Seldom have much luck getting close to Rainbow Bee-eaters (Merops ornatus) when I've a camera in hand. Large flocks close up against blue skies are memories of non-photographic yesteryears.
But there have been a few pirripping here and there in paperbarks and launching out after dragonflies and other insects - almost certainly not bees. (At risk of repeating myself, Rainbows rarely show any interest in Tyto honeybees, which four years ago swarmed in to a large tree hollow and took over from a pair of Masked Owls.)
Two of the birds this week proved a little less wary than the rest. The light was ever changing as clouds white and grey rushed west, now and then leaving frustratingly small blue holes and some sunlight.
Just my luck, though, to find the one bird that stayed low and let me walk up to it looked as if it recently went through a car wash - backwards! It seemed healthy, without any sign of parasites. Just moulting, I suppose. The other bird let me even closer, without ever presenting itself in good light or at good height. B..... bee-eaters!