As I noted at the end of my story about our Labrador Jenna, a blackbird started to build a nest inside our veranda. It’s nest building was not going well, as the spot chosen was the lintel on the top of a doorway and there was nothing to hold the bits and pieces that it was gathering to make its nest, Everything was just falling on the floor and we were daily gathering up handfuls of twigs, bark and whatnot. Despite these issues, the Blackbird didn’t look like it was about to give up, having found what it thought was the perfect spot for a nest. Feeling somewhat down at the time with the loss of Jenna, I decided to give the Blackbird a hand and placed a piece of wood across the lintel to assist in holding the nesting materials in place. The blackbird was clearly very satisfied with this development and in no time had finished off the nest.
Summer is now behind us though the warm weather is still lingering about, which is a good thing as last year we had the fire well and truly going by now. However, with bushfires burning nearby and warnings of hot and wild weather forthcoming, and then not as it got cold and heavy rain arrived, it’s interesting to sit on our veranda and watch the comings and goings of our feathered friends. Most have been fairly scarce during the Summer, so I haven’t had much reason to bring out my camera. But recently we’ve had an influx of a variety of birds that generally pay us a visit, so once again I’ve had a chance to take a few photographs of the characters that we call our friends. We might call them friends, but I suspect that to them we’re just odd ground dwellers that somehow have food.
The world is gifted with many birds that have a melodious and wonderful sounding song, but there are also a few that somewhere along the genetic line missed out miserably and ended up with something that no one could seriously consider melodious. Amongst the latter are the likes of Crows, Gang Gang Cockatoos, Yellow Crested Cockatoos, Black Cockatoos and Corellas, to name five regulars that inhabit our region. Thankfully these five tend not to be constant visitors to our backyard, but you do hear them in the distance from time to time. We’re more blessed with the pleasant tunes of the Magpies, Rosellas, King Parrots, Blackbirds and Kookaburras; yes, Rosellas and King Parrots do have a pleasant sounding song (when they are whistling for food). Out of all the unpleasant bird noises, the Little Corellas must have the loudest and most discordant sound possible, given their size.
As a bit of an aside from my usual posts about wildlife in Gippsland, I recently had the chance to enjoy a week on a houseboat, cruising along the Murray River out of Renmark, South Australia. The bird life on the Murray was quite amazing and, even though most of that bird life was fairly common to Eastern Australia (and perhaps Australia overall), it gave me an opportunity to take photographs that would otherwise have been much more difficult to accomplish from land. Because I was moving along the river, changing locations all the time, I frequently managed to get photographs from unique perspective and one that often didn’t disturb the birds.
Not that sort of shooting, but with a camera and long lens. One of the ongoing frustrations of photographing small and/or distant subjects with a long telephoto lens, is that it can be very difficult to keep track of the subject if it’s moving about. I often find this happening when photographing smaller birds or birds in flight, as evidenced recently when trying to photograph some eagles high in the sky. Peering through the camera viewfinder with a very long focal length lens, especially hand held, means that you’re constantly losing track of erratically moving birds, as the field of view in the viewfinder is very narrow and this often leads to many missed shots. Just to refresh, these two were awfully difficult to follow with a long lens.