From the Field-Notes Book: Turn the Page

By the end of 2020, the young birds were for all intents and purposes self-sufficient.

We hadn’t seen either of the adults for at least two weeks, and the young were now skilled at finding their own food.  Hunting on the ground for insects, raiding the nearby orchard for tasty morsels on the fruit trees, or helping themselves to the young recently-fledged Fairy Martins.

And then all too soon so it seems, the trees became quiet.  The loud calls of success with each catch was stilled, and they were on their way from home into the wide world around.

An end to a fascinating few weeks of learning from the birds just that little more about the lives of Hobbys.
As Mr An Onymous said to me today, on a slightly different subject, “It is one of the great mysteries of bird photography that you never get to repeat an event.  Once the birds have moved on, you’ll have plenty of shots, and memories, but it most unlikely that you’ll ever again be able to replicate that season.”

Perhaps one of his many (un)proved theories, but I did get the drift.

So, we come, as Bob Seger sings, to “Turn the Page”.

And there is the back cover of the Field Notes. The close of the book.


I arrived in the paddock to hear one of them calling, but I just couldn’t pinpoint where it was located, so started to scout around.
Suddenly the head popped up from behind some blanket weed on the ground. It must have been hunting in the open spaces.
I stopped and crouched down, then kneeled and finally sat. The bird went back to its business.
After gaining its fill, or perhaps it had depleted the pantry, it was time to go.
I found this one helping itself to the small insects that were on the fruittree leaves growing through the bird net covering.
Another time it was more interested in the food opportunities than my presence.
And another close fly by as it departed.
Sweeping through the sky hunting insects, such as dragonflys.
It may only be a small catch, but made with a minimum of energy, and quickly consumed so it could stretch out for more
Early morning, scanning for possibilities.


a quick flight out of the tree and another Fairy Martin is the prize



10 thoughts on “From the Field-Notes Book: Turn the Page

  1. Great to see these images curated like this, David. A pleasure to view. And perhaps Mr. A is correct. Thinking back to the Sneydes Kites last year. Yes they had two clutches in the same nest but behaviourally each was markedly different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks David,
      It’s hard to know what to do with a full season of images, there are so many small stories to tell, of each bird as part of the family, and its own individual character.
      We have been blessed with their presence and its not something we take lightly.
      The Sneydes Road clutches do so how much difference the young birds have as individuals, and also how the season determines how they are raised.
      It was one of the more productive places we have worked for quite awhile.


  2. Hey…really great shots David. Interesting contrast between ‘full’ wings and tail and the swept back sickle shape for speed. At present ‘my’ Hobbies are around throughout the day. One juvenile I think and two adults. Calling frequently. Flew straight at me yesterday as I stood on my balcony…great view. Today the three of them diving, soaring, chasing up high outside. Fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Magnificent captures of the young Hobbies, David. They make me regret I wasn’t able to go to Werribee again – not my fault though. I’m so glad I can admire these beautiful birds in your Field Notes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All good Adam,
      We have missed so many photo ops this past year, so many things have conspired to snatch away our time, and I think the one thing we have learned it to be able to enjoy the moment and the birds, where we are.
      In some small ways the season with the Hobbys relies on luck, and its relatively close proximity to home, so we could travel out first thing in the morning and then be on the way home by late mid-morning as the light became harder, and the birds were less active.
      Always plenty of bird activity to find if we look closely enough.


      Liked by 1 person

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