When I was a mere broth of a photographer, and just learning the craft, almost all weddings, portraits and product and advertising photography was done in the Studio. Photographers like D’acre Stubbs specialised in getting just the right light on a product, and Wolfgang Sievers made wonderful detailed industrial photos with dramatic lighting.
And I traded my poor old Super Baldar, 120 folding camera for the chance to learn the craft as a trainee.
The monthly Bird Walk at Eynesbury rolled around and the calendar clicked over the last Sunday in the month, so we looked out the window, and sure enough Sunshine!
So Sunshine, we headed out to Eynesbury to catch up with the group of locals in their exploration around the Grey Box forest.
Chris had initially planned on being away, and asked another local, Leigh, to take the day. As it turned, Chris turned up anyway. Nice to catchup.
The sunshine added to the recent rain made the open areas around the housing estates glow in most impressive green with lots of new growth coming on.
So we set out for a looksee along the river gorge to the east. In times past before the housing establishment, a small creek drained water outward the gorge and as it tumbled over the rocky edge a wonderful waterfall would suddenly appear. And. Today was such a day. The little creek has now been somewhat controlled to a drain-way through the estate, but in the last few hundred metres runs over the rocky ground, forming little pools as it goes. Then. Taking is self to the edge, it plunges down the 30 or so metres to empty into the creek, that runs toward the Werribee River. And spectacular it would be too in full flood and great light, but I was just a bit late as early morning shadow hid the sparkle of the water.
For a birding day, it was a bit quiet, even for me and my missing bird karma as Mr An Onymous puts it.
We did manage a fine Eastern Yellow Robin, an Eastern Spinebill and a couple of Crested Shriketits as we strolled along one of the forest tracks. And so another birding morning came to a close, lots to talk about, plenty of things to share about the few birds we did see, and to get a perspective of the area from Leigh’s point of view. He has been in the area almost since its inception and gave a fine running commentary of points of interest along the way.
EE and I took a cuppa by the lake, and then headed down to see the Tawny Frogmouths in the local park-area. See the May report for details. Sure enough, dependable as clockwork there they were. One has added an additional extra piece of camo to the perch as a branch has broken off higher up and now obscures the perching branch very well.
Off to look for Flame Robins, but no luck there either, and it was time for home, just as we went past the old shearing shed area a small shape darted into the tree. A Speckled Warbler. And to make its point is warbled away quite merrily. Just about managed to get off a couple of shots before it was gone. Looking at it the shots, it’s no wonder they are so hard to spot given the wonderful markings on the feathers that blend into the scrub so well.
Thanks to Leigh and Chris for the day, and also to everyone who turned up and enjoyed both the sunshine and the birds. Looking forward to the July Sunday.
The Beginners Group of Melbourne Birdlife Australia were having a day at the Banyule Flats park, and as luck would have it the Meetup Bird Photography group were going to be there in the afternoon. Not one to have too to many things conflicting in the diary, (euphemism in there), we decided to go and enjoy the park side area.
Its been a great place at previous events and the weather looked ok, to so so, so we took the (now) considerable drive across town.
Over 45 active birders joined us and a good day was in the offing. Probably one of the highlights were excellent views (if somewhat average pictures on my part) of a Latham’s Snipe, (a new one for me. Thank you)
The area also seemed to have more than its fair share of Tawny Frogmouth and we counted 7 for the day.
The folk from Meetup Bird Photography Group turned up, and we had a second attempt at some of the birds.
A Buff-banded Rail, eluded photography in the morning group, and didn’t improve in the afternoon group. Some had good sightings and photos of a Sacred Kingfisher and we had some lovely views of the wing feathers on an Australasian Darter.
I was working with my newly acquired 70-200 mm f/2.8 and a Teleconverter TC1.7. Made the field of view equivalent to about 500mm stopped down a little to keep sharpness and really had a good day, and got some super images without the need to lug heavy tripods into the field. It will get to go on another expedition anytime soon.
Beautiful colours on the Straw-necked Ibis
Latham’s Snipe. A very relaxed bird, but it could afford to be well out in the water and away from easy photography.
First find your Buff-banded Rail.
A young Kookaburra waiting for the family to return, perhaps with a nice meal.
This one was against the light and really did take on the “branch” look and fooled quite a number of eager birdwatchers.
Tucked up tight against the tree.
Another failed Buff-banded Rail shot
Australasian Darter shows its wonderful wing patterns.
These days when we stay in Swan Hill, we’ve taken to using the Caravan Park onsite Cabins. All the mod cons with none of the towing. Australia Day weekend in the country is a grand event, and Swan Hill put on a Breakfast morning to celebrate, with bands and speeches and dignitaries and all the fun of the fair.
Not to be outdone, the local Little Corella population has taken to roosting along the trees around the confluence of the Murray and Little Murray (Moorabool) Rivers. Now One Corella is noisy, ten are a bit loud, 100 are shrill, but Ten Thousand, (I didn’t count, but thousands is such an easy term to bandy about when the sky is filled with White, Calling Corellas), is a veritable crescendo. What a lovely way to be woken up. Well that’s what I thought. Others thought a little less kindly. But, that didn’t stop, hinder, slow down, or in anyway impede these masters of the air in their morning recital.
Down the river they flew, then up the river, then down the river, then across the island, and back up the river. Yep, they’re awake. Awesome.
Inflight photography doesn’t get much easier than this. Turn on camera. Point somewhere, press shutter, delete all the bad ones. Easy ah?
In the middle of all the noise, a lone Nankeen Night Heron made is silent trek up the river at evening, and then down again in the morning. Saw it but. Missed it with the camera each time. We (An Onymous and I,) snuck out the backgate to follow it to its roost. Cool as the gate has a security code, and we didn’t think to remember it. After all its numbers and stuff, and well, not very photographically inclined. So after several attempts at all the combinations we could think of (5), we simply walked around the long way in the evening sun and found a pair of Galahs at work in a tree.
Meanwhile the Corellas, (did I mention them?) were making their 39th trip up or down the river depending on which way they had previously flown.
Dorothy in the meantime had spotted a Whistling Kite that had gotten itself down below the tree line and was making its way lazily up the river (ought to be a song about that), until the next round of Corellas met it half way. Now with a white screeching avalanche headed at you, there is not much room or time to manouver and the poor old Whistling Kite got a right going over by the flock(s). Score Kite 0, Corellas, 18,497, and that was just the first round.
So with another chop sizzling on the bbq in the evening light we watched and listened to the Corellas make their 123rd trip up the river. Or down, depending on which way they hadn’t previously flown.
Nice way to spend Oz day. Good on ya.
All the blank space down here represents Little Corellas in flight. Add your own sound.