Recently I took my wife for a picnic to the Australian Botanic Gardens in the hope of her seeing the endangered Swift Parrot for the first time. The wind had picked up and the large eucalypts, where I had seen these birds a few days ago, swayed birdless. As we watched we met other birders looking for the same, but none were seen early afternoon. However, we did see this beautiful Wedge-tailed Eagle pass over. I was so glad it was a blue Autumn sky to catch the wing colours. The last shot appeared to me to be the bird just enjoying the glide on the thermals with its face looking upwards. It was fairly high in the sky.
As we waited, of course the sound of the Bell Miner continued unceasingly as per my last visit and the Bowerbirds were busily moving about near the water pond. I managed to get a shot of both male and female.
I managed to catch this flight shot of the female leaving, as they do not like us being around.
Several other birds appeared including Olive Backed Oriole, Red Wattlebird, female Golden Whistler and Yellow-faced Honeyeater but the Rose Robin male was a beautiful flash of pink as it flew over us, but unfortunately no shots were fired as it dived under some small bushes but… still no Swiftys (Swift Parrots). Next came this immature White-naped Honeyeater with parent nearby. As with most immature birds there is brown where the definitive colour of the adult is seen.
We had been told that the Swiftys make an appearance just before sunset on a dead tree, so we went for a drive to another nearby reserve and returned about an hour or so before sunset. We were delighted to watch them flying around the trees and finally landing on the dead tree in full sunlight. I managed to get some fuzzy flight shots from these tiny super fast flying parrots.
It was an extra treat to see several of them landing on the tree in the sun making it look like a fruit tree.
It is extremely difficult to photograph these Swifty’s as they do pull a swifty (an Aussie saying) on you by flying right under the canopy. It is difficult enough to see them as they are so small, but even more so because they blend in with the dark leaves of the very high eucalypt tree. However, just before sunset they all come down to the waterhole to drink and sit in small low trees by the water for a very short time. We noticed later when examining the photos that we had a photo of a Swift Parrot family sitting together in a tree.
However, my wife and I waited till just before sunset when the park closes and let the horizontal sunlight reveal the birds. You can see the difference below as they feed on blossom and lerps in all their beautiful colour. What an amazing contrast they make when the sun strikes them!
The Olive-backed Oriole was curious to know what the interest was on the dead tree so it joined them
Of course there is the challenge to capture flight shots which is almost impossible as the speed and unpredictability of these birds is amazing. However, I did get some after many tries.
My wife, as did a gathering of several other local birders, left satisfied they had sighted this lifer. A Black-shouldered Kite was hovering about the park as we left.
Have a wonderful week and remember that those of us who choose to smile and live with a positive happy cheerful attitude are more likely to live longer, stay healthier, being less stressed and able to make more friends. Most of all we can make a positive difference in the lives of the people we meet each day, including strangers.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine” – Proverbs 17:22
Have a wonderful week! If this is your first time to my blog, please check out the pages on my website HomePage on birding and counseling tips.
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