The last burst of sunshine for a week or so according to the weather prognosticators, the icon ladies, and the general look out the door.
So with just a little light left we decided to go looksee along 29 Mile Road.
No Kites. Orion has hunted the area dry it seems. (Perhaps those Olympian gods can now justifiably enjoy their umbrage.)
Lot of noise on the fence line just off the road. A small family of Golden-headed Cisticolas were intent on something.
And putting it all together after the event, I do believe I might have stumbled on a Cisticola version of “The Gunfight at OK Corral”
Seems that two males were going at it with a will, and all the family came out to see the event.
One of the major tactics it turns out is a lot of Ztttt Zttt yelling, and wing waving and turning and flicking of tail. This last technique is done with back to the opponent so they get to see just how serious you are.
Hard to work out in this little melodrama who was Wyatt Earp, and who was the various Clantons, but none the less the seriousness of it all can not be overlooked.
After about 10 minutes of dancing along the fence, turning and twisting that little tail and much Zrrrtt Zrrrt calls, one flew off leaving the other one the undisputed King of the Post. Well at least that is the way I’m writing it.
Checking out the Neighbourhood!
So says the assignment. So I got to take a bit of a spin around the blog (block) and dropped by a few sights (sites).
First up is a look at some of the architecture and bird locations in Perth.
Try Here. Somewhere42
Then a bit of a stretch of the legs in the Seven League Boots to find a spot on Chesapeake Bay. (Every since I was a little taker, the scenery and people of Chesapeake have been a bit of a magnet to me. I’ve never been there, but have enjoyed many fine stories and photos from the area.
Next stop is Blue Note Photos. A Musician who has a skill with the camera and enjoys those moments of creative expression. Stuff we’d probably all like to explore, and here it is happening. Blue Note Photos. Enjoy
And after all that energy, some relaxation with Perry Battles who shares some fine thoughts on Tai Chi Practice for tranquility.
and just to finish off.
Here is shot from last evening of a Silver Gull ‘walking’ on water. It was using its wings to ‘hover in position’, and then step from wave to wave as the water rolled underneath. They are the masters of the air.
For the Technically ept. Shot with the D7100 and a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a TC1.7 converter. I’ve set the crop size to 1.3x in camera, as I’m experimenting with what the new focus system on (my) new D500 might be like with the focus points spread over more of the viewfinder area. I wouldn’t normally bother, rather cropping from a full sized image, but its intriguing to think the focusing mechanism will do with the focus points right to the edge on the new D500.
Time to add another chapter to the Complete Guide for “Sneaking” up on a Swamp Harrier.
By now we have established some golden rules to ‘sneaking’ up on a Swamp Harrier.
For those who skim read, here they are.
Rule 1. You Don’t Sneak up on a Swamp Harrier.
Rule 2. None known in the universe.
We adopted a new technique the other evening. Find a spot to park, setup chairs, open picnic basket, ignore Swamp Harriers. Actually the real reason of course for the visit was the ever elusive White-bellied Sea-eagle.
The tide, Mr An Onymous had revealed to me in a private conversation was a low-low tide around sunset.
Armed with this vital piece of data, EE and I decided a picnic evening meal watching the sun set over other bay would be as good as any reason to travel down to the WTP, so as the Banjo has often been quoted. We went.
To Picnic Point. Well its actually 175W Outflow and there is a big blue sign there warning of E coli and all sorts of other nasties, (but not about Swamp Harriers), but for the sake of the exercise we’ll call it Picnic Point from here on.
The technical term, low-low tide means this is one of those tides that makes those funny tidal graphs drop really low on the page. And it means in practice that the water level drops dramatically and reveals the mud/sand flats out several hundred metres. With such exposed areas, the small shore birds, (waders), come in their tens of thousands to gobble up as much rich food as they can.
And because of that low-low tide, the Sea-eagle can patrol looking for an easy snack, either to take alive, or to find carrion. Its an either/or for said Sea-eagle, and if all goes well, from our Picnic Point, it will patrol along the mudflats in great light, in close and will do some really clever Sea-eagle activity and we’ll get some good images.
Which of course as you can see leads us to sneaking up on Swamp Harriers.
Not to be out done the Clever Brown Bird has also worked out the low-low tide might just bring it the snack it so deserves.
We are hull down among the bushes. The Swamp Harriers patrol through the scrub.
From previous chapters, its pretty obvious to me that the Swampie has the area well and truly mapped. Nothing is a surprise to the average head-down hunting bird. There is no “Oh look a fox killed duck, I might just swoop down and pick it up”. No, it knows the carcass is there, because it wasn’t there the time before. And humans, well they either drive around in circles or are large blobs standing against the horizon and easily spotted and avoided.
And for those fortunate souls picnicking at Picnic Point, well they stand out among the bushes as much as anything and from a distance can also be avoided. Needless to say, based on these facts. We didn’t get a close encounter with a Harrier all evening. But. We did see a Sea-eagle.
A White-bellied Sea-eagle with a catch is as Jane Austen once wrote, “in need of friends”,(well I paraphrased the good Jane just a bit).
We are at Lake Borrie in the Western Treatment Plant, early morning, far out in the middle of the Lake a young Sea-eagle has scored. (Best guess is a Pink-eared Duck).
As it settles down to prepare its meal, out of the sky drops all the Kites and Harriers in the area. Each one wanting to be the Sea-eagles best friend. “Comeon mate, share it about, I’m your best mate, maahte.”
The Sea-eagle doesn’t see that opportunity to increase its Friends list on FB and doggedly proceeded to pluck and consume the feast.
Not that the big birds didn’t try. The Harriers tried their usual ‘spook’ tactics, the Kites a variety of out staring and then hostile aggression, the ravens a mixture of sheer cunning and brute force, but in the the end, the Sea-eagle persisted.
For the Technically Ept: These images are shot on the D810, mostly with the TC 2.0iii on the 300mm f/2.8, Tripod mounted, with a 4kg bean bag to weigh it all down. And the new addition in the D810, the Electronic First Shutter ,which eliminates shutter/mirror bounce on long lenses. (Wish I’d had that with the old 600mm.).
Huge crops as the bird is so far away in the middle of the lake.
Just about to settle down for a fine breakfast and…