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The Black-winged Stilts are constants on the incoming tide at the moment. The closer in time that I arrive before a high tide, the closer in distance I get to the birds.

I’ve been contemplating why I’m going through this practice every day. It’s as much about the desire to improve the shot taking as it is for the exercise and fresh air. Every day I’m learning something new or having other things reaffirmed. It’s all about the light today. Mid-late afternoon. And for a change, these photos have absolutely no adjustments to exposure or effects added.

I’m noticing improvements in my ability to track birds in flight with the camera too. Practice, practice, practice, as they say.

Stilt flight - 3 Sept 2014 Stilt shuffle - 3 Sept 2014 Stilts settled - 3 Sept 2014

 

 

I’ve been timing my coast walks close to high tide so it was after 2pm that I made today’s trek. The only shore birds evident were the usual suspects, these Black-winged Stilts. They were mostly intent on holding the same pose. As I was leaving, I caught sight of a Greater Egret wading around the mangroves.

b&w stilts - OP - 1 Sept 2014

I watched him catch two fish and then took a few unspectacular photographs from my vantage point.

greater egret - OP 1 Sep 2014Once done fishing, the bird took off in a hurry. Any shot of his departure was going to be miraculous. You’ll notice that the camera (and the photographer) did manage to get the mangroves in focus.

Egret takes flight - FX Pacific 20

For a while it was relatively calm on the shore line. The tide was coming in gently and every so often the birds jostled for new positions as they moved up a little more to take account of the changing water depths.

Then this backwash from a passing boat arrived. This is the moment when the godwits were figuring out that some kind of reaction was called for. You can almost see their minds ticking over.

Incoming backwash - 30 Aug 2014

I arrived at the Point an hour later than yesterday’s trek which meant that the incoming tide was closer to the shore. Today’s shots have very little or no effects work done on them with the exception of the stilts in flight photo which has a touch of Vintage using FX Photo Studio Pro.

You might notice a ring in towards the end. I was lying in a prone position so as not to disturb the shore birds. Suddenly he was half a metre away from my face. He was totally unfazed and not about to let a strange human on the grass disturb his food hunt.

Oyster Point 3 - 28 Aug 2014 - no effectsOyster Point 1 - 27 Aug 2014 - tilt shift

Oyster Point 8 - 27 Aug 2014 - no effectsOyster Point 9 - 27 Aug 2014 - tilt shiftOyster Point 4 - 27 Aug 2014 - no effectsOyster Point 010 - 27 Aug 2014 - Low Vintage FXOyster Point 7 - 27 Aug 2014

 

Sometimes the walks take place without a camera which can lead to disappointment when there are gatherings like this taking place on the shore. Something told me this morning to grab the long lens as I headed out the door after breakfast. The tide and the light were just right. There were godwits galore among the regular stilt population and the odd visiting tern and oyster catcher. The camera and these birds are a big part of my balancing act right now.Godwits in flight - 26 Aug 2014morning feed on the incoming tidegodwits in flight 2 - 26 Aug 2014

I didn’t come across a single human on this walk in the rain. The magpies in the park were enjoying a feast of insects underneath the damp grass. The butcher bird was flitting around the plants on the edge of the mangroves. At the beginning of the walking path, the male brush turkey was working on his mound.

The presence of these birds made up for the lack of shore birds and the fact that I missed a shot of a magnificent sea eagle looking for fish scraps on a low tide.

wet magpie - Saturday Butcher Bird

Brush turkey on mound

A stunning winter morning was all that was required to encourage a walk to the Point. I checked the tide levels and grabbed the camera bag knowing that the shore birds would be feeding. The walk was so worth the muddy boots. As a bonus, two sulphur crested cockatoo flew over the park. One of them chose to pose.

Stilts 2 - 7 August 2014 - Oyster PointStilts 3 - 7 August 2014 - Oyster PointStilts - 7 August 2014 - Oyster PointSulphur crested cockatoo - 7 August 2014 - Oyster Point

Through the window in my office, I have a good view of the garden and am able to see occasional visitors of note.

This morning it was this white-faced heron.  Because the glare was right behind him, all I was getting on the screen was a silhouette. It took a great deal of pushing the exposure and some other tweaks to get this image happening.

white-faced heron - Feb 25And then the bird flew next door. A different angle and different light meant an easier transition to an image that did the heron a little more justice, despite the longer distance.

white-faced heron 2