Friday, May 31, 2013

"Going up" A Heron on the fourth floor

This is a final post from this year's trip to Caloundra. This White-faced heron paid a visit to the fourth floor balcony of our Kings Beach accommodation. It provided photographic challenges for the equipment and talent at hand.

At 65cm this bird is reasonably big. This is generally not a problem except if the bird has landed only 3 metres away from your 150-500 lens. It was also quite unusual for me to be shooting with a glaringly sunlit maroon wall as a background. The results are, at best, interesting!

A very cosmopolitan White-faced heron, Kings Beach, Caloundra
Here we see evidence of trial-and-error photography as I ....
  • Realise that I wasn't going to able to work at all with that bright maroon wall.

  • Try to take the wall out of the equation using different angles and zooming to a tighter subject. 

  • Don't really coming to grips with optimal focussing when the head and tail are at such different focal lengths.

  • Miss nailing a decent take-off shot and inadvertently capture an interesting shadow in a corner of a picture. 

Well, "Live and learn" as they say!

Where Beach stone-curlew fossicked the night before!
Another extremely welcome visit was from a pair of Beach stone-curlew (Esacus magnirostris) to the main beach right alongside the boardwalk and cafe-strip of Caloundra's Bulcock Beach Esplanade.

There are no photos!

The weather had been lousy and I was going for a no-camera jog in the drizzle and gloom of early evening when I sighted the pair. I was able to watch from the boardwalk for a good 15 minutes as they poked around the water's edge. I observed one bird repeatedly nodding every 4-5 seconds. The bird's whole body would see-saw with the quick nod. Intermittently the other bird bowed it's head and spread it's wings forming horizontal arcs in a possibly submissive display. It was a memorable moment for me seeing these locally endangered shore birds for the first time.

Here is a link to some excellent images of some other local Beach stone-curlews at Greg Roberts' blog sunshinecoastbirds. For more information about these birds check the Birds in Backyards Beach Stone-curlew page.

I returned the next morning to find the trusty council tractor raking and flattening the exact spot!

Back to how a beach should be. Completely flat, devoid of washed-up seaweed, pesky birdlife or any form of obvious life!
Osprey are also a regular part of the Caloundra sky scape. No close-up photos this year but I enjoyed finding this nest high up in a Norfolk Island pine on the Headland Esplanade.

Site of urban Osprey nest, Caloundra
Osprey just visible in nest, Caloundra
Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) checking the conditions
Pied cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) 

Bird on!


  1. I know the feeling with the white-faced heron. I went around a little bend on Griffiths Is. Vic. and there was one within 3' of me, he filled up more than my momentarily astonished lens could hold. I bagged him when he took off though.
    I think with your 500mm at that distance, you did very well indeed, especially considering the astonishment factor.
    I'm glad you got t watch the Curlews, sometimes it is actually good not to have the camera on hand.
    Happy days . . .

  2. Ah, what a shame regarding the White-faced Heron!! You will insist on shooting with that huge lens!! Who?? Me?? Lens envy?? Never!!!
    I know that Osprey nest! I came across it when we were up at Bulcock Beach, Caloundra last time. I shared the "Osprey catch of the day" shot on IG. If I'd had your lens I would have been in heaven. though the weather conditions were extremely windy & overcast!
    I do love Cormorants!! Thanks for sharing, Pete!!