Images and ant bites

I’ve spent quite a lot of time in one corner of the paddock over the past couple of weeks; sometimes all I get is ant bites but other times I’m more lucky.


Eastern Yellow Robin - Kim Wormald

Eastern Yellow Robin
Canon 5D3


I was astounded to see Eastern Yellow Robins flying 30 metres to pluck a worm from the ground and it’s interesting to think how strong and well-balanced they must be to hang on sideways to such a spindly branch. There were a pair of robins collecting food and flying into the bush to feed nestlings or fledglings, I could hear the little ones calling when the food arrived but didn’t go looking for them.



Collared Sparrowhawk - Kim WormaldCollared Sparrowhawk or maybe Brown Goshawk
Canon 7D2


With monotonous frequency the small bush birds would sound an alarm and then go quiet; sometimes it was a raptor, at other times they’d be bothered by kookaburras, ravens or Grey Butcherbirds. I saw the raptor, above, emerge from bushland about 40 metres from where I was sitting on the ground, by the time I’d pointed my lens towards the bird it was flying over my head so I did a crazy commando roll and managed to capture this shot as I rolled and just before the bird disappeared behind trees. Brown Goshawks and Collared Sparrowhawks are remarkably similar and it’s quite possible someone will disagree with my ID. It seemed smaller than a goshawk, plus it has a very rounded eye without a dark brow and its head is smallish. I also look for the length and shape of the tail, for unfeathered legs and for the length of the middle toe (which is only helpful when the bird is perched). The bird’s tail seemed more notched as it flew overhead.



Superb Fairy-wren - Kim Wormald

Superb Fairy-wren
Canon 5D3


These little wrens are exquisite. After spending many hours in the paddock they became comfortable with my presence and occasionally foraged quite close by, only bothering to look up when I pressed the shutter button. They abandoned a recent nest which was disappointing after the effort put into building it. I investigated the site after four weeks of seeing no activity and found a beautiful little nest, almost finished, and filled with fluff from my Golden Retrievers. I brush the dogs several times a week and put the hair in odd places around the garden. I’d watched the female taking bill-fulls into the reeds at the edge of the paddock. I’m hopeful that they have another nest on the go but only have a vague idea where this one might be hidden.

The other night I was wandering in the garden after dark when I saw a Southern Boobook  glowing softly in the moonlight as it perched on a tall fence post. I was surprised it had let me get so close and as I was slowly backing away I suddenly remembered putting a large fluffy bundle of golden fluff on top of the post a few days earlier.



Grey Fantail with Fly - Kim Wormald

Grey Fantail with fly
Canon 5D3

As I mentioned in an early post the fantails come incredibly close to me, touching me with their wings and swooping on insects hovering beside me. Like the robins they were also heading into the bush to feed young. One day I saw two fledglings on a branch at the edge of the bush waiting to be fed.


Grey Fantail juvenile - Kim Wormald

Grey Fantail juvenile
Canon 5D3

I was thrilled when a juvenile came to the fence beside me and was as comfortable near me as its parents. The rufous colouring of the juveniles is stunning. It was catching some of its own food and this was supplemented by the parents. I have many images to look through, including a couple of it being fed which was difficult to capture as the young bird flew towards the adult rather than the other way around. Hopefully I’ll soon have time to look at them properly and see if there are any worth sharing.

I’ve had several fantastic trips this year which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed but it has been especially good to get reacquainted with the paddock birds by sitting on the grass and seeing what turns up besides the ants.

Happy birding, Kim



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10 comments to Images and ant bites

  • I thought the same as you when I saw that robin shot. I like that it isn’t a “typical” bird on a horizontal stick. I’m imagining the commando roll (hopefully not into a big ant pile) and the superb fairy wren you are right, just beautiful. I however really loved the young fantail. His softness and the splashes of color are perfect.

    • lirralirra

      As a photographer you can really imagine the experience of taking these images, your comment made me smile! Luckily I avoided an ant pile, how awful that would be!

  • Alison Moore

    Hello Kim,
    Exquisite photos, thank you so much for brightening our lives on a Friday with avian tales.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and another year ahead of delightful and surprising bird experiences.
    Warm regards

  • Valda Jenkins

    Excellent photos and information once again Kim. Thanks. Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Valda Jenkins

  • Awe and wonder.
    How I love the feathered enchantment you share.
    And how grateful I am that it is you braving the ants. Rather a lot of ants bring me up in HUGE welts which can take weeks to go down.
    Thank you.

    • lirralirra

      They weren’t big ants EC, just little nibblers. I have horrible reactions to Jumping Jacks, there’s no way I’d brave them, I’d run a mile.

  • Evie Hanlon

    Amazing! Writing, stories and photography. So love your blogs Kim!

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