Tag Archives: Australian grebe

A Stroll with a New Camera

1 Nov

Dear Reader:

Like all photographers I enjoy equipment. Every so often I can even justify buying a new camera. With an overseas trip to Italy looming I needed a light compact zoom that would fit easily into my pocket. In truth I had been thinking of getting the same kind of equipment to carry when cycling along the parkland trails that I enjoy each weekend. Too often, I had decided not to take my DSLR or super-zoom because thy were that bit too cumbersome or the weather looked threatening. And on nearly every occasion some exquisite little wildlife moment went un-recorded.

Small lake near McIntyre Rd f3.3 @1  320 sec ISO100, click to enlarge

Small lake near McIntyre Rd; f3.3 @1 320 sec ISO100, click to enlarge all images on this page.

Australan grebe f6.4 @ 1 200th sec ISO  400; click to enlarge

Australian grebe; f6.4 @ 1 200th sec ISO 400


A little compact would serve both purposes and popping a plastic bag in my bike pants (not the lycra variety I assure you) would take care of any wet weather problems. My camera of choice was a Panasonic TZ40, a pocket sized camera with a respectable 20x zoom. They were on special with a new model coming out and my old Pana’ FZ40 had always proved a reliable unit capable of producing some extremely sharp images.

Sacred Ibis reflections f5.9 @ 1 320th sec ISO 100

Sacred Ibis reflections; f5.9 @ 1 320th sec ISO 100

Red flowering gum, f5.9 @1 200 th sec ISO  100

Red flowering gum, f5.9 @1 200 th sec ISO 100


Armed with my new acquisition, I chose some familiar turf to see what the little camera could do. Tea tree Plaza is a large shopping mall on the north eastern fringe of Adelaide’s suburbs. There are some nice cafes to get an early morning ‘cuppa’ before you set off across the adjacent park to intersect Dry creek by the bridge over Montague Road. From there, a network of paths, trails and tracks wind south along the creek towards the coast or north into the foothills.

Rainbow lorikeets examining tree hollow f6.4 @1 125  th sec ISO 250

Rainbow lorikeets examining tree hollow; f6.4 @1 125 th sec ISO 250

Mudlark collecting nesting material;  f2.9 @ 1 125th sec ISO 400

Mudlark collecting nesting material; f2.9 @ 1 125th sec ISO 400


I decided to take the southern bike trail that follows the creek down to McIntyre road then work my way back to the bridge along the bush tracks that hug the other side of the waterway; a nice journey of around 3kms that includes several small lakes, patches of quite dense scrub and some towering old river gums.

Maned duck with chicks;   f5.6 @ 1 80sec ISO 160

Maned duck with chicks; f5.6 @ 1 80sec ISO 160

Black duck taking off;  f6.4  @1 250 th sec ISO 100

Black duck taking off; f6.4 @1 250th sec ISO 100


In this post, I will not describe each particular wildlife encounter, instead the pictures and brief captions can tell the story. There was a little post image tidying up through Photoshop but in my humble opinion the little camera did a good job as a backup and will certainly sit in my pocket on many a bike ride or travel adventure in the future.


Until our next chat



Solandra Wetland’s Musk Lorikeets

4 Jan

Dear Reader

Last week, on a warm summer afternoon, I decided to walk down to the pond at the bottom of the street to photograph a pair of nesting Australian grebes. The pond is part of a chain of wetlands that feeds off the nearby creek and filters stormwater for use on local parks and gardens around Tea Tree Gully. It provides a welcome oasis for many species during the dry summer months and supports a small semi-permanent population of water birds.

Local pond

On the edge of the pond there are a few medium sized eucalyptus trees that flower this time of year. They have broad canopies adorned with either cream or coral blossoms and are a favourite destination of the local rainbow lorikeet tribe. As I passed the trees I could hear the raucous screech of feeding birds but the tone seemed a little different to the cacophony of sound that frequently greets me.  A quick glance confirmed that most of these parrots were musk lorikeets with just a smattering of rainbows amongst them.

Rainbow Lorikeet amongst white gum blossoms

Musk lorikeeets ( Glossopsitta concinna) are medium sized lorikeets between 20-30cms from head to tail. They use their brush tipped tongues to feed on pollen and nectar but will also eat some seeds, fruits and insects. They often travel in flocks and are usually found in dry woodlands where they nest in hollow branches. They are slightly smaller than rainbows and less common in this area.

Musk Lorikeet feeding on coral gum blossoms

I decided that the grebes could wait. And, while I have quite a good collection of rainbow pictures I rarely see more than a few Muskies and the chance to photograph them while feeding does not come along too often. They were endearing little animals to watch as they performed an extraordinary range of acrobatic movements. Sometimes they hung upside down to get their beaks into a bunch of blossoms; at other times they used it as a prehensile tool to climb along spindly branches. Despite their preoccupation with feeding they were still a little nervous and as I moved cautiously around the trees they scattered into the denser parts of the foliage making photography somewhat difficult.

Pair of Musk Lorikeets

I tried sitting quietly in some of the surrounding bushes closer to the pond and using the telephoto on full zoom. An equally unsuccessful manoeuvre, as the birds seemed to rarely feed on the outer blossoms as doing so would probably increase their exposure to local predators like harriers and falcons. Finally I adopted a more professional and scientific approach to the problem; walk slowly, keep shooting and hope for the best.

Musk Lorikeet pair bonding near nest hole

Dozens of frames later, with the light diminishing and more than a few bird droppings adorning my jacket, I left my flock of musk lorikeets to their meal and walked down to the pond for a quick look at the pair of grebes. One was repairing the nest and the other half hidden in the reeds at the edge. Australian Grebe building nest

Another post for another day



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