All For A Mouthful of Frogs

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Variety is the spice of life. There is no point in eating the same food when there is so much more still to be tasted. No point to drink the same wine and beer with so much more still needing sampling and no point traveling to the same old places when there is still much too much left to explore.

So it is with photography. The same old same oh quickly gets boring. Another bird on a stick is another bird on a stick, unless it’s a special bird or a poser…then who can resist. The challenge is to find something new and get something different even if the Mozzies, Flies and ticks are a pain. Oh, while on the issue of Ticks and Mozzies, I heard that the best repellent is Geranium Oil which can be sourced from Health food stores….something new I have to try!

Looking for new ground and following up on a tip that there was a big Egret breeding colony at the Gatton campus of the University of Queensland we trundled off out there a few days back. There were Egrets alright, hundreds of  Cattle Egrets in full breeding colors nesting round some small ponds in the middle of the campus. The colony is a hive of activity with nestlings ranging from a few days old to fledglings about to take flight. In a testament to the health of the colony and the amount of food available some nests have up to three chicks. But there is also a lot of carcasses of dead chicks on the ground.


With so many nests the colony is a constant hive of activity with adult birds arriving and departing every few seconds and despite the bright early morning sun it was not too long before I was full of Egrets in flight.




The flight activity in and around the colony is quite incredible. On a number of occasions there were near misses when departing birds suddenly took off in front of arriving birds. Tracking one bird as it glided in to land I was rewarded when another took off directly in its path resulting in a collision right in front of the lens. It was a no brainer…there was nothing needed except to press the shutter.  I knew right off that I had a few good frames and sure enough they were perfect.



After recording the mid air collision, everything else in the air became boring. No way was I going to get another one. So I turned my attention to the nests and the feeding frenzy which occurred every time a bird returned to its chicks. Basically its a free for all. The first chick to latch its beak round the adults head seems to get the best feed. Its a contest where the biggest and strongest always seems to prevail and the smaller nesting loses out.





Who would have imagined such demand for a mouthful of what looks like frogs.


Once beaks are emptied the adults enjoy a brief respite before taking off one more to scour the nearby farm fields to keep their hungry brood fed.


To those of you from Brisbane or Toowoomba wanting to shoot birds in flight head for Gatton. Basically there is no way you can fail to come away with a bunch of good shots. The nests are well placed for great Ariel as well as nest photography and it’s well worth the drive.


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All For A Mouthful of Frogs, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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