I’ve been looking for some places that are easy access and where we could spend a few hours, as we did at Woodlands, without having to commit a day to the travelling.
We took a trip down the the eastern side of the You Yangs and found foot access from a fire track, and it opens up into quite an interesting open woodlands. At the end of the road leading to the gate is a small car turnaround and carpark. So with Mr An Onymous, and EE for company I took a trip down the road and parked. It was one of those glorious mornings that photographers really dream about. A little mist rising from the ground, brilliant sunshine and lots of lovely old gum trees in open paddocks, to make the most wonderful landscape scenes. And of course, I’d left the shorter landscape style lenses at home. So I struggled with the 300mm trying to get some decent framing.
We parked in the carpark area, and as I was getting out of the car I heard the distinct call of a Scarlet Robin, and looked about. Then as I opened the back of the car to get the cameras out, a streak of red flashed by, straight to the mirror of the car, and began flaying away at the bird in the reflection. Stunned and cameraless we watched as he made several passes, first on one side of the car, then the other. Satisfied that honour had been done he sped off. Only to return a few minutes later and repeat the process. But we were ready this time.
Then out came his extended family, another 3 males and 2 females. They hunted over the carpark, sat in the sunshine on the wire, and watched too, fascinated by his ability to see off the mirror bird intruder.
The two females were a bit more circumspect and required a bit of careful approach, but they also allowed us some good shots. Which was great, as although the males are such super colours, its the fine, muted, understated colours of the female that seem to me to be the more elegant of the pair.
After yet another bout of mirror butting, he decided it was time for a rest and retired to a fence line, and he allowed me to get a close approach. So close that in the end, I was on the limit of the focus of the camera. With the lovely early light still cascading over him, and enriching the background, it wasn’t hard to make suitable portraits. EE also got a shot of me, from over my shoulder, working with him.
What a great start to a good morning. We have no idea if they are permanent residents. But they certainly were not bothered by our presence at all. A guy walking his three grey hounds past by, and I was ready to put the camera away as the dogs would no doubt scare the birds. But, all 6 held their stations. So I figured that perhaps they had done all this before. Certainly the speed at which he attacked the mirror bird and the constancy of the attacks could only lead to the conclusion he’d done it all before. He also seemed to immediately attach himself to the underside of the mirror, as though it was pretty much normal business.
Must try and get back for another look.