VIGEX to Serendip

At the weekend I was privileged to judge at the VIGEX International Print Salon in Geelong. After spending Saturday and Sunday judging exquisite images from around the world, I was especially keen to get outside and use my camera.


Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 1600


During the weekend I’d explored Point Henry at sunrise and got so lost looking for Balyang Sanctuary that I didn’t find it until after the sun had gone down. So, with just a couple of spare hours on the Sunday I decided to zip to Serendip Sanctuary despite knowing I’d only have about 40 minutes there before it closed.

I have briefly visited Serendip before, once with photography friends and once regarding an injured bird. I wish I could find more information about the aviary birds, especially whether they are there permanently or being rehabilitated.

The Tawny Frogmouth, above, was perched on a log at ground level. Most of my flurry of images of this remarkable bird show it with its eye closed but for a few brief seconds it squinted in my general direction, with the setting sun nicely reflected in its eye. A young child was thrilled to see it hiding in plain sight.



House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 1600


House Sparrows were flitting around the frogmouth, darting in and out of the enclosure and helping themselves to birdseed. A while ago I posted about the introduction of sparrows to Australia by Acclimatisation Societies, and about their rapid and unexplained decline in the UK. I was fascinated by readers’ comments and emails. If interested (or uninterested come to think of it), this link will take you to the post: House Sparrows


Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis)
1/400, f/5.6, ISO 1600


Buff-banded Rails are often very secretive but, at the other end of the spectrum, they can become almost tame. I’ve spent many hours waiting for them to emerge from reeds only to be treated to barely a glimpse. And yet, on Lord Howe Island they visited cabins to clean up crumbs and I clearly remember lying on wet grass with a broken rib when one looked straight into the camera: Face to face with Buff-banded Rail

I hope to visit the VAPS (Victorian Association of Photographic Societies) conference in Frankston this weekend. I served as reserve judge for the VAPS interclub and am looking forward to viewing the exhibition.

Happy birding



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