Fowl Memories

I was recently going through a bunch of photography files dating back 10 or so years and came across a number of photographs of birds that I’d taken way back when and had pretty much forgotten I had them, so thought it might be interesting to revisit these old photographs and see how they come out with a refreshed outlook. I’ve never really been into bird photography in a dedicated sense, so it’s little wonder that I’d forgotten them. That said, when birds are about, I like to photograph them as much as possible and, after moving to the country, I’ve become far more interested in their activities. Now none of these photographs are from Gippsland, with the closest from Melbourne and the furthest from Queensland, but what the heck.

Black-Shouldered Kite - Melbourne Water, Werribee Victoria

Black-Shouldered Kite – Melbourne Water, Werribee Victoria

In my work travels 10 years ago, I’d have to go to Townsville every now and then for a couple of days, which didn’t give me much opportunity for any photography, but still I managed to get some time in the evenings or mornings near the hotels where I was staying. Carrying one camera and lens made it somewhat easier, but also meant that what I could do was more limiting; however, sometimes that was all that I could afford to take with me, so I guess with just one lens at hand I’d put in more effort to get something unique.

White Ibis - Townsville Queensland

White Ibis – Townsville Queensland

Great Eastern Egret - Townsville Queensland

Great Eastern Egret – Townsville Queensland

Little Black Cormorant - Townsville Queensland

Little Black Cormorant – Townsville Queensland

Australian Darter - Townsville Queensland

Australian Darter – Townsville Queensland

Rockhampton could also have provided opportunities on similar work trips but, unfortunately, there wasn’t much on show in the time that I was there and things were a lot more hectic work wise. Only one lone eagle presented themselves one day, gliding very high overhead, and that was about it on the avian front.

Wedge-Tailed Eagle - Rockhampton Queensland

Wedge-Tailed Eagle – Rockhampton Queensland

Melbourne, however, is a slightly different story because of the Melbourne Water Western Treatment Plant at Werribee, Victoria. It’s the largest bird sanctuary in the southern hemisphere and in Spring hosts the most amazing range and number of birds imaginable for this part of the world. Anyone who is interested in bird photography should consider applying for an access permit to the treatment plant and venture out there on a regular basis. Gaining an access permit means that you can go there pretty much whenever you like and with greater access to areas others can’t go, and not have to put up with large tour groups that are hosted on weekends during the prime season. But for various reasons, I never managed to make full use of my access permit.

Welcome Swallows - Melbourne Water, Werribee Victoria

Welcome Swallows – Melbourne Water, Werribee Victoria

Nankeen Kestrel being harassed by a Wagtail - Melbourne Water, Werribee Victoria

Nankeen Kestrel being harassed by a Wagtail – Melbourne Water, Werribee Victoria

Nankeen Kestrel being harassed by a Wagtail - Melbourne Water, Werribee Victoria

Nankeen Kestrel being harassed by a Wagtail – Melbourne Water, Werribee Victoria

Whistling Kite - Melbourne Water, Werribee Victoria

Whistling Kite – Melbourne Water, Werribee Victoria

Also near Melbourne is the Serendip Sanctuary, another wildlife sanctuary, which may be of interest to bird photographers. It’s a small sanctuary that has some enclosed areas (ideal for young children to experience) as well as natural open areas where you can catch a number of migratory and other types of birds throughout the seasons. It’s a short drive from Melbourne, going past Melbourne Water and the Werribee Open Range Zoo (another place worth visiting), and is close to other areas of potential interest to photographers, such as the You Yangs Regional Park.

Magpie Geese - Serendip Sanctuary Victoria

Magpie Geese – Serendip Sanctuary Victoria

Cape Barren Geese - Serendip Sanctuary Victoria

Cape Barren Geese – Serendip Sanctuary Victoria

Emu - Serendip Sanctuary Victoria

Emu – Serendip Sanctuary Victoria

And finally there’s Westgate Park just next to the Westgate Bridge, virtually in the heart of Melbourne that offers quite a variety of bird life from time to time. It’s a place for pleasant walks and the like (but watch out for snakes) and you never really know what sort of common or uncommon birds you’ll find at different times of the year.

Swans with young - Westgate Park Melbourne

Swans with young – Westgate Park Melbourne

Wattlebird - Westgate Park Melbourne

Wattlebird – Westgate Park Melbourne

I look back on these photographs and think that for digital camera technology from 10 years ago (which in technology terms could be considered 100 years), the results aren’t too bad at all. I guess the reason is more to do with the effort that one puts into their photography (or any endeavour) moreso than the tools at hand. Yes, good tools will help in producing good work, but if you just rely on your tools and expect them to do all the work, expect to be disappointed.