Thursday, 18 June 2015

NT Road Trip 2015: Part 10

Day 11 -- Old Police Station Waterhole to Longreach Waterhole, Elliott

From OPSW, we followed Binns Track out to the Stuart Highway just north of Karlu Karlu [Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve], inflated our tyres back to highway pressures and turned north, lunching with a souv in Tennant Creek before stopping for the night at Longreach Waterhole at Elliott, a further 230 km up the bitumen. A lovely, grassy campsite on the edge of the waterhole which was way bigger than Eringa or OPSW. Birds galore from when we arrived to leaving the next day.

Great Egret Ardea modesta
Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus female [short tail plumes]
Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax varius -- the black and white ones
Little Black Cormorant Phalacocorax sulcirostris
Hardhead male Aythya australis
Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia
(Thanks John for ID correction)
There is a story behind the next image, a slightly-out-of-focus image of a Black Kite Milvus migrans. One of the party had accidentally stepped on a frog, killing it. In the morning we observed the Black Kites carefully repeatedly quartering the shore of the waterhole looking for anything different from the last time they went past. So, I decided that we would use the dead frog as "bait" to entice a BK down and take some fabulous images of it whisking "breakfast" off the ground. So, I worked out where a good target area would be, placed my chair so I could wait at leisure, pre-focussed the camera so I did not have to look through the viewfinder, had the camera on motor-drive at 8 fps capturing in raw, placed the lure, sat down and within two minutes a prospective candidate came cruising past. As it swooped down, I pressed the shutter button and magnificently captured the moment for posterity.

Imagine this. The camera shutter speed was set at 1/1250 sec. The motor-drive was taking at 8 frames/second. The camera captured the Black Kite in only one, yes 1, frame and the image is blurry as the kite was moving so fast. Wow. And here it is. The frog is on the talons.

Magic. t1250 and be there!

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