Photography, Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings – Banyule Flats Bird Life

As I said yesterday the weather here has been really good and it has been nice to be able to get out into the local parks and get some photos where the sun has been shining.  This last week I went out with one of the members from the Warringal Conservation Society, another keen photographer, but also a keen bird watcher.  She knew all the birds that were around, and has been able to identify them for me.  I took the Sigma 150-500mm lens that I am borrowing at the moment to see if I could get some good photos of the birds with that.  We went into Banyule Flats, parkland near Heidelberg, in the cities north east.

6-banyule-flats-morning-parks-birdsBanyule Flats has a very active bird life, and every time I go there, there are birds everywhere in the water.  More and more of the water weeds are growing, so a lot more birds are coming to the swamp.  I never really thought of myself as a bird watcher, but I really enjoy seeing them all down there.  It is like a bird metropolis within another metropolis.


Swan Parents with their Signet

The one thing that everyone is watching down there at the moment are the Black Swans and their babies, not black, but grey.  I was so happy to see the two of them again, the last few times I’ve been down, there has only been one, and I was hoping the other was on the nest.  They are the talk of the Flats, and a lot of people are going down there to see them and make sure they are okay.  Apparently there were 5 signets, but one has been lost, or killed.



The swamp isn’t the only place to see the birds, we also went for a walk along the Yarra River, which is right next to the swamp, and we saw the above Darter swimming in the river and then she got up onto the branches to sun itself.  Beautiful bird.  When I first saw it in the river I thought it was a snake, the way its head stuck out.  Then the woman I was with explained it was often called a snake bird.  Apparently this one is female, because the males are all black.



Everywhere you walk around the parks, all you can hear are the birds, and the ones that stand out are the Kookaburras as they laugh at us, or each other, I don’t now.


Tawny Frogmouth

This was my favourite find, the Tawny Frogmouth.  A native here, and very hard to find, not because there are few of them, there are lots of them, but because they are nocturnal, they hide themselves well.  We had been told where this one was and so were able to find it.  There were two others we were told about, but we couldn’t find them at all.  They make themselves look like limbs on a tree, so that makes them harder to find.

I am going to put together a gallery for you now.  All the photos were taken with the Sigma lens, and I tried to get some shots of other things.  Though I went out again yesterday with a wider lens, and got some images of the area with that, which I will show you tomorrow.  I have tried to get all the birds identified, but I missed out on a couple, so if I find out what they are, I will add them.  I hope the weather is great where you are and you have a splendid weekend taking photos.



  1. This is a fantastic set, Leanne! Thanks so much! Hope you and the family are having a great weekend! Take care! :)

  2. leecleland says

    Great bird shots, Leanne and how lovely to see the signets with both parents. What a beautiful part of the world now that it has filled with water.

    • Thank you Lee, it was lovely to see the family out together. Apparently one of the really wonderful things about swans. It is lovely when it is full of water, and the last few days, have been glorious there.

  3. What a fabulous day of birding you had! I loved seeing the Kookaburra, the Frogmouth, and that branch full of caterpillars. The Black Swans and their cygnets must have been thrilling to see. I’ve only seen Black Swans at the Zoo.

    How did you like the Sigma long 150-500mm lens? I’m going to rent the new Tamron 150-600mm this winter to see how it handles when I’m out photographing the birds that winter around here. Have you been reading about it? It’s getting a lot of glowing reviews.

    • Apparently, they spit Eucalyptus, and I just looked them up they are the caterpillars of the Spitfire Sawfly. My first time seeing them. I loved seeing the black swans, they live there and we see them there often. So many wonderful birds around here, it is great a place for birding. I did enjoy it, I don’t know that I will become a birder, but it was fun doing it on that day.

      It wasn’t bad, but I did have to use a monopod, and I suspect a tripod would have been even easier, though I knew a tripod would be harder to use if we were walking around. I might try the tripod and just stay at the swamp one day, my images might be sharper then. I hadn’t heard of that lens before, but just looked it up, it looks good, will be interesting to see how you find, please let me know. Thanks

  4. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says

    If I ever take up bird watching I am heading to Australia! The variety of birds there are astounding. Your images are awesome! :) <3

  5. How are you liking the lens? It it very heavy? Nice images. I’m trying out a D700 this weekend. So happy to be able to use my FX lenses again.

    • It is taking a bit of getting used to, but with the monopod it isn’t too bad, a big thing to lug around though. Would be better if you could just stay in one place.
      How exciting, are you thinking of getting one? Full frame is a whole new world.

      • Yes, a lot of glass for you to carry around. I’m renting one as I have a “sanctioned” shoot at a former State school near Philadelphia – thought it would be worth it. So far, so good, but huge RAW file sizes.

      • It is a lot Robert. Sounds great, they are great, the full frame, and yes big file sizes, I have had to make lots of room on my computer.

  6. These are stunning Leanne. I love the a tawny Frogmouth too. And those caterpillars – wow!

  7. Amazing bird life and wonderful photos! Extra good vibes coming your way for the grant!

    • It could be, will see what happens, if we could get it heritage listed, that would be brilliant. Thank you.

  8. Love these bird shots! What a rich wildlife in this area. I hope you’ll get the grant!

    • It certainly is and at night, I believe the place is buzzing, as most of our animals are nocturnal. I hope I get it too Tiny, thank you.

  9. Wow! Great shots indeed! I’ve been seeing herons around here a lot lately, but they fly off before i get good shots. They are way too elusive around here. Your shots are incredible! :)

    • There were a few Herons flying around, but I didn’t get any shots. they fly too fast, I am happy with what I got though. Thank you.

  10. Great bird photos Leanne, Just back today from a trip to France and in particular a wander around an ornithological reserve… check out the photos on our latest post on sv-takeiteasy,com
    Well done on the Tawny Frogmouth! Chris

    • I did check out your photos, they were great Chris. Thank you, it was nice to do something a bit different.

  11. Nicely depicted Australiana birdlife. I like all of them but have a penchant for cockatoos so I really like the two in the tree bright against the greys. Beautiful :)

  12. Sonel says

    You have amazing birdlife there Leanne and you’ve captured them so beautifully hon! Thanks for sharing. I loved seeing them through your eyes. :D ♥ Hugs ♥

    • We do Sonel and the nice thing is that we don’t have to go far to see many birds where I live. We get some great ones in the garden too. I am so glad you enjoyed them, thank you, :D

  13. What a collection! I love the tawny frogmouth not only were you blessed to see it and its such a good image! Birds can be so tricky to catch!! Beautiful!!! And seems like great lens : )) trees

    • You aren’t wrong there, they move so quickly, and just when you get ready to take a shot, they move, it can be very frustrating. Thank you Trees. :)

  14. Excellent bird shots. The ones that stood out to me were the close-up ones, I felt with some of the others I found it hard to make out the birds. Then again, you can only get so close to the action. I think photographing birds is easy in the sense that there are birds everywhere, not just the zoo but like parks and around your area.

    It is brilliant weather we are having. I must have caught your cold, Leanne. Been feeling poorly all week but was well enough to go out with my new toy today. Oh joy. Hope your weekend’s going well :)

    • There weren’t birds in all the photos, some were just scenery shots. They really weren’t easy, birds don’t really stay still, and you have to be so quick to get them, some little birds, I didn’t have a chance to photograph, because they would stay still long enough for me to get them. It was quite frustrating, the frogmouth was the best to get, because it didn’t move.

      I got over my cold very quickly, thankfully, glad you got to go out with your camera. I’m hoping to get out tonight. Been out the last couple of days, and will be in the city taking photos tomorrow as well. Enjoy your weekend Mabel.

  15. Oh wow, what a magical place… so glad you spotted all those birds. I’ve never seen a kookaburra before; they look so fluffy! The treetrunk with the caterpillars all ontop of each other was intriguing – do they turn into pretty, colourful butterflies?

    • I had a lot of help finding those birds, wow, Kookaburras are everywhere here, they have big heads. I don’t think they do, I think they are some sort of fly, I think. They are weird. Thanks Reggie.

  16. These are beautiful shots, Leanne. We haven’t been birding at Banyule Flats for years and your gallery inspires me to return – with my newish compact. Thank you for sharing them. Bronwyn

    • Thank you Bronwyn, it is a great time to do it I think, the place seems to be full of birds right now.

    • Thank you Debbie, they can be funny creatures, and when you go out with someone that knows so much, then it is so much more enjoyable.

    • There are so many, and so many more I missed because I wasn’t fast enough. I need practice. Thanks Emily, they are nothing like yours, you are a real expert I love your images.

  17. Oh that tawny frogmouth is so well named Leanne Lol … looks like you had a lot of fun and enjoyment here . I loved those noisy cockatoos and seeing black swans when we visited too many years ago .
    … can’t believe how much I’ve missed play hookey for a bit ….

    • It is Poppytump, a great bird to find. I did have lots of fun, I also learned a great deal, which is never a bad thing. I was really surprised when I found out that they aren’t everywhere in the world. We see them around here often.
      You’ve been having a break, that is so nice, nice to see you back. Thanks

  18. thoroughly enjoyed the virtual tour birding in Banyule – the Tawny Frogmouth is a star but also loved the soft dreamy water shots

    • That is wonderful to hear Laura, shame you weren’t really there, it was a beautiful morning. The Tawny Frogmouths ae absolute stars, I love them too. Thank you.

  19. Tri Wahyu says

    It looks like you use telephoto lens otherwise those birds cannot be detailed so much. I like it.

    • I did, I used a 150-500mm lens, so big one. I wouldn’t have been able to get that close to them otherwise. Thank you.

    • See I don’t do food very well, I just don’t seem to be able to do it. I guess we all have areas we are better in. Thank you.

Comments are closed.