BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

Some of you non-bird photographers probably think it’s quite easy to photograph birds on my balcony.

After all, I am using a 150-500mm lens mostly……and the birds are about 5-15 feet away (the closer shots are made with the Sony a6000 and it’s 55-210mm ‘kit’ lens).

I can assure you it’s not.

Some days, I seem to manage ok, other days its near on impossible as the birds face the wrong way, or walk on the pot rim behind the plant.   There’s a definite skill to getting the one focal point through the plant foliage and onto the bird’s eye OR moving the camera slightly to stop it autofocusing on the dusty rain droplets on the glass windows.

A sharply focused eye is what usually makes for a good bird photo.  The eye is where the viewer’s eye goes straight to (even if the rest of the bird is ‘soft’ in focus).

2 days ago, the Japanese Maple only had faint knobs where the leaf buds were starting to show.

Example below:

Today, the leaf buds are starting to open.

The Canon & 150-500mm lens was too long so I went back to get the Sony a6000 out of its soft pouch and went out to the balcony fence to get the following shot.

I spent some time trying to get the buds in focus on the main tree but the autofocus kept weaving in and out on various small branches.

Then I noticed some small branches which were easier for the autofocus to catch.   This branch was in front of the stairwell/lift wall where the corrugated surface bounces the hot sun onto my balcony garden.


…..and while too far away for this lens, I saw a New Holland Honeyeater sitting on the other Japanese Maple in front of the building’s entrance.   I knew if I went back indoors to change cameras it would have flown away before I could get the shot.  It was lovely to catch sight of a different species of bird now I’m more housebound with this ‘dodgey’ hip and knee etc.

Here are some images (again 😀 ) of the New Holland Honeyeater taken in 2017 just to remind you of what it looks like.

Apart from a crow (or House Raven ?)  landing on my balcony fence for a few seconds last week, I haven’t seen much in the way of the 6-7 bird species that frequent this area this year so far.   I certainly hear the caw-caw of the crows more since the construction workers have been here.

When I went out yesterday I noticed an awful lot of rubbish on the construction site – perhaps the crows/ravens are coming for a rummage around the rubbish?

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Hmmmmmmmm…………….

If you’ve followed my nature blog for a while, you’ll know there is a new apartment building being constructed across the road from my apartment.

THE EUCALYPTUS SAPLING ON THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF THE FRAME WAS LEVEL WITH MY BALCONY FENCE WHEN I MOVED HERE IN OCTOBER 2016. NOW, IT’S GROWN ABOUT 5 FEET HIGHER. WOULDN’T IT BE NICE IF IT GREW MORE TO THE LEFT AND HID THE GROUND FLOOR OF THE NEW CONSTRUCTION ALTOGETHER?

Yesterday and this morning, the workers were making such a loud noise I could barely think.   In fact I figured that’s why I had so many House Sparrows visiting my balcony garden yesterday.   They could barely hear each other tweet!

They were making an even louder noise (than the construction workers), which sounded just like the birds were arguing.  They might have been fed up with the noise next to their ‘hedge’ homes (in the middle of the photo frame).

The construction is only up to the second floor and they’ve been at it (with a 6 month break in the middle) for nearly a year.   At the rate they’re going, it will take them another year before they finish the whole apartment building.

Already my sunsets have been cut dramatically when I’m watching from my desk in front of the lounge windows.   Probably enough to close down my Sunrise, Sunset blog.

But this morning, I realised the sun would disappear below the roofline of the finished builiding much earlier in the afternoon and my west-facing balcony would fall into shadow much, much earlier.

Perhaps I need to rethink my Spring seedlings purchases?  I won’t receive as much sun this coming Summer.

On a lighter note, this little female Superb Fairy-wren has been missing for a couple of days, but made a quick ‘pit-stop’ just now to check out the grazing potential.

What a joy it is to see her again.

 

WATTLE (Acacia)

Commonly known as WATTLE, Acacia is the largest genus of vascular plants in Australia. Australia’s national floral emblem is Acacia pycnantha, the Golden Wattle.

Wattle Day is celebrated on the 1st of September each year.

I never knew Acacia flowers also come in pink, (Sunshine Wattle – Acacia terminalis), until I moved to this western suburb of Melbourne and found a bush next to the Maribyrnong River walking trail, near my current home.

…….and when I lived next to the Yarra River on the north-east side of Melbourne in Abbotsford, the river was lined with Wattle Plants and made for a beatiful walk at this time of the year.   I don’t know what all the different varieties are called, just that if I get too close, I start sneezing.   These bushes are not an allergy-sufferers best friend.