Friday, 13 June 2014

Guardians of Westgate Park

Brown Falcon
launching from a stone sculpture with the
Westgate Bridge in the background.

Westgate Park, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Here are some photos from the Kodak Photo CD made on May 13, 1999. All these shots were at Westgate Park, Port Melbourne in the 1990s. I don't know why I wanted these scanned. I think they had landmarks. I often visited the park in the 1990s as it was the best place to find raptors near the Melbourne CBD. 

I have many nice memories and loads of negatives and slides. Nothing worth hanging on the wall but I think I have some nice historical records for the end of the century. 

Apart from these pictures I also remember photographing a Spotted Harrier having a dogfight with a Whistling Kite in the middle of a 45C day. Who in their right mind would be out birding then?

I also had a close encounter with a young Black Falcon cutting through the park (winter). Well out of its recorded area but I'd been photographing them a week earlier in Queensland and felt they were following me around.

I watched a Nankeen Kestrel grab an Indian Myna in flight and the two cart-wheeled to the ground. I got two shots of it. It would be nice to find them. The birds disappeared behind a hedge in a business property next to the park so I couldn't go in. Neither bird appeared again, leaving me to imagine the outcome.

Other raptors included, Australian Hobby (regular), Brown Goshawk - I watched being chased away by a team of Black-shouldered Kite and Peregrine Falcon (on one occasion), Collared Sparrowhawk, and Swamp Harrier. 

Pretty cool for a major urban environment!

For more information about Westgate Park please visit: Friends of Westgate Park

Nankeen Kestrel

Little Eagle

Peregrine Falcon (above and below)

Black-shouldered Kite

Fox and Australian White Ibis

Friday, 6 June 2014


Double-barred Finch

Abberton, South-east Queensland, Australia

March 25, 2013

Some pictures of Double-barred Finch as seen at Abberton last year.

Cute little birds. Always a wonderful sight. Very glad to get these pics.

Thanks again to Kay and Kevin taking me to visit Bill and Eileen at Abberton.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Stilts I have known

Black-winged Stilts

Himantopus himantopus

"Seitaka-shigi" - Japanese

Rice field next to Fukushimagata, Niigata, Japan

Nikon 1 V1 + Nikon ED50 Fieldscope

May 24, 2014

Last weekend, Saturday May 24 2014, I was carrying digiscoping gear around at Fukushimagata in hope of finding Common Kingfishers when a couple of Black-winged Stilts flew in front of me and landed in an adjacent rice field. I followed them and got most of these shots. It was my first try with the V1 camera attached to my Nikon ED50 Fieldscope. (I just got an adaptor a few weeks ago to try out, being the gear head I am) I'm not so excited by the shots when I pixel peep but the subjects were 50-80 metres away so I think the results are nice enough.

It was my first time to see Black-winged Stilts outside Australia and I noticed how their heads have black patches on top compared to Australia's version, Himantopus leucocephalus, which has a white face with black on the back of the head/neck. - Check out the last image.

I found 7 stilts there on the Saturday and went back the next day with my D800 and 400mm lens and found 9. It's interesting with the big camera that even though I was much closer to the subjects I had to crop the pictures significantly. The V1 pics are not cropped.

I admit I'm not so good at Digiscoping and it a an art form worth investigating. I'm not so patient, however.

May 25 with Nikon D800 + AF-S 80-400mm and two below.

These are Black-winged Stilts, Himantopus leucocephalus,
seen at Cape York, Australia

Note the black on the back of their neck and not on top of their heads.

Photo with Nikon D800 + Nikkor 300 f4 + 1.4 TC