Last Wednesday was a sunny day and quite pleasant notwithstanding the cool breeze from the South West. But the shore line at Deception Bay is sheltered with winds from that direction. With the tide ebbing it was likely that wading birds would be there to take advantage of the drying floor of the bay, the exposed area increasing as the tide receded.
Deception Bay is deceptive. At high tide it appears to be a body of deep water but any but the most shallow draft vessel that moves outside of the dredged channel into Newport Waterways will soon learn of its deceptive nature. So while limiting for boats it is a great feed area for birds.
The first bird I saw as we drove along The Esplanade was a brown and white bird in the water, just off shore. I parked, grabbed the camera and walked towards it, but before I could get near to it someone buzzed it with a drone. It took off and vanished over the trees to the south.
As the tide ebbed further, more birds came in. Smaller birds included Silver Gulls, Gull-billed Terns, Pied Stilts and Bar-tailed Godwits. Larger birds were represented by Egrets, both Great and Intermediate and White-faced Herons. This was by first opportunity to get a close look and a photo of the White-faced Heron.
I have been thinking about adding bird photographs to our blog pages for a while. I have been interested in bird photography for many years but did not own the lenses necessary to do anything about it.
My camera is a Canon 700D which I purchased in about 2015. It came with two kit lenses, a 18 – 55 mm primary and a 55 – 250 mm short telephoto lens. But changing lenses all the time is a pain in the neck so I mainly used the primary lens and cropped photos to bring distant subjects a bit closer. I mostly used the camera in one of the automatic modes as most photos were to support my travel blog text.
About a year ago I was able to obtain at a reasonable price a Sigma 18 – 250 mm telephoto lens. This was a great improvement but still placed me too far away from subject birds to achieve satisfactory results.
Then, on the principle of you can’t take it with you I went looking for something better and found a Sigma 150 – 600 mm telephoto. Used with my crop sensor camera I have an effective 900 mm reach. Much better.
I also started to really study the capabilities of my camera and began to shoot in manual mode. I purchased a high capacity data card for the camera and began shooting in RAW at maximum megapixels (18) and converting RAW data into JPEG in Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.
During processing I identify the bird by using apps and field guide books. A handy aid to identification is the “Google Lens” phone app. Available from your phone’s app store, it allows you to scan a bird photo on the computer screen and gives you a selection of photographs to use in identification.
I also use Cornell University’s “Merlin” app and the “Australian Birds” app. There are other that you can try for yourself. I also have a copy of the Michael Morcombe Field Guide to Australian Birds.
Sightings are recorded on an Excel spreadsheet where I record bird and variety and location and date sighted. My computer files are kept by location.
For the future I intend to post my better shots from each outing, together with some information on location and the featured birds. Unless I change my mind, of course.
But for now, here are some of the photos that I have accumulated to date.
Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae – front view