I think I missed my Photo-a-Day from my archives yesterday. Like many of you, I have been exploring some more online ordering, now that we are all staying at home and ordered not to go out (except for 4 reasons as specified by the Australian Government), so a little extra time ‘surfing the net’ has occupied my spare time.
For those new to my nature blog, I thought I’d go through my archives right back from the beginning in May 2010 when I first bought a camera and took up photography. I figured a photo-a-day would keep you all entertained while the coronavirus restrictions are in place. Some of you may be spending more time online.
Since I have thousands of photos, you’d think it would be easy to choose one each day, but it’s not. I am hopeless when it comes to choosing one photo over another. I keep finding faults with those early photos too.
Anyway, this photo is for Gary in N.Z. as we were talking about Fantails. (sorry the tail got chopped off).
On the 19th September last year. when the Japanese Maple was bursting with Spring buds and quite bare-limbed, I had the luck to be out on my apartment balcony when a bird landed on the tree in front of my balcony fence. Initially, I thought it was a Willie Wagtail with that white ‘eyebrow’, but then noticed the white cheek patch. I went indoors to get my Australian Bird Guide book out and flipped through the pages.
It was a GREY FANTAIL (Rhipidura fuliginosa). I’ve never seen this species before (or since) despite them being a common bird according to the guide book.
It hopped continually from branch to branch for about 3 hours. Yes, that long. I went outdoors several times in the afternoon before it finally flew off around dusk. Plenty of time to get my camera with a short telephoto lens and plenty of time to identify it.
Here are a couple more shots (below) which I took before the one above. As you can see, the shadows made it hard to get a good shot. If you’re Australian and reading this post, you will know what a Willie Wagtail looks like and how I initially identified it incorrectly.
You have to have a great deal of patience when doing Bird Photography. I’ve taken hundreds of shots with the camera setting on ‘continuous shooting’ in the hope of catching at least one image in focus (when the bird species is a fast-moving one like this fantail). I’m much better at photographing birds and animals which stand perfectly still.
By the way, when standing at the front door of my apartment building on Wednesday, waiting for my supermarket delivery, (the drivers are not allowed to come indoors, up the lift and deliver to my apartment door due to the social distancing rules), I saw not only a male Superb Fairy-wren run across the road, I saw a tiny field-mouse run across the path into a garden bed about 4 feet away from my feet. It was the smallest mouse I’ve ever seen in my life and I was thrilled to see it.
These chance encounters with the little critters in nature never cease to bring some excitement to my day and always make me smile. Once, about 15 years ago, while walking home from work through the Royal Botanic Gardens, I stopped at the small Nympheae Lake to feed the ducks. Next minute a small marsupial of some kind – maybe a water rat? – swam through the water, head & nose poking just above the surface. It then proceeded to climb onto a water lily leaf with something in its ‘hands’ and sat back on its haunches and proceeded to daintily nibble away at its meal.
I stood perfectly still and watched, totally fascinated. It was like watching a little critter from a Beatrix Potter story (for those in the U.K. who are familiar with Beatrix Potter’s children’s books).
It was BC (Before Camera) back in those days.