Male Bar-tailed Godwit developing its orange breeding plumage.
Autumn has arrived and with it cooler weather and much needed rain. In the deluge week previous our dam went from 42% to 82% full which is an amazing answer to prayer, considering the weather bureau’s long range forecast said no decent rain till May. Autumn means that our migratory waders are fattening themselves up ready to fly their 16,000 km journey in the next couple of weeks to the Arctic Circle countries of Alaska and Siberia.
My wife and I decided to take our Sunday afternoon walk past the beach on the Georges River mud flats at low-tide to check out the Bar-tailed Godwit males which would be already changing to breeding plumage. With my lens still awaiting repair, I took my trusty little Sony movie camera and my wife her Canon PowerShot (recent model), so we both contributed photo-wise to this post. The Bar-tailed Godwit, similar to many other migratory waders, does not nest here in Australia, but will fly to the food rich currents in the northern hemisphere during our winter to breed. Some of last years youngsters may stay here for the winter and return next year, we will have to wait and see. One would possibly not notice these birds, or realize how amazing they really are if they were not aware of them. Can you see how small they are viewed from the footpath?
Tidal river mud flats where waders graze. See how small they are from the road.
You can see below the difference from the non-breeding Godwit and the breeding. You will notice how the small family flock which has grown from 7 to 12 is seen on these mudflats almost every day of Summer. This lightly orange bird may be a male early changing or a female, as females have a much lighter breeding plumage and are generally slightly larger than the males.
There was a strong cool southerly blowing as we filmed this, and you will see the distinct bar-tail of the bird as the wind blows the tail feathers up while they forage. These birds are not showing breeding plumage and some younger birds from the previous year are among them. Sorry that the strong wind caused it to be destabilized.
In the following you will see both breeding and non-breeding birds foraging. Here the noticeable feature is the stability when the wind calmed. The main reason for the stability, for which I am truly thankful, was that it is now the 6th day after my heart procedure and my hand is so much steadier.and I feel like a new man. Notice the jack-hammer action of the male.
The male in the darkest breeding plumage appears to lead the flock with his partner keeping close behind, and the others eventually following. These birds are extracting very small mud crabs from beneath the wet sand. Notice how they also use their purpose built, intelligently designed beak, partially open to locate the crabs deep beneath the sand.
While we watched I noted a large bird in the distance on its own with a red beak, which we knew was a Caspian Tern. This is our largest Tern, and its speckled cap means it is non-breeding. We watched as it bathed and then preened.
By the water’s edge, Silver Gull and Crested Tern were sharing their daily ablutions, a lovely scene of acceptance and friendship.
Where a stream of fresh water poured out onto the beach a lone Australian White Ibis foraged.
Off we went on our walk around Botany Bay and as we went we found another little friendship between a Little Pied Cormorant and a Little Black Cormorants. Cormorants tend to share space with the various species of Cormorant.
Toward the end of our walk we found a Royal Spoonbill striking up a friendship with an Australian White Ibis as they scanned a creek bed together.
We later found what may have been its partner nearby sleeping. Notice there is no longer breeding plumage as the breeding season has ended. Many birds sleep with their head tucked under the feathers of their back, especially birds with large heavy beaks, to rest them and give their necks a rest also. The warmed air helps them sleep. They often also stand on one leg to rest the other, as they spend their lives standing.
We could hear and see many Little Corella flying over so we followed the sound to some pine trees in a nearby park. They appeared to be feeding on some fallen pine cones. Ferule Pigeons joined them, though I am not sure what they were eating.
The pine tree nearby was full of Little Corella. These birds are small cockatoos, often found feeding alongside other species of cockatoo. They are a flock bird (they fly with, meet their mate and nest with the flock) and are known for their playful antics, their affectionate behaviour to their mate to whom they pair for life. As it had became even more windy, as you will see in the next movie, we made our way back to our car having enjoyed our little Autumn Adventure.
There have been some changes made to my website pages. You might like to explore them, especially if this is your first visit to my blog. These can be accessed through my HomePage. The addition of the Young Birders page for young people (preteen and early teen) interested in birdwatching as a hobby, is open for feedback. This will complement the publishing of the 2nd Edition of my book which is taking longer than expected.
On our walk we had seen several birds of different species, sharing space together. The harmony of species living at peace. In the movie above we saw one pair showing loving affection to each other.
We also saw another pair where one bird made unwelcome or inappropriate advances to the other, causing distress to the partner, having to actively distance itself. Two very different situations. Respect, acceptance and understanding bring peace, harmony and security to a relationship, where intentions are accurately communicated to the partner. Aggressive, manipulative, controlling behaviour in any relationship is selfishly devoid of love and does not respect the partner nor their concerns.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.” – Titus 3:1,2
Have a most enjoyable week and stay safe!
Thank you everyone who has been praying for a miracle healing for my heart. Just when I was giving up hope of ever experiencing normal again, it was granted me, and it is so great to feel normal again and have more energy. Praise be to God for his healing mercy!
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.