Saturday, 19 July 2008

Backyard Birding - 2

Today I managed a few more bird shots up in the backyard. I'm reasonably happy with the New Holland Honeyeater and the non-breeding male Fairywren. I've also included a House Sparrow for the British readers - a bird which is sadly in decline in the UK while here in Australia it is an unwanted feral. Feral or not they are actually a beautifully marked bird when seen close up.

It seems photographing birds has something in common with fishing as there are always the ones that got away. Today I new there was a bird of prey about as next doors aviary birds and my own ducks and chickens always react to them. I grabbed the camera and took a walk up the back. I waited for 10 minutes with not a bird in site. I don't just mean birds of prey, I mean not a bird to be seen or heard. Then just as I turned back toward the house, a Collared Sparrowhawk flew over the neighbour's fence straight toward me, On seeing me it panicked and to an aerial U-turn while I panicked waving the camera all over the place taking shots of trees, bushes, and sky. The interesting thing is that once it had flown off about half a km away, about 15 -20 birds started flitting about all over the place. They must have been laying low until the predator moved on. There was also a pair of White-bellied Sea eagles and a possible Wedge-tailed Eagle flying about the hill but even with the new lens they were too far off to photograph properly.

Click images for a larger version
New Holland honeyeater - Phylidonyris novaehollandiae

Superb fairy-wren - male (non-breeding)- Malurus cyaneus

Superb fairy-wren - male - Malurus cyaneus

Black-headed honeyeater - Melithreptus affinis

House sparrow - Passer domesticus


  1. How did you get the wrens to sit still long enough to get such lovely photos?

  2. I used sticky tape and then I cloned it out of the shot later :-)

    Actually the Fairy-wrens here are quite friendly. If I'm sitting in the veggie garden in summer they will often come withing a few feet. That male was a little more timid and the shot is a bit blurry. May have to resort to sticky tape tomorrow ;-)

  3. Hhehe! Shots of trees, bushes, sky and tripping over are all part of the fun! More fun than fishing!

    More than brilliant shots of some very difficult birds to photograph in the wild!!! I understand about local backyard birds getting to know you and not being so flighty, but you sure have some usually very fast beauties frozen in excellence here!

    Can you remind us what camera your using the lens with if have already mentioned it? Your images are too good. HAHA!!

  4. Thanks Anonymous - I use a Canon 300D . I've had it for about 4 years now and I'm quite happy with it..

  5. I laughed out loud at the panicking bit! I know just how that goes. The female fairywren is a stonker!

  6. Thanks Jenny - Stonker is a word I haven't heard for a while :-)

  7. Congrats! Your photos of birds GREAT. Maybe next time with the raptor. I am very envious of the camera and new lens!

  8. Thanks Mick - I actually got a shot of that Sparrowhawk yesterday but not a good one. It was a bit hidden by branches. You can see it by clicking here if you like. It's a fairly regular visitor but it's usually moving a great speed by the time I see it.

  9. Lovely bokeh Alan, you must be pleased.

  10. Thanks Duncan - yes those three turned out good. There's a bit of distance behind them ones which helps.

  11. Hi Mosura
    Your photos are of print publication standard. Stunning clarity.
    Loved your description of your reaction to the Sparrow Hawk. Maybe it was blaming you for making all those little birds hide, and so was attacking you out of spite.

  12. Excellent photos, especially the female fairy wren - superb (pun intended).

    I saw (I think) the Brown Goshawk for the first time a few weeks ago in the semi arid area of NW NSW. It could have well been the Collared Sparrowhawk, because I find identifying the raptors extremely difficult.

    I am enjoying your birding walks.


  13. Thanks Denis - Thanks for the compliment although I can't say I agree :-) Maybe one day!

    Thanks Gaye - I only recall seeing Brown Goshawk once and that was in Tamworth, N.S.W. on a suburban roof top.

  14. Hi Mosura

    Excellent shots of birds - the sparrow and wren are very much those we get here in Britain.


    PS - I am Jenny's brother

  15. Thanks Adrian - Plenty of British Sparrows here. They were introduced to Tasmania back in about 1867. There's a flock of about 50 that hang about my backyard and raid the chook (chicken) food unless we stand guard :-) Our wrens belong to a different family but you can see why they were names after the British wrens for the way they hold their tails.

  16. I agree with Denis, Mosura - some of these shots are of print quality. The female wren would make a brilliant card.

    Now gimme that lens!!! :-)

  17. Great photos. New to Australia, I've just had my first encounter with the NH honeyeater. What a marvelous character!

    Sorry to hear that you too have Passer domesticus, but your photo gives it a certain, perhaps undeserved, nobility.

  18. Thanks Jarrett - and welcome to the land of Aus'