Birding

Why I love to bird watch goes beyond what can be expressed in written form. It is many things intertwined that form my passion. It is staring at a tree for minutes on end and the sign of contentment as your eyes and brain finally click and you can see the tiny bird flitting through the leaves.

Why I love to bird watch goes beyond what can be expressed in written form. It is many things intertwined that form my passion. It is staring at a tree for minutes on end and the sigh of contentment as your eyes and brain finally click and you can see the tiny bird flitting through the leaves. It is hearing the slightest of rustles and knowing you are being watched by a little ball of feathers. It is understanding the behaviours of the birds to such a degree you can distinguish them from a peripheral glance at their flight pattern.

Pair of galahs flying into the sunset at Bladensburg National Park. Backlit mulga trees. Sunset very yellow, tint of pale blue sky still visible. Photo by Emma Walton of Emma Walton Guiding, a nature Guide of South East Queensland
Galahs (Eolophus roseicapilla) flying into the sunset at Bladensburg National Park

The overarching reason I love to bird watch is the knowledge it brings with it. This is not necessarily the more imperical knowledge essential to birding such as, ‘if the middle toe is one third more elongated it equals that bird rather than that bird’. It is the knowledge of a world hidden in plain sight.

Australian bustard somewhere in South West Queensland. Bustard walking over grass tussocks. Eucalyptus in the background. Very dry ground.  Photo by Emma Walton of Emma Walton Guiding, a nature guide of South East Queensland
For such a large bird, the Australian Bustard (Ardeotis australis) is remarkably able to go unseen

To simply sit, breathe and open your senses to the world to feel, not actively think, your surroundings. Subsconsciously reading the signs that you are nearing a bird and positioning yourself for it to flit across your path. Such a simple joy but it is pure.

Male Mulga parrot perched near its tree hollow nest at Bowra Sanctuary, QLD. Mulga parrot has aqua head and chest, red belly and yellow under tail. Photo by Emma Walton of Emma Walton Guiding, a nature guide of South East Queensland
Male Mulga Parrot (Psephotus varius) at Bowra Sanctuary

Bird watching in this manner does not require a list of rarities to be ticked. Although if a rarity does cross the path excitement is hardly containable. I am content and often rather excited, to meet familiar faces. Peaceful doves, white-winged choughs and brown honeyeaters may be regualrs but they are fascinating nonetheless.

Diamond dove perched on dead branch. Diamond dove identified by the flecks of white on the wings and red circle around eye. Photo by Emma Walton of Emma Walton Guiding a nature guide of South East Queensland.
Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata) perched on a dead branch somewhere in outback Queensland

There are worlds within worlds in front of our very eyes. The birds, frogs, bees, bats and all other manner of animal live their own lives usually distinct from that of a human. Occassionally our paths will cross and we can but hypothesise what it would be to live in their world.

Juvenile square tailed kite flying overhead at Wildash. It is backed by blue sky with wisps of white fluffy cloud in lower left corner. Photo by Emma Walton of Emma Walton Guiding, a nature guiding service of South East Queensland
Juvenile square tailed kite (Lophoictinia isura) flying overhead at Wildash

If you would like to learn how to bird watch, refine your skills or join a group of like minded people, I bird watch every Friday from 7am in the Warwick area. Tomorrow (31/05/2019) I will be back at my usual spot on the Condamine River for the final time. One last chance to photograph those Azure Kingfishers! Bird Watching is currently free!

Passion or Insanity? Why not both?

The time a fellow birder and I drove over 110km out of our way to spend a day searching for the rusty grasswren (Amytornis striatus. rowleyi) but instead found an overly friendly dutch fossicker who would not let us alone on our hunt until we learnt to fossick for opal…

no grasswrens here

That was the day I fully realised just how bizarre birders are to the outside world. The dutch fossicker could simply not fathom two young people travelling to the middle of no where on the off chance of sighting or even hearing a bird. To her, this was Opalton, a place to fossick for opal. Definitely not a place to crouch between clumps of spinifex and listen for a bird.

still no grasswrens

We never did find the grasswren but we did learn about opal fossicking.

flower, not a grasswren