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Bird portraits.

Several times after checking Tyto Tony’s blog I’ve wondered if it’s worthwhile persevering with bird photography. He lives in a bird photographer’s paradise and makes the most of the wonderful assortment of birds on his doorstep, while I have to make do with the same old common birds week by week, month by month. However, being somewhat mobile again after four months out of action I took the camera to a couple of wetlands on an overcast day to try my luck. The waterfowl are extremely tame at the Railway Reserve, and the first two pictures are of a male Chestnut Teal and a Pacific Black Duck at peace with the world. Let’s hope they stay there when the duck season starts this month.

chestnut teal

pacific black duck

The next is of a little character only a mother could love as the saying goes. There were quite a few juvenile Dusky Moorhens and Purple Swamphens along the shore and in the shallows, the breeding season must have been very successful. This little swamphen was calling for its parents, and being ignored….

juvenile swamphen

Although burst mode is sometimes scorned by “expert” photographers, it can be very useful for photographing birds that are constantly on the move, like the Grey Fantail for instance. This bird settled briefly once and from the burst of three shots the first and last were very mediocre poses, while the second had the quality that shows off the personality of the bird.

grey fantail

At the second lake I visited on the day there was a Royal Spoonbill working the shallows with sweeping arcs of its bill. It was doing quite well too, so I had to try to capture the action. When the sensitive end of a spoonbill’s bill makes contact with a food item it secures it, then lifts out of the water and with a jerk throws the item backwards towards its gullet. With the camera on fast burst mode I tried to anticipate the bird and took three sets of shots, one of which was successful when the bird caught what looks like a small fish.
Click all to enlarge.

royal spoonbill

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