After the past couple of weeks of somewhat inclement, to downright ugly weather, we had been thinking about another day down to the WTP. Not in the fog, most said, so we looked with interest at the little icons that the tv folk put up for weather, and even went to BOM to get a broader picture. Tuesday looked the go, but, as usual with all good plans, important things came up, and so Tuesday came and went. However Wednesday promised even better, and a nice *definition – not to strong* northerly wind to go with it. Which meant a little interior warmth coming in, so goodbye fog.
We picked up Mr An Anoymous and headed down for the afternoon. As predicted the wind was blowing toward the water and the big birds seemed to delight in it, and it quickly became a raptor day out. Which is good, as I’ve been wanting to give the new Wimberley Gimbal head a real work out, and see if it makes me look like a birds inflight photographer. I’ve raved about it before, but now with good reason. I delayed, I think I’ve said this before, buying the real thing just because they are expensive. And they are. But, you’ve got to think laterally on this, one Wimberley will last a lifetime, produce rock solid pictures day in day out, and save your tired old arms from holding the long lens up, and then just at the crucial point nerve jitters sets in and he images are blurred. Yep I know Image Stabilisation, Vibration Reduction, get with the times mate, move on in life, spend even more money. But, good as VR is, its as many limitations as it has advantages, and I’ve really grown to like the 500mm f/4 especially on the D7100- with its real focusing mechanism.
It looked however a bit quiet as we rolled down Paradise Road. A quick look for the missing Northern Shoveller, but no sightings.
We did find a large flock of Pink-eared Ducks in a pond up toward The Borrow Pit, and settled down behind a couple of small trees near the waters edge and 15 minutes later had some great shots of the ducks as they paddled past, filtering water at a great rate of knots. I’d not really noted before, but the water is a constant stream, flowing out just at the base of the bill. They must sift a lot of water in one day.
To our amazement a little further along the line we found about 30 Black Kites in dance in the air. Most looked like juveniles, but masters of the stiff breeze they were and me and the Wimberely were in Inflight heaven. After so many passes by the birds my arms were tired only from pushing the camera around. Great start.
Then a Brown Falcon decided that if it mixed with a flock of Ibis, then it might not be noticed. The Brown Falcons seem to be a bit of target practice for the bigger birds at the moment. Geoff Main on Flickr has a series of Kite vs Falcon, and there is another report of a Black Falcon taking the prey from a Brown. So maybe this Brown sought a bit of shelter.
Further on, and a Whistling Kite was making short work of someone’s family member and calling out to all and sundry to announce its feeding.
Some Cape Barren Geese along Lake Borrie kept us busy for awhile an even had the male come advancing toward us wings displaying. Don’t think he liked the little grey car.
And out on the Murtcaim (n) outflow the four Brolas made a brief appearance until just about being run over by a cross country rally expert in a 4WD, not sure if he was a birdo or just needed to get home early. Hope he made it. The Brolga took off and went to a safer paddock.
Back along Beach Road, and it was the turn off a pair of Black-shouldered Kites to show they were serious and one took a mouse pretty much infront of the car. Three people with cameras going ‘Ohhhh”, not shot taken.
Then just as the sun was setting and we were already in going home mode, around the corner on Paradise Road. A Hobby sitting in what was definitely the last of the evening sun. And the light was gone. It however let me get the car up close enough so that a shot or two through the open window was possible.
Not a bad day to be out in the sun
As Mr A says, paraphrasing me, quoting him, “Any day out photographing birds is a good day, if you get to see birds its a bonus.”
We had the bonus.
Here’s one of the Hobby in silhouette by Mr An Onymous.