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Weekend Wanderings – Banyule Flats Bird Life

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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.

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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.

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Darter

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.

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Kookaburra

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.

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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.

 

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

    August 23, 2014
    • Thank you Fabio, you have a great weekend too. :)

      August 23, 2014
      • Thanks much, Leanne! That place deserves a good book and a good fight! I am keeping my fingers crossed for your grant! :)

        August 23, 2014
      • You’re welcome, and it really does, thank you, I really hope I get it as well.

        August 23, 2014
  2. leecleland #

    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.

    August 23, 2014
    • 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.

      August 23, 2014
  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.

    August 23, 2014
    • 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

      August 23, 2014
  4. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

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

    August 23, 2014
    • We do have some very colourful and unusual birds here, that’s for sure. Thank you Jackie. :D

      August 23, 2014
  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.

    August 23, 2014
    • 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.

      August 23, 2014
      • 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.

        August 23, 2014
      • 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.

        August 23, 2014
  6. These are stunning Leanne. I love the a tawny Frogmouth too. And those caterpillars – wow!

    August 23, 2014
    • Thank you Colline, the caterpillars are so weird, I didn’t want to get too close, apparently they spit at you, yuck. I do love the tawny frogmouths though, I hope to see a lot more down there.

      August 23, 2014
  7. Amazing bird life and wonderful photos! Extra good vibes coming your way for the grant!

    August 23, 2014
  8. Sounds like quite a fight. Good luck.

    August 23, 2014
    • It could be, will see what happens, if we could get it heritage listed, that would be brilliant. Thank you.

      August 23, 2014
  9. Love the frogmouth! Only one tip; don’t cut off the tip of its tail. Otherwise, a fantastic set of pictures!

    August 23, 2014
    • Well that would have been perfect, but it was hard to get any shot, it was right in among a whole heap of trees.

      August 23, 2014
      • I completely understand. It’s so annoying when that happens.

        August 23, 2014
      • It is, really annoying, oh well, just gives me something to try harder for. Thanks

        August 23, 2014
  10. Love these bird shots! What a rich wildlife in this area. I hope you’ll get the grant!

    August 23, 2014
    • 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.

      August 23, 2014
  11. 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! :)

    August 23, 2014
    • 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.

      August 23, 2014
  12. Wonderful photos!

    August 23, 2014
  13. 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

    August 23, 2014
    • I did check out your photos, they were great Chris. Thank you, it was nice to do something a bit different.

      August 23, 2014
  14. 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 :)

    August 23, 2014
    • OMG the Cocky’s are so loud, they drown out everything. LOL. Thank you Kaz.

      August 23, 2014
      • They look great but remind me of loutish youths up to no good when you see them in a gang . Yes I can imagine the noise! :)

        August 23, 2014
      • That is a great description of the Kaz, very true.

        August 24, 2014
  15. 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 ♥

    August 23, 2014
    • 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

      August 23, 2014
  16. 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

    August 23, 2014
    • 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. :)

      August 23, 2014
  17. 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 :)

    August 23, 2014
    • 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.

      August 23, 2014
  18. 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?

    August 23, 2014
    • 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.

      August 23, 2014
  19. Lovely images leanne!!

    August 23, 2014
  20. 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

    August 23, 2014
    • Thank you Bronwyn, it is a great time to do it I think, the place seems to be full of birds right now.

      August 23, 2014
  21. Beautiful photography!

    August 23, 2014
  22. I love watching birds…so fascinating…and this is just a lovely collection, Leanne. Soft and sweet!

    August 23, 2014
    • 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.

      August 24, 2014
  23. Pat #

    Beautiful shots. Such a great variety here.

    August 24, 2014
    • Thank you Pat, we have so many birds around here.

      August 24, 2014
  24. wonderful bird shots. I love those black swans!!

    August 24, 2014
    • I love the black swans too, I love going there and seeing them, I think many people in the area do as well. It is nice seeing how people want to protect them. Thanks Cybele, I hope things have quietened down for you.

      August 24, 2014
  25. What a marvelous display of bird life that you are able to enjoy. The black swans and their babies – wow ! And the Frogmouth is super cool.

    August 24, 2014
    • 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.

      August 24, 2014
  26. Sounds like a wonderful afternoon. My idea of heaven. :)

    August 24, 2014
    • It was Suz, a great time, and very relaxing. Thank you, :D

      August 24, 2014
  27. 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 ….

    August 24, 2014
    • 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

      August 24, 2014
  28. thoroughly enjoyed the virtual tour birding in Banyule – the Tawny Frogmouth is a star but also loved the soft dreamy water shots

    August 24, 2014
    • 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.

      August 24, 2014
  29. Tri Wahyu #

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

    August 25, 2014
    • 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.

      August 25, 2014
  30. I’ve been birdwatching too this weekend Leanne :-) Love these! They really show the character of the birds.

    August 25, 2014
    • Thank you Sarah, did you get some great images as well? It isn’t as easy to do as thought it would be. :D

      August 25, 2014
      • I did get some lovely shots :-) It’s far from easy! Lots of patience, watchfulness and stillness.

        August 26, 2014
      • I know what you mean, I would just find a bird in the camera lens and then it would take off, some don’t like to stay still for long. :)

        August 27, 2014
      • Yes, I just missed a buzzard by the timing of my autofocus ;-)

        August 27, 2014
      • It is so annoying, I was trying to get some little birds, but they were far too fast, and wouldn’t stay still long enough.

        August 27, 2014
      • You sometimes have to watch the direction they’re moving in, anticipate where they’ll next settle and focus there waiting for your subjects to arrive into your frame! It doesn’t always work, but is often the only way with very fast birds.

        August 28, 2014
      • I don’t think it would work for these ones, the birds were to unpredictable, little ones, zipping in and out of trees all over the place. LOL, little buggers they were.

        August 28, 2014
      • Ha ha ha! Sounds like my battles with goldcrests and long-tailed tits!

        August 28, 2014
      • LOL, yes most likely.

        August 28, 2014
      • They leave me pulling my hair out!!

        August 29, 2014
      • Haha, I haven’t done it enough yet, so haven’t got to that stage.

        August 29, 2014
      • You will ;-) Photographing anything that moves like wildlife and small children is a definite cause of hair loss in photographers!

        August 29, 2014
      • I know just what you mean Sarah, don’t they say never work with kids or animals, hahaha

        August 29, 2014
  31. Great set, Leanne!

    August 25, 2014
  32. Verra nice. That was fun!

    August 26, 2014
  33. always love your photos. I always do way better shooting food than scenery (or anything else!)

    August 29, 2014
    • 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.

      August 29, 2014

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