I’m sure you may be getting a bit tired of all the birds which have been featuring here, but sometimes I capture something that I just have to share. These were taken today using that big 300mm lens I have on loan. The soggy Splendid Wren was taken at a friend’s house where she has a bird bath just outside a window, and very close to the house. It was amazing to watch him splashing around and enjoying the water.
The Kookaburra was sitting in a Chestnut Tree in my back yard, carefully watching a garden bed that had been weeded yesterday – and the last shot shows what he was waiting for!
This handsome fellow and his missus have made a nest in the huge pile of garden debris that will have to be burnt before the fire season begins early in November – I do hope they will have moved out by then! He is a Superb Blue Wren, or Fairywren.
Birds of various sorts have become my favourite subjects for the moment – they offer many challenges to a photographer, only one of which is to be able to get close enough to get a good shot, either physically or with a telephoto lens. I have been playing with a Sigma 100-300mm lens, which is on loan from my son, and although not as sharp as my smaller Canon 70-200mm, it does get one a bit closer to the subject. Today I was shooting water birds on my own lake, and the one in town, as well as swans at Lake Wendouree in Ballarat. All of these water birds were traveling in pairs, some were displaying nest making behavior and I even saw swans with cygnets for the first time this year. Spring is finally here!
This is a tiny Grebe
A Swamp Hen
Yesterday a small flock (seven) Sulphur Crested Cockatoos landed in the Chestnut Tree in the backyard. Of course, I was out there in a flash taking shots of these beautiful, but extremely destructive native birds. Watching them bite off any small branch that took their fancy or got in their way, I again resolved not to encourage them to visit the garden by sending my large dog out to bark at them. None the less, here are a few shots taken this morning using the 70-200mm lens. I just love the one snoozing in the early morning sunshine.
I seem to have got a little behind in acknowledging comments…….I apologise, but please know that every comment is very much appreciated – thank you for taking the time to do so.
These were all taken around home where the birds are getting busy to mate and nest. The first shot is of two male Crimson Rosellas that were bickering over a female, who was ignoring them and eating seed on the ground – sensible lady! I’m delighted that I have seen two Eastern Yellow Robins in the garden which hopefully will mean there might be more around next year. I have also seen a pair of Flame Robins, but unfortunately I did not have the camera ready. I hope they fly by again soon.
This lovely little yellow bird seems to have moved into my area as I see it almost daily in my garden. It is not as fidgety as some, and will sit still still long enough for me to focus and get a good shot. I’m hopeful that it will also let me get a bit closer – these were taken with a 70-200mm lens, and cropped significantly.
Last weekend I was given a bunch of Iceland Poppies, mostly still furled inside their hairy sepals which fall as the crumpled papery petals push the flower open. Today I took those that remained and took some pictures, playing also with my son’s professional lights which I have borrowed for a while. These were taken with my 100mm macro lens, using a tripod, and mostly lit from behind or underneath. I hope you enjoy them.
I think my favourite shot is the last one, the poppy was cream, so I have changed it to a black and white image.
There are few flowers, fewer insects, but there are still birds in my garden! I feed them during the winter when there is less natural food around. All of these shots were taken in the last few days, using a 70-200mm lens and tripod.
With Spring approaching plus endless rain, the local frog population is very vocal, and one can hear them in most parts of this large garden. I often find them when weeding or doing other things in the garden, and will sometimes capture them for a short while, take some photos and then release again where they were found. Here are a couple of my recent finds – they are all very small.
The one on the right is the most common Litoria ewinii, the Southern Brown Tree Frog. As there is a huge variation in colour and markings in this species, the other smaller one may be the same, but I am not sure and cannot find a way of identifying it clearly from this source. It was very small, and was found buried rather than just under some leaf litter so could be something different as it also seemed to have a different shape. This is it sitting on my thumbnail.
PS. Today ( 1/8/12) I received an answer from the Melbourne Museum Discovery Centre, to whom I had sent the above photo in the hope they might identify this little dark frog for me. This is their response:-
This is probably either a Common Eastern Froglet (Crinia signifera) or an Eastern Sign-bearing Froglet (aka Beeping Froglet – Crinia parasignifera). These two froglets would probably be found in this area and they can really only be identified easily by their calls – the calls can be listened to on the MV website at http://museumvictoria.com.au/bioinformatics/frog/
So now we know!
Rain again today, and we are in for another wet week. Ventured out and about the garden between showers, took heaps of lousy pictures but kept these few, starting with Maggie my Blue Merle Collie.
In my garden today, some macro shots and a little bit of colour – so good after the rain and grey of yesterday!
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Kim’s prompt for Texture Tuesday this week was ‘Natural”…..seeing most of my photography is taken from nature, this was not difficult. This photo was taken about a year ago, but still is contemporary as these birds are common in some areas near here, though I rarely have them in the garden.
I should probably paraphrase this, but seems fine as it is and is far quicker to use the original, so this long quote is from the Australian National Dictionary Centre at the ANEU in Canberra:-
“The word galah is a borrowing into Australian English from the Aboriginal Yuwaalaraay language of northern New South Wales. In early records it is variously spelt as galar, gillar, gulah, etc. It is first recorded in 1862 in J. McKinlay’s Journal of Exploration in the Interior of Australia: `A vast number of gulahs, curellas, macaws… here’. The bird referred to is the grey-backed, pink-breasted cockatoo Eolophus roseicapillus, occurring in all parts of Australia except the extreme north-east and south-west. It is also known as the red-breasted cockatoo and rose-breasted cockatoo.
Some early settlers use the galah as food. In 1902 the Truth newspaper reports: ‘The sunburnt residents of at that God-forsaken outpost of civilisation were subsisting on stewed galah and curried crow’. Some writers report that galah pie was a popular outback dish.
The galah, which usually appears in a large flock, has a raucous call, and it was perhaps this trait which produced the term galah session for a period allocated for private conversation, especially between women on isolated stations, over an outback radio network. F. Flynn in Northern Gateway (1963) writes: ‘The women’s radio hour, held regularly night and morning and referred to everywhere as the ‘Galah Session’. It is a special time set aside for lonely station women to chat on whatever subject they like’. More generally, a galah session is ‘a long chat’ – A. Garve, Boomerang (1969): ‘For hours the three men chatted… It was Dawes who said at last, “I reckon this galah session’s gone on long enough”.’
Very commonly in Australian English galah is used to refer to a fool or idiot. A.R. Marshall and R. Drysdale in Journey among Men (1962), suggest that this sense of galah may have a non-Australian origin: ‘A clue to the possible origin of the slang usage of ‘galah’. In Malaya gila (pronounced gee-lah) means mad; hence orang gila, a madman’. But this explanation has not been accepted, and the Australian meaning must be a transfer from the bird, no doubt incorporating a judgment about the relative intelligence of the bird. The following citations give an indication of how the term is used:
1951 E. Lambert, Twenty Thousand Thieves: ‘Yair, and I got better ideas than some of the galahs that give us our orders’.
1960 R.S. Porteous, Cattleman: ‘The bloke on the other end of the line is only some useless galah tryin’ to sell a new brand of dip’.
1971 J. O’Grady, Aussie Etiket: ‘You would be the greatest bloody galah this side of the rabbit-proof fence’.
From this sense arise a number of colloquial idioms. To be mad as a gum-tree full of galahs is to be completely crazy. To make a proper galah of oneself is to make a complete fool of oneself. A pack of galahs is a group of contemptibly idiotic people.”
For Beyond Layers a couple of weeks ago, we needed to use a frame to create an image that looked like the old Polaroid images – this was mine.
This one is of another persistent leaf – hanging on in the face of rain, winds and frosts…I love them!
Another lesson involved learning how to add the colour chips or circles of colour with an image – I got a bit carried away and did several because they are fun, but I also incorporated some other techniques as well. Hope you like them!
It was so cold this morning that the edge of my lake was frozen, and the frost on the ground made it look as if it had been snowing.
No chance of that for a while as I discovered it is growing beautiful tiny ephemeral toadstools, that come up and disappear in about 24 hours. They are a great subject for macros, so I was out again this afternoon to see what had happened overnight.
Thought I’d try the square format again….
These tiny fungi were found growing on a moss covered rock, and a bale of hay. Taken with my faithful Canon 550D and 100mm macro lens.
It is pouring again…..but earlier I was out in the drizzle shooting more persistent leaves and a brave rose or two….
I’m liking the square format……might do a series…..
All taken with my 550D and 70-200mm lens.
There is a dearth of good photo subjects in my garden at the moment – it’s mid winter, cold, mostly wet, no flowers, few insects……but today I found a frog!
I think it is a Litoria ewingii, or Brown Tree Frog (despite finding it under a log) and it measured only about 3 cms from nose to tail. There are at least 36 different frogs listed as occurring in Victoria and many of them look similar, while even in their own species there can be a wide variation in colour and marking. There is an excellent key to identification of frogs here which I have checked, and I’m also going to try and get some external help from someone who is a froggy expert, so there may be more later.
P.S This is a quote from the advice I was given as to the identity of this frog – “the toe pads mean it can’t be anything but a tree frog and that means Litoria. The dark patch on the back makes it ewingii.” So it seems I was correct.
It’s nice to be shooting with my 100mm macro lens again!