Golden Teal

It’s over! The Victorian duck shooting season has ended for another year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Victoria joins WA, NSW and Qld and we never have to worry again about hundreds of thousands of our native waterbirds being slaughtered for recreation.

 

Grey Teal

Grey Teal (Anas gracilis)
APS Gold Medal – Maitland International Salon of Photography – 2016
1/640, f/6.3, ISO 800

 

During last year’s duck shooting season I spent many weekends at lakes and wetlands. Usually I like being at such places before sunrise, I like seeing the sky gradually lighten and hearing the sweet calls of birds and the gentle quacking of ducks as they greet the morning. But it’s different during the shooting season. Sweet sounds are replaced by the thud of gunfire and the gleeful cheers of men who think it’s somehow brave or manly to dress in camouflage, secrete themselves in hides and lure ducks with decoys and fake calls. And, as the terrified birds take flight in the semi-darkness they are blasted with hundreds of pellets – it’s sick.

The flip-side to the carnage are the duck rescuers. What a privilege it is to know people with such compassion and determination. People who, for three months of the year, juggle full-time work and study to spend their weekends searching for injured birds. People who exhaust themselves trying to ensure that no birds are hidden in hollow logs or nestled among reeds; people who fill bags with the filth discarded by shooters and who spend more than they can afford on equipment, petrol and accommodation – awesome, inspiring people, my youngest daughter included.

After photographing so many dead and injured birds last year I was desperate to find safe birds to photograph. Following the season I visited local wetlands and felt as though the birds understood my need to be with them. I was lucky to capture the image of the Grey Teal above, I love its pose, the eye-contact and the tiny beads of water dripping from its underparts. I’m particularly fond of Grey Teal, they are such tiny, gentle ducks. Not everyone likes this image, which, coupled with how important it is to me, made me enter it in the end of year competition at Knox Photographic Society and the Maitland International Salon of Photography – I was rapt when the teal was honoured (thank you everyone) and hope that the image can somehow help put an end to duck shooting, maybe by demonstrating that our native waterbirds are both beautiful and valued.

Happy birding

Kim

 

PS  An excellent broadcast went to air on 14 June, it’s well-worth a listen: More than game – Victorian duck shooting season

 

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14 comments to Golden Teal

  • You are right the pose of that teal is so wonderful. Adds so much character to the picture!

  • Kim Sinclair

    What’s not to like about that fabulous image? I love it! Congratulations on the Gold Medal and for your fabulous BLOG posts. It takes dedication to be a blogger which I clearly lack since I haven’t managed to keep one going except when I was travelling around Australia. I admire those who do.
    And I very much admire those with the strength of their convictions when it comes to duck shooting and being out there trying to make a difference for our treasured waterbirds.
    Keep up the good work one and all!
    Kim

    • lirralirra

      I’m glad you like it Kim! Now I’m wondering if it’s mainly duck shooters who don’t like it, maybe somewhere deep down it challenges their belief that they have a right to shoot such exquisite little creatures.

      Let me know if you travel blog is still available, I’d like to have a look at it.

  • Diane

    Hello Kim.

    I live in WA and the way you described sweet sounds being replaced by the thud of gunfire and the gleeful cheers of men was quite shocking to me, having never heard that in my life. I think it would sicken me if I did hear it so am very grateful to be living in a state where duck shooting is banned.

    Heartfelt thanks and warmth also go out to the duck rescuers, I’m sure that on some level the ducks know that there are some human beings who care for them.

    Diane

    • lirralirra

      Hi Diane, thank you for your kind comments to the duck rescuers. I think you’re right about the ducks knowing some people care about them. It reminds me of some of the videos I’ve seen recently where ducks have been filmed approaching people to help free trapped ducklings.

  • Love that image.
    And I have everything crossed that the obscenity of killing things for fun is stopped.

    • lirralirra

      Now the gremlins pinched my answer to you here EC! I’d written that ‘obscenity’ is the perfect word for the duck shooting season.

  • Gary Gale

    Excellent photo Kim, for me it ticks all the boxes for being a winner.
    It is such a relief that the duck shooting season is over, it really makes my blood boil that it is still allowed, and more so by a Labor government. We have to thank Animals Australia and Cads, for their excellent efforts in protecting some of the lake in the courts. Also the many volunteers from these groups who gave up their spare time to rescue injured birds. I intend to work in my small way early next year and hopefully be a small part in the big cog of preventing it happening next year.
    Hugs From Gary and Nina (Nongluk)

    • lirralirra

      You are absolutely right about CADS and Animals Australia, what a fantastic job they do to defend and protect our beautiful native waterbirds. It’s awesome that you are planning to do even more next year to try to prevent it happening. I long for the day when birders’ voices are heard above shooters’ voices – and I feel that it’s happening now. Hugs to you and Nina Nongluk too! Which name does N prefer to use, both are lovely.

  • Evie Hanlon

    Hi Kim, a well deserved medal. This image is sheer magic!

  • Carole King

    Hi Kim….I hope you are feeling much better this week.
    I love the photo of the Grey Teal….love the cute little water droplets on the stomach.
    I can see why the photo received a gold medal….so well captured. 🙂
    Carole.

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