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Brown Thornbills

While out walking at my usual very slow pace with my camera I try to slow down and notice all the little things that are happening around me. I take delight in finding the normally unseen things, often preferring them to the grand vistas and dramatic sunsets – they are like little secrets that I am privileged to share in. During a recent 3 day solo trip to Girraween I was wandering through the bush with no particular destination in mind and noticed a small bird flitting near me.

Now usually you only have a brief window of time with these little birds when you are up close but this one seemed to stay close by, after some time of standing and watching I realised that there was one particular spot that he seemed to return to over and over again. Here he (could be she – I can’t tell them apart) is at the spot he kept returning to.

I was near a nice large rock which I made my way over to so that I could keep watching and maybe get a few photos. The bird is a Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) a small, common insect eating bird. As I watched I realise that there were in fact a pair of birds in the area, I watched them flitting amongst the trees, making short acrobatic manoeuvres in order to catch insects which I couldn’t even see.


In time I saw that they were not in fact eating the insects but gathering them in their beaks. I have no idea how they are able to catch more insects when they already have a beakful but somehow they do. As I watched I realised that they must be collecting food for their young and I turned my attention back to the little spot in a scrubby bush where I first noticed them.



I made my way to the other side of the scrubby patch via a circuitous route and then as I crouched down I saw that hidden away in the bush about 20cm off the ground was an intricately woven nest with a hooded entrance near the top. It reminded me a lot of the weaver birds that used to nest in a tree outside our house as a child. I wedged myself into a gap between two boulder and watched as these two bird worked tirelessly to feed their young and tend to the nest.





After a while it began to rain so I erected an umbrella over my camera and just kept watching 🙂

For me it is moment like this which give me the most satisfaction, the moments of quiet stillness, of observing and delighting in the wonder of the world around me. It takes an effort to slow down but the rewards are worth it.



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