# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 34

Today’s image is from last week, not my old archives.

Last Thursday the 23rd to be exact.

female SUPERB FAIRY-WREN

With the overnight rain leaving a trail of droplets on my lounge windows, all the photos I took this morning are blurred which is a shame.

With rain forecast for the next 5-6 days, I suspect I won’t get any more bird photos in reasonable focus until next week.   That’s one of the downsides of using AF (autofocus) instead of MF (manual focus).   It can autofocus on the water droplets and not on the bird itself.  I doubt even the most experienced nature photographer would be able to capture fast-moving wrens as they dart about the ground or foliage.

But, you can bet if I put my 2 cameras (with their short and long telephoto lenses) away in their soft pouches on the floor, a bird will visit and stand still with a clear shot 😀

Here’s another shot of a male wren I took when living over the north-east side of Melbourne.  This time the bird was relatively still for a longer period of time.

I found a great YouTube to share – highlighting how fast the wrens move and their call.   Thinking about it this morning, I realise it’s more like a mouse squeaking than a bird call.

I’m sure you’ll have an appreciation of how hard they are to capture in really sharp focus on my potted herbs or balcony fence railing.

If you’re a bird-lover you might also enjoy this YouTube of some exotic bird species, their calls and feather displays

I played it through a couple of times while having my morning coffee this morning.

# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 27

No image from my archives today as I had another visit from my Superb Fairy-wrens to share.

I was just about to fill the bucket with hot soapy water to take out onto my balcony to wash the exterior windows, bird baths and bird ‘swimming pool’ when I realized I’d forgotten to turn the computer off.

I sat down at my desk and logged off and then a delightful little female Superb Fairy-wren landed on the Rocket plant trough right in front of me.   Grabbed the Sony ‘mirrorless’ and shorter telephoto lens (as it was so close) and made about 70 shots on the continuous shooting setting.

Many were blurred and the blue feathered male was a bit too quick for me, although I did get a shot of the male standing right in front on the window in front of my desk, but the shadow was shading its eye.  I’ll include it anyway.

So out of 70, I scored 11 shots in reasonable focus with the first shot being the best.

Note: After they left the balcony I went out to do the cleaning and also cut back the Rocket plant so there’d be no tall stems hiding their bodies in future.

The male (below) is about 2 1/2 feet away from my camera lens and I can’t quite believe it didn’t see me move.  If there’d been no window, I could have reached out and touched it.  What a thrill it is to get so close to these tiny birds.

Now the windows are sparkling clean I can almost guarantee it’s going to rain tomorrow  😀

# A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY – Day 26

From the archives

3rd August 2011

After spending a year or more photographing flowers in 2010/2011, I’d made a few rather feeble attempts at photographing birds, but flowers remained on the top of my subject list, living 5 minutes away from the Royal Botanic Gardens as I did at that time.

One afternoon, around 4.45pm I walked through the south-eastern gate, which was my regular exit point for the slow walk home, when I spied a flash of colour on the enormous Aloe plants next to the walking path.

The collection of colourful feathers settled on the plant and I later identified it as an Eastern Spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris).  It didn’t stay long and flew away soon after I photographed it.   I only got one shot.

EASTERN SPINEBILL

I thought I had photographed a very rare bird and was thrilled.  I also thought it was a good shot, although today, I realise I didn’t get the honeyeater’s eye in focus, only the rear end,

Secondly, I eventually discovered it was relatively common and not rare at all.

I believe this was the day I fell in love with bird photography.   As the days went by, I kept a lookout for any of the avian species and regarded it as a challenge to get a bird in focus with my then, only telephoto lens, the 18-200mm.   I quickly learned to change the focus point while the camera was up against my eye.    I attempted to get the bird’s eye in sharp focus having read that this was the best way to achieve a good bird image.

It was about 2 years later that I got some better shots and I’ve loved the challenge of capturing birds in focus ever since.   I say challenge because half the time the sun was in my eyes when I looked upwards into the tree foliage (and not down on the flowers on the ground)………….. and more importantly most small birds don’t stand still for my slow reaction times.

I still do Bird Photography with very mixed results.   Mainly because some days I’m too fatigued to hold the camera perfectly still.   Holding the camera very still is one of the key ways of achieving sharply focused images.

It was sometime later when I started going to Melbourne Zoo and trying to get one focus point on the camera through tiny 1/2″ cage wire that I improved with holding the camera very still.

I also realize that my hundreds of photos taken on my 1976,78/79 overseas travels with relatively blurred results were probably because I didn’t hold my camera still enough.

AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK (Chenonetta jubata)

Just after I uploaded the previous post, I came across these images from the 25th September 2013 and back came the memories of the day of shooting.

This was back in the day of long Nature walks and hundreds of photos taken in the one afternoon – in the local parks and gardens around Melbourne city, down the beach, at the Zoo, in Nature Reserves, or just plain setting off with no particular destination in mind.

This particular day I’d caught a bus to the Fitzroy Gardens to the beautiful old Conservatory and then, crossed the road to the Treasury Gardens with its lovely pond and rows of enormous old trees either side of the main walking path.  Office workers from nearby tall office buildings come to this pond in the warm weather to eat their lunch or meet up with friends for an hour.

The Treasury Gardens in Melbourne are located on the eastern rim of the city’s CBD (Central Business District) below.

I spotted a number of little Australian Wood Ducklings and spent quite a while kneeling down about 8-10 feet away capturing these little bundles of joy.   It seems I’ve lost a few of the series, but still retained enough to share online.

There were 10 little Ducklings on the 25th September visit.

Mother Duck herding her offspring into line for the (long) waddle to a different area of the pond.
Easy to see what she was ‘quacking’ in this photo.

Then back again a few days later on the 30th revealed 4 more (to make 14 ducklings).

Only 2 adults that I could see, so where did the 4 extra ducklings come from?

Were the 2 adults baby-sitting?   Do ducks have more than one set of offspring in a season?   Or worse, had the 4 new ducklings lost their parents?

I never found out.

They all jumped off the pond edge and swam away. Check out the duckling on the right side of the frame who was practising her ‘walking on water’ skills.
Looks like they had fun exploring the water plants.
Then Mama demonstrated how to clean and realign their feathers.
Can you see the difference in the size of the ducklings? The seated ones are much smaller than the others. Going by my observations of birds in general, I’d say the smallest were about 5-8 days old.
None of them seemed bothered by my proximity.

When I knelt down close, Papa Australian Wood Duck started to get very annoyed and confronted me with a stern warning to back off.

Since I was almost eye to eye with Papa at this stage, I hurriedly got up and walked away.

On the other side of the pond, I came across a few ‘teenagers’ and managed to get a shot of this young male.

Alas, all the rest of the duck images taken that week have disappeared with the rest of the missing images in the Mists of Time, but I was so glad to come across these few again tonight in my image Library.

Note the males have brown heads and the females have a stripe above and below the eye. I’ve never ever seen a young duckling with a brown head, so, do they all have striped heads when they’re born and the males acquire the all-brown heads as adults OR what?

Who knows.   It’s after midnight so I won’t be surfing the net to find out.   My Australian Bird Guide book doesn’t reveal the answer.

Hope you enjoyed the viewing.

PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas supercileosa)

This image, made at the lake in the outer eastern suburb (Ringwood) where I born and raised for the first 10 years or so, was one of the images lost in the big ‘old laptop to new desktop’ disaster last May.

I’ve spent many hours recently trying to think of ways to export my WordPress Media Library back into my (newish) iMac Desktop over recent months.   The main export tool in the WordPress Media Library to export the whole library kept ‘falling over‘ last year.

Last week I wondered if I could export just one image at a time (as even attempting a few images at a time failed also).

One-at-a-time worked, but then after doing about 20 images, I checked back in my Mac’s media library and discovered all ehrrrrr……..’pixalated’ on my Mac’s photo library.  They are unusable.

That’s the end of that idea  🙂

I’m full of ideas these days and have wasted many hours trying some of them out.  That’s part of the reason I haven’t been posting/blogging daily in recent months.

After having several images stolen some years ago, I had been re-sizing all/most images before exporting them to WordPress.   Anyway, the above image I must have exported at full size in order to use it as my blog header at one time and this image is the only one which I could export back onto my Mac successfully (out of 6,000 i.e. 79% of my WordPress Media Library which has been used).

Sigh!

Well, one is better than none  😀

LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae)

The Laughing Kookaburra is one of the largest and most well-known Australian kingfishers.   I found this image from 2011 in my archives today and remembered that it is mostly found on the east and south-east coast of Australia.

I daresay many overseas folk know it’s famous raucous accelerating laugh.

I found this bird sitting on a garden seat in the Royal Botanic Gardens and managed to get several photos before it flew away.   I don’t think I have ever been as close to a Kookaburra since, although I’ve taken many photos from some distance away.

 

SPOTTED TURTLE-DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis)

Back to the Archives 

27th April, 2016

Sorry about chopping off its legs, but the rest of the shot was such a good close-up I couldn’t resist ignoring the ‘delete’ button.

Notice the white feather tuft over its right eye – these tiny details enable me to eventually identify many of the Spotted Turtle-Doves which visited my balcony garden in my previous apartment on the north-east side of Melbourne.

SOMEONE ELSE IS LOOKING FOR BLUEBERRIES…..

I mentioned the other day that I had one ripe blueberry on the bush so far this season.   I think I also mentioned the birds were landing on the bush looking too – mainly House Sparrows.

This morning, after fumbling around getting the little Sony ‘mirrorless’ out of it’s soft ‘storage’ pouch, I managed to catch a male Superb Fairy-wren landing on the soil underneath the Blueberry bush looking up to see if it could spot a ripe blueberry.

Yes, definitely time to protect the bush from the birds.Note: this was the only shot in reasonably good focus out of about 7-8.   Gosh, those fairy-wrens move fast.   I had several shots that were just a blur of blue and one shot with no bird at all in the image.