|We’ve been a bit quiet lately, partly because of the heat, and partly because our favourite area is in ‘Park Management’ mode.Our friends Helmut and Dawn from down Lara way suggested we go down and have a look at the ‘famous’ Cape Barren Geese that are plentiful in Lara.
Not to miss an opportunity to see some lovely birds we agreed.
We arrived just about on sunup, and Helmut and Dawn took us about to a couple of places.
At one park, which is part of a water basin in the middle of town, the sunlight was just coming over the ridge behind and the light on the birds was first rate.
Now, these birds aren’t tame. But they aren’t stupid either, and they have worked out a human strategy. This close and no further or we just walk on. I managed to establish that about 10 metres is the turning point so began to work to their rules.
Jon Young is his book (see side bar), calls it “Honouring”, and the more birds I work with the more I find it works.
We crossed the creekline, full of interesting waders, and I headed by a long round-about circuit to a pair in the middle of a mown area, that were head down and feeding. As I approached, they began to get nervous, so I stopped, did bit of head bowing of my own, and waited. They settled down, and I carefully, (but not stealthily), moved forward a bit. Heads up. More head bobbing from me, and they went back to feeding.
At about 10 metres they were on agitated alert, and I stopped, knelt down, head bobbed, and they paused. So, I lay on the grass, and waited. To my surprise, they didn’t move off, but immediately began to do a circular dance, which culminated in a session of allopreening, which still dancing. The D2X kicked into highspeed, and i managed to get some super images of the process.
I moved forward a bit, and with a little bit of luck got one against the hillside grass for a final shot. I head bobbed again and turned away. They just settled in to standing the the morning sun.
Had we not been on a schedule, I’d have stayed all day. The birds were extremely relaxed, and were satisfied with my poor attempts at honouring them.
Must get down again.