Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Week of Rain and Water Birds

The new camera arrived this week, and with it, so did the rain-lots of it!
Dying to test run the camera out though, we ventured out into the mud and cold at every available opportunity, and were pleasantly surprised with some unusual bird sightings.
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juvenile Red-browed Finch at Wirilda, Tyers River
The most surprising species to be observed were some Hoary-headed Grebes. Having never seen this species before, I am assuming that's what they were- going on just other people's photos I sought out afterward. I wouldn't say with all certainty that they definitely were this species as I saw them from a distance, and while looking through heavy rain.

Hoary-headed Grebes on the lake at Traralgon Vineyard

The location of these Hoary-headed Grebes was another surprise in itself. Driving back towards Traralgon from Heyfield, we were almost all the way into town when I saw an old railway bridge I thought I'd like to photograph.
As such, I turned off the main highway and down a road leading to Traralgon Vineyard (according to the sign), in an effort to get closer to the old bridge. Instead of the bridge though, our attention was swiftly caught by a huge lake in front of the vineyard restaurant, which appeared to be a regularly flooded paddock. For there in front of us on this massive lake, were a huge number of water birds of various species.

Black-fronted Dotterel at Traralgon Vineyard
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White-necked Heron at Wirilda Environment Centre, Tyers

Shot with the new camera, 2 male Superb Fairywrens

immature Dusky Moorhen, Traralgon Conservation Reservoir

shot with the new camera at dusk, Great White Egret on Northern Retention Pond, T.R.C.R

the same cygnets pictured in a post a few weeks ago, now much larger, but minus another cygnet of the brood, T.R.C.R

I shot what I could without getting the (old) camera too wet in the rain- hence the poor photos of the Grebes, but was happy nonetheless with having seen a species I've not observed before, especially so close to home! The very next day the new camera arrived, and I couldn't wait to go back to shoot some better shots. Disappointment set in though when once again, the rain belted down even more heavily and I only managed to shoot one shot of a Black-fronted Dotterel. I shot that from the odd angle inside the car too, as I was loathe to get the new camera rain-damaged on it's first outing. The Grebes were right out in the middle of the lake and there was no way I could approach them close enough to photograph them without getting saturated.  Maybe I will attempt it again on the weekend....
Other photos this week were shot at Tyers and Traralgon Railway Conservation Reserve (T.R.C.R) using both cameras.  Other commitments and the weather both prevented any trips further afield, so here's hoping the weekend opens up some better opportunities for birding and photography.

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