Photo of the Day

Posts filed under Photo of the Day

RTHK’s new resident

Filed in Digital Hunter, Hong Kong Wildlife, Photo of the DayTags: , ,

Sometimes you get lucky…

After the interview at RTHK yesterday, I walked through the RTHK car park back to my car and was attracted by a dragonfly. I'm currently trying, although not overly conscientiously, to photograph one of these in flight. It's not easy but it is possible. It's a matter of watching their flight pattern and hoping that they pause near you long enough to direct the camera, focus, position the subject and shoot.

While trying (unsuccessfully) to photograph the dragonfly, and getting curious looks from other radio visitors and employees, I suddenly became aware of bird sounds that I hadn't heard before. I do a lot of digital hunting by ear now and I needed to see what kinds of birds were making these sounds. I walked on over to where the sounds were coming from.

Instead of a new variety of bird, I found a couple of very feisty magpie robins. They were making quite a ruckus and they usually only do this when there are young around. So I carefully peered around the trees and suddenly saw her; a baby magpie robin. The new sound I had heard was in fact the baby, calling her parents for food, quite loudly too. The parents were making a lot of noise because the baby was in a tree near the entrance to the car park where a crowd of ten or so people were standing, hoping to see a glimpse of a pop singer currently being interviewed in the station. Bird parents really get nervous when people get too close to their young.

Fortunately, I had my 350D ;-) with my new 70-300 DO IS lense. At least one of the photos was quite acceptable. I hope you enjoy it. My wife has already asked for a desktop version.

Baby Magpie Robin

I was lucky. She was perched nearby at eye level. It's very rare that you get to photograph a bird at eye level. You're usually photographing upward at them high up in the trees and the results are more often than not non-ideal.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

Mummy Magpie Robin

Daddy was in the same tree, well camouflaged by the branches. Mummy, seen here, was having a breakdown with all the people nearby. I was making it worse for her so I took my photos and left her alone.

By the looks of her, she's not young. She looks ragged and thin. Age… it gets to all of us eventually.

小白 Siu Bak

Filed in Dogs of our Lives, Photo of the Day

I like this photo so much that I had to share it with everyone. This is 小白 ('little white'), our second dog.

Siu Bak

Her expression is so human, it's amazing.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

Nature’s Darf Vader

Filed in Music, Photo of the DayTags:
Hong Kong's black and yellow cicada

Exceptionally attractive, our local cicada looks a little like Darf Vader from Star Wars.

For a closer 340x510 version, click here.

Two days ago, I turned 41. I'm now officially what I consider to be over the half-way mark. It's not a bad thing and it's not a good thing. On average, I may still have forty years left with which to accomplish more goals, learn more languages and learn to enjoy my life and my family more.

Growing up in the countryside of Gympie Australia, I was always aware of the cicadas clicking away in the trees, leaving shells behind clinging to the trees when they morph, but I never actually saw a live cicada. A few weeks ago when the cicadas in our neighbourhood became active, buzzing all day long, I decided to see if I could actually find one. Finally, after being on this earth for 41 years, I saw my first live cicada. Once I knew what they looked like, I was then able to quite easily see them in the trees within a few minutes of hearing their buzz.

I've now taken many photographs of the local cicadas (there are more than 2000 species worldwide and they have an interesting life cycle) but up until yesterday, the photos were less than great. Yesterday, I joyfully managed to get a couple of really nice photos. This is one of them. I hope you like it.

(By the way, all of my nature photographs are shot using manual focus. It's the only way to get total control of what's in and out of focus.)

You can read more about cicadas here.

Piggy-backing neighbours

Filed in Hong Kong, Photo of the Day

This time last year, there was a spider population explosion. Hong Kong is host to a rather large black spider with a golden back. During this period known as 回南 'return of the southerly winds' last year, these black spiders could be seen everywhere.

This year, things are different. It might be that the weather hasn't been as wet for as long as it was last year. I remember last year and hope that we don't experience anything like it for a few years to come. It stayed wet here for almost two and a half months straight. Sunshine was rare. Water was plentiful, usually coming out of the tile floors and walls all around us. The dust mites had a great time which was unfortunate for my wife it turns out that she's quite allergic to them. She had hives for more than a month and they almost killed her; itchy red blotches all over her body and keeping her up at nights with the need to scratch.

Instead of spiders, this year we apparently have frogs. I've been hearing the ratchety sounds for a couple of weeks now but it was not until a few nights ago that I realised that the sounds belonged to frogs. We don't see many frogs here; Toads seem to be far more common; so it was surprising to realise that there were so many frogs around croaking away to each other throughout the night.

Last night, I walked out to the back garden area of our home to check on our rabbit Rose and suddenly saw one of those frogs. Actually, there were more than one frog. I couldn't resist the urge and immediately ran into the house to get my new high-powered torch (purchased in Australia) and my camera.

Here's what I saw ;-)

piggy-backing

One frog on top of the other. I remember my father telling me a few weeks ago while I was back in Australia that the female frogs are much larger than the male frogs so I suspect these frogs are mating, the male being the one on top.

For a 750x500 version, click here.

For the city dwellers, these are frogs, not toads. You can tell by looking at the feet which have suction cups on the end of the toes allowing them to climb surfaces like walls. My parents love frogs as do I.

The Chinese love to eat toad-legs, i.e., 田雞飯. I hope they know the difference between frogs and toads! If people who fancy 田雞飯 want to go hunting, I'd suggest they visit Australia. Some time ago, people introduced toads to Australia and without natural predators, their population exploded, so much so that many Australians now hate toads with a vengence. Some people even enjoy practising golf using toads instead of golf balls; not something that I personally would do.

Squat and active

Filed in Hong Kong Wildlife, Photo of the DayTags: ,

(Bird photographs, 20060125, 4 of 4. "Previous Photograph")

One bird in particular didn't seem to be so shy. He flew around, sometimes very close to me, going about his business, pecking on the tree trunks, pecking through the scrub and generally being a happy bird. I've also seen him or one of his kindred near our home.

His motions are very quick. He almost never stays anywhere for more than a second. He's a rather squat little bird and his beak is remarkably straight.

What kind of bird is he?

squat and active

Common Tailorbird 長尾縫葉鶯

(Orthotomus sutorius)

Date: 25 January 2006, Location: Clear Water Bay

For a closer look at the bird, click here.

Now that I have "The Photographic Guide to the Birds of Hong Kong", it is no longer necessary for readers to help me name the birds I show. However, thank you to everyone who helped me with the names of the birds prior to my book purchase. I truly appreciate the effort.

Hunting together

Filed in Hong Kong Wildlife, Photo of the DayTags: , ,

(Bird photographs, 20060125, 3 of 4. "Previous Photograph")

While sitting up on that tree trunk twelve feet up in the air, there was one pair of birds that I saw more often than any other. They were mates and they were hunting together. They were later on joined by another pair of the same variety.

Forty years old and I've only now realised how marvelous it is to watch birds hunt. They sit on the branches looking in every direction, and when they see a flying insect, they flutter up, catch the insect and flutter back. The action is very quick and very absorbing; and extremely hard to photograph. Tracking them with your camera, keeping everything in focus and pressing the shutter button at the right time is almost impossible to do but I'll hopefully get there one day with more training and practice. In the meantime, you'll have to be content with my non-flying photographs.

What are they? Does anyone know?

Mates

Chinese Bulbul 白頭鵯

(Pycnonotus sinensis)

Date: 25 January 2006, Location: Clear Water Bay

What are you looking at? Can't you see we're busy?

Two birds, probably mates, hunting together. I believe you'll find that the females have a different flatter head crest than the males. In this picture, the female is probably the one on the left with the male on the right.

For a blow-up of the female, click here.

For a blow-up of the male, click here.

More photos of the male (my guess from the head crest and the colour).

crested

For a closer look at the bird, click here.

crested2

For a closer look at the bird, click here.

Now that I have "The Photographic Guide to the Birds of Hong Kong", it is no longer necessary for readers to help me name the birds I show. However, thank you to everyone who helped me with the names of the birds prior to my book purchase. I truly appreciate the effort.

Red and green!

Filed in Hong Kong Wildlife, Photo of the DayTags: , ,

喺上海開工。啱啱食咗生煎包。非常好食,又平。4隻只要¥8

Instagram image

Red and green!

Filed in Hong Kong Wildlife, Photo of the DayTags: , ,

(Bird photographs, 20060125, 2 of 4. "Previous Photograph")

Another one of the birds I photographed on January 25, this bird was only there for a few seconds. One second he was there. The next, he was gone. I've seen him before though so I'll probably see him again. Hopefully, there will be opportunities to get better pictures of him.

Does anybody know his name?

red and green

Fork-tailed Sunbird 叉尾太陽鳥

(Aethopyga christinae)

Date: 25 January 2006, Location: Clear Water Bay

For a closer version, click here.

Now that I have "The Photographic Guide to the Birds of Hong Kong", it is no longer necessary for readers to help me name the birds I show. However, thank you to everyone who helped me with the names of the birds prior to my book purchase. I truly appreciate the effort.