Before I show you the Olive Backed Sunbird chicks, I want to say Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, or Happy Giftmas, or whatever. I hope everyone has had a good time this harvest end (or whatever the origins were). I had a very quiet day, which was good. I couldn’t get down to see family, and wasn’t really in the mood to go anywhere, so the dogs and I had a cruisey day at the house, tossing a stick and checking out all the stuff everyone else was doing via FB. T’was a nice day. I have a roast chook on at the moment, and I’ll do some spuds and pumpkin, and maybe some carrots as well. The usual bake/roast fare. But anyway, from one bird to another…
But first, something about the way I take photos. I *used* to have a tripod and I *used* to have a remote release. But they got lost in a car fire. Another story already told. Anyway, *all* of my images, other than the night shots (I put my camera on its back on the ground, or on a cushion) are hand held. With the images below looking inside the nest, I had to hold my Canon 1100D above my head, while balancing on a chair at the edge of the stone steps. This is why some are pretty dodgy stability and focus wise. I couldn’t use the LCD viewer because the angle of view was too sharp and the 1100Ds don’t have a tilt back. Plus, I couldn’t get high enough to lok through the viewfinder. I took a few test shots to get my angles right, then took about 15 different photos from various angles. I missed getting the pair of chicks into focus sadly. I’ll try again tomorrow morning when the light is better. So anyway, please forgive some of my oft blurred images. It’s a product of my lack of accessories at present, not to mention no real quality glass (lenses) like my Big Sister does. However, Roz’ talent isn’t due to having good equipment. The good equipment better allows us, the viewer to see what the photographer wanted to convey. My sister’s work is beautiful, emotional and artistic, and is technically superb. Good glass does not magically make a better photographer. They allow you to be more creative with light and shadow, and allow much better telephoto stability due to their much lower F stops. Combine this with an eye for a good image, and the passion to capture it, and you have an artist.
OK, so on with the Olive Backed Sunbirds.
These chicks are probably a few weeks old now. I checked the nest in December, and there were (now confirmed) Two eggs in the nest. The Mother (and at random times, the Father) has been feeding the chicks for over a week that I’ve seen, and they are much larger then the first sole chick that we had earlier in the year. We’ve been quite viligant in looking out for signs of the Brown Tree snake that sometimes visits along the rafters. Norm and I have a sneaking suspicion that the sneaky bugger took the last chick.
I’ve had a bit of a web surf to find more information about our close feathered friends, and see that Wikipedia suggests that their breeding time is May through to August. I’d suggest that is for Northern Hemisphere varieties in China and other Asian areas (I edited the Wikipedia entry…couldn’t help myself).
This PDF file from the Australian CSIRO covers a study of a number of nests near Townsville, some 500 Kilometres South of here. The birds were recorded nesting from August through until late November. I guess the weather is holding out for these two chicks.
This is the female Olive Backed Sunbird leaning in to feed the chick at the back of the nest.
…and here is the greedy one at the front
The shots below were taken while standing on a chair on the edge of the stone steps and reaching up with my camera on a sideways sort of angle to get a straight shot inside the nest.
This first one was taken to show the interior of the nest. It took about 4 shots to get this right.
The chicks were a little shy, until the flash fired, then they came up to the entrance