A morning “birding” …

After last night looking really foggy and misty I got up early this morning and went out looking for some nice misty sunrise shots, but came back disappointed (no mist or fog in sight). Then at 8:30am, Adrienne and I met David and Dorothy and spent the morning “birding” in Woodlands Historic Park. The morning began very quietly, there didn’t seem to be much birdlife at all. We wandered through the back paddock and David and I left Adrienne and Dorothy to wander a bit further in search of some robins. We found a pair of Red-capped Robins and returned to the girls feeling quite pleased with ourselves, only to find that another pair had come and found them where they were resting. We wandered back via the dam, and found a lot more activity down there. We saw Scarlet Robins, Grey Fantails, Red-browed Firetails, White-plumed Honeyeaters and some Crested Shrike-tits.

At the dam we met another “birder” Roger (who knew David, but I’d never met), who had left me a comment on my Flickr feed last week – small world isn’t it!

It was a great morning bird-wise, but a little frustrating photographically. These little birds are quite tough to photograph (for me anyway) and my ratio of good shots to bad shots today was very low, especially for the robins. It was great to have David’s company, he has been wandering Woodlands for years and is a more experienced “birder”. I felt sorry for him on a number of occasions when he was trying to show me a bird I couldn’t see, he practically drew me a map and I still had trouble finding them! I still need more practice with my long lens and monopod, I find that even when I can see the bird, I sometimes still struggle to find it in the “zoomed” camera viewfinder. There were a lot of occasions today where my camera just refused to focus properly too, a lot of the time I think it is due to grass and branches in between you and the bird, which makes it really tough, and I’m just not quick enough yet on the manual focus for these small, flighty birds.

So, a four hour wander around Woodlands was a great start to the Easter break.

My shot of the day was this Crested Shrike-tit who had just caught his lunch.

Crested Shrike-tit 2012-04-06 (_MG_6038)


4 Responses to “A morning “birding” …”

  1. David Jenkins Says:


    This is a very busy bird and I suppose pretty happy with its find. Pity for us, that it didn’t pop out into the clear area for a better looksee.

    I used to run the focus on the long zoom out to about the 400 setting and then use a big rubber band. The kind that the postie uses, to half cover the zoom ring and the barrel, just to keep the zoom in place. Let’s face it, with a tiny bird at 5 metres, we ain’t going to be shooting in the 90-150mm range.

    The focus pocus is the great divider of us in the new digital age. Sometimes I work with it on continuous AIServo, and sometimes on single A SIngle Shot. (which is so badly named), but on single it won’t fire shutter until the focus is locked. both of the Servo settings continue to focus which means if the little elves inside driving the focus take a liking to something else, they will put the focus there. I don’t know how to tame elves.

    Also when there is little contrast between subject and background the elves go into a tizz and sort of close down.


    • ajh Says:

      I have set my camera to “back-button focus” so I focus with a different button, rather than the old “half-press on the shutter button”, and usually use AI Servo with birds, but I did change that during this morning to One Shot to see if it would help. I have heard that maybe the Sigma 120-400 is a bit soft right at the 400 end, maybe I might try to shoot at 350ish and see how I go. Maybe my elves were just on their Easter break?

  2. oldgirlnewtricks Says:

    So beautiful, Sounds like you are getting your exercise more by walking these days. That’s okay. Just keep moving. And what a wonderful new hobby. Happy Easter! – Maureen

  3. Half IM in 2012 Says:

    Hehe….you said ‘tit’.

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