Normally, photos of a house sparrow wouldn’t be worth sharing. This one however had just bathed and looked completely different!
I know house sparrows are a feral species and I shouldn’t be admiring them. They are tenacious little birds though!
This parent and chick combo were hanging out under one of the bridges at Balyang, just before it filled up with water.
I’m enjoying photographing the chicks from the recent season, especially to capture the brightness of the beaks. I’m especially loving photographing the behaviour when they want to be fed. The crouch down and spread their wings slightly, open their beak and seem to shake a little bit. It’s very hard to describe. I’ve also witnessed the behaviour in a young red rumped parrot.
I’m not sure the photos are worth using on the bird ID website. I must admit, I am looking forward to winter when things will hopefully slow down on the observation front.
I’m just going to use dates rather then come up with creative titles for my Balyang visits. I’m just there so darn much. Fortunately, I’ll probably only be visiting for another couple of weeks. I’ll still continue to go to mums and explore the Barwon, just not as the pace I’ve been currently doing.
This current birding project has actually been incredibly exhausting!
Anyway, I was photographing these cockatoos below because I thought the increased number of birds meant I had a better chance of getting a poop shot. I didn’t notice until later that one of them had fruit in its mouth!
I got these generic house sparrow shots while waiting for it to do something else. I’ve learned from experience that they don’t give any warning beforehand! It is an interesting challenge, trying to get lovely photos of them.
There was a lot of young people feeding bread to the birds there, which was annoying. I’m too shy to say anything at this point.
This swamphen saw a silver gull land with a large piece of bread and decided that it wanted some! 🙂 It kinda looks like a dinosaur here.
These long billed corellas were grooming each other and then had a nap. Not from a great angle, but that was because I was lying down on the ground photographing lorikeets.
I nearly got shat on several times while trying to get photos of lorikeets doing the same thing. I had a couple of near misses when trying to get the shots.
I spent ages just watching about 10 of them fly around above me. I got to get a very close look at the colours of their tail. I probably shouldn’t dismiss them as a photographic subject so quickly.
Finally, the red wattlebirds are still working hard feeding their chicks. They have been a consistent background call for the past 6 weeks or so.
As mentioned, it has been an exhausting month. At least 10k+ photos taken at this one location, all of which is painstakingly documented. I definitely wont be doing it again next year. However I’ve learned so much. I’ve got so many questions to seek answers for, which I’ll be doing when things slow down. I can start working on guides for certain birdwatching locations.
It has also taught me so much about managing anxiety and birding with patience. I’ll definitely be writing more about that late.
It feels like all I’ve been writing about lately is nesting behaviour, willy wagtails and what chicks have hatched. I’ve been a bit obsessed. There have been other interesting happenings at Balyang.
Below is a royal spoonbill. I struggled to get a really nice, focused shot it of, despite trying for over an hour. They visit now and again but only spend a short time there at any given time.
House sparrow having a bath. It’s so easy to overlook sparrows, especially as they are an introduced bird. It can lead to interesting photos though if you just watch for a while. Bathing is a behaviour I’ve been trying to capture lately.
A ginormous spider we found, and its presumably deceased mate.
I’ve seen two separate large group of wood ducks that look like they are almost grown up.
Glenn got some lovely photos of these two cockatoos haven’t a snuggle. I don’t know if this is courting behaviour but I suspect it’s just mateship.
Bluetongue! I find it in the car park near Princes bridge. It is the second time I’ve seen them in the area this season, which is pretty awesome.
I also got two more photos for my ‘birds doing a poop’ collection. Here is yet another of a great cormorant. For a short while, I thought I had missed the shot completely. Until I zoomed in and saw this:
Seriously, who could time a shot that great? (Perhaps I need to look at shutter speeds too while I’m at it. Below is a photo of a darter doing one. I had such great luck with both shots that it has led me to become cocky. I’ve spent hours since then trying to replicate my success but have failed. 😉 Oh well, that makes it an ever more awesome challenge. Goal is now to get 20 bird poop shots by the end of the year.
It’s also worth reading Ian Smissens recent blog post about Balyang. Those darters are growing quickly!
Yesterday, I watched the little dude. One of my first thoughts when mum asked me was “Oh, what a shame. I guess I’ll have to check out Balyang again.”
I don’t know how often is too often when checking out on the nesting behaviour, but once a week is seeming like a good balance. Last year I would have said that was too much but now I am a lot better at observing behaviour I would have missed last year.
It was an unexpectedly warm day and hit early 30’s. The cormorants were definitely feeling the heat.
Last week I saw a number of birds hanging out at the nests together. This time, many of them were hanging out away from the nests.
There were two great cormorants there, both panting, which led to some interesting opportunities. Was able to get great detail shots of their mouth.
I got this awesome shot. I’m actually getting quite good at pre-empting what was about to happen. Of course, it is easy to know when a bird is about to poop. They raise their tail and squat a little bit. If you’ve had a pet, you know it. But it’s so difficult to actually get because you have to watch forever to actually notice the original behaviour.
I now have an official page for photos of birds pooping. This is the best photo I have so far because it is the clearest. I only have three but I now want to collect ‘the set.’ I want to get as many photos of birds pooping as possible.
Parrot nesting behaviour
Normally I don’t really pay attention to birds clearing out hollows or poking their heads out of them. It could mean anything.
I got intrigued in July when I saw the cockatoos clearing out a hollow. I developed this obsession with nesting. I’m glad I watched.
The above photo is pretty tedious. The below series is awesome. I got a photo of this cockatoo leaning out of the tree. I *knew* there would be another nearby and it could lead to some interesting photos. I was right.
Mating house sparrows
I was so lucky to get the following series. I saw movement near the trees and thought ‘they were going to mate!’ It was incredibly difficult to see. It was about 1o metres away on the little island. They were specks against a similarly coloured background. Incredibly difficult to capture. But I did it! The photos are mediocre but that is okay considering.
White plumed honeyeater. I’m in love with this lens.
Arguing silver gulls.
I’ll be returning here frequently over the coming weeks to get more nesting/mating behaviour. The narrative isn’t as creative as it could be but the behaviour certainly warranted a post! 🙂