Studio Werkz: Restless Flycatcher, on the Run

Be like the forces of nature: 
when it blows, there is only wind; 
when it rains, there is only rain; 
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.
Lao Tzu

When I was a mere broth of a photographer, and knee deep in learning the craft, one of the big studio swings was away from formal portraits in a studio and more to ‘environmental portraits’, as they became known.

I’ve blogged on this process here before and over on Studio Werkz, and the studio I was working with, at the time, was quite slow in making the ‘customer’ perceived change and ‘that mob’ down the road with their shiny new Hasselblads made the running. Yet the young-gun in me was always eager to explore new opportunities. And like hand-coloured black and white photos, the old studio portrait gave way to the more ‘exciting and involving’ outdoor portrait.

As much of my own direction turned to product photography the need to embrace the new age really didn’t catch me.  After all who wants to see their precious white-porcelain bathroom bowl posed against some tree/plant/water feature or industrial backdrop.

Yet, I have to be among the first to acknowledge, the chance to use the power of the ‘around’ and the available light has always given me a real pleasure when I get to do the occasional, informal portrait.

I’ve been contemplating my own bird photography of late, and while I enjoy the camaraderie of the Flickr page tis  a tough medium to encapsulate the images that go into making a story of the birds.  Long time readers will recall the earliest blogs here were much more the sharing of time with a bird or pair or family as it seemed to me to bring the story of their important lives.

So, I have considered combining Studio Werks into BirdasPoetry, and share the challenges of the craft of portrait stories.

Which of course takes us directly into the field and in this case a sunny morn at the You Yangs.

And almost before we had the cameras out of the car, the shrill, Zhhhhht, Zhhhhht, Zhhhht.  Pling pling pling, of a Restless Flycatcher rang in our ears.

Continue reading “Studio Werkz: Restless Flycatcher, on the Run”


You Yangs Interlude: Some Days are Diamonds

Been a bit frantic with a number of projects the past week or so, and have a bit more to add to Studio Werkz.
EE suggested a bit of a break from serious bird photography, and an early morning at the You Yangs Park sounded about right.

Continue reading “You Yangs Interlude: Some Days are Diamonds”

You, Leave my Babies ALONE!

Went to visit the Jacky Nursery last evening.
Both parents are busy looking after the two fledglings, now ensconced in separate trees.  One little dude had chosen to fly in and land in a tree that White-plumed Honeyeaters consider “their territory”.


Continue reading “You, Leave my Babies ALONE!”

Flying with Jacky Winter

I’ve made the statement before that Jacky Winter are birds that have stolen my heart.

They are not the most startling of colour, nor do they seem to have a particular outstanding feature that makes them a special bird.  They used to carry the unfortunate name, “Lesser Fascinating Bird”, so that should be a hint as to how we’ve seen them in the past.
They have a pleasant nature, and don’ t seemed too fussed by us humans. And once they have id’d us, they seem to settle into tolerance bordering on disdain.

We were in the You Yangs some weeks back and it was casually mentioned, “Oh, I saw a Jacky Winter down near the old school building”, as in— well that ticked Lesser Fascinating Bird off my list, have you seen anything important?  It was enough to make me stop on the way out and scout around.

Already to go

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The Bird who comes down to walk upon the Earth

Spotted Pardalote. The bird of rumour and voice.  Mostly we never see them. Hidden among the topmost leaves, their tiny call recognisable, but impossible sometimes to locate.
To nest, they descend to the earth, dig an incredible tunnel — up to 60cm or more and setup house for the 3 weeks it takes to lay, incubate, hatch and fledge their young.

Those of us who walk the earth with them will often find evidence of their nesting activity.  So I suppose do all sorts of feral predators.  Yet, each year they disard their cloak of invisibility and take to the task.

Once complete, its back to the treetops and small tiny peeps that discolose their presence.
They are one of our smallest birds.  I’ve handled a dead one, (hit by a bicyle — the bird didn’t even know what happened, and the rider was oblivious —. I picked it up, still warm,  it fitted into the very centre of the palm of my hand, my thumb twice as large as the bird. I took it to the side of the road, opened up a small hole in the earth and laid it ever-so-gently down.  The warm earth welcomed its little wonder.

They are so prefectly marked.  Rich black, white, deep orange yellow.  Tiny legs that seem like rubber bands as they can stretch and seem to bend to any angle.

While EE was spending time with ‘her’ Juvenile Eastern Yellow Robin — it is now growing to be quite the impressive adult, keeping only just a hint of its juvenile brown feather set now — I looked to see what else was in the area.

A small family of Spotted Pardalote were feeding among some of the smaller gums in the area, and were happy to work in the lower branches while I followed their progress.

Peek-a-boo. Not often easy to find these lovely little birds in the open.
Peek-a-boo. Not often easy to find these lovely little birds in the open.
Often called "The Diamond Bird" because of the head markings
Often called “The Diamond Bird” because of the head markings
What ever the attraction its part of that white substance.
What ever the attraction its part of that white substance.



What ever it was eating fell to the ground and it made a quick trip to pick it up.
What ever it was eating fell to the ground and it made a quick trip to pick it up.


Quite happy to be up close and personal
Quite happy to be up close and personal


Tiny burst of life and colour
Tiny burst of life and colour
Those amazing little legs seem to able to adapt to any angle.
Those amazing little legs seem to able to adapt to any angle.

As enigmatic as ever, they were gone.