Last Friday, I ticked a new bird for my Australian list, an Olive Whistler. I have now seen 522 of the 800+ species recorded for Australia and its territories.
I saw a few of these Whistlers deep within the Edenesque surrounds of Monga National Park, 20km south-east of Braidwood in NSW. The birds, along with many Pilotbirds and Superb Lyrebirds, were in the vicinity of the Mongarlowe River, where tiny pink waratahs were starting to bloom. The waratahs brought to mind the unclenching fists of toddlers or opening marsupial hearts. It's been a decade since I last came upon the floral emblem of New South Wales in the wild.
The Whistler's extremely reclusive and shy nature had an autistic edge. I was not allowed to get close to its spirit. Unlike Golden or Rufous Whistlers, the Olive is no show off. I was able to record three particular ringing, gutsy calls the bird made on my mobile. I don't think a lot of Australian birders see Olive Whistlers regularly. I'm sure many Aussie birders have never seen one. I count myself most fortunate.
LJ, October 11 2009.