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My Ramblings

Website of Ian Muirhead


Birds of Australia

Mallee Ringneck
Mallee Ringneck, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park

This is a passion which was a long time in coming, but now I am hooked. No, it is not the occasional urge to go fishing. That came long ago while spending cold nights fishing lakeside with my dad, more often listening to the sounds of bats passing overhead than the struggle of a trout on the line. Rather, it is a passion for the photography of birds. The reward is to be granted an audience with a wild bird as it goes about life, having placed a trust of safety in my presence.

I have not yet acquired the commitment required to spend hours sitting behind a hide, waiting patiently for a prize-winning image, though I greatly respect those who have it. Also not yet acquired is any degree of mastery of the subject. That may never come, and in some respects it doesn't matter. Whatever the skill level, bird photography is a wonderful excuse to get out into nature and relax.

The photographs in this gallery have been arranged according to the original groupings in Neville Cayley's tome "What Bird Is That" (the hard-backed edition).

A few guiding notes have been provided to help with bird identification, but more complete - and probably more reliable - information is available from other sources.

The most useful lens in my kit for bird photography is a Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM lens. Coupled with Canon 1.4x extender and camera with cropped field sensor, the lens provides good range while being light enough for a full day hike.

The images from this lens respond well to the use of local contrast enhancement, except those taken with the camera pointing in the general direction of the sun (or other main light source), in which case the quality can be rather poor.

The following books have proven to be useful for identification of birds: