Saturday, May 17, 2008

Catching prey and flights of fancy

GREAT Egret carves out a morning shadow as it stands poised with a small catch snapped up from among the water weed on a water treatment pond near Ingham.

Another Great Egret takes off across a treatment lagoon. Hard to take crisp shots with Panasonic FZ30 because of slow auto focus and narrow ISO range. Also a trial holding all the white tones without blowing everything away.

A digression into the world of entertainment. The lagoon treats water from the largest sugar cane mill in the Southern Hemisphere. Baz Luhrman's latest offering, Australia, features a small railway engine. That engine was puffing away at CSR's mill today, as part of an annual Italian festival in town. Small worlds?

DARTER puts best feet forward as it prepares for one of its typically clumsy crash landings into the top of a melaleuca (paperbark). Seems odd that a bird that spends all its feeding time in and under the water - using huge webbed feet - shows a liking for perching in trees whose tops are all twigs and small leaves rather than substantial bare branches. Also known as Snake Birds, Darters compete with four species of Cormorant for fish and eels.

CHANGE of pace and place with one of those shots that surprises the photographer. Intent was to capture a splash of colour and movement in Ingham's small botanical gardens. I was scarcely aware of a small family group tossing bread into the lotus pools for the resident snake-necked turtles. Only after cropping and adjusting the shot did I spot the children. Small irony: I found them, but their bread found no favour with the turtles.

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