Over the last few days I have been sharing some of the photos I took several weeks ago when I took time out from my busy schedule to do some birding. Despite being a chilly winter’s day, the conditions were quite acceptable and it was good to feel some sunshine after all the dull wet weather we’ve had so far this year.
One of the birds I enjoy seeing most times along the Murray River here in Murray Bridge is the Darter, shown in the photos below. One has to be quick to see this species in the water when it’s fishing. It dives quickly and often stays under water for a considerable length of time. After every period of feeding, every Darter and every cormorant needs to find a suitable perch and “hang out the washing”, that is, they need to dry their wings before they become waterlogged and drown.
I was able to approach this individual to within five metres as it perched there. Interestingly, this one appears to be an immature female, going by the plumage.
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.)
Sydney Trip June 2011
I written a number of times recently about our trip earlier this year to visit family in Sydney. On our way home we took a little extra time to stop off and do a little birding at key spots, usually lunch times or when we stopped to have a cuppa. Instead of taking only 2 days to come home we took an extra day. I’ll be sharing some of my sightings and photos of the birds seen in the coming days.
On the second day coming home we stopped at Balranald, NSW to have lunch. We drove down to the picnic area on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River (see photo above). One of the birds seen was a solitary Great Crested Grebe, shown in the photo below.
Australasian Grebes are very common on lakes, rivers and wetlands in Australia, as are Hoary Headed Grebes. Great Crested Grebes – in my experience – are nowhere near as common and therefore any sighting is exciting. They are also spectacular birds to see, especially during courtship displays. Sadly, this one was a long way away from my camera, and because I’ve not yet learned to walk on water, the resulting photo is way below my usually high standards. Sigh.
Never mind; one day I will capture a great photo of this great species.
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.
Adelaide Zoo has only two flamingos, a Chilean Flamingo and a Greater Flamingo. They occupy the flamingo grotto built in in 1885, a specially made quiet corner of the zoo. Only a low fence separates them from the admiring public. They usually make excellent photo opportunities as they feed in their small pond.
You can read further information about these birds from the Adelaide Zoo website, including details of distribution, diet and other interesting facts. The pages include short videos of the birds: