Oxley Creek Mistletoe

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Today was the day I finally got to photograph a Mistletoe Bird. And let me tell you, these tiny almost robin-like birds are real beauties, well worth some time and patience.

Looking through the lens the back of the bird looks black, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out that in fact the wings of the male are a rich glossy blue. Absolutely nice looking guys! The females are more plain but still very attractive. Feeding down at ground level on some black berries the birds were not at all shy and eventually patience paid off as they perched on a low branch and posed with their breakfast. Happy Days!

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Winter has arrived in Brisbane and the bird pickings, whilst slim at the best of times has been really dry. The highland birds and some migrants from the south are supposed to come to town this time of the year, but we haven’t seen evidence of it yet. So who knows what is going on.

Undecided where to go we chose to head off to Oxley Creek Common a well known birding spot on the south side of Brisbane. It’s a nice walk, with open grassland on one side of the track and thick riverine bush on the other. So the potential for a mix of species is there. The few times we have been there before have not been productive, and I would say today was not too exiting although in the end we managed to come away with a few nice shots of a variety of birds.

As the sun rose Golden Cisticola’s warmed themselves on high grass stalks oblivious to the cameras a few meters away; the golden light of the sun perfectly lighting their plumage.

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Feeding nearby the Cisticola’s were flocks of Fairy Wrens always a target for the lens. Despite a few years of photographing these birds I’m embarrassed to say I still don’t have a few first class shots. For some reason I can never catch them posing clean of vegetation, and when they do I’m always just too slow to focus and press the shutter. The other problem is the stark contrast between the dark and colored plumage of these birds means it is essential to get the white balance settings correct, something thats just one finger and one second too difficult for me to achieve at the same time as focusing. Anyway beggars can’t be choosers, and whist todays efforts were above average they still fall short of where they have to be to portray these little gems the way they deserve.

The best shots of the morning were of some male Red Backed Fairy Wrens. Nice little jewels don’t you think?

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I also managed a few shots of a Superb Fairy Wren that perched on a wire fence. The light was behind him, so the shot is not the best but at least you get to see the difference with his red cousin.

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So that was the result of a few km’s of heavy lifting at Oxley Creek this morning. To my friends in South Africa, be happy. Even on bad days you always have hundreds of species to photograph. In Australia it’s sparse by comparison. So stop whinging and keep shooting, you don’t know how lucky you are!!

 

 

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