It is difficult to believe, but true, when last Saturday afternoon, while celebrating the birthday of my step-daughter, a single small bird flew into a deciduous leafless tree in the backyard near where we were eating. My wife noted it in the afternoon sun and called me over. To our surprise and delight this Southern Star Finch turned out to be the fourth lifer in four weeks, and it came to us! My wife quickly got her camera clicking, as mine was home and these were some better of the few shots we took. The bird sat in the tree quite unperturbed by our presence and I was told that it returned the next day. What a gift! and we did not have to go on a birding expedition. It came to us!
To top it off, this is also the yellow/mango mutation of the southern race which normally has a red face, and is very rare. This mutation is also known as a Budda Star Finch. There is also a grey and cinnamon faced mutation that occurs in the Star Finches. Sadly, I received an email today from Birdlife Australia informing me that these birds are now classified as probably extinct due to loss of habitat from cattle overgrazing, restricting the grasses from seeding, as well as limiting the native varieties. The Southern race was only found on the east coast of Queensland and northern NSW, but now mostly restricted to a smaller region in Queensland. The Northern race is classified as Threatened and is found along the top end of Far northern Australia. Finches survive mainly on native grass seed and insects.
On a day through the week I took my wife out on a birding date back to see the Australasian Bittern, which she was keen to see. There were already about five other birders looking for the bird and reported that one had flushed and flown a distance across the lake to their disappointment. These birds hide in the reeds and move so stealthily that they can be right next to you and you would never know till they take flight, as they are extremely shy of humans. They are very difficult to detect due to their ability to move through the reeds and tall grass without even moving the surrounding reeds. See if you can find it in the third photo below?
The wonderful opportunity that afforded us on this occasion was that we actually got flight shots of the birds as they moved from one area of the wetlands to the other and back to the original area again, with us birders in hot pursuit. Click on photos to enlarge.
It is not hard to see why these birds are so difficult to locate in among the reeds. They are known for standing their necks upright as they survey their surrounds, appearing like part of the reeds. The vertical neck is all you would have seen in the previous photo if you succeeded in spotting the Bittern, as it is seen closer in the last photo below.
While we were watching the many other waterbirds including Egrets, Ibis and Heron, we also saw this cute Little Grassbird which we had not seen for a long while.
Of course if there are reeds present, and there are, the Australian Reed-Warbler will most likely be present with its loud call, and it was.
This Swamp Harrier is seen each day continually scanning the entire wetlands. There are several different raptor species seen frequently at Bushell’s Lagoon including Nankeen Kestrel and Black-shouldered Kite. The white marking at the top of the tail is a helpful identification marker for this bird, as it was some distance away.
It has been an interesting journey for me the last month, at home writing my second book. My wife and I have enjoyed more quality time together and she has enjoyed having a home husband to look after the things at home she does not enjoy doing. We are a team and it is always helpful for us to remember that in a marriage there are three entities not two. The Husband, the Wife and the Marriage Relationship. This is what we share and bring to the table when we discuss our relationship, which we have an agreement today every 3rd of each month, which is our anniversary date for our wedding. It is good for us, even in our mature years to ask each other ” How are going in our marriage? What do we change or do better?
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15
Have a wonderful week and stay warm, Winter has hit the eats coast with its mighty force yesterday, and the birds have run for cover, though the warble of the worshiping magpies in the torrential rain and wind continues regardless from the TV antenna outside my window as I write. What a blessing!
If this is your first time to my blog, please check out the pages on my website HomePage on birding and counseling tips.
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.