Tuesday, 17 February 2015

More visitors

Gang-gang Cockatoos visit occasionally from the surrounding hills, chasing the drying gum-nuts after the flowering season. Six or seven have been around the last few days with their distinctive "creaking door" call.
White-throated Needletails are spotted here 4-5 times per year, usually riding low-pressure troughs ahead of a change. The other day, about 50 showed up on a bright, sunny evening and spent 5-10 minutes swooping low through the garden chasing insects at high speed; you can hear a "swoosh" as they zip by. At such close range and high-speed with the background varying from dark garden to bright sky, getting a decent photo is almost impossible. If you look closely though, you can see the needles in the tail.
A few Neon Cuckoo Bees showed up the other day in the lavender and some native purple flowers in the garden. Apparently, they lay their eggs in the larvae of the Blue-banded Bee (another regular visitor). Very hard to photograph as they stay on each flower for only a few seconds.
Luckily, not a visitor here but one of about a thousand Fruit Bats warming itself in a tree outside Maffra. Individually, they're cute but such large flocks cause havoc in urban areas with noise, manure and eating out domestic fruit trees.
Recently, a Sacred Kingfisher zipped across the road in front of us an into a willow tree by the road a few kilometres away. Going back, I could see some movement inside the hole after the male had departed so took a quick shot in the evening light and the auto-flash triggered. The baby looks like it had just hatched.
A friend recommended this free online book to me and it is a great resource. Check it out at www.digitalbirdphotography.com. Worthy of a small donation.