Last month my family and I visited the Australian Reptile Park north of Sydney. As well as a great collection of reptiles the park also boasts a good collection of birds in aviaries. I have featured some of these over recent posts and have still a few more to add in the coming days.
The setting of the park near the town of Gosford is in the heart of forested areas of the Blue Mountains (part of the Great Dividing Range in eastern Australia). Because of its location the natural birdlife is quite prolific. Some of the wild birds take advantage of the food provided for some of the animals, including the caged birds.
The Red-browed finch featured in today’s photos is one such species. They were able to fly in and out through the wire of the aviary holding much larger parrots. This gave them easy access to the seed trays. It might have been easy for the birds, but taking their photo was not easy for me; I had to avoid getting the wire in the photo. Shooting through the wire of an aviary is always a challenge.
On this occasion there was an added challenge to getting these birds in focus: the finches were a little coy and keep just out of view behind the parrot feeding tray. I’m not sure if they were just a little shy, or that the parrots had spilled all the best seeds out of the tray.
My wife and I are currently visiting family in Sydney. Yesterday we were free from helping out with the grandchildren for a few hours, so we packed a picnic lunch and headed out to a few potential birding spots.
One of the places I was keen to revisit after many years was Long Reef Point next to the Long Reef Golf Course, Dee Why north-east of Sydney CBD.
It was a cool, dull, overcast day and the birding was quite slow. Despite this I made quite a nice little list of local resident birds but few photos. While there I realised it was the wrong time of year. Most of the migrant wading birds had long flown north to Asia for our winter. Wise birds.
During our visit, my wife and I sat quietly on a rock at the top of the point reaching out to sea from the mainland. Watching the waves come in can be very good for the soul, and very relaxing. We were pleased that it was a calm day; on windy days one could easily get blown off the cliff onto the beach or rocks below.
As we sat quietly a family of Variegated fairy-wrens came to visit within a few metres of where we sat. Despite the fact that wrens move incredibly quickly, I was able to get several good shots, shown on today’s post. The one below of female is quite delightful. It looks for all the world like she is scolding us for intruding on their territory.
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
One of the advantages of travelling on the River Murray by boat is that occasionally the birds allow the viewers to approach quite close.
The photos of Australian Pelicans shown on today’s post were taken a few months ago at Narrung near the ferry crossing. This crossing is part of the River Murray system linking Lakes Alexandrina and Albert, not all that far from the mouth of the Murray.
Many of my photos – like those shown here today – are now available from my product store TrevorsPhotos including T shirts, caps, mugs, cards and many more items.
One of the photography skills I am trying to perfect is taking shots of birds in flight. I don’t get all that many opportunities to practise, so when birds cooperate and fly slowly just over head I have a go – provided I have my camera at the ready.
On our recent trip across Lake Alexandrina (see previous two posts) several Australian Pelicans flew low over our boat, circling it several times before moving on elsewhere. I had the camera in my hand since I was taking photos of the nearby cliffs and it was ready to shoot.
I am quite pleased with the results.