I often see Grebes in the centre of the Maribyrnong River near my home. I might add, this river is fairly wide so I need the birds to swim over to my side of the river to be easily identified.
Unfortunately, even with my 150-500mm lens I can never get close enough to really make them large within a photo frame to share online, but I still photograph them as I love the challenge of trying to get them in focus in a hand-held shot with this heavy lens.
2 days ago, I spotted an Australasian Grebe in the pond near Pipemakers Park, whereas the Grebes in the centre of the river have been Hoary-headed Grebes(Poliocephalus poliocephalus). There is also the Great Crested Grebe but I’ve never seen one of these.
I might have done better if I’d had a tripod for the shot below as the bird was fairly stationary enjoying the late afternoon sunshine for quite some time before it dived underwater.
Note: I had the same problem when I lived and photographed these small, dumpy-looking birds in/near the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.
I still live in hope that one day I’ll get a close-up. In the meantime here’s a small selection of my attempts so far in my western suburb of Maribyrnong.
These Grebes, (and there 3 different ones in Australia that I know of), are one example of how hard Bird Photography can be, as the small birds dive frequently and I’ve ended up with more images of rippling water and no bird, than many other species I’ve photographed over the years.
I was so busy observing a couple of these male parrots yesterday, hoping they would hop out into the sun (that moment when the sun reflects in a bird’s eye making a good photo), I didn’t realise several birds were gradually working their way towards my back.
Over the years, I have learned to move very slowly and wear black, or very dark, colours when out on a bird Photography field trip, so as I turned (to walk up to the Pipemakers Park historic garden), I was able to catch a couple of males from about 7-8 feet away.
I never did catch a shot of this species with the spot of sunlight on their eye yesterday.
For the first time ever, the males were on their own, grazing in the flat newly mown field between Pipemakers Park and Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve. I’ve only ever seen couples grazing – with the plainer olive-coloured female being a little harder to see in this location. They were only grazing in the deep shade of some Eucalyptus trees so I’ve lightened these images so you can see them a bit better.
I naturally assume the females were at home sitting on nests?
…..and for those new to my Nature Blog, here’s a couple of old images made when I lived on the north-eastern side of Melbourne in Abbotsford (next to the Yarra River).
Different light and different camera as you can see. I seem to remember they were grazing in the sun on this particular day, not shade.
…..and the first time I ever saw these lovely Parrots was in the Royal Botanic Gardens in 2012 – in the shade of a few old trees on the western side of the large Ornamental Lake.
There are actually 5-6 Australian Parrots that are fairly similar in feather colour, but this Red-rumped variety have a lovely warbling song – unusual for parrots.
I love the way the sparrows stop by each day to quench their thirst via my blue water bowl. Occasionally I take this down, wash it out and put some bird seed in it. For the first 5-6 months since I moved to this area, the female sparrows wouldn’t come near the dish, but now they do.
I made the photo of a male House Sparrow (above) yesterday as I’ve already packed my cameras for today’s walk and photography outing.
I had the good fortune to be actually looking out the window as the tiniest bird I’ve ever seen flew around my balcony garden and landed briefly on the rim of my pink daisy pot. I’ve never seen it before and it was possibly a juvenile finch or tiny wren of some kind. It flew very fast and I have to admit it didn’t stay still long enough to even see if it had a long tail like the Splendid Fairy-wrens that frequent the area. I put my hand down to unzip my camera bag (sitting on the floor) and when I looked up it was gone.
Apart from the beautiful pale salmon-pink Nankeen Night Heron, Pacific Black Ducks are the most photographed wild bird in my photo library.
These ducks are seen in all the public parks and nature reserves around Melbourne (and probably much further afield – which I can’t reach via public transport). Here’s a selection of some of my favourite images – most are hand-held shots, not from a tripod.
Shot at Ringwood Lake in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne. This suburb is where I was born and spent the first 11 years of my life.
At Ringwood Lake (I think).
Shot at Rinwood Lake
While I didn’t get the duck’s feet in the frame, this shot taken near Dights Falls above the rapids in the Yarra River near my previous apartment is still a favourite as I was crouching down low at the same level as the duck.
This was a tripod shot made in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.
Shot next to Nymphaea Lake in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.
I think this might be at the Treasury Gardens in Melbourne.
Shot in the Japanese Garden at Melbourne Zoo.
At the Treasury Gardens on the eastern rim of Melbourne’s CBD.