Alex's Small Year 2019

134 posts / 0 new
Last post
Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture
Alex's Small Year 2019

Hope some of you enjoy the pics, and enjoy our lighthearted "competition". My personal aim is to improve my photography, so I hope this exercise will just get me out there more using and experimenting with my camera, and seeing cool birds. All my photos have exif data on them, including the all important dates (1 Sep 2019 to 31 Dec 2019)

Let's start...  Morning trip to Landing Lights Wetland, Sydney 1/9

001) Silvereye. Quite tricky little guys to photograph - always deep in the bush, moving fast, behind a leaf... Eventually got a pic, even if it is a bit obscured.

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

2) Double-barred Finch - these were a new bird for me, very exciting. Lovely little guys, look like tiny owls

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

3) Scaly-breasted Munia (Nutmeg Mannikin) - another new bird for me. Groups of 5-10, enjoying sunrise from the protection of a lantana hedge

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

4) Brown Honeyeater - my thrid new bird in one morning, so very exciting for me. Mind you, as a beginner birder you get the "lifer" rush quite often :-) 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

5) Golden-headed cisticola - singing his heart out

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

6) Somewhat less exciting, the Common Myna - I'm trying not to discriminate, and photograph all the birds. And it is amazing what you notice when you start to photograph and really look at them. They have quite extraordinary eyes. 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

The next few are from a work trip I did to Brisbane and Emerald this week - managed to get in a quick trip to the Nundah Beach wetlands, as well as the Botanical Gardens in Emerald. Not enough time for much photography (work keeps getting in the way...) but saw some great birds. 

7) Pied Butcherbird - always cool to see a different version of our familiar Grays 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

8) Rainbow Bee-eater. One of those odd things - there was a sign by the track saying "Rainbow Bee-eaters nest near here" and I looked up, and there were 2 in the tree above me :-) 

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Your off to a flying start Alex, some really nice photos there.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

9) Australiasian Figbird. Initially misidentified as Olive-backed Oriole female - similar, but no cigar... Thanks Sue :-) 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

10) Torresian Kingfisher Todiramphus sordidus. You might know it as the Collared Kingfisher, this is one that has been split into 2 subspecies a little while ago, and our mainland species is now known as the Torresian. Gorgeous primarily blue-backed kingfisher, I only caught his frontal view on camera

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

11) Leaden Flycatcher. Another one that wasn't obvious, as the female here is quite different to the male. Lovely bird, hunting insects through the woods at the entrance to the mangroves. 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

It was getting dark when I had the chance to walk along the river at Emerald, so while I saw a lot of good birds, including some new to me, I only managed to catch this one on camera: 

12) Apostlebird. Love these guys, so noisy, cheeky, gregarious

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Thanks Dale :-) 

sue818
sue818's picture

Wow, Alex, great start with a number of new ones and some lovely shots. I am looking forward to seeing more. Don’t expect anything from me for about a week as busy planning & packing. 

Just a query re the Olive-backed Oriole. I am only looking on my phone so could be wrong but is there some bare facial skin around the eye? You stated it was a difficult ID so did you rule out female or juvenile Australasian Figbird? Bill shape/ size & lack of eyebrow may fit Figbird more than Oriole. I need a bigger screen to be sure but thought it worth mentioning. 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Thanks for the kind comments Sue - and for the tactful correction! Yes, there is definitely bare skin there... and looking closely at both options, you are correct. I've fixed it above. 

Looking forward to seeing your pics too in due course. 

sue818
sue818's picture

Happy that I could help, Alex. Always learning myself as you might note that I have relabelled one of pictures from Restless to Paperbark Flycatcher. Check them out in your bird guide and the border of their territories and you will understand. Looking forward to seeing more from you.

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

OK - with Pip joining the race at #1, the challenge is hotting up :-) 

I had a nice morning down under the Sydney airport flightpath at the Landing Lights Wetland. It was too windy for all the usual hedgerow birds, but the ponds were productive. I'll try Dale's method of multiple birds per posting: 

13) Little Black Cormorant

14) Great Egret. I've been trying hard to improve my high contrast shots, so the whites don't blow out completely - and having some success, although I think the tiny sensor on my camera will always struggle. 

15) Little Egret

16) White-faced Heron - completely blew out the whites here - but the soft pink breeding colours coming through are nice

17) New Holland Honeyeater - looking a bit windswept, it was blowing pretty hard

18) Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. 

19) Royal Spoonbill another bird I've struggled with in the past as the whites are so easy to blow out. 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Still got one more from Landing Lights to identify before I post it up. So here are a couple from home this afternoon while I was gardening. 

20) Rainbow Lorikeet. Full disclosure - I bribe them to pose with an apple or two a week, so if people feel it unscrupulous in pursuit of the grand Big Year prize, I'll have to catch them next door on their grevilleas before they come over the fence to my place :-) 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

21) Noisy Miner - these guys rather dominate my garden. Wer are currently planting native grasses and looking for suitable shelter bushes to grow for the hedge birds and finches that live in the reserve just down the road, hoping to tempt them to visit. 

pip-lb
pip-lb's picture

Lovely spoonbill there. Those sandpipers are cool too. I've never been able to positively identify them down here, the few times i thought i might have seen them. And that photo of the noisy miner almost makes it look exotic, a bird of paradise even. Good stuff.

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Thanks Pip. Yes, I'm a complete novice with waders, so I used recent ebird sightings at this spot to help narrow down the choices, and then 3 or 4 sources and guides to confirm the sharpies. I struggled a bit more with this guy who was amongst them - eventually deciding that the black downturned bill, black legs, white rum, white eyebrow, and ruddy remnants of breeding colours on the chest were conclusive enough: 

22) Curlew Sandpiper (a lifer for me)

sue818
sue818's picture

Nice one, Alex.

Shorebirds can be tricky and although you get better at it, the differences in plumage with age & breeding make it tricky. Plenty of help is available for ID, thank goodness. I really struggle with Terns!

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

23) Pied (Black-winged) Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Lovely bird, managed to get closer than usual, and caught him calling his mate. 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Time for some catch-up. Not all the best quality - but I'm falling behind the industrious Pip. And the challenge is quantity after all :-) 

24) Eurasian Coot - lookin gsomewhat demonic as they do. 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

25) Pacific Black Duck (can you tell I hit my local duckpond before work?)

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

26) Hardhead. I read they were named by early collectors, it was hard to taxidermy the head correctly, apparently...

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

27) Australasian Swamphen

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

28) Australasian Grebe. Love these little birds, so tiny, but such intrepid divers. They are also generally a bit shy, and so I'm normally photographing them at full zoom and cursing my wobbly hands. Anyway, I was phtographing this one, then she went and sat on her next - first time I've seen their nests :-) 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

29) Grey Teal. I've been trying to get a shot that showed the red eye AND green speculum at once - its not the best, but at least I got that. 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

30) Magpie Lark

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

31) Black Swan. Some amazing colours in the water in the early light. This swan and his mate had 6 cygnets, and 4 have grown up to be too big to be taken by anything, has been fun watching them. And the cygnets were very cute indeed. But I liked this solo shot of Dad today. 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

32) White Ibis. It is breeding season for them too, and here an adult is feeding his nearly-grown chick. Bin chickens never quite make it to "cute" status, but the little ones were quite special. 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

And that was all from the morning shoot - but I snuck in a few more easy ones while waiting for my ferry. 

33) Silver gull (sometimes known as "bloody silver gulls")

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

34) Rock Dove (to finish off a morning of urban birds)

pip-lb
pip-lb's picture

I love the grebes too. I've become an admirer of the bin chicken, they're really excellent flyers. I had a large colony near where i lived once and I watched them a lot, they've got some complex social business going on i reckon. I'm really quite fond of them. 

Great shots, Alex, thanks.

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

I was back to the Landing Lights this morning - didn't see any new birds, but did manage to get a few photos to add

35) Superb Fairywren

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

36) Red-browed finch

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

37 Masked lapwing

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

38) Little Wattlebird. This guy was seriously full of himself, bellowing out his song to the world. Not technically a great photo, but I love the pose of the bird, you can really see how he was belting it out. 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

39) Red-rumped parrots

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

And a few more from this morning's walk around the local park and waterfront. 

40) Great Cormorant

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

41) Little Pied Cormorant

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

42 Australasian Darter (female)

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

43) Australian Raven

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

44) Crested Pigeon. This guy was chasing a somewhat reluctant female, and being distracted, let me get a good angle on his speculum - lovely.  I'd probably let him catch me if I was a female crested pigeon

pip-lb
pip-lb's picture

I love that pigeon shot, wow. That is one crazy looking bird. I don't think i've noted how red and strange their eyes are before. Just beautiful. 

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Going well Alex. Some great photos there. Hoping to try for some catchup soon, don’t reckon I will pass you, but I’ll give it a shot!

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
sue818's picture

Great to see the challenge progressing with some lovely birds. I hope to get good internet in next few days but have amassed a few shots so look out for them.

sue

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

Thanks all. Sue, you have me worried, I reckon you are out there in the field amassing hundreds of exotic bird photos... I'd better get posting again. :-) 

Here is a classic backyard bird shot. I reckon I found out where all the fish in my pond went. 

45) Laughing Kookaburra 

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

I was up in Katherine NT for a couple of days on business. Went down to the Low Level Reserve and Donkey Camp Wiers after work, these photos are from there, or around my motel grounds. 

46) Grey-crowned Babbler - cool birds, there are 4 resident in the motel grounds, and they are gregarious, noisy, fast-moving birds, a lot of fun

Pages

 and @UrbanBirdsOz  @birdsinbackyards
                 Subscribe to me on YouTube