After our success in the early morn at Goschen, Mr An Onymous and I decided that a return visit could just about be squeezed in. So we left early again.
Followed the backroads out of town, turned a corner, and there in the scrub by the side of a the road was a white and black flash sitting in the morning sun. It was a…. So stop car, reverse back, and lo and behold it was one of two Pied Butcher Birds. Before you could say ‘car door slam’, we were both out of the car and had a few shots before the sound of the car door slamming reached the Butcher bird. Looked great in that wonderful horizontal light described yesterday. Good start.
On to Goschen, and this time I’d decided camera on tripod was my friend, and out came the Wimberley Gimbal head. Best photo accessory I’ve ever purchased. Makes wielding a long lens a dream as it take all the weight and keeps all the flexibility. Besides I can risk slower speeds and use the Tele Converters. No down side and all positive. Thanks Mr Wimberley.
And there was plenty to see. Spiny-cheeked Honeyeaters, Singing, Black, Hooded Robin male, and his lovely lady. Brown Treecreepers and one that had nested in a broken hollow tree about a metre off the ground.
The Hooded Robin, was perhaps the most co-operative and managed to find a variety of poses for us.
Had a bit of time to play with the range of Teleconverters in the kit. I don’t use TC’s over long distances, anything over about 30m or so. The 1.4 always works a treat. And with the 300mf/2.8 its a very useful 420mm f/4. Really a handhold pleasure. The 1.7 can be a hero, or zero. Over shorter distances and supported on a bean bag or tripod, I find I’ve a very useful 500 f/4.5 lens. I think its just a bit too long for old bloke nerves, as handhold, so don’t use it that way much. The TC20Eiii, is a really good combination for 600mm f/5.6. At close distance, say 15 m or so, a small bird near fills the frame and feather detail is excellent. Not all lenses seem to work so well with the TC20.
I’d promised lunch and coffee at a pistachio farm on the way back and so we set off along the old road to Woorinen South. Not much has changed on this road in 40 years, and we ambled along in the hope that we’d find some birds among the roadside trees. Wow. Two young Wedgetailed Eagles threw from the tree just off the side and try as I might I couldn’t find an opening among the trees to pull over to get some views. They circled the field beyond the road and then with measured wingbeats rose to find a thermal, and as fast as you could say “They are going to disappear’, they did.
To tell all, the farm was closed and we headed back to Swan Hill to find a coffee shop a little off the beaten track. Most interesting interior lined with pages from old 50s and 60s magazines. And tables decorated with Mum’s old cookbooks. There was the McAlpine Flour cookbook that probably held pride of place in our kitchen way back when.
As we arrived back the resident Blue-faced Honeyeaters demanded their share of my time and a few pleasant moments with them, hunting through the trees filled in the time to afternoon tea and family stuff.