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
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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, 2021.