Notes to readers of this Blog


NOTES TO READERS OF THIS BLOG

Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.
Cheers,
Richard

Monday, 24 August 2015

Ibis and Spoonbills

Recently I've been unable to hold my camera due to an unfortunate accident at work with my fingers. I've still got a few weeks to go. So I've been trying to put together some slideshows to use at some upcoming talks and use in other areas of my life, namely BirdLife Central Australia Branch. The one that appears below is more of a personal one to try to take my mind off the pain in my hand if even for a short time. I thought I may as well throw it up onto the blog and see what people think.


and the Slideshow


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Fairy-wrens including a dust-up, an Orange Chat and a few others

Spent some time at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds trying to chase Fairy-wrens and Chats. Quite happy with the range I managed.


White-winged Fairy-wren

Dad came out to watch the fight between the kids



Young male checking out the insects

Mum watches on as the young male and female have a dust-up



Splendid Fairy-wren was not amused

Variegated Fairy-wren kept to himself

This Orange Chat sat nicely on top of a bush

Black-tailed Native-hen

Fairy Martin

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Red-backed Kingfisher, Bearded Dragon using RAW file format

I've been reading a lot about how it is a better idea to shoot in "RAW" format and today I thought I'd give it a go and see what happened.

Lesson 1 - the memory card fills up faster!
Lesson 2 - you can actually do a lot more with photos in the post-production in this format
Lesson 3 - a crap photo is still a crap photo regardless of the format

A Red-backed Kingfisher decided to assist me with my experiment. It sat on a nearby branch while I sat in the car. After clicking away in my normal fashion, I soon experienced Lesson #1 above. I couldn't believe the 16 GB memory card had filled so quickly.

Once I'd finished, I returned home to empty the card and check out what could be done using the Canon Digital Photo Professional software. The results actually stunned me a bit.

The first photo below is the end result, the second photo is the original without any Post Production:

Red-backed Kingfisher



Although I haven't cropped them exactly the same, I was impressed how well the bird "sharpened" and how the background softened. I'm sure a few readers probably already do this with their photos and are saying "well.... der!" but I have preferred to keep my photos fairly true to what I have taken in the past.

Next is the end result of a Bearded Dragon. I really like the end result:

Bearded Dragon

The third lesson wasn't learnt today, but especially when shooting in the RAW format, it is better to be selective for each shot rather than burst 10 crappy photos at a time

Friday, 17 July 2015

Up close with the birds in the backyard

They may be fairly common, but some of the birds that come to my backyard have lots of character. Here are some photos I've taken recently.

Magpie-lark






Crested Pigeon


Galah




Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike


Australian Ringneck



White-plumed Honeyeater







Black-shouldered Kite juvenile in the late afternoon sun

I have been watching some Black-shouldered Kites on my walk with my dog in the Larapinta Hills for a couple of months now. The adult pair have raised a couple of chicks who are now hunting by themselves. The parents are still hanging around, but on the whole have left their young to fend for themselves. The colour has almost disappeared from the juvenile's, those beautiful rufous bands are disappearing, replaced by the pure white of adulthood.

Here are some photos of one of the juveniles with the afternoon sun behind:

Black-shouldered Kite Juvenile







Sunday, 12 July 2015

Sandstone Shrike-thrush at Gunlom, Kakadu National Park

During a recent trip to the Top End, the boys and I stayed at Gunlom in Kakadu. It is a lovely campground and there are a number of walks, including one to the top of the waterfall into the sandstone country. There are 4 endemic birds on this walk that can be seen at various times. The Black-Banded Fruit Dove supposedly sits in the trees on the way up the slopes, the Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon is seen coming down to the creek at the top of the waterfall, I did manage to see that a couple of years ago, the White-throated Grasswren supposedly comes down to drink about once an hour but despite a number of attempts to spot this bird I have yet to see it, and finally, the Sandstone Shrike-thrush.

I was sitting in the same area I had seen the Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon. The boys had wandered a little way up the creek to look for frogs and small fish. I was watching some Little Woodswallows huddle together on a branch in a dead tree across the creek, and Brown Honeyeaters flit amongst the creek-side shrubs. Suddenly a medium-sized brownish bird flew into the small fig tree opposite me and crept under the overhang of the large rock. I readied the camera, not really expecting to get decent photos. The bird was quiet. I could just make out its outline in the shadows. It then hopped across the ground and out into the sun. A Sandstone Shrike-thrush for sure. The camera clicked away. I looked upstream towards the boys but they were now out of earshot and I didn't want to disturb their play, or the bird. The bird then hopped around the rock and I thought that would be my rather fleeting experience. To my delight, it then hopped out onto the top of the rock, in full sun. Again the camera clicked away. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a second bird. This one had just come out from the base of the fig, still in the shadows. I wasn't sure which way to point the camera, then the bird on top of the rock made my choice simpler by flying off. I concentrated on the lower bird. This one was slightly paler. Eventually it too came out for a fleeting moment into the sun and then followed the first one's path around the rock and out of view. That was the last I saw of either. After checking the bird guides once they had both flown, I could see the first bird was the male, and the second a female. A lovely little lifer experience at the top of Waterfall Creek at Gunlom.

Sandstone Shrike-thrush