blp shabash 430x45
Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

Brolga

Brolga (Image ID 46293)
Photographed byMichael Hamel-Green on Fri 26th Mar, 2021 and uploaded on Mon 17th May, 2021 .
Resolution1800x951
Viewed232
ID46293
CommentRarity is relative. Seeing a rare bird is one of the most exciting things for ardent birders. Yet I find myself getting excited enough to see a new bird in my local urban park even though it is common enough elsewhere. On my first trip back after lockdown to Australia’s unlikely birdlife Mecca, the Werribee Treatment Plant, with all its extensive wetlands and coastal shrub, I did finally have great joy and excitement in sighting what I thought was a rare species, a family of four Brolgas foraging for roots and tubers in grassland near the Western Lagoon. Only later did I discover that they are not so rare after all, just locally rare here in Southeast Australia but abundant in Northern Australia. It certainly made my birding day to have my first sighting of these legendary birds, celebrated for their elaborate dancing routines and trumpeting calls but no doubt all-too-familiar to top-end twitchers with their plethora of other less common, and no doubt spectacularly plumed, birds to observe. Unfortunately my Brolga family had decided not to pose for a formal family portrait, certainly not to the high standards expected for Birdlife galleries. Rather they were digging away in the grass in a desultory sort of way, dirt track behind them, showing no inclination for performing their cultural dance routines nor whooping it up, and a little too distant for the capabilities of my all too limited camera gear. However, a few minutes later, serendipitously enough, a pair of Brolgas came flying overhead in my direction, and I froze them in flight, eyes sparkling in the morning sun, the one in front with downturned wings, the one behind with upturned wings. The image captures the outstretched “fingers” of their wing-tips, dark primaries suggesting adult or older birds, and the smoky-grey of their body plumage. Contrasting with the greys, their red bandannas include white circular cut-outs around their ears. You might ask why Brolgas are so rare down south. According to Graham Pizzey, “Draining of swamps, other loss of habitat and illegal shooting have greatly reduced [brolgas] in SE Australia” (Pizzey, 1980). So my joy and pleasure at seeing such a locally rare bird was tempered by sadness and anger. First comes rarity, then comes extinction. First the region, then the whole country. Australia is amongst the worst in the world for extinction of wildlife as habitats are progressively shrunk, bulldozed for development, poisoned with chemicals, infested with introduced predators (especially feral cats), and burnt from bushfires linked to global warming. Seeing a rare bird facing extinction is like looking into the eyes of a loved one about to die. You know you will never see them again. “Poor fellow my country”, as the custodians of our land for over 65,000 years lament in bitter sorrow.
EquipmentNikonZ7ii Nikon 300mm f4 PF TC1.4 420mm ISO 1250 1/3200th f14
LocationWestern Treatment Plant, Werribee, Victoria
Keywordsadult
You already have an outstanding request to download this image for non-commercial purposes. You may cancel this request by clicking on the button below and waiting for confirmation that your request has been noted. When you have selected all the images that you require, go to 'My Download Requests' (under Photo Gallery) and submit your request by clicking 'Edit/Submit' and filling out the details. You will be advised of the result by email. Note that cookies MUST be enabled for this to work.
You may request download of this image for non-commercial purposes. A request that meets the usage rights of this image will be automatically approved; a request that does not meet the usage rights will be refused, but may (at the Download Manager's discretion) be referred to the photographer. The usage rights of this image are: Any non-commercial use by any requestor, including personal use. For further details of image usage rights, see here. Request the image by clicking on the button below and waiting for confirmation that your request has been noted. When you have selected all the images that you require, go to 'My Download Requests' (under Photo Gallery) and submit your request by clicking 'Edit/Submit' and filling out the details. You will be advised of the result by email. Note that cookies MUST be enabled for this to work.
Previous69/104 in Cranes, Storks, Crakes, Rails and Swamphens - Intermediate LevelNext
Previous228/273 by Michael Hamel-GreenNext
Previous96/109 of BrolgaNext
Previous111/124 of CranesNext
Previous28252/29035 OverallNext
Use the arrows at the left and Right hand side of this page to display the Next/Previous photographs in that group, or click on one of the blue links above to start a slide show in that group (group slide shows are only allowed if there are less than 1000 images in the group).

CONTACT US

The easiest way to contact us is by emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Our People page, in the About Us section, contains email links to each of the committee members.