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Inspiring and Supporting Photographers of Australian Birds

Red-eared Firetail

Red-eared Firetail (Image ID 46512)
Photographed byJim Schultz on Sun 30th May, 2021 and uploaded on same date.
Resolution1800x1490
Viewed81
ID46512
Comment(It should be noted that the straw-in-bill is in fact at least 30% longer than shown in this capture, but I had to shorten it to enable the finch to be suitably enlarged.)
Knowing that my window of opportunity to photograph small birds feeding on the ground would be limited, as grasses quickly grow taller than finch-sized birds, again today I went looking for Elegant Parrots and Red-eared Firetails. I know that populations of these otherwise elusive birds are found at a location by the Darling Scarp in the Perth Metro Area, hardly 15 mins from my home. I found both species plus several other ones, and this time there were more Red-eared Firetails than I normally see together: A flock of five was feeding on one spot of the ground among very low herbs and grasses; the growth here was new and had only recently begun to sprout after heavy rains, and the overall colour of the ground was just beginning to turn from reddish brown to green. To my surprise a male finch flew in with a long straw prop and displayed this from a dead tree above the feeding firetails, obviously looking for a mate. I would have thought that this behaviour was too early in the season, but today I learned otherwise. None of the foraging birds took any notice of him, however, though he continued this display for at least 5 minutes, until a Willie Wagtail came and chased first him away and then the other 5 birds. They did not come back again that morning.
EquipmentNikon D850–DX Mode; GPS mounted, Nikkor AF-S 500mm f4G ED VR lens.
Technique: Camera rig support: Gitzo GT3543XLS Tripod, Dietmar Nill gimbal tripod head; standing low on sloping grounds under shrub with camera rig covered in camouflage netting
Exposure Mode: MANUAL 1/1600 sec at f7.1; ISO-320. Metering Mode: Center-Weighted; Focus Mode: AF-C & AF Area Mode: Dynamic, 9 points. VR: On
Post Processing: Nikon ViewNX-i for viewing and selecting files; Adobe Photoshop CC 2021 for resizing and cropping to 178% followed by conversion to Tif, selective sharpening and general post-processing inclusive of removal of discernable halos; Topaz Pro plug-in DeNoise was used for mild blanket sharpening and moderate noise control. ‘Australian Bird Guide 2019’ for species distribution confirmation, supplementary data and colour checks.
LocationOrange Grove, Western Australia
Keywordsmale, adult, behaviour/display
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