A dusky at dusk

I’ve just realised it’s Friday and time for my lirralirra post! I thought it was Thursday, probably because I spent an entire day this week relaxing by a friend’s beautiful dam.


Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa) – juvenile
1/2500, f/6.3, ISO 1600


This image seemed like the right one to share this week. I took it at the dam, late in the day when this juvenile moorhen swam from the shadows into a momentary shaft of light. I like the way the floating eucalyptus blossoms looks like stars in the night sky.

Adult Dusky Moorhens are about 36cm, they are virtually black with a yellow-tipped, red bill and a red frontal shield. Juveniles are a dull brown and their bills gradually take on the adult colouring. Adults and juveniles have tails with bright white sides – as can be seen in the image above.


Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa)
1/2000, f/6.3, ISO 800


It was fascinating to watch the moorhens navigating the reeds on the opposite side of the dam. There are five birds in the image above, two adults and three juveniles. Sometimes they would come to edge of the reeds and other times they’d disappear and all would be quiet apart from occasional squawks and splashes. They moved through the reeds as easily as we’d move through a forest of trees.

When I’d arranged to visit the dam I’d imagined taking shots of grebes, but the grebes had disappeared, hopefully they’ve moved to the other dam on the property, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to photograph them another day.

Happy birding



Duck Shooting Update

This is the final weekend of this year’s Victorian duck shooting season. I’d been hoping for miserable weather but it hasn’t happened that way. Some wetlands have been re-opened today which is devastating as thousands of birds that I’d hoped would be safe will wake up to gunfire tomorrow morning.

If you have a moment could you please contact Daniel Andrews, Jaala Pulford and your local member of parliament to implore them to ban the annual barbaric slaughter of 100,000s of our native waterbirds and not permit a shooting season next year.

My heartfelt thanks to all the rescuers out there searching for injured birds and ensuring they aren’t left to suffer in the reeds.


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6 comments to A dusky at dusk

  • Margot

    Beautiful pictures once again. So interested to see the juvenile Moorhen.At Seville we enjoy watching a family of Moorhens fossick through the horse paddock for tasty morsels.Delightful to watch them out the window as we are ‘working’.

  • Neil Mansfield

    Beautiful image of the Dusky at dusk Kim. Did you sit on the bank behind a bush, in a hide, in camouflage clothing, or were you out in the open just being very still and quiet? And finally, with a shutter speed of 1/2000, did you manually set this and allow ISO to regulate exposure on near maximum aperture?

    • lirralirra

      A bit of just about all of it Neil! Snuggled against a jetty for part of it, always in camouflage-type clothing, some of the time beneath a cloth hide and, I think, out in the open for the first image as I was going back and forth to the car at the end of the day when I couldn’t resist another few shots.

      I was shooting full manual but had the shutter speed high as I was hoping for some interesting high movement shots – you’re very observant.

  • For most of this post I revelled in education and delight. I loved your analogy of the blossoms and the stars. I never would have made the link between the juvenile moorhen and its parent.
    And then the final paragraphs leave my heart at my feet. I had hoped the obscenity was over for the year/forever…

    • lirralirra

      It’s over for now EC, thank goodness. I still see a sea of stars when I look at the moorhen, hopefully I’ll get to photograph them again soon.

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