NEWELL’S PADDOCK WETLANDS & CONSERVATION AREA

This image is cropped about 65% of the original and I was handholding my heavy telephoto lens and DSLR, despite the weight..

I’m forever wanting more (than I can get) in nature photography in the western suburbs of Melbourne.  I admit it’s one of the few frustrations in life these days. I currently live in one of the most absorbing and fascinating green belts along the Maribyrnong River and yet………..even with a long telephoto lens……….usually handheld –  I can never seem to get close enough to the bird life.

I really enjoy the challenge of bird photography.

The spotting of a previously unseen species.

The identification of it from my Photographic Field Guide – Birds of Australia – by Jim Flegg (which is an excellent guide if you’re in to bird photography in Australia).

The observation of the individuals and how they interact with each other is fascinating.  The Willy Wagtail, such a relatively small bird, taunting and attacking several enormous crows is an interesting example.  Willy Wagtails seem to be very territorial and become aggressive warriors if other birds fly near their nests.

Or the numerous Noisy Miners on the ground, on posts or in trees.  I see them everywhere here in the Western Suburbs.

Last Friday’s trip to Newell’s Paddock Nature reserve and the wetlands area was a prime example.  It was only my second visit since I moved to the area about 7 months ago.  And walking over the squishy carpet of succulents in and around the main pond, I couldn’t get as close as I would like.

A bright shaft of Autumn sunlight lit up a ball of whitish-grey ‘fluff” on some tall grass at the edge of the island in the main pond last week.

It was a hand-held shot using my 150-500mm lens (despite the lower back and neck pain I’m currently experiencing).

I just couldn’t identify it on my newish large 27″ Dell screen at home.

I cropped the image down considerably and stared at the tiny ball of fluff on the computer screen for ages.   Didn’t help that I hadn’t used a tripod and the image was a little soft in focus.

I’d never seen any bird quite like it.

Finally, the other night, I decided it was a very, very young – maybe only a few days old (?) – Silvereye (Zosterops laterals).

Here’s an image I made in the Royal Botanic Gardens in late February 2011, a couple of months after I bought my first DSLR.

Silvereye – Zosterops lateralis

…..and here’s a cropped version of the same image.

Silvereye – Zosterops lateralis

These birds are incredibly hard to spot in heavy foliage.   In fact, its usually the eye between the foliage you see first.

I’ve finally decided that the ball of fluff on the island in the Newell’s Paddock Wetlands pond is this same bird.  It’s the faint white circle around the eye of the fluffy ball that’s given me the clue.

I know these tiny shy birds are seen regularly in Newell’s Paddock via a pdf on Birds in Newell’s Paddock I came across by sheer chance on the Internet (which I’ve now bookmarked).

What do you think?

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12 thoughts on “NEWELL’S PADDOCK WETLANDS & CONSERVATION AREA

  1. You did some very good sleuth work Vicki! The Silvereye is a very pretty bird and that little one is just darling!
    I think it’s a rule of shooting wildlife that you never have a lens big enough.

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    1. You’re right about wildlife and lenses, Terry.
      I figured, with the Sigma 150-500mm lens I’d ALWAYS get close enough in suburbia or down the bayside beaches, but no.
      I can’t afford a longer lens, or hold anything heavier, that’s for sure.

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      1. Yes, both are problems. I’ve seen some of the equipment that people use to photograph at the National Bison Range here and their lenses are huge and probably cost more than my cars. They wouldn’t suit me even if I could afford them.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I should go back with a tripod and see if I can find it again, RR. Or perhaps buy a pair of gumboots to walk over the succulents to the pond edge. Can’t see if there’s a puddle with the carpet of succulents. They’re worse than grass for hiding low lying water.

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