Locate, Observe, Wait…Click
Little Pied Cormorant – I spotted this Little Pied Cormorant battling with a fish in the rough but shallow surf. It then clambered over rocks and waddled up the sandy beach with the fish dangling from its beak. I ran over 50m of rocks to reach the bird and the fish. The cormorant was obviously struggling to swallow the fish, which was not surprising given that the fish had splayed its spiny pectoral fins. It took several vigorous, gulping attempts by the cormorant to shake the fish into its gullet. Photo taken at Long Reef, Dee Why, Sydney.
Australasian Darter – Not only is it spectacular in appearance, it is a fast swimmer underwater, catches fish very effectively, is elegant in flight and also a contortionist. It seems able to twist its very long, snake-like neck in any direction, as evidenced by this series of images. Photo taken at Balmoral Beach, Sydney.
Great Egrett – I had been watching this bird wading and fishing for a while when it suddenly took off as a result of several people walking noisily past. I was very lucky to be in a perfect light position to capture these four, almost full-frame images, over about 1 second as the egrett flew past me and landed in the creek behind me.
Dusky Moorhen and Chicks – I’ve been able to observe two families of these birds at close quarters. They are living near a busy river path, so are used to having a lot of people around. The adults are very attentive to the chicks, constantly feeding them green weed, “duck diving” for fodder and chasing them around. At this age the chicks wave their tiny wing buds as they approach the parent for food. Their feet are large relative to the size of their bodies, so on land they are slightly awkward. Occasionally, the chicks literally get under the feet of the adult, or are flicked into the air when they duck dive. From time to time there seems to be some tough love supplied as the parent grabs the chick by the head in its beak – no harm done!
Pied Cormorant – I watched this beautiful bird closely for 30 mins. Eventually, it caught this large fish in the middle of a popular beach swimming area. The time from surfacing to swallowing was about 10 seconds only! It then put on a show of wing-flapping in the water. Not sure whether this was to help with swallowing, a “dance”, or to dry its wings before taking off again, which it did, just skimming the rail of the jetty. The second sequence shows a Pied Cormorant catching and restraining a Leatherjacket by the spike on its head, from which there was no escape. Photo series taken near Mosman, Sydney.
Australasian Darter (Male) – out fishing. A very magestic bird, one of my favourites, although tricky to take photographs of due to the slender shape of its head and neck (…camera focusing), along the speed of head movement when fishing (…shutter speed). Photo sequence taken near Mosman, Sydney.
Eastern Great Egrett – some profile images of flight, face, feathers, feet and fishing. Photos above and below taken in Lane Cove National Park, Sydney and near Wollongong, New South Wales.
White Faced Heron – Photos above taken at low tide in the rock pools of a beach and a nearby water-logged playing field; just north of Wollongong.
Australian Pelican – Photos above and below taken near Wollongong.
Crested Tern – bath-time on the beach. Photo sequence taken near Mosman, Sydney.
The Aerobatics and Aquabatics of the Crested Tern – During a 2-3 week period this bay was full of “bait” fish. This attracted several species of seabird and larger fish. These photos show some of the remarkable attributes of the Crested Tern: high-speed, elegant soaring flight; targeting fish from 10-15m above the sea; stopping in flight; vertical diving into shallow water sometimes; submerging; vigorous sub-surface take-offs and catching more than one fish in their beaks…high energy feeding again and again. Interestingly, at the start of the dive the bird’s feet point skywards and then seawards just before entry. Photos taken on different occasions near Mosman, Sydney.
Masked Lapwing / Spur-winged Plover – this pair was inseparable and seemingly in synch, each mirroring the other. The final picture in the series shows the yellow spur on the wing. Photos taken on a popular beach near Mosman, Sydney.
Little Black Cormorants – photos taken near Mosman and Farm Cove, Sydney, as well as near Wollongong. The bird with its eyes closed, standing on one leg, with the other dangling behind looks so relaxed gazing into the warm, early-morning sunshine.
Surf Drama with Little Black Cormorant – This was one of four birds that landed in the rough surf in the shallows of a rising tide. I captured this short photo series over just two or three seconds. It was only later as I was reviewing the images that I realised the bird had caught a fish, was being overtaken by the surf between rocks and yet still managed to escape…with the fish! Photos taken near Wollongong, New South Wales.
Little Black Cormorant – Nesting behaviour near Sydney central business district.
Ibis (Australian White) – photo taken near Wollongong, New South wales.
Australian White Ibis – with the local playing fields water-logged and the ground very soft, several Ibis landed to forage for food. I was surprised how far they could drill their beaks into the ground, particularly with their heads inverted.