The weather so far this winter has been fairly awful for photography, lots and lots of rain, or grey overcast blargh days. Cold, grey and depressing.
So today I was determined to challenge myself, to get out of the house with the camera and go to a place I have been meaning to for some time, but not got organised enough – its the Travis Wetlands.
Essentially its a large swamp in one corner of the city I live in, that offers protective habitat for birds and native flora and fauna that find their way there. Dogs and cyclists are prohibited, but there is a very nice walking track that goes all the way around the edges.
So I packed my camera, the 17-85 and its polarising lens (that I have had for a year and never used) and the 70-200 into my Tamrac backpack, dressed for the cold, took hat gloves scarf and jacket and set off in the car.
Let me just say that the walk around is lovely, and there were lots of great opportunities to shoot birds of different kinds. Mostly I saw ducks, black swans, heaps of pukekos and a couple of fantails. Oh and two cats along the way 🙂
Its also very long, and including shooting time, the whole walk took me two hours, which was about an hour longer than I had anticipated. Its mostly completely flat and therefore not terribly challenging, tho there were a couple of runners leaping along at speed.
I made a mistake and didn’t take a water bottle, so started to get quite thirsty and headachy about halfway round, which took a bit of shine off the event. Luckily there was a fountain at the end, and I staggered gratefully back to my car and drove home for a long cold drink and a sit down in the sun before downloading my pix.
I wished I had taken my 1.4x converter, it would have been a *perfect* opportunity to use it (haven’t yet since I bought it). I saw a hawk or falcon stoop in the distance, but it was too far away for any detail. And was delighted to see what appeared to be two rival gangs of pukeko have a big fight – started by two and then a whole bunch came over and took sides. Again a bit far away and moving a bit fast, so not the sharpest of pictures, but action I have never ever seen from a pukeko before!
Most of the birds seemed to be not too bothered by people, so long as I kept still and low, they didn’t run away, and one pukeko came running towards me and then kindly posed for quite some time. I was interrupted by the arrival of an abyssinian cat who came running over for smooches 🙂
And near the very end of my walk I found a fantail flitting in and out of a large shrub. I was able to get some shots which are my first fantail shots, they are so quick and fly so erratically, its difficult to get a good one.
Next time I wont walk all the way around, there are some obviously good spots for getting birds. A good place to come back in spring for cute ducklings 🙂