Anyone watching our Facebook page will know I go a bit nuts about birds. As a passionate amateur photographer, I’ve become a little obsessed with getting the perfect shot of one of the beautiful birds we see on our tours. This river teems with birds – lots and lots of different birds. Some – like the tiny Azure Kingfisher – are so brightly coloured, you wonder how they can hide in the soft green of the ti-tree on the river’s edge. Others – like the majestic adult White-bellied Sea Eagle can sometimes be seen from over 200m away, sitting in a commanding position high up on a tree – watching with an air of authority worthy of one of our second largest raptor. Both species pair up for life so it is not unusual to see male and female kingfisher or eagle sitting together – a dream shot. Others we love to sneak up on are graceful White-faced Herons and stunning Great White Egrets, little Black-fronted Dotterills and Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters.
The Bellbird (or Bell Miner) chorus rings constantly in the background, accompanied by Eastern Whip-birds, Wonga Pigeons, Superb Lyrebirds and one of the many parrot species. An orchestra like no other – even more profound when accompanied by a stunning sunrise.
We weren’t always ‘into birds’ – but you can’t help it when you live where we live. We often (especially in the warmer months) sit outside of an evening and drink in our beautiful view of bush and river. There is constant activity – and curiosity forces your hand – what bird is that? What can I learn about it? The more you learn, the more you want to learn. Quirky facts like this one – did you know that the quintessential sound of an Eastern Whip Bird is performed in a duet – both male and female in sync to create that drawn out whipcrack sound. Or how many different birdsongs a Superb Lyrebird can mimic in a single performance. Then there’s the bird you hear – but don’t see – the Australian Reed-Warbler. A nondescript little bird that you only catch a quick glimpse of – but you know they’re about when you hear a clear and happy tune coming out of the reeds. (We’ve never managed to get a shot of one!).
Because we’re on the river so often, we get to see patterns of behaviour – birds have habits (just like us) as well as habitats. We usually know what they’re up to.
Many of our paddlers are keen photographers – most bringing at least one piece of photography gear – their trusty mobile phone, a Go-Pro or a good DSLR on a tour. We can help keep the gear dry – whether you need a waterproof cover for your mobile or small camera, or a good quality dry bag to transport your big camera in safety, we’ve got that covered. Bring it. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t.