I wonder if these Grey Fantails are the ones I saw being raised two years ago, or maybe their offspring.
Grey Fantails are dainty birds that move with such agility they remind me of ballet dancers, without the sore feet that plague the human variety. There are several races of Grey Fantail with Rhipidura alisteri being typical of central and south-east Australia. A few years ago there was a fantail here with tail feathers that were much whiter than alisteri, it looked exactly like albicauda from Western Australia and southern parts of the Northern Territory. It also behaved like albicauda, foraging about a metre above the grass rather than perching on the outside branches of trees and catching flying insects from that vantage point. Some fantails migrate from southern areas during winter and reach parts of the country where they overlap with northern races. I wonder if our little albicauda came back with a group of migrators. Over the years I saw other fantails with more white on their tails than usual so I presumed our visitor found a breeding partner. I watch each new batch of fantails with interest and always take special note of their tails.
It’s often difficult to frame an image of a bird with a long tail. Maybe the image above needs more room for the bird to look into, alternatively it would have been appreciated if it had turned its head towards its tail to balance the photograph. How nice it would be if I could occasionally direct a bird to pose for the camera! Actually, it’s the difficulty of getting bird images that is one of bird photography’s greatest attractions, and getting shots of small birds magnifies the pleasure.
I like the misty windswept look of the image above. This fantail looks like a juvenile as it still has some brownish colouration on its face and feathers.
Images of the fantail family along with my thoughts on ethical bird photography can be seen at Grey Fantails in an egg cup.
Happy birding, Kim
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