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Thread: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

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    Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    My bride and I will be travelling to Australia in late November/early December. We haven't firmed up plans yet on where exactly we'll be going other than we'll be sticking to the eastern half of the continent. We'll fly into Sydney and spend four or five days there to recover from travel before getting behind the wheel of a car. We've got a total of 18 days on the ground and will utilize planes, trains, or autos as necessary to get around. Our MO is to pick a few places and explore them thoroughly rather than covering as much ground as possible within the alotted time.

    Any advice on where one could shoot a bird or two would be appreciated. I'm fond of sea birds but will shoot anything that will sit still or fly close enough for a decent shot. If there are any gannet colonies that one can access that would be cool. Also I'd like to get a shot at some royal spoonies which I understand hang out down there. Advice on equipment needs would also be helpful. Nice cooperative birdies that can be shot with 300mm effective focal length would be nice

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    graynomad's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    I haven't been there but the Mareeba wetlands is supposed to be quite good

    http://www.mareebawetlands.org/gallery.html

    I know a place where there a a lot of spoonbills (or at least was about 3 years ago)

    Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    But it's just outside Winton, which is a fair way inland.

    Can't help much with the coast though, I spend all my time inland.

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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    Thanks for the info. Which Winton are you refering to? I searched Google Earth and it comes up with a Winton in QLD, NSW, and VIC. The one in Victoria looks the wettest.

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    graynomad's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    Oops, sorry I wasn't thinking of other Wintons.

    I meant the one in QLD, specifically a spot called Long Waterhole just a few k out of town.

    Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    See this diary entry for more pics

    http://robgray.com/graynomad/issues/issue_058/index.php

    I camped there for a week, there were a lot of spoonies there at the time. But it's a long way from the coast to go on the chance that they are still there. When you get to Oz you could maybe ring the tourist info in town and ask them.

    If you like large cranes, darters, pelicans, stilts, kites etc etc another good spot is Camooweal, but that's way over on the NT border.

    Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    I camp there for a month or longer and it's common to have 50 jabirus feeding just outside my truck. The above diary also shows a lot of pics of the bird life there.

    As for equipment, most (maybe all) of my bird shots are with a equiv 728mm lens (400 x 1.4 x 1.3), 300 will be a bit of an ask I think, these birds are big which helps but cranes will spot you a mile away and they don't like company.

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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    We're not likely to make it that far inland. Primary mission will be spending plenty of time on beaches. Looks like you have plenty of surf and sand down there so that shouldn't be too hard. I've just started looking a bit in earnest and it looks like no shortage of birds either. Which I'm not exactly a birder but I do enjoy shooting them from time to time (digital shooting).

    Excellent photos in the post and on your site. That shot with the water lillies is awesome. What are the grey looking cranes with the red crown. Look just like our sandhills. I've got the necessary glass but my bride may question the need to take it on our beach vacation

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    graynomad's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    What are the grey looking cranes with the red crown.
    They are brolgas, almost the same as a sarus crane with the difference being just the leg colour or something (I forget now).

    but my bride may question the need to take it on our beach vacation
    We honeymooned in Paris, I got some great night shots and enough material to write an article. 'Er indoors didn't seem to mind, after all that's what she married and I'm not about to waste two weeks in a place like Paris

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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    Here's a sandy hen and chick. Different colors from your brolgas but built the same and same red bald head.

    Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    After looking online a bit and seeing how many sea/shore birds you have down there, I'll likely bring my glass with me or try and rent some on that end. After all, technically a beach is anyplace where sea meets shore

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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    hi Dan,
    While in Sydney, you could take about a 45 minute bus trip across Sydney Harbour, along the northern beaches to Narrabeen - alight in the middle of the town and walk across the road to the lake on your left, or a few hundred metres to the ocean on your right. You would be lucky to get anything spectacular, but there is a lot of waterbirds at the lake (gannets, darters etc.) and it would be a lovely day trip for you and your wife. Plenty of places to eat, ocean front pubs are nice. Not sure how difficult it is to get to by public transport, but there is a large ibis colony that roosts at a lake in the Bankstown area that you could look up. Hope you enjoy your visit.
    - Noel

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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    Thanks, Noel. That sounds convenient. Maybe a multitasking opportunity. Out for dinner with a sidetrip by the lake

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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    You're welcome, Dan. While you are in the city, you could also try the Sydney Royal Botanical Gardens on the harbour foreshore adjacent to the Opera House, or Centennial Park a few miles from the CBD - the bird life may be a bit feral, but not camera shy.
    - Noel

  11. #11
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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    Hi Dan,
    I am not much of a bird photographer I do most of mine in the back yard or the Royal National Park. The Northern beaches are most accessible by ferry from Circular Quay. You might also see birds if you take the coastal walk from Bondi south for a few beaches like Coogee and then catch a bus back to the city. A train trip to Cronulla will give you access to Cronulla and a ferry across the Hacking River to the Royal National Park where there are lots of other things to photograph including aboriginal carvings. I will try to upload some images of birds I have photographed in the Royal National Park later.

    Cockatoo in the Royal National Park.

    Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    What will seem really exotic to you, are the parrots which you will see all around Sydney, and then all up and down the coast when you travel. Once you have heard a Kookaburra in the morning you will want to find it and photograph it. Of course if it wakes you up you may have other ideas.

    Graham

  12. #12

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    Re: Advice for Bird Photography Down Under

    Thanks, Graham and Noel. I think we already have the RNP on our list and will add the botanical garden on which we were undecided. We'll be staying downtown a couple of blocks from Circular Quay. We're figuring to walk a lot and use public transit in Sydney and won't pick up a car until we're ready to start heading north. It's becoming quite evident that finding birds to shoot won't be a problem. That was also our experience when we went to NZ a few years ago. I only had a 200mm lens but came away with a respectable few photos. You can see a few here.

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