Apollo Bay

This week’s post has been hijacked by koalas and a rare carnivorous snail but a Caspian Tern gets first billing.


Caspian Tern
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 100, focal length 400mm


This tern was doing forty minute circuits of the river and shoreline as it hunted for fish, which it swallows head first after diving for the catch. Caspian Terns are the largest tern in Australia and are easily recognised by their large red bill. They measure up to 60cm and weigh about 700g; which is a lot of bird to keep aloft on such slender wings. The tern’s forked tail can just be seen in the image above.

The weather during this trip was often overcast or raining which made bird photography trickier than usual. Added to that were the densely wooded rainforests where birds can be heard but are difficult to photograph due to the amount of foliage, poor lighting and high contrast if the sun does shine. Which brings me to the snail:

 Otway Black Snail
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/160, f/7.1, ISO 1600, focal length 400mm


Wandering through the rainforest at Mait’s Rest was delightful. The birds were hiding but an endangered carnivorous snail was posing nicely. The snail’s eyes, at the top of the tentacles, have a little catchlight and also a little blur – I should have used a faster shutter speed (or, more seriously, f/8). Unlike the garden variety these snails eat slugs, insect larvae, earthworms and other species of snail. It was interesting to see how their strikingly coloured shells are set so far back on their bodies.

Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 400, focal length 170mm


On the way to the Cape Otway Lighthouse were clusters of vehicles parked haphazardly on the narrow road with their erstwhile occupants pointing cameras and phones at trees. There were koalas dotted all over the place, mostly still but occasionally on the move.

Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/400, f/6.3, 1/3 EV, ISO 400, focal length 375mm


Apart from one koala with a facial deformity and another with an eye injury the koalas looked remarkably healthy despite the fact that many of the trees looked over ‘grazed’.

Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 400, focal length 275mm


It is remarkable how koalas can sleep propped in such unlikely positions; I’ve recently been burning the candle at both ends and in the middle and wish I had enough balance to catnap in strange places, and to look so cute while I did.

Happy birding, Kim



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