Monday, November 10, 2008

Tawny away with the Fairy

Tawny Grassbirds (Megalurus timoriensis) filled the air with their chiding descending songs in many spots at Tyto today. Though they've been noisy for some time activity has stepped up.

Field guides offer a range of northern breeding periods, from a broad August-April to a narrow February-April. Not much doubt, however, what all the to-ing and fro-ing is about.

Makes thing easier for birdos. Not so much easier for photographers, since the birds are so intensely busy and vanish in a flash. Nests, too, when built, are difficult to locate.

Got myself into great position today for the pictured bird. It struck a perfect pose. Camera - set on AI servo for tracking shots - found the low contrast and stillness too much! Perfect pose squandered! Sorry, but second-best has to do for now.

Different story, similar result with a hyperactive Fairy Gerygone (Gerygone palpebrosa).

The birds usually move through a wide variety of trees in groups of six to eight, rarely still and seldom low in foliage. (Unlike White-throated Gerygones (Gerygone Olivacea), usually in pairs, almost always in paperbarks, and scouring them from top to bottom.)

Today's solitary Fairy, busy foraging, stayed low in a small tree and near the outside of foliage close to me. Too close, in fact, since I had trouble locating the bird in the viewfinder.

In the end, no great picture. The bird was too quick and the foliage too thick. Pity, but there it is. Two almosts for the day. But two pictures to build future hopes on.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony
I am not familiar with the Tawny Grassbird, however, as an experienced (former) bird-bander, that bird has really unusually long toes for a small passerine. Seemingly much longer than a similar sized Wren, or Honeyeater, or even the larger Reed Warbler.
Great photos, by the way. I liked the Gerygone. Very natural pose.

Gouldiae said...

Just delightful Tony. Your skill, (and patience), are to be admired. It's beaut each morning to see and read about birds I'll never see - thanks.

Duncan said...

Yeah, pretty good I suppose. I don't want to go overboard because you may not be able to afford a larger size hat after buying that expensive new glass. ;-)

mick said...

Your photos of all the little birds are great. I am very envious of your new gear!

Martin C said...

Your posts are so informative and the quality of those photographs is improving beautifully.

We love living vicariously through your blog.

Mosura said...

Low light is our worst enemy but I like both of these shots. Love the pose on the second one.

Those really are big toes on the Grassbird. I didn't notice until I read the comment from Denis.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Denis,

Now that you mention it...

I suppose the long toes assist Tawnies in their foraging through grasses, bent sedges and long reeds. I can't recall ever seeing one on the ground.

Tyto Tony said...

Gidday Gouldiae,

Leave those dry, old greens and fairways and journey to the winterless north. Tick the birds off and stand in the rain. Meantime, I'll get 'em coming.

Tyto Tony said...

Too right, Duncan. Just outlaid $3 for broad-brim cotton lid at op shop after old hat fell apart. Did my usual trick of trimming out all that useless sweat banding and it fits my big head bang on ;-)

Tyto Tony said...

Hello Martin,

Thanks for dropping in. I think we all enjoy in blogs and blogging the chances to see other places through others' eyes.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Mosura,

You are so right. But once I get a better feel for the camera's high ISO capability, and AI focus and servo differences, I may come to see some advantages in getting away from strong light and shadows.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Mick,

Did I mention my 'new' car? The L300 4WD mobile hide was dying on 2 1/4 cylinders. My flash 1984 Camry hatch cost less than camera!

We do find ways to finance our passions. You'll find a way to get that new gear. (Psst: I know someone with a cheap Tamron 28-300 VC macro.)

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