Things we like to point our cameras at.

Latest from the Blog

Most Ingenious ParraDucks.

The word on the street was there were 13 newly-hatched ducklings on the Parramatta River in the area around Buttons Bridge. This we had to check out. After spotting them on the western bank the day before, we returned the next day with […]

Lutino Rainbow.

Walking the backstreets of Pearl Beach, Central Coast NSW, we happened to spot a yellow flash land in a yellow banksia. We thought that maybe the sun had just caught a Rainbow Lorikeet at a strange angle, but as we came nearer, we […]

Live to Play: An Otter Day.

The Small-clawed Asian Otters at Sydney Zoo love nothing more than lying on their backs, juggling smooth, slippery, wet pebbles from hand to hand via their mouth and chest. Researchers seem to agree that Otters perform these rock and pebble juggles more when […]

Significant Otter.

At Sydney Zoo, Bramanda hung around the Otter enclosure for hours! As Ferret lovers, we have an abiding soft spot for the entire Mustelidae family (ferrets, weasels, stoats, martens, minks, badgers, otters, wolverines etc). It’s interesting and entertaining to see the behaviours we […]

Sydney Zoo.

Sydney Zoo was opened in 2015 in western Sydney. Bramanda visited and spent far too much time watching the Otters. But here are some of the other wonderful animals we saw. Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) The beautiful African Painted Dog (Lycaon pictus): Spotted […]

Back in Blax.

On a visit to Amanda’s parents in Blaxland, we spotted a lovely Grey Shrike-Thrush (Colluricincla harmonica) in their backyard, before we headed out on a walk. A Crimson Rosella: An Eastern Spinebill: There were many Eastern Yellow Robins around, but they were so […]

Short Stint at Long Reef.

On a day when we visited North Curl Curl Beach and Long Reef Headland, we saw a lot of birds, including three species we’d never snapped before.At North Curl Curl, a Little Black Cormorant was being photogenic in the distance: Willie Wagtails like […]

Some Birds of Bowen Mountain.

After a boozy lunch at Karu Distillery with a good friend (where I focused so much on the award-winning chipotle vodka that I couldn’t focus on the birds), Bramanda visited our friend’s beautiful Bowen Mountain hideaway, where some lovely birds graced us with […]

Olive Branch.

While at Lime Kiln Bay Wetlands, we spotted an Olive-backed Oriole in heavy shadow. We’ve read that the Olive-backed Oriole’s call of “Orree, Orree, Oriole” is almost always heard before he is spotted, but we did not hear a call at all from […]

Here Be Dragons.

On a hot day at Lime Kiln Bay in Sydney’s south there was no shortage of Eastern Water Dragons (Intellagama lesueurii). At nearby H.V.Evatt Park (Lugarno), a Water Dragon was harassed, and seen off, by some Sacred Ibises.

Hairy Lizard?

Lizards are not known for hairiness. But when the resident Blue-tongued Skink (Tiliqua scincoides) raided the catfood bowls, he got himself covered in cat-hair… It did not put him off his lunch though, which he attacked with his distinctive blue tongue: And all the […]

Hello Yellow.

We journeyed to Dangar Island, a small (31 hectare) forested island in the Hawkesbury River in Sydney’s north, to try to find the rare Yellow-morph of the Australian King Parrot. After a lovely breakfast at the island’s only cafe, we took a circuit […]

Cook’s Tour.

The Cook’s River Cycleway is one of those underrated Sydney classics: a 30km mostly off-road cycle path (give or take, and depending on where you consider the start and the end), that wends its way between many different landscapes – from industrial wastelands […]

Honey Dippers.

The Lewin’s Honeyeater (Meliphaga lewinii) is usually quite a dapper looking bird. But when this pair took it in turns to bathe, they got themselves looking uncharacteristically bedraggled. I guess nobody looks their best straight out of the bath! The Lewin’s Honeyeater will […]

Miner Fall.

Walking to Yagoona Railway Station through O’Neill Park, I happened upon this tiny fellow. He had obviously fallen from the nest. I doubt that his parents had been trying to move him to a fledging branch – he looked too young, and could […]

Li’l Lapwings.

One dark night, after a few days of continual rain, I arrived home and could make out a Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) standing in the middle of the street. As I moved closer I saw there were two, surrounded by dark, rapidly moving… things. […]

Tiny Tawny Timeline.

From eggs to nearly full-grown in three months, these Tawny Frogmouth chicks grew up so fast! We visited on six or seven occasions. 5 Sep:While walking in Glades Bay Park Gladesville, we spotted a Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides) sitting on the nest. The […]

Got Milk?

The Eastern Blue-tongue Skink (Tiliqua scincoides), that lives under the house decided the cat bowls made for a quick and convenient lunch. I wonder if these are the first ever photos of a Blue-tongue with a milk moustache? The Blue-tongue is the largest of […]


A Working From Home White-Faced Heron! From my home office on the back deck I was treated to a visit by this slender Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae). He also was brave enough to pose for close-ups…

Expression Session.

Taking many hundreds of photos per week like we do, we always end up with pics that, because of the subject matter, don’t find a home in a relevant blog post, but which we like enough that we can’t bring ourselves to delete.We […]

From Mac’s Front Porch.

Just a fortnight before my Mum passed away, we sat together on the front porch of the house that she lived in for 66 years, and watched the handsome Australian Ravens and Currawongs, that she fed daily, visit her front garden. The last […]

Warriewood Wetlands Walk.

On another visit to Warriewood Wetlands and the adjacent Irrawong Falls we spotted a number of species. The Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos): The Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera): The White-cheeked Honeyeater (Phylidonyris niger): The Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus): Dusky Moorhen chicks (Gallinula tenebrosa): […]

The Kooka, the Butcher, the Miner.

A Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) spent some time scoping out food in the backyard: He hopped to the ground to retrieve a slice of meat dropped by the cats. . After a while, a Grey Butcher-bird (Cracticus torquatus) decided the Kooka had out-stayed […]

The Peewee Three.

We’d spotted Magpie-larks ( Grallina cyanoleuca – aka Peewees) nesting and breeding in the small pocket of mangroves under the south pylon of Meadowbank rail bridge last summer. But on that occasion, there was just a single chick. Returning to check on a […]

Eastern Block.

The Eastern Rosella (Platycercus eximius) is a quiet, wary, mid-sized parrot common in eastern Australia from south-east Queensland to eastern South Australia (with sub-species extending south into Tasmania, and further north to north Queensland). They inhabit lightly-treed forests, forest edges, open parks and […]

Power Walk.

On a recent walk along Terry’s Creek, Epping, we were fortunate enough to have a family of Powerful Owls (Ninox strenua) pointed out to us, and we’ve been back a few times since to check on them – our first encounters with Australia’s […]

Lockdown Lunchtimes.

With the imminent lifting of the Sydney COVID Lockdown, we take a look back at some visitors to the backyard over the last few months. I would set up my home office each day on the back deck, and around the middle of […]

Fit For a King.

Only about 4.5% of Sydney’s once-extensive Blue Gum High Forest still remains – some estimates say that’s only about 200 hectares. Of the scattered remnants (the largest is only about 20 hectares), our local patch at Darvall Park, Denistone is a vital environment […]

Tarban Footprints.

It was not just Red-browed Finches we saw on our short walk in Riverglade Reserve, Tarban Creek. A White-browed Scrub Wren (Sericornis frontalis): Chestnut Teals (Anas castanea) – the female and the male: The Eastern Long-necked Turtle (Chelodina longicollis) An Eastern Water Skink… […]

Red-Browed Bathtime.

In Riverglade Reserve, Tarban Creek, a large flock of tiny Red-browed Finches (Neochmia temporalis) were feeding on grass seed – and took time out to bathe! Red-browed Finches are highly sociable, forming flocks of 20 to 30 birds. Feeding flocks will often merge […]

Darter Retrieval.

The Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) is sometimes mistaken for a type of cormorant. The two species are often found together as they share the same criteria for their fishing spots – smooth, open waters, with plenty of overhanging branches, rocks or posts on […]

View From A Bridge.

On one of our regular Lockdown Constitutionals, we sat on a shady bench a little downstream from Ryde Bridge. Amanda noticed that in the distance, a Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) was making regular trips back and forth between the northern river bank and […]

Close to Home 2.

More random birds and animals we’ve seen on our regular COVID Lockdown constitutionals. An Australian Wood Duck on the canal wall: A male King Parrot: A Rainbow Lorikeet feeding near a busy roundabout: A Little Pied Cormorant: A Butcherbird: A pair of Skinks […]

Sweet Pretty Creature.

When birders attempt to render bird calls into English to make them easier to recall, sometimes the results can be somewhat surreal. It’s been said that the Catbird’s call is “Heeeere I aaaaare!”. The call of the Little Wattlebird has been given as […]

Heat and Dust.

When we first saw these local Noisy Miners lying prostrate on the ground we thought they were injured. But it soon became apparent they were sunning. Noisy Miners are among the cleanliest of birds. Few species enjoy bathing as regularly as Noisies, and […]

Laughing Lovers.

According to much of the data that we read, the Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) will nest in any hollow that is big enough to fit an adult. Around our way, we only ever see them nesting in arboreal termite mounds (“termitaria” as the […]

Close to Home 1.

With gyms closed and outdoor exercise limited to our Local Government Area or a 5km radius from home, we took to routinely walking around nearby parks, ovals and the riverbank , for exercise and sanity.Here’s just a few birds that we’ve seen on […]

Minor Miners.

Noisy, territorial, aggressive, and a little too successful, the Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala) is not one of Australia’s favourite natives. Part of their success is their prolific breeding, which can take place at any time of the year, when conditions are most favourable. […]


Now that the Lockdown weather has started to warm a little, Brad sets up his work-from-home office on the back deck, with a camera always nearby. Looking out over one’s backyard for eight or nine hours a day is a good way to […]

Backyard Butchers.

A pair of Grey Butcherbirds (Cracticus torquatus) have been frequent lockdown visitors to the backyard. We think their dapper plumage is chic and elegantly understated, and their sharp, intelligent eyes make them very photogenic. Whilst we see a pair, we’ve never seen them […]

Hollow Promise.

Bramanda are fortunate enough to live quite close to a park that has an appreciable number of tall, old trees. And for a park of its size, it has a surprising number of hollows in those trees, making it a very important local […]

The Red-Rumped Parrot.

In our local park there is a semi-regular, itinerant population of Red-rumped Parrots (Psephotus haematonotus). The Red-rumped is a slender, medium-sized Parrot. The male is colourful and highly distinctive: his blue-green or turquoise head is iridescent, he has dusky blue-green mantle and back, […]

Megalong Meander.

While on our mini-break in the Mountains, we took a drive down into Megalong Valley. We stopped at Coachwood Glen to stretch our legs on the short loop-walk through a patch of rainforest. In the dense tree ferns near the end of the […]

Meet the Gang.

On the shortest day of the year, we finally encountered our longest longed-for bird: the beautiful, shy, elusive Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum). They were as enchanting and charming as we have always heard they would be! No apologies for the number of photos… […]

Housing Squeeze.

In Glenbrook, these two young first-hollow-buyers, Rhaine and Beau, had a disappointing day inspecting the pokey little residences on the market. The first hollow they looked into was a definite “fixer-upper” – it would take a considerable amount of digging to enlarge it […]

Medlow Reds.

Having a long weekend stay in the old Gatehouse at Medlow Bath (1867), our most conspicuous visitors were the Red Wattlebirds (Anthocaera carunculata). The Red Wattlebird is not red: is named for its red wattle, the fleshy lobe that hangs from each side […]

Cockatoo Gulls.

Not a weird Cacatuidae-Laridae hybrid, rather the predominant birds on Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour. Cockatoo Island is a sacred site for the women of the Dharug Nation, but under European rule has been a Penal Settlement and a Naval Shipyard. Nowadays it is […]

Manly to Spit Bridge.

In Part Two of our backwards Bondi to Manly Walk, we did the 10 kilometre section from Manly Wharf to the Spit (though we made it a 12.2 kilometre walk with a side trip). Amanda drove us to the north side of the […]

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Inter-species altercations at the local park. These Galahs were quietly grazing., under the watchful gaze of their alpha-male: A youthful Magpie wanted to search for food in the same patch: Tensions escalated: The face-off got serious as the combatants rounded on each other, […]

Manly and North Head.

The first in a (hopefully regular) series, where we walk the epic 80 kilometre Bondi to Manly Walk – backwards.(Manly to Bondi, that is… not physically walking backwards!). We started on the last leg of the officially suggested 7-day itinerary: Manly Wharf, to […]

The Buff-Banded Rail.

Secretive, though not easily spooked, the Buff-Banded Rail is medium-sized bird relatively common on East Coast Australia, as well as Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. We spotted this one in dense reeds on the bank of Parramatta River at Sydney Olympic Park. When […]

The Spangled Drongo.

This slightly out-of-focus guy flying right down the barrel of the camera is the Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus). There are 29 species of Drongo (Dicruridae) worldwide, but the Spangled Drongo is the only one found in Australia. We encountered this guy in George […]

Show Stealers.

For Parrot-lovers like us, the most heartwarming birds in Taronga’s Free-flight Bird Show were the Red-Tailed Black-Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus banksii). The attractive yellow spotting on the females, their irregularly barred red / orange / yellow tail panels, and their (easier to photograph!) slow loping […]

Show Time.

Taronga’s Free-flight Bird Show is justly famous. For more than 20 years it has been delighting crowds and demonstrating bird behaviours against the stunning backdrop of Sydney Harbour. The Black-breasted Buzzard (Hamirostra melanosternon): The Black-breasted Buzzard’s party-trick is using a rock to crack […]

Gorilla gorilla gorilla.

[Brad]: my ambivalence towards zoos always reaches its peak around the Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla).Yes, I know they are critically endangered in the wild. I know they are subject to illegal hunting and that their habitat is being diminished at a […]

Birds of Taronga 2.

Album Two of just some of the birds we saw in the aviaries of Taronga Zoo. After a year or more of taking wild bird photos, it was a strange feeling to be editing photos of birds in captivity. Whilst all zoos – […]

Birds of Taronga 1.

When it comes to bird photography, a visit to Taronga Zoo feels very much like cheating. On a stroll through any of their aviaries, so many birds are so close and so conspicuous that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. That said, […]

Courting Corellas.

Still at Lake Gillawarna, Georges Hall, and still speculating on love-affairs amongst the birdlife. There are so many references on the interweb to Corellas sliding down slippery tin pitched roofs to fly back to the top and do it again, or else cling […]

The Lovin’ Spoonbills.

At Lake Gillawarna, Georges Hall, these two Royal Spoonbills (Platalea regia) were sharing a tender moment. While neither were in their spectacular breeding plumage – both sexes grow an elegant 15-20 cm crest, their chest feathers become flushed with a soft yellow wash, […]

The Rufous Fantail.

In a small remnant of shady woodland in Brad’s teenage stomping ground of Georges Hall, we saw and photographed our first ever Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) – pretty, dainty, and hyperactive. The males and females are identical, though the females tend to be […]

Pond Life.

On our perfect Autumn day at Memorial Park Blackheath, we lunched near the Duckpond, and we were visited by more than just the parrots. Predictably, some ducks: Australian Native Wood Ducks (Chenonetta jubata). Some female Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) seemed braver than usual, […]

King / Crimson 2.

Part Two of our big day of King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas at Blackheath Memorial Park. This time it’s the Crimson Rosellas’ (Platycercus elegans) turn in the autumn light. Much like the King Parrots, the adults preferred to hang around in the more […]

King / Crimson 1.

Nothing to do with the old British Prog-Rock band… rather a glorious, crisp, cold autumn day in Blackheath Memorial Park, where a gratifying abundance of both King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas were obligingly allowing themselves to be photographed. We have never seen so […]

Luncheoning Lakeside.

Bramanda is fortunate enough to work about 1.5km apart at North Parramatta. When we can coincide lunchtimes, we will occasionally nip over to Lake Parramatta. Here are some things we saw last visit – all without even getting up from the rock we […]

Corella Capers.

Riding the Parramatta Valley Cycleway (the new Escarpment Boardwalk section had just been opened) we came upon this scene of devastation just past Lennox Bridge. A tree (Camphor Laurel we think) had been decimated, almost as though there had been a localised hailstorm: […]

Amateur Hour.

After finally finding some Scaly-breasted Lorikeets to photograph, Brad took hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of shots, including some good solid close-ups in interesting poses. Even the light was just right.Then as the light began to fade, and he reviewed the shots, Brad […]

Scaly-breasted Lorikeets.

When we first moved to the Ryde area a dozen or so years ago, Rainbow Lorikeets and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets regularly visited the backyard in roughly equal numbers.But for the last 9 or 10 years, the Scaly-breasteds have been totally absent. Brad was beginning […]

Rainbow Connection.

In the backyard, this fledgling Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) was being instructed by his parents in the fine art of hassling humans for food – including landing on their arms and head. It was all I could do to stop him drinking my […]

Blaxland Backyard Birdbath Bowerbird Bathing Beauty.

When we visit Amanda’s parents, we always keep an eye out for the Satin Bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus). A male has a long-standing bower built in their backyard, bedecked with blue clothes pegs and bottle caps. On this occasion, one of his beautiful ladies […]

Ikara Head Track.

Even though the rare mass flowering of the Pink Flannel Flowers was what brought us to the Ikara Head Track, the 7.2 kilometre out-and-back walk near Mt Victoria in the Blue Mountains is picturesque enough to be well worth your while, Pink Flannel […]

Pff! (Pink Flannel Flowers).

Bored with the Pink Flannel Flowers yet? Even though we got our Pink Flannel Flower experience in late January, we had to follow the scuttlebutt and head out to Ikara Head (along with half of the rest of Sydney, it seemed) to check […]

Property Dispute.

At Balaka Falls, Hunts Creek Reserve Carlingford, a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita) were taking rather too much interest in a hollow that a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus) clearly thought of as their own. Noise ensued.

2020 Hindsight.

A look back at our top 20 “bird moments” of 2020. Not necessarily our best photos, or the rarest birds – just 20 moments that we found unexpectedly surprising or rewarding, or where the Bird Luck was unaccountably with us, and un-looked for birds […]

All Over the SOP.

On a solo cycle through Sydney Olympic Park and on to Meadowbank Wharf, Brad – predictably – found some birds. Around the southern end of Haslam’s Creek, a few families of Purple Swamphens (Porphyria porphyria) were showing their chicks the ropes. The chicks […]

At a Loss for Birds.

Even when we can’t find birds to photograph, we can find birds to photograph…

Pink Flannel Flowers.

On a day of misty rain and mountain fog, we braved Narrowneck in search of the almost mythical Pink Flannel Flower (Actinotus forsythii). This wildflower requires a pretty specific set of conditions to make an appearance. Its seeds can lie dormant for decades […]

Thirsty Bees.

On a warm day, these workers came together to wet their whistles.

The Channel-billed Cuckoo.

In our local park, we spotted Australia’s largest cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae). Like other forms of cuckoo, eggs are laid in the nests of other species. The Channel-billed’s size means that is usually a Magpie or Currawong nest. It’s not uncommon for two eggs […]


Weeks after we noticed this male Magpie-lark (Peewee) with his foot tangled in fishing-line, it was still there and obviously causing him pain. Just a friendly reminder to any anglers – please do your utmost to ensure that discarded line is not left […]

Seafood Brunch.

One late morning at Cabarita, this Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) brought his massive catch in to the beach right where we were brunching ourselves. Presumably swallowing something three times the size of one’s head requires a stable base – but it was hard […]

Tern It Up.

At North Curl Curl Beach we watched as juvenile Terns practised fishing. We have to admit that we’re not 100% certain of identification here. We’re fairly sure that these are Fairy Terns (Sternula nereis), but they could be Little Terns (Sternula albifrons). Adult Little […]

Nth Curl Curl / Long Reef.

Though we watched the Fairy Terns for quite a while, we saw a lot more of interest on our trip to the beach. A pair of Silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis). A Fairy Tern A beautifully painted – and timely – warning on the clifftop […]

Lazy Local Sunday.

On a warm Sunday, we did a brief cycle circuit to Breakfast Point and back, and strolled in the local Park later that afternoon. At Breakfast Point we saw the Little Wattlebird (Anthochaera chrysoptera). From a distance, it’s easy to overlook how stunning […]

The Pacific Baza.

At Nurragingy Reserve we spotted a Pacific Baza (Aviceda subcristata) a slender, mid-sized, omnivorous hawk. It flew to a tree further off, and we saw it was a pair of Bazas: Then the original one took flight again:

SOP Brickpit.

The old quarry on the Sydney Olympic Park site acted as a brick manufacturing plant from 1910 till 1988. Today it is full of water, and home to many waterbirds (and an endangered frog). An 18 metre high circular walkway runs above it, […]

Rhodes to SOP.

After checking out the Peewee Family at Meadowbank Bridge, we rode our bicycles to Sydney Olympic Park via Rhodes. On the edge of Homebush Bay we saw an Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae). We checked out the little thicket of casuarina trees where we […]

Magpie-larks again.

Cycling to Sydney Olympic Park, we stopped by the mangroves at the south end of Meadowbank Bridge to check on the Magpie-lark (Peewee) Family. Mum was on the nest, but this time we got a better look at Baby: Mum was feeding the […]

Fig Feast.

We spotted a lone Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) having a great brunch at Huntley’s Point. This guy was keeping these fruits all to himself…

The Magpie-Lark (aka Peewee).

In a small stand of mangroves in the shadow of Meadowbank Bridge, we spotted some Australasian Figbirds (Specotheres vieilloti): The female Figbird was also there: Then we spotted a neat, mud nest on a branch hanging over the water: It wasn’t long before […]

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