Last night I was looking through some of my photos from a few years ago. I am not sure if I ever used the above photo of a White-faced heron taken at Victor Harbor on the south coast of South Australia, but it caught my eye as I scanned the photos taken on that day. (Mmmm… yes I did use it here.)
What an elegant looking bird.
Sometimes the birds we see, and photograph, almost look as if they are deliberately posing for the shot. I like that.
This also proves that even our most common birds can make wonderful subjects for our cameras.
Last Sunday I was in my daughter’s back yard in Clare sitting in lovely winter sunshine. I was intent on the novel I was reading and trying hard not to doze off in the warmth of the sun on my back. A small flock of about a half dozen Musk Lorikeets noisily flew into the neighbour’s almond tree.
I firstly checked them out with the binoculars; I’ve also seen Purple-crowned Lorikeets in this locality. I then grabbed my camera and quietly walked to the fence. Zooming in I could see that they were not going to be easily spooked. The unopened flower buds on the almond tree were obviously good eating. In the next two minutes I managed to get 18 really good photos, some of which I share on this site today.
Musk, Purple-crowned and Rainbow Lorikeets are relatively common and widespread throughout the Mt Lofty Ranges and the mid-north of South Australia, and elsewhere such as the south-east of the state. They can be seen in some places in large numbers, noisily feeding in eucalypt trees in particular.
When they are feeding in the dense canopy of a gum tree (eucalypt) they can be very hard to see, let alone photograph. So seeing them feeding in a tree with little foliage made photography so much easier for me. I wish all birds were so accommodating.
- Purple-crowned Lorikeets at Brown’s Road Monarto
- Purple-crowned Lorikeets
- Rainbow Lorikeets feeding
- Lorikeets and flowering trees
I went for an early morning walk today. It was an enforced walk: I had just taken our car to local garage for a regular service and check up. I could have asked my wife to pick me up in her car but she was still in bed. Despite the early hour, the air was already quite warm and I could understand why most of South Australia has had fire bans issued for the day. Our first burst of hot weather for the summer promises to be a good one. Time to hunker down and do some indoor things. Like reading. Or writing this post.
On my morning walk I was aware of the vast amount of activity on the part of the birds. My walk took exactly 28 minutes to complete and I saw or heard most of the locally resident species along the way, including large numbers of Galahs. The highlight of the walk was two Dusky Woodswallows perched on the fence of a nearby neighbour’s property.
While this species is a regular visitor to our little piece of Australia (5 acres), I can’t call it a resident species. This “pair” of birds – I use the term cautiously – have been sighted on a few occasions in the same spot over the last few weeks. I suspect that they are actually a pair and have a nest nearby. Quite a few years ago a pair nested in one of the trees in our front scrub near our house.
Of course, I didn’t have my camera with me this morning, and my phone camera doesn’t have a zoom sufficient for the job, so I have posted below a photo taken some time ago. This was taken in our scrub near the house.
We had a very pleasant encounter while having breakfast this morning. I was focussed on completing the daily crossword in the newspaper when my wife excitedly drew my attention to the Sacred Kingfisher just outside the window of the sun room where we often eat our meals.
My bird records are not completely up to date, but we are certain it has been several years since we had seen one in our garden, making the sighting just that little bit extra special. I had preciously taken a few photos of this species but rarely at such close quarters. This was about 5 metres away and he couldn’t see us through the glass due to the early morning reflections.
I raced to the office to get my camera – yes – even at my age I can still raise a trot, albeit a modest one. For the next 15 minutes the kingfisher posed in a number of ways for my camera. The results speak for themselves.
In between taking photos we were able to observe some of its unique behaviours. As it sat almost motionless on a dead branch – typical perching behaviour – it would gently bob its tail. It would then turn its head slightly, usually peering intently at the ground. During the 15 minutes it stayed the bird dived like an arrow to the ground to catch its prey. We couldn’t see clearly what it was eating but this species eats beetles, grubs, cockroaches, small lizards like geckos and an assortment of small insects.
This species usually gives away its presence in the bush by its far-reaching ki-ki-ki-ki call. On this occasion it was silent throughout the 15 minutes.
The Sacred Kingfisher is found over much of Australia. They are migratory, moving south to breed in the summer months. Other kingfisher species in the region where I live in South Australia include the very similar Red-backed Kingfisher and the well-known Laughing Kookaburra.
This is just a sample of the best photos I took – out of 36 all together.
I was so inspired by this event that I went and wrote a poem about the encounter. You can read the poem here.
In Meknes we walked past this rectangular reservoir in the heart of the city. When I saw the water I was eager with anticipation at seeing some of the water birds of Morocco. I was disappointed.
On a structure way out in the middle was a solitary Grey heron accompanied by one unidentified duck. Grey Herons are widespread in Africa, Europe and Asia but don’t occur here in Australia, so this one bird was a new species for me. I never saw another one on our trip. Birding can be like that; exciting one day, disappointing the next.
The photos are disappointing too, but it was not surprising because the birds were over one hundred metres away so I was really stretching the capabilities of the zoom lens.