A few weeks ago we had a family reunion barbecue at our home for the occasion of my grandson’s 3rd birthday. He was over here from Sydney. Family also came down from the mid north of South Australia for the get together.
Later in the afternoon we had a picnic at Sturt Reserve near the banks of the Murray River here in Murray Bridge. With four children under the age of 9 we thought it good for them to burn off some energy on the playground before they undertook the long journey home.
I took my young nephew on a walk along the river bank. At one point we stopped to watch the local Bunyip – the only specimen of this fearsome mythological creature in captivity. It’s well trained; on inserting a dollar coin in the slot it will rise up out of its watery bed and roar in a frightening way.
While we were watching the monster strut its stuff I was aware of some Welcome Swallows flying in and out of the cage. One swallow was not flying much and I realised it was a recently fledged bird. It posed obligingly for my camera, and watched me from about a metre away.
Bird photography doesn’t get any better than that.
Warning: Don’t get frightened as you scroll down through the photos below because there is a photo of the dreaded Bunyip.
On my recent birding trip to Mannum (South Australia) I photographed this mystery bird.
I’m not at all certain what it is. The closest I can come to a reasonable ID is a female Brown Songlark. The colour is right, the markings feasible and size – about the size of a reedwarbler – is also about right. It was about 40 metres from the edge of the Murray River and didn’t give any calls.
Over to my readers for help.
A skill I admire in nature photographers is getting great still photos of moving birds or animals. It’s something I am still very much a novice at and will need to practise much more to get it right.
While this photo of a Black Kite soaring over the Murray River at Mannum taken a few weeks ago is not brilliant, I’m still quite pleased with it. Mind you, it has had a little treatment on my computer to enhance certain elements.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Grebes are not easy to photograph – well, that’s my experience, anyway. They are either too far away way out in the middle of a body of water, or they dive under the water as soon as you have them in focus.
Oh, the joys of nature photography!
Still, I should be pleased that his Australasian Grebe cruised around on the Murray River at Mannum a few weeks ago long enough for me to get some shots. It wasn’t all that interested in diving and it was close into shore. Sometimes the birds either enjoy being photographed – or the take pity on me!
Mmmm…having a closer look at the photos now I can’t help wondering if I’ve actually taken shots of two different birds. The one above looks different compared with the one below. (My memory is good enough to remember that the two shots below were a few seconds apart; the top photo was taken six minutes earlier according to the digital properties of the photo.)
A few weeks ago I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon birding in and around Mannum, about a 20 minute drive north of home. The Murray River and its environment are the dominant feature of this town, an old paddle steamer port in the 1800s. I went for a walk along a walking trail on the riverside opposite the town. The trail starts just south of the ferry crossing.
I was delighted with the birding on that fine, pleasant spring day. One of the best species I saw was the Superb Fairy-wren. This stunning bird is always a good sighting and that can come up quite close in picnic areas. This family was just a little wary and it took quite a while and some patience to get several good shots of the male in all his colouful splendour.