Archive for April, 2011

Pelican in flight

Australian Pelican near Murray Mouth, South Australia

I recently visited Goolwa near the mouth of Australia’s longest river, the Murray. While doing some bird photography in the area this Australian Pelican took off from the river. I managed a reasonable photo of the bird as shown above. One of the challenges ahead of me is to gain more experience in taking shots of birds in flight. Species like gulls and terns can make excellent subjects for this type of photography because they often swoop or glide low overhead enabling good action shots. Slow moving birds like pelicans and eagles can also be good practice.

I still have plenty to learn in this area.

Let’s all have a bird shower

Shower time in the bird bath

The birds in our garden really enjoy bathing in the bird baths we have provided. On warm days there is a constant stream of birds representing many species coming to drink and bathe. Sometimes it is not unusual to have 10 – 15 birds bathing, or waiting to bathe.

The New Holland Honeyeaters shown in this series of photos are perhaps the most demonstrative of all the species. They will often come in numbers, screeching out to family and friends to come and join them while the water goes in all directions. In fact, on hot days I need to replenish the water at least once a day, sometimes more.

In this series of photos I have captured more than just birds having a bath. The water sprays every where, creating a sort of ‘bird shower’ effect. The solitary Common Starling manages to keep its composure in the midst of all the chaos around him.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Shower time in the bird bath

Shower time in the bird bath

Shower time in the bird bath

An evil looking bird

Willie Wagtail at one of our bird baths

I was recently sorting through a few of my bird photos and came across this shot of a Willie Wagtail at one of the bird baths in our garden. Nothing unusual about that; they come most days for a drink or a bath.

What struck me about the photo was how evil the eyes of the harmless little Willie Wagtail can sometimes look, especially when enlarged like the shot above. It seems to be saying: ‘Don’t mess with me, buster.’

In reality, this species is known for its feisty attitude towards other bird species, especially any who dare come near to their nest or young. I have even seen one attacking our largest raptor, the Wedge-tailed Eagle. This eagle has a wingspan of about 280cm, whereas the little Willie Wagtail would be stretching to span 20cm. In fact, the Willie Wagtail is not slow at attacking a human, often swooping and even giving one a peck on the head for getting too close to the babies.

For comparison, I’ve included below the original photo before I enlarged it.

Willie Wagtail at one of our bird baths

Birding in Western Australia

It has been far too many years since my last visit to Western Australia. In fact, I’m probably some 30 years overdue for a return visit. This is a serious oversight on my part. The country there is beautiful, the people great, he flowers amazing and the birding first class.

Sadly I don’t have nay photos of Western Australian birds to share with you today. (Note to self: scan onto my computer all those slides taken so many years ago.) What I do have to share is a new blog based on WA birds; it’s only a few weeks old and has already set a high standard for sites about our birds.

The site is called Leeuwin Current Birding: a Western Australian Birding Blog.