Life on a post

‘Life on a Post’ will probably be my theme for next year’s calendar. I have quite a collection of images where birds are roosting, preening, feeding fledglings and even smiling, on posts. Photographs that show virtually anything made by humans aren’t permitted in nature or wildlife categories in international competitions, so regardless of how much I like such images I can’t enter them in my favourite categories.

 

Grey Teal Smiling
Grey Teal (Anas gracilis)
Canon 5DIII, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 400

 

Grey Teal are small ducks that I find absolutely charming. They are subtly coloured greyish-brown with soft buff edges to their feathers. They have red eyes and white throats. Chestnut Teal are a similar species, especially the female which can only be identified by checking her throat feathers which are pale brown rather than the white feathers of the Grey Teal. Chestnut males are easier to identify as they have dark green heads and chestnut underparts.

Apart from the cute smile in the image above I like the little flurry of triangles along the teal’s back and the detail of wrinkles on its foot.

 

 

Grey Teal Stretching
Grey Teal (Anas gracilis)
Canon 5DIII, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 400

 

A couple of weeks ago I changed some of the banner images for lirralirra and the image above is one I chose. I have several banner images set on ‘random’ so there’s about a one in eight chance that this image will appear twice when clicking on the page.

Grey Teal are found across Australia, just about anywhere they can find water. They feed by dabbling, upending or grazing on water or land plants. They also eat crustaceans and insects and can often be found in mixed flocks with Chestnut Teal. Unfortunately they are one of the native duck species that is on the so-called ‘game’ list and it is currently legal to shoot them during the Victorian duck hunting season, which I hope will be banned between now and next autumn.

 

Grey Teal resting - Kim WormaldGrey Teal  (Anas gracilis)
Canon 5DIII, 1/640, f/7.1, ISO 800

 

Many birds stand on one leg when resting, which seems a bit counter-intuitive but is actually quite restful, I do it myself, ‘quack quack’. This teal has nestled its bill beneath its feathers and its eye was closed most of the time, it occasionally peeked to make sure nothing was making its way across the water towards it. At one point it became restless and seemed bothered by something to my left, when I glanced around there was a man standing right beside me which was startling to say the least, especially as I was squatted low in the mud and not expecting anyone to venture anywhere close. The ground was so soft that I hadn’t heard his footsteps. I’d taken quite a while to creep close to the ducks and was glad they didn’t fly when he turned up.

The background in these images is a mixture of green and brown reeds on the far side of the wetlands. The smaller aperture in the third image meant that I needed a higher ISO to optimise the exposure, it also means that the background reeds are less blurred than in the f5.6 images.

Happy birding, Kim

 

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