One of my favourite things to point my camera towards are birds, sometimes you get lucky with one that lands nearby but most of the time getting great photos of birds involves lots of patient waiting. It helps to spend time just watching and learning their behaviours and letting them get comfortable with you being there.
These are some of my favourites from the last few months…
This Welcome swallow was one of those ‘right place, right time moments’ – I was coming back from a morning out on Wyaralong dam and making my way through the trees when I saw this fella watching me glide past. Normally they wouldn’t let you get anywhere near this close but it must have been curious. You normally see them swooping low over the ground or water, eating and drinking on the wing.
This is a Beach Stone Curlew, one of many threatened coastal species, who lives near the Sandon river mouth. I had seen the pair of them earlier in the morning and then later saw them moving alongside a water way so I took a wide path around and set myself in a a spot with some good lighting and sat waiting for them to approach me. I got few photos as they approached closer and closer until just after this shot when I was spotted and they headed off in a different direction.
This pair of Bar-tailed Godwits had a pretty clear boundary that they were uncomfortable with me being in. When I was outside that boundary they were happily wading and feeding but as soon as I got too close they would move away until they were at their comfort distance before continuing to feed. When I was sitting still and they approached me they would get a little closer but not much. These birds migrate incredible distances every year and it is vitally important that they get enough nutrition. Consequently I was very conscious of disturbing them as little as possible and moved away after I got a few photos.
This flock of Australasian Grebes were fascinating to watch as they coordinated their fishing efforts. I watched as the moved slowly through the water maintaining a tight circle and rotating through ducking under the water to catch whatever it was they were after. This shot was taken as they moved through a group of Hardhead ducks, they seem to all have a look of determination as they swim towards me.
From the same hide I was sitting in watching the Grebes fishing, I also saw this Comb-crested Jacana moving improbably over the water lillies. Sometimes called the ‘Jesus bird’ for its ability to seemingly walk on water. In this shot you can see how incredibly long their toes are, allowing them to spread their weight over a wide surface area.
Birds are always so interesting to watch, even the common ones in your backyard have interesting features and behaviours. Why don’t you take a few minutes to sit outside in your garden or a local park and just watch – I can almost guarantee there will be more birds than you realise.
Part 2 to follow…