Bassian in a windy flurry

Bassian Thrushes are often missed as they are secretive birds and brilliantly camouflaged amongst the leaf litter.

 

Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata)
1/400, f5.6, ISO 1600

 

I was on the ground watching this beautiful bird, hoping that a thread of sunlight would come through the trees so I could increase the shutter speed and see the bird glow a little in the sunlight. Instead there was a flurry of wind that sent leaves flying past the bird, the blurs in the image above are flying leaves.

The Bassian Thrush immediately turned to face the wind, which surprised me, especially as it kept its eyes open and didn’t use its nictitating eyelid (click for more information) to protect them.

It flurried its wings and spread its tail a little as it turned. I particularly like these thrushes, I find the dark crescents and warm colouring quite beautiful.

 

 

Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata)
1/400, f5.6, ISO 1600

.

As more leaves flew into the image the thrush turned to look towards the leaves, and me. I had been on the damp ground for quite a while, settling down initially when the thrush was some distance away and watching it gradually (thankfully) work its way towards me as it foraged for invertebrates.

.

Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata)
1/400, f5.6, ISO 1600

 

I took a burst of shots, pressing the shutter button and holding it down. In the image above the leaf has blown further and is partially obscuring the bird’s tail.

 

 

Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata)
1/400, f5.6, ISO 1600

 

And then, just two one-hundredths of a second later the flurry stopped. The light changed a little during that time from the sun shining through the moving tree canopy.

Bassian Thrushes freeze if they are concerned or disturbed. Sometimes I don’t realise I’m walking towards a Bassian until it flushes and flies or runs a short distance from me before freezing again. They can be almost impossible to see. Photographing them with a wide-open aperture means that the foreground and background are thrown out of focus so that the bird stands out and can be seen more clearly than with the naked eye.

A funny thought occurred to me when processing these images. There was a family watching me and there’s no way they have been able to see the bird, they must have wondered what on earth I was doing lying in the grass with a long lens for forty minutes.

Happy birding

Kim

 

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