A thornbill in a ray of light

The sun was setting and I didn’t have much hope that I’d get to photograph any birds when a tiny thornbill flitted into view and thoughtfully paused for a moment in the one remaining ray of light.


Brown Thornbill 2 - Kim Wormald

Brown Thornbill
1/1600, f/6.3, ISO 800, focal length 345mm


I get particular joy from photographing small birds; the ones that are so tiny and fast that they are often unidentifiable and referred to as LBBs (little brown birds) or LBJs (little brown jobs).

When I first started atlassing for Birdlife Australia (and its predecessor) I used to wish I was permitted to record ‘thornbill sp’ rather than having to identify the fast moving LBBs so it’s a real treat to photograph them and be able to see them in detail.



Brown Thornbill 1 - Kim Wormald

Brown Thornbill
1/1600, f/6.3, ISO 800, focal length 345mm


Brown Thornbills weigh a mere seven grams, and measure about 9-10cm bill to tail. They often chatter to each other while they feed, with a musical warble which helps to identify them from the Striated Thornbill with its tzzz tzzz call. I regularly see both species together though Brown Thornbills tend to forage in the understorey while Striated Thornbills prefer to be higher in the canopy.

Please see below for why I like the symbolism of this week’s lirralirra post.

Happy birding, Kim


Update on the Victorian duck shooting season

A Red-necked Avocet was the first casualty of the season. It was taken to the RSPCA Vet Station at Lake Burrumbeet just west of Ballarat. It had suffered shotgun injuries to its chest and abdomen. The RSPCA released a brief but graphic video: Protected Waterbird Shot – RSPCA

These beautiful shorebirds are one of my favourite species, an image of one can be seen on the November page of the 2016 lirralirra calendar. They are exquisitely gentle birds that feed by wading into shallow water and swooping their incredibly long, up-turned bills from side to side to catch aquatic insects and larvae. Its death is a direct result of government sanctioned violence on our wetlands.

I like the symbolism of this week’s ray of light – I see a huge increase in the number of people calling for a permanent ban on the killing of 250,000 native waterbirds and the untold numbers of ‘collateral damage’ in Victoria. If you’d like to add your voice to those of thousands of other compassionate environmentalists please contact your MP and/or add your name to these petitions:

Ban Duck Shooting – ALV petition to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, currently has 17,000 signatures
Ban Recreational Duck Shooting – AA petition to add Victoria to the list of states that have already imposed a ban, currently has 40,000 signatures


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