Sunday, May 06, 2007

Opportunity Knocks--Spotted Pardalote

It hasn't exactly been ideal birding weather lately. Firstly several days of stillness and drizzle, followed by gale force winds and showers. Well the birds have to endure whatever comes along and sometimes that produces photographic possibilities. In windy conditions I often resort to going out to nearby headlands and trying for in-flight shots of gulls and other sea birds, and yesterday I put in a stint on Bellerive Bluff, overlooking the Derwent River.
It proved rather a frustrating time. True, I did see many passing birds, Pacific, Kelp and Silver Gulls aplenty, Black-faced and Little Pied Cormorants, a few Crested Terns, and even a solitary Gannet, but as for photography, just frustration! They were either too far away, too fast, occasionally even too close and I managed few images. In my frustration I decided to scramble up the bank onto the old Bellerive Fort, built to keep the Russians out, but now largely used by the locals to "exercise" their dogs. It did enable me to get a better all round view, but didn
't improve my photographic opportunities. One of those days when "over there" always looks a better proposition. As I pondered whether to cut my loses and go, I heard the faint calls of a Spotted Pardalote barely audible above the sound of the wind through the She Oaks. The pardalotes seem to be here year round, and I suspect that they nest in the outer wall of the Fort. All thought of sea birds passed as I tried my hand at photographing this pair. The Spotted Pardalotes, one of the smallest Tasmanian birds, are common enough, but do seem to spend most of their time in the canopy of eucalypts, giving little opportunity to photograph them. Here, aided by the fact that I'm standing on a bank, almost looking into the tops of the fairly stunted trees, I took the accompanying shots. The upper image is a female, the lower, male. I guess that, in photography, as in life, you just have to take your opportunities as they arise.


Duncan said...

Brilliant little birds Alan, you did well to get them in the canopy. They're relatively easy if you can find their nest, they often allow a very close approach. Great shots in the previous post too.

BirdingTas said...

Hi Duncan,
Thanks for commenting. They are rather beaut birds. My last post on them was at a nest site, and I frequently get them in my garden, but despite that, they seem to elude me photographically. On this occasion they were at times just too close to focus on, and seemingly quite fearless!

Anonymous said...

It always amazes me how confiding Pardalotes can be; I've had some very close encounters with them. It is always very satisfying to get close up shots of these tiny birds. Well done.

BirdingTas said...

Hi Trevor,
Thanks for your comments. The male of this pair actually flew past me on two occasions close enough to feel the "wind" from its wings. I'm not sure whether it was a sort of warning or just didn't care! They must be one of the most attractive small birds around, and as you say, it's always satisfying getting useable shots of them.