Gippsland Summer – The Birds

Summer has officially been upon us for a month now and hot, sweaty, days are yet to loom (but coming soon), and we’ve still been getting our fair share of rain over the last few weeks. It’s the time of year when Gippsland changes perhaps most significantly, for many and varied reasons. One of the first things that I noticed (coming back from our bush Christmas) was the return of the birds, of all varieties. It’s the first time that I’ve seen Gang-Gang Cockatoos in our backyard, which weren’t the easiest to photograph initially, as they were feeding in the denser foliage of the trees. But over the next few days they started to move about a lot more and provided much better opportunities, as well as making an awful mess stripping leaves.

Female Gang-Gang Cockatoo - Mirboo North Victoria

Female Gang-Gang Cockatoo – Mirboo North Victoria

Female Gang-Gang Cockatoo - Mirboo North Victoria

Female Gang-Gang Cockatoo – Mirboo North Victoria

Male Gang-Gang Cockatoo and a face off - Mirboo North Victoria

Male Gang-Gang Cockatoo and a face off – Mirboo North Victoria

Male Gang-Gang Cockatoo and a face off - Mirboo North Victoria

Male Gang-Gang Cockatoo and a face off – Mirboo North Victoria

Male Gang-Gang Cockatoo and a face off - Mirboo North Victoria

Male Gang-Gang Cockatoo and a face off – Mirboo North Victoria

Male Gang-Gang Cockatoo and a face off (I win) - Mirboo North Victoria

Male Gang-Gang Cockatoo and a face off (I win) – Mirboo North Victoria

The Rosellas are generally fairly wary (though there have been exceptions), but recently have been very accommodating. Maybe they are getting used to us and coming closer to advise us that a bit of bird seed wouldn’t go astray, even a few leftovers from what the King Parrots don’t like would be appreciated.

Rosella - Mirboo North Victoria

Rosella – Mirboo North Victoria

Rosella - Mirboo North Victoria

Rosella – Mirboo North Victoria

On the other end of the spectrum, the King Parrots are never backwards in coming forwards, constantly hassling us for bird seed and venting their displeasure if none is forthcoming. The King Parrots (since discovering who provides the bird seed) make for relatively easy subjects to photograph, hardly ever showing any concern no matter how close you get (as long as there’s a pile of food in front of their face).

King Parrot - Mirboo North Victoria

King Parrot – Mirboo North Victoria

King Parrot - Mirboo North Victoria

King Parrot – Mirboo North Victoria

King Parrot - Mirboo North Victoria

King Parrot – Mirboo North Victoria

And we also have new bush roosters (Kookaburras) about as well, initially doing what appeared to be a dummy spit and then settling down for a more formal pose. I’m never quite sure what Kookaburras might be thinking (not that I know what other birds are thinking either), but they tend to come across as very reserved birds, compared to the parrots et al that give you no doubt about what’s on their mind through their very expressive movements and squawking etc.

Kookaburra: having a dummy spit? - Mirboo North Victoria

Kookaburra: having a dummy spit? – Mirboo North Victoria

Kookaburra: that's better - Mirboo North Victoria

Kookaburra: that’s better – Mirboo North Victoria

And while our ever present Blackbirds may not be as exciting or as colourful as the others, they are part of our family of birds and deserve a mention. They have also been roaming much closer and have been less skittish than ever before, so even more reason to give them some small recognition. Maybe they too are finally coming to terms with the new inhabitants and have decided that excessive caution isn’t warranted. Our Magpies are a feature of our yard and I’ve included one as a late edition (it’s sitting in the shade of a tree trying to cool down while we had 40C temperatures during the day). However, the King Parrots keep on posing.

Blackbird - Mirboo North Victoria

Blackbird – Mirboo North Victoria

Magpie - Mirboo North Victoria

Magpie – Mirboo North Victoria

King Parrot - Mirboo North Victoria

King Parrot – Mirboo North Victoria

I’m not quite sure what we’ll see this coming summer from our feathered friends, but it’s always good to see them about. Even the King Parrots, as long as it’s in small numbers.

Update 1: Just when I thought that was it, as far as the variety was concerned, along comes a bunch of Black Cockatoos to add to the collection. They were feeding in the most unlikely of places, a Banksia, rather than their usual trees. Happiness ensued.

Black Cockatoo - Mirboo North Victoria

Black Cockatoo – Mirboo North Victoria

Black Cockatoo - Mirboo North Victoria

Black Cockatoo – Mirboo North Victoria

Black Cockatoo - Mirboo North Victoria

Black Cockatoo – Mirboo North Victoria

Update 2: Today we had something new in the garden and it took a bit of effort to get any shots, as it was fairly fast moving and simply kept going up one of our trees at a rapid pace before I could rush inside and grab camera and lens. The light was failing, but at least I managed to get a few shot and identify the bird.

White-Throated Treecreeper - Mirboo North Victoria

White-Throated Treecreeper – Mirboo North Victoria

White-Throated Treecreeper - Mirboo North Victoria

White-Throated Treecreeper – Mirboo North Victoria

White-Throated Treecreeper - Mirboo North Victoria

White-Throated Treecreeper – Mirboo North Victoria

 

4 thoughts on “Gippsland Summer – The Birds

  1. Jeff Grant

    Pray that the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos don’t find out that you are feeding the others. They are a serious nuisance.

    1. Ray Post author

      Fortunately, we don’t see any around here, though they are about in the more open areas further out. However, we do get Black Cockatoos that feed on particular trees in our and surrounding yards, and they can be extremely messy, but don’t appear interested in the wild bird seed we feed the King Parrots and Rosellas. And luckily, we only get a few Galahs around here now and then, yours truly notwithstanding.

  2. Rob

    Hi Ray

    Nice work. I have seen your name quite a bit over on the micro 43 forum. I recently started posting there myself.

    I take it these were shot with your 90-250? I use to lug around a similar weight with a Canon 500mm and a heavy 1D mk 4 body but gave up on hand holding and got sick of carrying a tripod.

    I seriously cant see much if any difference in the quality since moving to the EM1 and the 40-150 except it is way to short for most birds in my part of Sydney. Looking forward to the 300mm when it comes out.

    Cheers Rob

    1. Ray Post author

      Thanks Rob

      All the shots (except one King Parrot taken with the 35-100mm f2, while trying different perspectives) were with the 90-250mm. It’s a lens that I used to lug around all day when I did sports photography (with a monopod), but it tends to be less used nowadays, though it has had a resurgence with my recent foray back into wildlife photography. For longer stints its either a monopod or a tripod with gimbal head, but despite its size and weight, the mass of the lens makes it easier to handhold shots, aided by the IBIS, but you have to adopt marksman holding styles for optimum results.

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