He Kept Watch

He Kept Watch

I can rely on this little guy to keep watch each evening over my backyard. Nothing escapes his notice.

Another in my stylized photography series. A little more subtle this time.

4 thoughts on “He Kept Watch

  1. Love this shot JJ, It is difficult to catch the special moment with birds, as you said they keep moving, it is a gift given to us once in a while. I rarely show my spectacular shots in my website, My camera lens is quite heavy to carry around for most people, and I do not use a tripod very much at all, mainly because I want to be ready to catch that special moment when the bird will fly or be doing something which will make the shot so much more interesting. I tote my camera through the bush and aim and fire, knowing that only a third or less of my shots will be good, but I get the extraordinary ones which others often never see. I learned soon after starting to do bird photography over my general nature that many small birds actually leap off the branch before they open their wings, in an act of trust. I have learned so much about birds from just watching and capturing immediately. Many of our small birds move so quickly, and so high up in our tall eucalypt trees, many photographers are at a disadvantage, and can be amazed at times when they view my shots, especially of the tiny Pardalotes. Your photography is good, and I appreciate seeing your American birds very much, Thanks JJ

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    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      I’m starting to learn bird behaviour more and it’s helping me with my timing. Small song birds still are the hardest for me because they move around so much, but I suspect that everyone starts off having that issue. I’m trying to analyze the bushes and trees that they are in so I can figure out which branches they might move to but I’m still not very great at it but I am getting better.

      I hear that small Australian birds are some of the hardest to capture because of the foliage and because there are so many more predators there that they rarely stay in one spot long enough to get decent shots. I would love to hear any pointers that you’ve learned if you would like to share!

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      1. Thanks JJ, In answer to a previous question, there are no humming birds in Australia, that’s why we find them so fascinating. The closest thing that acts like a hummingbird while feeding sometimes, but is not really like one is the Yellow-bellied Sunbird of Northern Queensland, which I will feature at a later date. Yes we have some very tiny birds, as you would have seen from my posts, in particular the Pardalotes which I will feature later also. They are one of my favourites, it looks plain yellow on its underside, which is all most people see, since it is usually high up in our tall eucalypt (gum) trees. But, the top of the bird is the most beautiful intricate pattern and colour. These birds move very quickly and fly like lightning, eating insects off the trees and leaves. I have some amazing shots of these birds. The funny thing is that most people dont realise they do not nest in trees where they spend their time, but in tunnels in the ground in embankments.
        I have learned over the years how to catch these birds on camera, and have as a result some quite rare footage, as birders would know, since some of our birds are almost impossible to even see in a tall tree. Many of them spend most of their time on the tops of the trees where the flowers are, which are not visible to us on the ground. Certain Honeyeaters are difficult to catch also.
        I have learned that insectiverous birds(insect eaters) generally do not migrate, but do a circuit during the day, sometimes several through an area of habitat. I have found that these birds will stay in this area for weeks, so I will find them there if I wait long enough. The Robins in particular. The Honeyeaters are more seasonal and chase the pollen, where the flowers are, so you find out where the trees are flowering to find them. As I share in my InfoTips pages, if you know the bird frequents an area you set up, sit still and wait for it and it will come to you. Early morning or late afternoon in particular is best. These birds that stay high in trees will come down if they know it is safe to do so, so you have to sit it out sometimes, and sometimes be disappointed. If you see the male or female bird the other sex will be nearby usually. Listening for their call helps, this skill comes with time. We have a phone app for Australian birds which has their sounds and location info on it, you may have the same for your birds. One of the secrets to my success in filming difficult birds is strong wrists. My camera and lens are very heavy, and I do not us a tripod,as most of my shooting it done at high angles into trees. Stabilizes help, and having a steady hand, as I only keep less than 30% of my shots, you do not get that photographic moment again, and certainly not using a tripod. Hope this helps…

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      2. Thanks for your long reply!

        I looked up the two birds you mention and they are as cute as a button! I’ve always wanted to go visit Australia and seeing them makes me want to go more. Your birds seem much more colorful than ones near us which are normally brown, black, white, or gray.

        I really like your point about learning local bird habits. I do see similar birds on my walks but it never occurred to me that they would be the same bird every day visiting the same spot. I’m sure they find their favorite places and visit them multiple times a day. I’ll try to time my walks to being around the same time each day and see if I can learn any patterns of behavior. Unfortunately, we don’t get honeyeaters here but I’m sure other birds that eat seeds will frequent flowers certain parts of the year. I’ll start making notes and see if I can find any patterns there.

        Thanks for the tips! I wouldn’t have thought of them!

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