Somethings we do as photographers, and bird photographers in particular, seems to rival climbing Mt Everest.
One of those challenges for me is the Rufous Fantail.
Now those who have these amazing birds in their backyard are going to find the next bit of ramble, well somewhat indifferent, if not bordering on the laughable.
But. The Rufous Fantail is not a regular, nor a resident bird in my area. In fact over 8 or more years at Woodlands Historic Park, I’ve only seen them on three separate seasons. And then only for a few days, as they either fly South, for their summer location or then North for their Winter escape. And off course I have to be in the forest when they are there, and as there is no prior warning, and no set pattern of location, climbing Everest seems to be a fair comparison.
“It’s a lovely sunny day. Let’s go visit Ambrose,” said she. So EE and I headed up the freeway, parked and then walked in to the area where this amiable bird has been the past few seasons.
Long term reader(s) may recall that last season the area had been cleaned up by the local LandCare(?) group and I was a bit unsure if Ambrose would bother. And after about an hour or so of fruitless searching I was well on the way to convinced. Then, way off on a corner area of the paddock, a familiar little harmonica call echoed, and I went to look.
And there he was.
Waved a wing at me— in Hello— and was gone. More waiting and a fine cuppa of Earl of Grey, and he made one more quick appearance, but didn’t seem to be photographically inclined today. But at least we’d made contact.
“How about lunch at Greenvale, and then we can go on to Woodlands Park in the afternoon,” says She. EE is pretty good on those ideas. So we went.
Woodlands, as the long long term reader will (or at least might) recall is the birthplace of my bird photography. I am convinced that Grey Box sap runs in my veins and in a few minutes of walking down the the old “Dog Track”, I was feeling a weight lifting.
I like Grey Box Forest.:
- No TV commercials with people who have to “YELL” to get my attention.
- No loud music with people who have to “YELL” to sing a song.
- No Dodgey commercials that “YELL” at me to buy some piece of useless rubbish or other.
- No Lines at the Supermarket
- No pushing and shoving to get a coffee
- No futile endless running about chasing something of no particular value.
I like Grey Box Forest.
We found some Flame Robins down by the old dam area, and to our mutual surprise a Pink Robin female.
I was photographing some ‘log-dancing’ between two territorial Red-capped Robin males, when a ginger/gold/rufous/orange flash quite literally sped by my ear.
A Rufous Fantial. First one I’d seen in years. Move over Sir Edmund Hilary, and Chris Bonington. This is serious business.
The Rufous, as pointed out at the beginning is a very infrequent visitor. It also has the most beautiful orange tail. A photo of that is like planting a flag on Mt Everest. One of the most gorgeous examples of it was taken may years ago by an expert bushman. (he has also featured here before)
Alan (Curley) Hartup made a wonderful shot with a beaten up Mamyia C22 and a roll of filum. Yes, filum. It was exhibited and won Curley many well deserved awards and accolades. Look back and you’ll find a the shot featured on the Hartup Exhibtion flyer and for more on Curley see here.
One thing I learned about photographing this bird. It is fast. So fast in fact that it makes the average Grey Fantail seem glacial. And your average Grey Fantail is no slacker in either the speed or irrational flying behaviour departments.
“Perhaps, I should practice more on Grey Fantails,’ says EE. “N0,” says I kindly, and wisely. “The Grey Fantail isn’t in the same speed league.
So we followed the bird, and eventually managed a few close shots.
I struggled to get to the peak. Just couldn’t get the flag in.