For some reason, birds seem to really like my driveway. I see more birds out there than I do in the back garden where there are more trees and plants.
I happened to glance out the kitchen window on Saturday afternoon and to my surprise, a flock of birds were hopping around in the drive. I dropped what I was doing and hurried to get the camera and fit the long lens.
I didn’t want to open the window and scare them away so I just shot through the glass. I took a lot of photos hoping that I’d get some good ones.
They are European Goldfinches, described in my bird book as a feral species found around towns, farms and settlements in Australia. They gather in large flocks in autumn and winter and feed on seeds. They are quite common, I’ve seen them in the garden before but never a whole flock.
Some of them even hopped closer and started to search for seeds right in front of the window. They stayed quite a while before something startled them and they all took off.
Recently I spotted a large bird on the piece of land between my house and the power sub-station next door. The first time I only caught a glimpse as he/she flew away but I was fairly sure that it was a heron of some type.
The bird has returned a couple of times but it was only today when I went outside to check the meter box that I spotted it again casually walking along the perimeter fence. This is the same area favoured by my noisy plover neighbours, it seems to be some kind of bird highway. Anyway, this time I thought I might have time to run and get the camera although I knew that I had to reinsert the memory card as well. By the time I had done that the heron was roughly opposite my kitchen window where I have taken bird photos before.
I took two or three photos. They are not great because the bird doesn’t stand out that well against the surroundings. I decided to take a chance and run for my long lens as my standard zoom lens is only 18-50mm. I thought that at worst the bird might be gone when I got back but luckily it wasn’t so I had time to take a couple more where you can see it a bit more clearly.
Naomi recently gave me a book about Tasmanian birds so once it had disappeared behind the garage I hurried to get it. There are two types of heron found in Tasmania. This one appears to be a White-Faced Heron. The book says that it is a common, small heron about 66-69cm with a white face and throat and yellow legs. I’m unsure if this is a male or female. They are found all around Australia and make their homes in wetlands, such as the margins of swamps, dams and lakes and in other estuarine areas. Although my house is not right by the water the Kermandie River is just across the street. It’s a narrow stream here, quite shallow and reedy. It flows into the Huon River at Port Huon, a couple of kilometres down the road from me so this bird is not far out of its habitat.
This little corridor between me and the substation seems to be quite popular with the larger birds. I’m not really sure what the attraction is but it’s nice to get a chance to observe them. I’ll be looking for more opportunities to photograph the heron in future.
I was quite pleased to see that today’s prompt was about birds as I already had a draft on the subject. So here, as they say, is one I prepared earlier.
I’ve often mentioned how much I enjoy the birds that visit my garden. I think that I’m quite lucky that as I live in the country we get a wide variety of birds although not all of them visit me. Some prefer the tall gum trees of adjacent properties and some I spot just flying past. I am always trying to photograph them but rarely succeed. Here are a few of my attempts.
Of the garden visitors of course the most common are the sparrows, starlings, swallows and honeyeaters. I have a soft spot for sparrows although some consider them vermin.
Less common visitors are the blue wrens and robins who only seem to be around in winter time. I have seen Zebra Finches too but I haven’t managed to photograph any of these small birds successfully. I have also had occasional visits from a pair of Green Rosella’s and once a flock of ducks but they had escaped from a neighbour’s garden so I can’t really count them I suppose.
The plover family dynasty has adopted the plot of land adjoining my driveway and I often see them looking for food there or flying around shrieking. They are quite vocal birds.
Out for a stroll with mum or dad.
Plover (Masked Lapwing)
Masked Lapwing, commonly knows as a plover. These are common in my area.
In the neighbourhood category the crows are the ones I hear most often. Their distinctive “Caw, caw” call is easy to pick. Surprisingly I don’t see or hear magpies nearby but we do have kookaburras. They prefer the taller gum trees or perhaps a power pole to perch on. I also hear seagulls as it is not far to Port Huon where there are plenty of fish and sometimes flocks of noisy Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. Sometimes I’ll even see an eagle flying overhead. They are too far away for me to say what kind they are.
This week has been a rotten one for taking photos. The birds in my garden have been uncooperative and although my phone may be smart I am not. At least not where it is concerned and it took me all my time to take photos for the Fun Foto Challenge this week . In my files I had some photos of birds I had taken at Lake Dulverton in Oatlands some years ago. This is the spot where Naomi walks her dogs. I am still trialling Adobe Photo Shop Elements so I had a play with it to make these.
Well now we are on to a new group of subjects. I love to photograph birds but it is not easy and not something you can do to order. Well I can’t anyway. No birds have shown up in my garden to be photographed this week. Even the Plover family have deserted me. This afternoon I sat in my garden for an hour or so and I saw what I think was an eagle flying high above me. In the trees I could hear parrots, probably cockatoos, and various little birds chirping away from the safety of the apple tree.
Here are some of my favourite bird photos from the past.
I usually have a lot of trouble trying to photograph the smaller birds that visit my garden. Of course when you have a large dog who has to be with you all the time that does not help. This morning though I had a big surprise. I got out of bed and headed to the back door to let Cindy out. There, about a foot away from the door was this little guy sitting absolutely still. Well of course that meant I could not let Cindy out so I went to the toilet and when I returned it was still there so I grabbed the camera. This bird sat still for so long I started to worry that something was wrong with it I didn’t want to open the door because of Cindy so I took my photos through the glass.
I often see these little birds in my garden and I thought that they were a species of finch but when I looked it up using my photos for reference I learned that it is a Yellow Throated Honeyeater, a fairly common native Tasmanian bird. Eventually after five minutes or more had passed I tapped on the glass and the bird seemed to come out of its trance and flew away. I wonder what it was so interested in? Was it admiring its own reflection in the glass? Had it come to thank me for planting bottlebrush and other bird attracting plants in the garden or perhaps to ask for some more dog hair? These birds are known for using animal hair in the nest-building process and when I brush Cindy outside I get a lot of loose hairs. She has probably supplied half the nests in Geeveston. Or perhaps the birds were having a human counting census like the bird counting census that is happening this week for National Bird Week.
I only had my standard 18-55 mm zoom lens on the camera but the photos came out quite well and I cropped them a bit afterwards.