Visit by top photographer puts the focus on SE SA’s woodland birds
At the end of August we were treated to a whole bird-photography related weekend. BirdLife photographer and ecologist Dean Ingwersen made the trip across from Melbourne for a talk at Mt Gambier City Hall, a photography workshop and a guided walk out at Honan Scrub Native Forest Reserve.
Dean’s talk took us through the decline of woodland birds across south-eastern Australia, which might have been a little bleak apart from hearing about the amazing work being done to restore habitat and species Australia-wide. Dean’s involvement in the Regent Honeyeater project has seen captive breeding and reintroduction efforts, with released birds observed behaving like their wild counterparts and even successfully breeding.
On the night Dean also launched the new Woodland Birds of South East SA brochure – a really handy guide that features photographs of some of the most common woodland birds from our region, as well as birds of conservation significance. You can pick up a nicely folded and weather-proof copy for the car or backpack from Natural Resources South East, visitor info centres, Naracoorte Caves, or the NGT office!
On Saturday Dean hosted a photography workshop at the NGT office in Vansittart Park, and took us through bird photography fundamentals before passing on some of his hard-earned pro secrets. A field trip to the Valley Lake wildlife park gave us a chance to work on our skills. Thanks for the great tips Dean – we’ll use them wisely!
On Sunday’s walk at Honan NFR the intrepid crew were treated to a morning of sparkling weather and plenty of birds, including Golden Whistler, Mistletoebird, Eastern Yellow Robin, White-eared Honeyeater, Varied Sittella, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Grey Currawong and Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo. NGT’s Bryan Haywood led a guided tour of endangered Swamp Gum habitat, which is a focus for conservation effort in the region. Bryan also discussed the amazing variety of flora communities found in such a small area, and it was clear that the diversity of habitats really drives the wide range of bird species present. If you haven’t been out there recently it’s a great time to check it out – and don’t forget to pack the binos or camera…
Hopefully everyone picked up some additional knowledge about woodland birds across the weekend. And certainly those of us at the workshop learned new skills and an appreciation for what’s required to make a pro-level bird image – in short… as big a lens as possible, a strong back to carry it, solid birding skills, and a whole load of patience and creativity!
Thanks again to Dean for making the trip over from Melbourne, and to Bob Green (BirdLife SE SA), Cassie Hlava (NRSE) and Bryan Haywood (NGT) for helping to organise the weekend.