coastal honeyeaters in Sydney and all around the rugged Australian coastal scrublands of southern Australia. This species alone has 5 races within Australia in five geographical locations both on the continent and also Tasmania and its islands. This was the bird I wished I had photographed more when in SW WA, on my wife’s suggestion. Here are photos of three of the 5 races, see if you can see the distinguishing characteristics.
Australia has over 70 species of honeyeaters, more than anywhere else in the world, as well as the world’s largest in size. The great challenge at the next level is to track down and identify (using good observational skills) the various races within each of these species. Then of course, there are the many other bird species with subspecies. It must have been quite an exciting experience for the early European/English naturalists to find so many varieties of similar birds to their homeland birds which only have one species with no subspecies. Here are but a few…
New Holland Honeyeater
Australia has 19 species of Robin of which these are but a few…
Pacific Robin male
In some cases more than one race of a particular species may exist in the same location as another, making it all the more challenging. An example of this was in our recent trip to Far North Queensland where we saw two different subspecies (races) of Little Shrike-thrush in the same location. They looked quite different morphologically.
For example, when we were birding in Britain we saw A Robin, A Cormorant and An Oystercatcher just to name a few for example. In Australia we have several if not many different species of these birds with the same species classification, and some of these even have several subspecies. In the Cormorant family we share the the Great Cormorant (Black Cormorant) with Europe but in addition have four others unique to Australia, the Little Black, the Little Pied, the Pied and the very rarely seen Black-faced Cormorant from the wild Southern ocean.
Little Black Cormorant
To conclude, the scientific approach to birding is that nothing can be taken for granted (assumed) from a distance, only careful observation and attention to detail will reward the astute birder with exciting discoveries and findings at the next level. This observational skill, accompanied with the latest bird field guide will bring an added appreciation for the wonderful variety of creatures even within a single species and how Intelligent Design could only be the origin of such an interdependent complex and beautiful system by a thoroughly awesome and amazing intelligent Creator. Here then is my source of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, as I seek His embrace and His best for my life.
“How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” – Psalm 104:24
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” – Proverbs 2:6
Have a wonderful week birding! We did not do any birding this week but we do give thanks for the good rain that has blessed us this last few days and hopefully will bring our birds back to breed.
If this is your first visit to my blog, why not check out my birding website pages from myHomepage.
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As we approach Spring in one weeks time after the hottest and driest winter and previous summer, we pray and wait for good rain to come, as the worst Winter bushfires continue to blaze. The Wattle has been flowering for weeks, but the bird that tells me it is Spring, the beautiful Golden Whistler, has been silent and elusive during the recent Winter months, as per usual. Last weekend for the first time I heard several singing their hearts out, though the female I saw was still very quietly moving about. Usually, one has to hear these birds singing before they are able to spot them, otherwise they silently go unnoticed. Click on photos to enlarge them.
Golden Whistler male
Golden Whistler male
Golden Whistler male
Golden Whistler male
Golden Whistler male
Golden Whistler female
Golden Whistler female
Golden Whistler female
Why does the male start singing in Spring you ask? Three possible reasons which all have to do with breeding and nesting. He sings to attract a mate, and when he gets a mate, he sings to communicate. When she nests, his excitement rises, and as an expectant father, he rejoices all through the Summer months. I was so delighted to catch this following footage of this bird continually singing to his mate nearby.
This Spring, due to the dry unseasonable Winter, has resulted locally in a reduction in bird numbers and breeding numbers, however I will share more of those resident birds that are preparing to increase their number and form families. The Australian Black Swans at the Hunter Wetlands have already made a great start with this lovely brood of cygnets.
Watching over the brood
learning from the parents
What is so interesting down there?
Other waterbirds preparing for nesting are these Grey Teal, getting acquainted as they have a quite paddle together.
While nearby another swan has only just started nesting having built its mound of reeds and grasses. Nesting mounds are not normally this large, but it needs to be high enough to escape rising water in the wetland..
Other wetland dwellers include this Australasian Swamphen with its one little chick, not long out of the egg.
There was a moment of alarm for them both as this white ibis flew over to land.
We also noticed one of the Emu at Blackbutt Reserve was nesting…
This Pied Currawong had already built and the high pitched chirps could be heard coming from high in the eucalypt tree, as the parent went to and fro bringing food.
sitting on the nest
checking me out
checking the babies
ready to fly off
going out again for food
Their cousins the North Eastern Australian (Black-backed) Magpie had couple of youngsters already quite brave enough to land quite close to my wife and I as we were walking Friday before sunset. Note the brown back plumage which has not fully changed, and the scallapping of chest plumage.
These birds are now thought to be the worlds most intelligent birds along with the Australian Raven. The Australian Magpie has not only the most complex and beautiful song but is able to play, learn, talk and do many other skills. This juvenile is learning from its father who is warbling in a tree behind as it stands boldly without fear an arms length from me.
The Australian Magpie is not shy of humans and attacks them quite viciously during nesting season if it deems them a threat. Yes, nesting season is approaching again. Ow! However if you are friend to them, they will not attack, as Ausiebirder has experienced in the past, the person standing with me being repeatedly attacked while I am ignored and left unscathed. This educational YouTube clip will enlighten you more. Cyclists and joggers pose the most threat to magpies and will attack repeatedly, sometimes causing a bleeding wound injury.
Listen and watch as this male ‘maggie’ sings, you will hear the female respond from nearby, and the sound of the Pied Currawong in the background making its sunset call. Please excuse the poor focus.
Another much smaller passerine undergoing preparation for the new breeding season is the Superb Fairy-wren. The males are in eclypse morphing to full breeding plumage, having spent the winter looking very much like the female, but for the blue tail. Notice the blue patchy colour starting to form. One male (pictured below) is almost finished morphing whereas the other has only recently begun. Notice the last pic where a breeding and non-breeding male are together in the one frame.
Walking further we found this beautiful White-faced Heron developing breeding plumage, looking for fast food from this stream flowing. He will be looking for a mate soon also.
Lastly, a most interesting observation as the resident Laughing Kookaburra pair in Oatley Park Reserve have reinhabited the white ant nest again this year for their own nest. I have showed in previous years blogs how they have nested here, and they are doing it again. One checks the nest while the other guards from outside.
Quite surprisingly, this Rainbow Lorikeet was about to challenge the ‘Kooka’ for the nest. These birds can be aggressive, but strange that it would challenge the mighty Kooka, which could easily kill and eat it or its babies. Maybe it wanted the hole for a nest also. This was the result…
After the trouble passed and the babies were safe the Kooka couple sat guarding together nearby the nest.
How lovely to see the romantic moment where this couple demonstrate how relationship is bonded and strengthened as a result of sharing children together.
During breeding one can distinguish, with difficulty, the male from the female, as the male has blue vertical back band at the top of its tail plumes. You can determine which is the male from my photo below…
And so we leave them …
Also in the coastal Angophora costata forests of the Sydney region both the Rainbow Lorikeet and the Sulfur-crested Cockatoo have already been occupying nesting holes. We also await the return of the migratory waders as well as migratory passerines spending the Winter in the warmer top end of our land, New Guinea and South-East Asia. During the next few weeks the migratory waders will make their 16.000 km journey across the Pacific Ocean or via the Asian coast from Alaska and the Arctic Circle to our beaches, after breeding and feeding in the northern hemisphere during our Winter months. I previously thought Godwits migrated in formation like geese and duck but they fly single file as below, possibly slipstreaming. When you travel non-stop for 8 days direct without stopping you need a little help from your friends.
Bar-tailed Godwits in flight
Life is in seasons –that is how God made it to be. My wife and I have been entering a new season of our lives together. It is a blessing to understand and accept that each different season we enter is a positive experience meant for our growth, preparation and understanding of the next stage in life will bring. My wife continue to work part-time as my company want me to stay till October and assist training staff, and she wants to further reduce her hours. Seasons bring with them both blessings, and challenges which can also become blessings, if approached within the context of a God centred world view, knowing that a loving Heavenly Father has our best at heart.
“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” – Ecclesiastes 7:14
“Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” – Acts 14:17
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Have a wonderful week, and enjoy the birds!
Thanks again for wonderful comments and reviews I continue to receive from those who have purchased my book here online and from the many stores that now stock it. If you have not yet bought your copy or even explored what it is about, then go to my Birdbook page. You can purchase it there or here in the sidebar. I have found several places I visited it was sold out and they had not realised they had even sold their display copy.
For our final leg of our journey, and for this series, we drive down from the Atherton Tablelands and make our way to Cairns, the major tourist city for Far North Queensland, with its famous birding stretch known as the Esplanade Boardwalk, which runs along the waterfront through a beautiful bird rich reserve. This walk sports tree birds feeding in native fruit trees on one side and shorebirds, waders and sea birds on the other. We walked from our accommodation onto the waterfront reserve where we strolled with camera clicking for a couple of kilometers toward the town centre. Interesting sculptures and artworks were also along the reserve.
The very first bird to draw our attention with its very unique call, was the Black Butcherbird, which is only found up here in the top end of Australia. It was deep in the sub canopy of a very large fig tree, in quite poor light. Butcherbirds get their name because of their tendency to hang their prey of small reptiles and birds from the forks of trees or impale them on branches, though they are essentially insectivorous. Notice the hooked beak. Click on photos to enlarge them.
All along the reserve lined with fruiting rainforest fruit trees the sounds of frenzied feeding was heard from several species of birds aggressively and noisily feeding. The main bird is the Australian Figbird. The far northern race (subspecies) has a much brighter red eye ring than our southern race, and a more yellow throat and chest, but the female looks much the same for both races being brown with a bluish grey eye ring.
Another frenzied feeder was the Metallic Starling with its beautiful shining metallic plumage and bright red eye..
I had a little trouble working out who this one was. Was it a cross between a female Figbird and an Oriole, no, it actually is a immature Metallic Starling. Note the red eyes.
The Dusky Honeyeater, another bird found only up here, was checking the flowers for nectar with its long curved beak. This video has been slowed to half speed.
On the large lawn area of the reserve we saw a small flock of of the tiny finch like Nutmeg Mannikin grazing on the grass seed. They grazed in family units often, two adults and one or two juvenile. The juvenile lacks the patterns on the chest and front of body.
Juvenile nutmeg Mannikin
Nutmeg Mannikin family
Nutmeg Mannikin adult
As we walked along the waterfront we were blessed with the fact that it was low tide coming in, as the shore birds, which included migratory waders that had not returned to Alaska to breed this season. The Bar-tailed Godwit was out first encounter foraging on the mud flats.
We were elated to find a small flock of Whimbrel a fare way out by the shore, many were sleeping but some exploring in the late afternoon sun.
I only managed one good shot at this Eastern Reef Egret in dark morph as it flew over.
The occasional Caspian Tern was also present.
Caspian Tern with Gull-bill Tern
Caspian Tern with sleeping Gull-bill Tern
Our greatest find was the Gull-billed Tern, another bird found only up the north end, Breeding plumage has the black cap on the head and non-breeding just a black mark on the eye.
This Great Egret gave a beautiful landing…
and then watched this pair of Australian Pelican glide just above the water line and land with its friends to hunt below the water.
There were some Sandpiper way out near the waterline, but I could not identify what kind they were. They are always difficult being so many so similar.
It was also a thrill to see the Black-fronted Dotterel pair in the late afternoon light…
Lastly, the Sacred Kingfisher, a beautiful bird often seen on the mud flats…
Before we left we took a walk along the Jack Barnes Mangrove Boardwalk near the airport where some very fast and tiny birds were seen. Here one can see several different species of mangrove in the one place. Lovely Fairy-wrens are also reported to be seen here, but not on the day we where there. These birds were too fast
Before I finish I would recommend a book to my Aussie birder friends, that I recently read, called ‘Where Song Began’. Tim Low, the author, has extensive experience as a biologist with Australian animals and birds and has rubbed shoulders with many of the world’s ornithologists and conversationalists. If you can read without letting the ‘millions of years’ evolutionary hypothetical reasoning get to you ( interesting enough, Tim mentions how the postulations of these so called scientists constantly change regarding the origins and evolutionary history) you will learn many interesting facts about our birds. What is interesting and scientific, is Tim’s observations and information he has gathered about Australia’s birds and how through the years up to today we can understand better why our birds are so different to those of the northern hemisphere. One interesting truth that he shares near the end of the book is how the early so called Naturalists (European settlers including John Guild) would wantonly kill with rifle so many birds, and steal their eggs in the name of scientific study, which of course was a hypocritical disaster. Many shot our birds and animals, some to extinction, and many depleted to the extent that they now do not exist in places in any great number. The good news is that man, the hunter, has traded his rifle for a camera and binoculars and can now shoot the birds and animals without causing their demise. Now most people actually feed the birds and water them instead of eating them and shooting them for sport, feathers and taxidermy. An interesting and enlightening read for every Aussie birder. This is a Penguin publication.
Have you checked out my website for interesting facts on birding from my menu on Homepage?
Have you checked out my Special Sightings page and seen my latest Powerful Owl photos?
Have you checked out my book ‘What Birds Teach Us’ on my Birdbook page. You can buy your copy here online through secure PayPal, or send me an email via my AboutUs page to buy several copies, as it makes a great Christmas or Birthday gift for all ages?
The lesson I learned for this week came from reading Tim Low’s book mentioned above. It was an interesting exercise to read a book heavily steeped in a philosophy I do not hold to and yet despite this, be edified and taught from Tim’s many scientific observations. The art of gleaning truth is much needed today more than ever in our humanistic society. Many of our youth today have become accustomed to believing information simply because it is on the internet, and so conclude it must be true, but that is far from the truth. God warns me in his Bible in these ‘last days’ to be alert and wise and not caught sleeping in the complacency of popular opinion as the ‘prince of this world‘ deceives and confuses the minds of God’s beloved children.
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” – Proverbs 2:6 (NIV)
The good news is that we I not been left alone and helpless but God has provided for me as I partner and bond my life to Jesus, God’s Son. Jesus tells me:
“But when he, the Spiritoftruth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” – John 16:13
Have a wonderful week and please pray for a break in our drought, as some inland towns have no water and food for their stock, and over 80 bushfires are burning many out of control, possibly more will start in the strong winds of today!
Leaving Townsville, we drive a hire car up the coast northward to our next stop, the Tyto Wetlands Centre in Ingham. Birders had told us this was a must visit place and we were not disappointed seeing several lifers, the first being the Crimson Finch, pictured above. These tiny birds were constantly flying and landing in the tall grass where they find their seed diet. The male is bright crimson and the female mainly around the head and tail. and juveniles mainly grey/brown. Click on photo to enlarge it.
Crimson Finch (male)
Crimson Finch male
Crimson Finch (male)
Crimson Finch (female)
Crimson Finch (juvenile)
Female Crimson Finch
The name Tyto is named after the rare Eastern Grass Owl (Tyto capensis) which is found there in the grassland during the latter part of the year. This wetlands is well cared for by the local council and has well marked walks, including crocodile warnings, which concerned my wife, though the only croc we saw while up north was a baby one in Reef HQ (the largest coral aquarium in the world, at Townsville). Crocs are river dwellers mainly, and can get washed out into coastal areas during the wet season.
Walking the circuit we saw several types of habitat including bush, open forest, grassland, lake, and pandanas forest.
The red-backed Fairy-wren was again a great delight.
One of the common birds seen up here quietly sitting in trees is the Spangled Drongo, which is usually identified by its classic tail and shimmering bluish/black metallic plumage.
We were surprised to find two kinds of Shrike-thrush next to each other in the woodlands both different races of Little Shrike-thrush, both lifers. These races (subspecies) are found only in this part of Australia.
Little Shrike-thrush race rufogaster)
Little Shrike-thrush race rufogaster)
I had wondered where the Rufous Whistlers had gone during the drought, finding one here.
But another lifer brought excitement to my wife, the White-browed Robin which is only found in Far North Queensland, her namesake. The English have a Robin but we have 17 different species of Robin. No these are not the same photos notice the tail, a feature of the robins is how they flick their tails up and down while perched.
Another bird only seen this far north was this White-gaped Honeyeater. I guess when you have over 70 honeyeaters and many have white markings on their face, it gets difficult to name them accordingly, so this one is gaped.
Another passerine lifer was this Brush Cuckoo, which has the feature of looking like a cuckoo but without the usual white tips on the upper tail being obvious. If you look closely you can detect bands showing through the brown upper tail, this can make it difficult to call.
The most prolific bird seen here by the lakes is of course the Forest Kingfisher, beautifully attired in his bright blue vest, standing out against the brown mud and reeds. I managed to convince him to fly so you can appreciate his full beauty.
Forest Kingfisher resting
Forest Kingfisher resting with Peaceful Doves
Forest Kingfisher in flight
Other classic waterside birds included the Australasian Darter and the Intermediate Egret, one we do not see much of down south.
So we come now to the lakes, the actual wetlands. Here is a panorama of the area, which includes the Comb-crested Jacana who was my first bird seen here on the water, and quickly hid from me.
But the most exciting find on the water was not the Hardheads which were close to shore, but the unusual looking birds afloat, way out in the middle of the lake, well away from us. My wife trained her trusty binoculars, which she proudly purchased from the London Wetlands Centre a few years ago, on these birds which turned out again to be lifers. The Green Pygmy-Goose and the Cotton Pygmy-Goose were peacefully together with the Hardheads and the Wandering Whistling Ducks. The Cotton Pygmy-Goose was a lifer for me not just in the wild but ever.
Green Pygmy-Goose pair
Green Pygmy-Goose with Hardheads
Cotton Pygmy-Goose and Wandering Whistling Ducks
Green Pygmy-Goose pair
Hardheads landing near Cotton Pygmy-Goose
Green Pygmy-Goose flying off
Notice the black eye marking of the male Cotton Pygmy-Goose and the lack thereof in the females, one fore and aft of the male.
And of course, there is always one lone Australasian Grebe, this one with some breeding plumage, in the lake. I am sure there are others somewhere else.
Our visit here had been a great delight, though the fear of crocs was a little off putting for my wife. We had seen several lifers. We would now make our way further north to the rainforest areas visiting Mission Beach and the Atherton Tablelands for some very unique birdlife, but that will be in my next post.
Check out my NEW Special Sightings page.which shares special local birding highlights, unique and rare sightings. See my latest shots of thePowerful Owl with prey. Check out my HomePage for more birding tips, inspirational and info pages.
At Reef HQ in Townsville we saw many species of coral and tropical fish including the most unusual Clownfish which spends most of its time swimming in among the tentacles of the Sea Anemone. Sea Anemones are predators that attach themselves to rocks or coral. There, they sit and wait until a fish swims close enough to attack with its tentacles. Clownfish are one of the only species that can survive the deadly sting of the Sea Anemone.
By making the anemone their home, Clownfish become immune to its sting. These fish will gently touch every part of their bodies to the anemone’s tentacles until it no longer affects them. A layer of mucus then forms on the clown fish’s body to prevent it from getting stung again. This relationship reminds me of living under my Father God’s loving care. As I grow from a child to an adult I am initially disciplined so as to learn to live a good life.
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” – Hebrews 12:7
As I remain under the care of our loving Father we remain protected from the Enemy, that is not the Anemone, who we are warned, lurks about the world around us, seeking to lead us to destruction.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaringlion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
Abnormal, selfish, destructive addictive behaviour results when I make myself vulnerable to bad decisions and thoughts. I am only safe in my loving Father’s own prescriptive plan for a good life, which he designed and created for,when I remain in his loving protection close to Him, knowing He is always close to me. His Love Letter the Bible contains all I need for His best for my life.
‘Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. “I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” – Psalm 16:1,2
Now that I have cut back from full-time work, my second book is under way, featuring more Australian birds and their unusual characteristics. In a similar way to the first book, it is set in a counseling context, but for families, many of which are also in crisis and need of life skills to assist them with proven life experiences and life skills for making good life decisions. This book “Birds of a Feather – Family Forever.” will again be a unique work presented in a simple readable format similar to my first book. I have been greatly encouraged by many important people in my life, who are awaiting this much needed work, and hopefully will become another non-confronting counseling tool for all ages. This book will be an asset for young adults planning for relationship and family giving helpful tools and insights for a Together Forever life.
Please Note: Increases to postage, packaging and handling fees required the small increase in purchase price. However, buying here online remains the least expensive place to buy your copy compared to most retail shops which sell for $35 in Australia.
In the next six weeks we will present a series on birds of the tropical north of Australia following a wonderful birding exploration of the last two weeks. We flew to Townsville in Far North Queensland where we spent 5 days exploring some Australia’s famous wetlands, in particular Townsville Common. These low lying coastal wetlands fill up during the heavy wet season of summer and provide food for many species of waterbirds during the winter months, some of which I will showcase below. The longer than usual wet season caused a reduction in bird numbers on our visit.
A peculiar feature of Townsville is the large pink granite rock called Castle Hill (Rock) that towers behind the town, which is only 8 metres short of a mountain. From its top a wonderful birds-eye view of the city and the wetlands can be obtained.
My wife and I visited the Common on several occasions and saw a variety of both water and tree birds. The most exciting sightings were of the Jabaru, the Brolga (at a distance), the Comb-crested Jacana, the White-necked Heron, Magpie Geese and the several species of raptor that constantly circled over the wetlands looking for vulnerable subjects. Straw-necked Ibis are plentiful here and around town also. I love the iridescence of colour in the birds wing plumage.
The weather here was warm and cloudy while it poured rain just 100 km further up the coast. We felt very blessed to have escaped the bitter cold of Sydney’s winter weather. The Black-necked Stork or Jabaru as it is known is wrongly named, as you can see below, it sports a beautiful iridescent blue neck in the sunlight. Sadly the female (which is differentiated from the male by having a bright yellow eye) was quite shy and flew off leaving her partner alone to our camera.
We enjoyed chatting with Matt, a local birder, about the Common. Matt shared that as the wetlands dry up toward the end of winter, thousands of birds start gathering around these last wetland areas. I joked about the name Jabaru as I watched Australia’s only stalk repeatedly jab its long powerful beak into the shallow waters hunting for small creatures. The Brolga were quite shy and stayed in the tall reeds at some distance, so I apologise for the poor footage and photos. Brolga are known for their beautiful dance routine when in flock, but the tall grass is no place for dancing. The elegance of the Brolga can be seen in this clip of them landing.
Flock of Brolga
Jabaru and Brolga
As you can see these water birds all live harmoniously together, despite eating similar food, unlike the honeyeaters that fight over nectar blossom.
A single White-necked Heron dropped in to check us out and forage nearby the Jabaru.
The beautiful elegant Great White Egret were in great number scattered throughout the wetlands as were the Intermediate .
This White-faced Heron did a fly past to avoid attention.
Interesting enough, when we first passed these ponds we saw no birds much at all, and we both disappointingly kept saying “Nothing, nothing!” as we drove all the way to the Jacana Pond where all we saw at first were hundreds of Grey Teal. You will notice an occasional Hardhead in among them, maybe they thought they were Grey Teal, or maybe just joined the throng for company.
We had read and heard about this place, how this was the best place to see waterbirds, but our hopes seem dashed. So instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and complaining to God, to selfishly ask for him to make them appear, we were humbled to to pray toegther asking our loving Heavenly Father, what it was HE wanted to show us, and he did. This displays one of the exciting features of our birding adventures. Birds are quite mobile and can relocate quickly making a revisit of a previously birdless area all the more interesting. This was the case when we prayed after experiencing bird empty ponds. On return the birds were there, no great numbers, that is, but representatives of the species we expected to see. One very peculiar bird in a classification all of its own, the Magpie Goose, a large flock bird is found in great number here.
The greatest delight for me was to see the Comb-crested Jacana which is known jokingly to many as the Jesus bird because it appears to walk on water. In actual fact this very small bird walks on water plants such as water-lily. It has long stick like toes which allow it to spread its weight over the leaf. These birds are seen in greatest number here and also in the Ross River wetlands nearby.
Notice that the juveniles seen here have more orange and flat head dress where as the adult has the bright red comb head dress. Jacana are difficult to get clear photographs, them being so small and so shy, as they take flight when they see you.
If you want to have a birding feast of raptors, the far northern Australia is the place to go, there are raptors visibly seen flying almost every where you look. The three raptors we saw surveying the wetlands were the Brahminy Kite, Black Kite and Swamp Harrier.
So our loving Father turned the day around for us, for as we drove back to the previous birdless areas birds were present, including interesting passerines in the surrounding forest, but these have to be for next week. Matt, the local birder we met, was also rejoicing at the numbers of different species he photographed afterwards also. My wife and I take God along with us when we bird, not to let him share the experience with us. “Lord, what is that you want us to see, what do you have for us, to teach and encourage us?” It is the intimate living loving relationship that we share with God through the Holy Spirit he has put within us that our birding experience, and most all experiences, are experienced at a much more enjoyable and meaningful level. We have hearts filled with an attitude of gratitude like little children we receive the blessings of gifts and surprises from a generous Father.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never end. They are new and fresh every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” – Lamentations 3: 22-26
Yes it is true, I have finished full time work in medical science and currently finishing a few weeks as part time as well as helping train new staff. I will now explore the offer to become a birding tour guide in the Southern Highlands.
Thank you to the blog followers who have purchased my book here online, and thank you for the wonderful encouraging reviews I have received. For those who have not checked it out go to my birdbook page. Check out the rest of my website for birding info at my Homepage.
This week I am showcasing Australia’s most common shorebird The Silver Gull (known to most Aussie’s as the Seagull). This bird is found all over Australia, especially around the coast and islands as well as inland. It is an extremely resilient bird, as seen in the photo above taken of a Silver Gull alone, not on the sands of a beach, but on the dry salt plains of Lake Eyre on inland South Australia. The lake was rapidly drying up, yet this gull was still there, and may have died there, like many birds do as the lake dries up, if it does not head coastward. This bird is found on almost every Australian beach in small to large flocks, and has become accustomed to pestering picnickers and those enjoying fishnchips by the water for a handout. If you throw something to one bird, immediately the whole flock comes begging. The bird sounds like this…
The Silver Gull starts life as an egg. We have always seen each stage of development on the old unused part of Busselton Jetty in Western Australia. A very simple seaweed and grass nest is build in the grooves of the warn rotted jetty timbers, where the spotted eggs are laid.
Each bird will sit contentedly on the nest exposed to the elements, predators and the ocean winds.
Silver Gull nesting
Silver Gull nesting
The good thing is that they have chosen the grey backdrop of the warn timbers because it matches the grey speckled appearance of their nestlings when they are born, and so is a form of camouflage for them. They usually have a clutch of 2 to 3 babies. When the parents fear impending danger they call to the babies to lay low in the nest with heads down, and they usually obey.
Being totally dependent on the parents to feed them, the father sources food from the ocean below the jetty, while mother shows affectionate care for her precious nestlings.
After a year the juvenile starts looking like the parent but remains brown and patterned on the back, again for protection. The legs, beak and eyes remain dark coloured, similar to many other juvenile/immature birds.
By the second year the bird looks more like the adult and with just the eye needing to change to white and the beak and legs to red.
Finally maturity comes, but until then the youngsters fly in the midst of the flock for safety, as you can see here if you look closely, the immatures at various stages.
Soon they are out fending for food themselves. One place they love to be at low tide on the river mud flats is chasing tiny mud crabs, as they scurry across the sand.
As they grab the crab the gull positions it in its mouth by opening its mouth and dropping it in the air and then swallowing it, as seen below.
Here are some flight shots of the bird as they fly toegther.
My favourite flight shot is this one of a juvenile following immediately behind the parent. Here we see the simple trust and obedience of the youngster following the example of its parent. This is why we as parents and grandparents need to always set a good example to our little ones, as they copy everything we do and say, and take it with them into their future life.
We only have two other gulls common to Australia, the Pacific and Kelp Gulls which I will showcase another time. These gulls are found around the southern and south eastern coast of the mainland, and are larger than the Silver Gull, having lipstick like red beak markings. Vagrants from other parts of the world do occur on rare occasions in isolated occurrences, having been blown off course.
“… we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of Spirits and receive life?” – Hebrews 12:9 (NET)
Have a wonderful week, and if you are new to my blog, check out my birding website from the homepage of aussiebirder.com
“What Birds Teach Us” my current book release, can now be also purchased here online through PayPal or from many other private book stores click on this link to see the list Where My Book Is Sold. It is now available at seven major NSW National Parks (Environment & Heritage Shops). Ask your nearest one if they have it in stock, if they don’t have it in stock, ask them to get it in. Broome Bird Observatory, Echo Point Visitor Centre, Koorong Books and O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat Gift Shop also sells my book, as do several private book shops throughout NSW. You can also purchase your copy here from the side-bar. This is a great gift idea especially as Christmas draws near, a gift that will continue to keep on giving. Read the reviews and purchase your copy on my Birdbook page.
The prevailing drought conditions in the Sydney region, have contributed to a reduction in the number of passerines and breeding waterbirds during summer and also as winter approaches, there are some water birds that have stayed because their habitat has not been so cruelly affected. Again I visited Sydney’s Olympic Park with my wife to have a Sunday picnic and capture some more stunning reflections of of one of my favourite waders, the Black-winged Stilt.
A friend asked me why I noted in a previous post that other waterbirds such as the Masked Lapwing, and even on occasion the Red-necked Avocet seen above. The answer is the long slender legs and open stick-like feet. These assist in moving through the water without disturbing it much. The other waterbirds are shorter and have thicker legs and tend to disturb the water more. It is always good to see the Stilt and Avocet together, as I have described in my book. Note the difference in the reflections.
Stilt and Avocet
It was also a delight to see a juvenile Stilt foraging alongside its parent. The Welcome Swallow managed to get into some of my photos and movie footage as they flew over the water.
Many of the Red-necked Avocet flock were sleeping safely in the centre of the shallow lake.
One of my favourite photos is this one, how the legs appear to cross over.
Other waterbirds include this White-faced Heron, probably our most commonly found wader.
We were hoping, as we peered from the Bird Hide, to spot the tiny Dotterels running along the shoreline, but on this occasion they were in the distance together in a small flock. These birds are usually timid toward human approach.
It has been interesting to find the presence of Magpie Lark (PeeWee) foraging by lakes and waterways in recent months. It is something new, possibly the drought may have brought it on. This one even joined in reflecting for me.
As we sat by the lake enjoying our Turkey sandwiches this Australasian Grebe (non-breeding) floated past, so I took some shots in the bright winter sunlight, as my wife noted it looked different. On viewing my photos as home it was found that the head had the striped of a juvenile Grebe remaining, as it is coming to maturity. Immature Grebes have black stripes on a white body, the head is the last part to loose the stripes.
Of course we had to check out the nesting area on the island where on my last post from this area we saw quite immature Pied Cormorant chicks being constantly fed by busy parents. These babies have become immature birds which now look very much like their parents, but are even more hungry and demanding than before, since they are much larger and fill the nest. This parent is so flustered trying to satisfy their appetite that he had to leave the nest and take solitude, peacefully cruising the lake.
Parent flies in and babies peter
They keep trying to get access to parents gullet
the parent has left and they cry
then quietly look for their parent to return
but he was resting in the solitude of the lake
This Masked lapwing was caught flying by…
As on the last visit the non-breeding Superb Fairy-wren were out and about, in the usual places. It is usually easy to find these birds as they are territorial and are found in the same area most of the year. Like many insectivorous birds they circumvent their small territory many times a day in search of insects on small shrubs and trees. The non-breeding male retains the dark blue tail, dark beak and turquoise wing coverts, which can be seen below. The female remains brown with rufous facial mask and lighter beak. The male will begin eclipsing again into his beautiful breeding plumage as Spring approaches, but for now, Winter is at the door.
May I leave you with this beautiful footage of the Black-winged Stilt foraging peacefully together in the lake shallows.
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This last four weeks of full time work as a scientist are dragging, as I look forward to part-time work or semi-retirement (whatever God grants) allowing me to expand the more creative aspects to my life. I hope to begin assessing the possibility of setting up a small business as a Tour Guide for Bird Tours. I will be checking out the possibility of running Introduction to Birding (Bird Watching) Tour packages in conjunction with Farm Club Australia in the Southern Highlands.
Black-winged Stilt with stages of development.
In the above photo one can observe most of the different stages of development of the Black-winged Stilt, from a brown chick to an adult stilt. As different as they each look to the other, they are all the same species, and will all look similar on maturity. I am challenged by the fact that I need the grace to realize that we are all at different levels and phases of maturity as people, and that despite all our differences and short comings, we are God the Father’s beloved children whom Christ died to redeem and restore. The most beautiful thought is that long before we ever came to know God, he already knew and loved us, long before we were born. This is why love, acceptance and forgiveness in our relationships is so essential, as we all experience the various aspects of life with its struggles and lessons. We each seek to be understood and accepted for who we are.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to being.” – Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)
“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” – Thes 5:15 (NIV)
This week I want to showcase two of Australia’s Oystercatchers, both classified as endangered in the state of NSW but more plentiful in Tasmania. The Australian Pied Oystercatcher and the Sooty Oystercatcher. They are endangered because their beach nesting places are being encroached upon by humans and especially the craze in recent years to drive 4WD vehicles on beaches in National Parks and sensitive bird nesting areas. Sadly there is little or no policing of the laws that protect our birds there.
The South Island Pied Oystercatcher occasionally found on our east coast is a vagrant from New Zealand, which looks identical to the Australian Pied until it is studied while in flight.
The Australian Pied Oystercatcher is found along the coastline of much of Australia mainland and Tasmania. It is classified as threatened in Victoria though secure in most other states. The Oystercatcher name comes from the use of their extremely strong and powerful beak action, which they use like a jackhammer to pry open small shell fish and oysters, which make up much of their diet, including other crustaceans. These birds, are usually found in pairs, as is the Sooty.
The immature Pied has dark eyes, dark legs and a black tipped beak. Click on photo to enlarge it.
The Sooty Oystercatcher is found around the coastline of Australia, and in greatest number in Tasmania, and both Sooty and Pied Oystercatchers are often found together or nearby, sometimes sparking aggression between the two.
There are two distinct races (subspecies) situated in the northern half of the continent and the southern half. The one pictured here is the southern race fuliginosus which we see locally.
Sooty visits Pied
Sooty attacks Pied
The Sooty likewise has an almost identical beak to the Pied being used in a similar fashion, as you can see in the footage below.
These birds, similar to the Pied, are found on ocean reefs at low tide and coastal beaches, and seldom inland unless it is a ocean inlet.
This reef at Botany Bay National Park, is the place where Captain Cook landed in 1770 to take on fresh water from a stream nearby. Maybe he saw these Australian Pied Oystercatchers working the reef as I have seen them here frequently at low tide.
Beside one of the reefs we visited was this field of seashells by the seashore. So many both whole and broken, represent the homes of thousands of small creatures either eaten by such as the Oystercatcher or other shorebirds. They make a pretty picture together.
Have a wonderful week birding. If you have not done so yet check out my website aussiebirder.com for more birding info and interesting photos.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ” – Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)