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Weekend Wanderings: Birds in the Wild

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to the Western Wetlands, or the Western Treatment Plant that is run by Melbourne Water. You need a permit to go there, or know someone with a permit, and someone with a key to the gate.  I was lucky and got to spend the day with Chris from sv-takeiteasy.  Chris has a permit and a key, she also knew her way around the area.  Of course the best thing was that she knew what many of the birds were, and those she didn’t, she knew how to find out. It was an amazing experience, and I really enjoyed the day.

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Pelican

It was a little overcast and we could see rain in the distance, but I like the way the sky stayed a lovely colour for a while.  Pelicans in the early morning.

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Royal Spoon Bill

Yesterday I showed you a photo of a Royal Spoon Bill at the Melbourne Zoo, here are some in the wetlands, scrapping the bottom to get some food.  I was shocked when I saw them out there, just moving from side to side.  They were very busy.

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Yellow Spoon Bill

This was a lovely surprised who knew there were more Spoon Bills, this one is the Yellow Spoon Bill.

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Whistling Kite

The photos of the Whistling Kite in flight would have to be among my favourites of the day.  I was so surprised to see that they turned out when I got home. I have to say, I was really shocked.  I got a few photos of them flying, which was even better.

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Purple Swamp Hen

What’s not to love about this one, the Purple Swamp Hen, if it has purple on it, then it is a star to me.  Purple is my favourite colour.  These guys were were everywhere, but a bit shy, so we had to be careful and quiet.

I had a great time at the wetlands and I want to thank Chris from sv-takeiteasy for taking me, it is somewhere I would like to go again as well.  I used the Nikon D800, and put the Sigma 150-500mm that I have a loan of right now.  I’m hoping to be able to try out the Tamron 150-600mm soon, it will be good to compare it.  At the moment I have the Sigma lens on loan from a friend, not sure when he wants it back. I hope to get lots of use from it while I have it.  I think I need more practice however.

Chris had this to add:

You do need a permit but it is well worth it: $20 for 2 years, +$50 deposit for a key which opens up every gate of a very extensive area. These wetlands are reputed as one of the best bird watching site in Australia. Every time I go there, there are different birds I have never seen before.

Here is a gallery with some more images.  I took so many photos, but have just left it to a few birds.  I will have to do another post or posts in the future.  Good to have photos spare. I have Social Snappers this afternoon, we are off to Hanging Rock, which should be fun.  I hope you have great plans for the day.

96 Comments
  1. It looks like fantastic piece of nature! We visited similar reservation in South of France – Camarque. 🙂 Bye. Kamila

    February 15, 2015
    • It was Kamila, a bit smelly, but you got used to that soon enough. It is lovely to see places like this for the birds. Thanks. 🙂

      February 15, 2015
  2. Glorious shots all of them.

    February 15, 2015
  3. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    Ah! These are simply stunning! Birds are feathery symphonies in flight; I love how birds move and you captured them so well. You might think the spoonbills are a bit awkward but they, too, are graceful. Pay no attention to me, Leanne, I think chickens are full of grace. 🙂

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you Jackie, I wasn’t sure I was going to get anything but I just keeping following and clicking. I love the spoon bill, they are fantastic to watch as they go about their business.

      February 15, 2015
  4. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    Reblogged this on The Artistic Spider's Web and commented:
    Weekend Wanderings: Birds in the Wild

    February 15, 2015
  5. Great to hear you two had such a good time together! Great pictures you got!

    February 15, 2015
    • We did, well I did. Thank you Sarina.

      February 15, 2015
  6. Wow! Amazing captures -especially of the whistling kite on the wing. My brother and I often go to wetlands for the day to photograph birds. You have made me long to go back soon.

    February 15, 2015
    • That’s wonderful to hear, which wetland do you go to? I was amazed at how many birds were actually there, every place we went to there were more. Thank you.

      February 15, 2015
      • We go to Semiahmoo, near the Canadian Border in Washington State, and the flats along the coast in Skagit County. Winter is often best for birds, but it’s fun anytime. In the winter there are swans and snow geese in the Skagit Valley.

        February 15, 2015
      • I thought birds migrated for the winter? Sounds great though, I must check out winter here.

        February 15, 2015
      • The swans and snow geese do migrate, but they migrate south to our area from Alaska. At Semiahmoo we watch shorebirds. They are there year ’round, but the best days are when there’s a storm out at sea and they come into the bay in huge numbers.

        February 16, 2015
      • That is fantastic, great for you to take photos. Nice, I am no good at predicting what the birds will do.

        February 16, 2015
      • My brother knows their large patterns, and I have learned over the years. You certainly did well at catching their movements. It can be quite tricky – especially shots on the wing. Yours look like you’re an old pro at birding.

        February 19, 2015
      • I think understanding the birds would be really good, and a great idea. I don’t know a lot, so was kind of just shooting everything and anything.

        February 19, 2015
  7. If you are able to compare the Tamron 500 mm and the Sigma 600 mm, I would love to get your comments on those.. I am planning to get one of those next summer and I am not sure which one to pick

    February 15, 2015
    • Other way around Nelson, but I do hope to be able to. Just trying to work out the details now. I would like to get one, but not sure if I will.

      February 15, 2015
  8. What an awesome opportunity. These photos are beautiful. I think my favorite is the one where you were able to shoot the Whistling Kite so we can see the top of the wings. The pattern is amazing.

    Is a Whistling Kite a kind of hawk. The face looks like the hawks we have around here.

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you, it is an amazing bird, I had never seen one before, well not that I had noticed. Beautiful patterns on the wings.
      It is a raptor, so I think that makes it like a hawk, same family, but I don’t know a lot about birds, so I could be very wrong.

      February 15, 2015
  9. Leanne do you know what kind of birds those are in the top right corner? I always love your work… 🙂

    February 15, 2015
    • The corner of which photo? Thank you.

      February 15, 2015
  10. Yes, these are wonderful! Love the Whistling Kite and the Pelican in flight! I feel better now that I have attained a number of very nice flight photos with limited equipment that doesn’t give details as well, but which has captured some focused in-flight shots.

    February 15, 2015
    • I was so happy to get the flight shots, and pretty much in focus, who knew I could do that! That is great to hear, it is a good feeling.
      Thank you.

      February 15, 2015
  11. Absolutely gorgeous photos. The light is amazing and the birds are just beautiful. I especially like the whistling kite, we get red kites and I’ve seen black kites in Russia but i’ve never heard of whistling kites. We have Slimbridge Wetlands near us which is open to the public but we don’t often get such magnificent photo opportunities. And of course i don’t have your talent, skills or equipment!

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you. The whistling kite is native to the area, and into New Guinea. This wetlands isn’t open to the public, you have to have a permit and a key, the gates are locked. It was great to get a chance to photograph the birds in their natural habitat. The equipment helps, I wouldn’t have been able to do these shots if I didn’t have that Sigma lens, it is going to be sad when it has to go back.

      February 15, 2015
  12. Exquisite shots leanne .. Love the first pelican pic. We have swamp hens in NZ but call them pukekos 😀

    February 15, 2015
    • Thanks Julie, I love that shot too, love the light behind it. What a funny name, love it. 🙂

      February 15, 2015
  13. Leanne! Lovely to see the result of our adventure at Lake Borrie! Your images are fantastic and I am especially jealous of the ones you took of the whistling kite, as all of mine were blurred! The Canon 100-400 just didn’t have the reach of the Sigma, and I also was far too excited to have a steady hand LOL! Now for more details of the wetlands for the Victorian amongst us… You do need a permit but it is well worth it: $20 for 2 years, +$50 deposit for a key which opens up every gate of a very extensive area. These wetlands are reputed as one of the best bird watching site in Australia. Every time I go there, there are different birds I have never seen before. Thanks again Leanne for the link back too. 🙂

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you Chris, I think the years I photographed cycling and doing panning for that have helped a lot with getting these. I love what you said about the excitement, still smiling.
      The information you provided is great, I might add that to the post, if you don’t mind, it is good information.

      February 15, 2015
  14. No wonder that you were pleased with whistling kite pictures.

    February 15, 2015
  15. @St-Manuel #

    Very peaceful images. Curious…what were the sounds around you while taking these?

    February 15, 2015
    • It was very loud, you could all the birds, it was wonderful.

      February 15, 2015
      • @St-Manuel #

        I asked because I imagined it was…I always find images of birds peaceful. I suppose it’s the ‘freedom’ of flight…shaking loose the shackles. Serene.

        February 15, 2015
      • They are, especially when they are up high, it was so nice not being able to hear any else besides the birds. Serene a good word.

        February 15, 2015
      • @St-Manuel #

        Also…a symphony I bet.

        February 15, 2015
      • Oh yes, in some places, most definitely.

        February 15, 2015
  16. All engaging captures…

    February 15, 2015
  17. Great shots – what a wonderful experience

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you Diana, it was, and something I would like to do again.

      February 15, 2015
  18. Love the kite in flight, a truly uplifting sight.

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you, it was fabulous watching them.

      February 15, 2015
  19. That kite looks spectacular

    February 15, 2015
    • It was, really spectacular.

      February 15, 2015
  20. So happy for you to have the opportunity to explore and photograph all these different birds. Makes me more grateful knowing I have constant access to sights like these at any time I need a bird fix 🙂

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you, it is good to know, I might have to see about getting a permit though, so I can do the same. 🙂

      February 15, 2015
  21. Great shots Leanne..i have a 150-500 Sigma that i love..it hasn’t missed a beat…i do refer to it as Brutus as it’s a beast to lug around..but for wildlife a great and comparably priced lens…the hot air balloon shots it came into it’s own and for the roos here a must 🙂 Bev

    February 15, 2015
    • It is quite a good lens, I don’t mind it at all. It is big to carry around, good for specific things. It is great for the birds and for wildlife, I must get out into Banyule Flats with it more. Thanks Bev, 🙂

      February 15, 2015
      • Yep you would get some good use of it there..it’s perfect for what i do…and yes it’s not easy climbing a tree or jumping a fence with it hahahaha 🙂

        February 15, 2015
      • I will have to start going down there more, I just want the snakes to go to sleep. It isn’t easy moving it around, but it is worth it, I love the handle on it. 🙂

        February 15, 2015
      • Hahahaha you know snakes don’t actually hibernate 🙂 ..learn to shuffle your feet..they go..and yes the handle is great 🙂

        February 15, 2015
      • They do, they hide at least, I’ve never seen one in winter, thankfully. I don’t like them. I was taught to walk heavy, they feel the viberations in the ground, so don’t try and be light on your feet, which would explain why I used to see so many when riding my bike, and see hardly any when walking.

        February 16, 2015
      • Hhaahh yep..i have to weigh up what I do..if I walk hard and make noise I scare off the things I am wanting to take pics of..hmmm

        February 17, 2015
      • I can see that would be a problem, LOL

        February 17, 2015
      • Hahahaaha yep… 🙂

        February 17, 2015
      • 😀

        February 17, 2015
      • 🙂

        February 17, 2015
  22. Great pictures Leanne! I truly enjoyed seeing the relatives of the birds we have here, like the Royal Spoonbill and the Australian White Ibis, and the White Pelicans! the same but different colorings. Thanks for sharing!

    February 15, 2015
    • It is quite amazing how they have relatives elsewhere. you’re welcome Tiny and thank you too.

      February 15, 2015
  23. Reblogged this on BorderLine Productions and commented:
    Stunning to see, to feel removed from the concrete

    February 15, 2015
  24. Love the shots of the whistling kite

    February 15, 2015
    • My favourites I think, thank you.

      February 15, 2015
  25. these are wonderful captures. Birds are so amazing and such a variety!! Well done!

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you Cybele, they are really amazing, it is something I would like to do more of I think. Very challenging.

      February 15, 2015
  26. Wow Leanne, your photos of the Whistling Kite are amazing. I’m so impressed. And I’m very envious of your visit today to Hanging Rock. I hope you’ve had a lovely day and I’m looking forward to seeing the results. Did you find any lost girls?

    February 15, 2015
    • Thank you Carol, am I allowed to say I impressed myself? You wouldn’t have been envious Carol, it was so hot and we were so tired after it. It was really hard work. I got some nice shots, maybe I will do one for MM this week. No sign of the girls, but we did see quite a few lizards.

      February 15, 2015
      • I think I would rather girls than lizards. Looking forward to seeing some photos of the day.

        And you should be impressed with yourself. Those photos are lovely. 🙂

        February 15, 2015
      • Yes, I think so too, they kept scaring me. I have a few, not sure when I will show them, I have so many photos at the moment, it is a nice position to be in.
        Thank you Carol. 🙂

        February 15, 2015
  27. Beautiful photos and what an amazing opportunity. I love the picture of the Whistling Kite in flight, perfectly framed, it almost looks posed! I sometimes see Red Kites and Buzzards on the way to work, they are such elegant, formidable birds, it feels such an honour to see these birds in their natural surroundings.

    February 16, 2015
    • Thank you Katie, it was quite an experience. I know what you mean, I see them so rarely, I would like to see the again.

      February 16, 2015
  28. Great stuff – especially love the whistling kite!

    February 16, 2015
    • Thank you Jodi, I loved those too.

      February 16, 2015
  29. Excellent work on the birds in flight, Leanne. I have yet to master that technique. Well done.

    February 16, 2015
    • Thank you Robin, I think the cycling and learning to pan really helped with those. Are you back from your trip now?

      February 16, 2015
  30. You mean the whole world isn’t in an ice age? I wanted to say thanks for visiting my blog. It will be nice to see your work in my blog feed.

    February 16, 2015
    • Haha, not by a long shot, lol, it has been really hot here the last week or so, summer has found us. You’re welcome, and thank you, I hope you enjoy it.

      February 16, 2015
  31. Some great shots Leanne. Yes that whitling kite shot is a definite star!

    February 16, 2015
    • Thank you John, I was really happy with it.

      February 16, 2015
  32. Real beauties Leanne!

    February 16, 2015
  33. the whistling Kite, I love it 🙂 what a gorgeous place to photograph wonderful shots

    February 16, 2015
    • Thank you Chris, it was fantastic, I really want to go back. I think I saw that about every place, LOL 🙂

      February 16, 2015
  34. Leanne, good work. Nice photos of the Kite in particular.

    February 16, 2015
    • Thank you Mike, I was so happy with myself for those ones.

      February 16, 2015
  35. Beautiful photos! I especially love the birds in flight and of course the pelicans…actually I love them all!!

    February 17, 2015
    • That is wonderful, thank you, I think the pelicans are such great birds, I love them too.

      February 17, 2015
  36. Wonderful shots. I love all of the action you go. The Purple Swamp Hen – I swoon.

    February 17, 2015
    • Thank you Elen, I know some people think they are very easy to get, but I didn’t think so, my first time doing this. I love that Purple Swamp He too.

      February 17, 2015
  37. We have a pair of nesting bald eagles at our water treatment plant in the small town in Arkansas where I live. Actually, it;s a small lake next to the water treatment plant, but it’s still fenced off and fairly isolated. Apparently, they’ve found a reason to stay.

    February 19, 2015
    • Oh wow, that is wonderful. YOu will be able to get some great photos. So you could photograph them over a period of time, I’m so jealous.

      February 19, 2015
  38. Wow! Just wow!

    February 24, 2015

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