According to their website Currumbin started out as a bird santuary. Since I got my 40D and particularly my 70-200 F4 IS L lens I have discovered the joy and difficulty of bird photography. They are flighty, skittish creatures that are often shy, move quickly and worst of all FLY AWAY in self defence. So for me this makes them a most challenging subject shoot. So the reward of getting a good shot feels extra good 🙂
To be honest I don’t really know a lot about birds, tho I am learning some as I go along. I am fascinated by raptors, we have a very small range in NZ and they are all endangered to some point, and extremely difficult to get shots of in the wild. I think there are a couple of rehabilitation places in the North Island but I haven’t had a chance to get there. So imagine my delight when I found out that Currumbin had a Free Flight Raptor show! I’m going to post about that separately as there were several birds of interest and I got some good shots I want to share with you.
So here are some of the other birds I encountered around Currumbin – and I was really pleased to see that many of them were free to fly in the wild. Many were banded and clearly a lot of them stuck around for the food (both provided and available compliments of the cafe). There were some birds in cages, either for their safety (due to their rarity) or for ours (due to the large beaks on many). I had lots of practise shooting through the cages, but the mesh was very tight and black, and you and the bird have to be in the right place to be able to blur out the mesh using a wide open aperture (a trick I got from a UK magazine), and that wasn’t happening.
So here is a random selection of birds encountered around Currumbin:
Difficult to shoot without overexposing the white, or losing detail in the black. Am amazed those tiny spindly legs hold them up!
Quite large bird and big solid beak, but no idea what it is. Only saw the one and only long enough to get a few shots.
There is only one duck listed in the Animal list, so am assuming its that one. Different colour to other ducks I have seen, more brown.
I was surprised how high up off the ground these birds got – this is a good 6m or so up a gum tree
Not the best shot as it was in one of the cages but couldn’t resist the bright colours
Even emus get sore feet and like to sit down in the shade. Unfortunately a small child climbed on it, watched by encouraging parents *sigh*
Ugly things, don’t look at all appetising to eat. Scrounging after scraps in the Cafe area.
While failing to get any good aerial shots at the Free Flight Show, I spotted this spectator enjoying the show from the top of the audience canopy.
So you can see a great diversity of birds at Currumbin, some on the ground, many in trees. And there were lots more, these are the best of the images I took. Due to the heavy tree cover, the lighting was quite dark in many areas, and by the time I figured out there was a bird around, they were often gone before I got a good shot. Good experience for learning to deal with different light conditions, I think if I did it again would put my flash on. I was using my 70-200 F4 IS L for nearly all the shots and F4 just wasn’t wide enough in the shadier areas.
If you like birds, and want to get opportunities for lots of rare and unusual Australian birds, in a fairly natural environment, then I recommend Currumbin 🙂 You get to get up close and personal with many of them in a way you never could in the wild.