Red-caps and Flame Robins

Redcap 106 by birdsaspoetry
Redcap 106, a photo by birdsaspoetry on Flickr.

The weather is certainly not co-operating for bird photographers. We have been out about 6 times and only one of them has had any sunshine, and when it did, the birds were no where to be found.
After looking at the gloomy weather in the morning, it was already time to call it quits, but I had changed cameras due to a technical glitch with one of them. (Technical glitch is tech speak for the #@$$% shutter packed it in and it will have to take a trip to camera hospital, and most likely the outcome will be, “Cheaper to buy a new camera mate”, always said with a smile.
So to try out the old system, we loaded up, and headed on out.
It is so late in the season now, that the Flames are not likely to be seen as a flock, in fact, my guess is that another week and they will be gone.
Found Lockie and Primrose, both very busy with the business of breakfast. She captured a great big moth, and spent a few seconds tendering it up on a brach, before gulping it down and looking very pleased with herself.
We also found a small hunting family of Flame Robins and they were very furtive. One landed in a tree and gave me a few seconds to get a peekaboo shot through the leaves.
Also saw a pair a of Scarlet Robins. We are both hoping that they will setup a territory. He is most vocal and travels about the canopy displaying as he goes. Time I guess will tell.

Via Flickr:
This little male was hunting in the early morning rain, and took to working from a stump about 6 metres from me. He filled the frame on the 500m +TC2.0, and when he dropped on to the ground to feed he was beyond the closest focus of the lens, but I had a really good view of him that close. DOF is so small that its legs and eyes, cap and chest iin focus, everything else is out of focus.

These images I’ve posted directly. Cannot figure out how to get them out of Flickr as a set.

This bird landed in a small growth tree and proceeded to play peekaboo through the leaves at me. The TC20 on the 500mm lens made autofocus a real nightmare. But. The result was worth the persistence.
Sometimes images make me smile and this one does.
This female has already built at least one nest, and is starting to show the egg patch in her chest feathers. Perhaps with a few days of warmer weather she might be ready to lay.
This is one of two males in a small hunting party. They are moving so quickly through the scrub now as they bulk up for their soon coming journey to the high country. He landed just near my camera position but was gone without stopping to feed. Obviously looking for the best stuff now.
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Foggy Morning with Robins

The lack of posts here has little to do with enthusiasm and much to do with the weather.  When its been good weather, I have been elsewhere, and when I’m all set to go to the paddocks, the weather turns viral.

But I loaded up the Driazabone (and they are which is why they are so good), and headed out.  The weather went from inclement to downright foggy.  I had trouble seeing cars coming along the track to the forest.

And it really didn’t get much better.  However a good trusty tripod is such a good thing, even if its a bit heavy.  Or gets left behind in the marshes and requires a return trip just to retrieve the missing tripod in the middle of the night. (Don’t ask, just put it down to old timers forgetfulness).

I’ve taken of late to shooting from the tripod with it very low to the ground, legs stretched out and laying behind it.  It gives the feeding birds an interesting perspective and makes the depth-of-field, both a challenge and an opportunity. Harder to nail focus on small birds, but when it does the soft backgrounds don’t get in the way. The robins on the moss beds are standing on a very narrow sharp area and everything else is out of focus. Old bones do creak a bit when I get up to move but.

The wonderful thing about mist for a photographer is soft delicate light that comes from it all, and the lovely moody effects it adds to landscapes.  It’s a bit tough through when the bird is about 8 metres away and the mist makes the image all soft and fuzzy.

But as a photographer mate says, “The light now melds over everything it touches”, and he’s right.  No harsh shadows, no contrasts, soft muted colours and light that edges its way around three dimensionally.  Super.

The robins have indeed become conspicuously absent the past few times.  The much anticipated flock hasn’t eventuated and its really small isolated families that move rapidly from place to place. But there are a few gems among them.

Male Red-cap in the soggy grass. He is a bit wet from hunting about, and very wary of me.
Another “Fatboy”. This male was on his own. He found a super big purple worm, but took off with it before I had a chance to get some eating shots. I found him on a branch looking decidedly overweight.
Another Red-capped Male. I had to walk a long way in to find him and again he was very wary of me. But the light just enveloped him.