Archive for July, 2011

A missed birding opportunity

A Brown falcon flying away from my camera

Many people have commented on the photos shown here on my birding site. Thankfully, most of the comments are complimentary. When I do public presentations about birds like I did a few nights ago I also get many ooohs and aaahs when I show certain photos. Just to show that not all my photos are fabulous and gasp worthy, today I present one that got away. A missed opportunity.

Last year as I was driving near Palmer on my way to stay with my daughter in Clare, I stopped at a lookout. The view from this vantage point over the River Murray valley is spectacular and so I stopped to take a few photos, not being in a hurry on this occasion. As I pulled up I noticed a Brown Falcon perched on a nearby tree. I whipped out the camera – only to see the bird take flight. I snapped anyway, hoping for a spectacular shot.

It was not to be.

You get that. I guess that for every lovely photo shown here I’d take 4 or 5 or even more that never pass the test and never appear here or anywhere else. Most just get deleted from my computer files. That’s photography for you, especially in the challenging field of nature photography. So to compensate, I’ve included below a shot of a Brown Falcon taken on another occasion at the nearby Monarto Zoo, an open range conservation area near our home. On this occasion the bird posed for me in a most considerate way.

It’s moments like this that make nature photography so worthwhile.

Good birding.

Brown Falcon, Monarto Zoo

Talking about birds

Red Capped Robin

Last night I was guest speaker at a local church fellowship group. I chose as my topic “Lessons from the birds”, drawing examples from the behaviour and habits of our Australian birds which illustrate principles mentioned in the Bible. I used some of the photos shown here on this site over recent years. The photo above was one of them and was much admired by those present.

This presentation made something of a departure from my normal illustrated talks about Australian birds where I only talk about the habits and distribution of the birds I choose to include in the photos. I’m very comfortable with either approach. I have yet another method when I talk to the local bird club. Being aviculturists I tend to talk only about those birds commonly kept in captivity. In tailoring my talks to the intended audience, I find that people are far more attentive.

This most recent talk was for a local organisation, one of the churches in our city. I am prepared to travel and present talks about our beautiful birds and only ask that my travelling costs be covered.

Last night gave me the opportunity to use my new data projector for the first time too.

Good birding.

Red-rumped parrots and the morning paper

Red-rumped parrot (male)

This morning I walked down our long driveway to collect the newspaper. I heard a twittering in the tree above me and I was delighted to see two Red-rumped Parrots. A male and female with the male perched in the early morning sunshine lighting up the beautiful colours.

This is a common and widespread species in our region, the lower Murray River district of South Australia. Despite being common in our area, we rarely have them visit our garden and five acre block. I find this both strange and disapppointing; strange that I can’t account for them not visiting, and disappointing because they are such beautiful birds.

Of course, I didn’t have my camera with me, and they didn’t hang around long enough for me to race inside, fire up the camera, and chase them down. You get that.

So… I’ve included in this post some photos I prepared earlier. I took these on a recent visit to Riverglades, a wetland over the other side of the Murray River from our home.

They are beautiful birds, especially the colourful male. The female is much duller.

Good birding.

Red-rumped parrot (male)

Red-rumped parrots (male on left, female on right)

Tawny Frogmouths roosting

Tawny Frogmouth, Blackwood, South Australia

Yesterday we had the opportunity to visit friends in Blackwood in the Adelaide Hills. They have an extensive collection of native Australian plants grown over many years. They are about to downsize by moving elsewhere and my wife was invited to come and get whatever cuttings she wanted. She loves opportunities like this and uses the cuttings to propagate more plants.

The weather was bitterly cold, overcast and blowing a gale – when it wasn’t raining. Not a great day for birding, you’d think. Well, the list I made was rather short but made up for by getting great photos of a pair of Tawny Frogmouths in a neighbour’s tree. It was close to the fence and easy to get some great shots. I am confident in calling them a pair as our friends told me that they have successfully raised several broods in recent years.

The nesting boxes in the tall gum trees in their garden have also had the following nesting in them in recent years: Galah, Eastern Rosella, Adelaide Rosella and Brush-tailed Possum.

Tawny Frogmouth, Blackwood, South Australia

Tawny Frogmouth, Blackwood, South Australia

Tawny Frogmouth, Blackwood, South Australia

A wonderful welcome home

Peaceful Dove, Cleland Wildlife Park

We’ve been away visiting family in Sydney for the last few weeks. It was lovely to play with my 2.5 year old grandson. Over the coming few weeks I’ll be writing more about the birds I saw there and on the drive over and back. We covered 2910km by car over 5 days, so I’ve lots to share. Stay tuned.

On the morning after arriving home I took out a basket of washing to hang on the clothes line. Quite close to our back veranda I disturbed a Peaceful Dove feeding on the ground. This was the closest to the house I’ve observed this species. It was a wonderful – and peaceful – welcome home. The bird flew off a short distance and landed in a nearby tree. It sat there for a few moments, giving its soft peaceful “doodle-doo” call. Love that.

While this species is widespread in our district we don’t always have it present in our garden. At best it is an occasional visitor. Pity about that; I’d love to have it here all the time.

Good birding.