P1000 video: The B&B of birds

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Roof Rack Junior Member • Posts: 33
P1000 video: The B&B of birds

This post is not about accommodation and meals. My use of the two letters is for Beauty and Behaviour: in this case of birds. I have enjoyed my P1000 since the first days. Its reach has given me a new appreciation of the beauty of form and plumage of birds I have known since childhood.

Just a few days ago, I shot video as a learning experience, something I have not been interested in doing before. The results were both very surprising and exciting. The combination of reach and extended viewing showed me interesting aspects of behaviour that I had never been able to see.

The video below is one example – a White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) in breeding plumage, fishing. This is a widespread and common bird of wetland across the whole Australian continent. I have known and watched this bird wading and hunting for nearly seven decades. I’ve been aware of its ability to find its prey and focus on it as still as a statue, then grab it with a lightning fast stabbing neck movement. I’ve always assumed it found its prey passively, by chance encounter just as it became visible.

The video shows my assumption was wrong. This heron actively flushed out its prey from the muddy bottom to near the surface by energetic vibration of one leg (and toes) while balancing on the other and alternating the active foot as it smoothly moved along.

Forty six seconds of casual, experimental high-reach video and I have a revised and deeper appreciation of honed efficiency of this bird’s way of life. I also have a couple of new and intriguing behavioural questions to explore in future. Is it a learned behaviour, or is it hard-wired, instinctive? Is this behaviour universal across the entire population of White-faced Herons, or is confined to this site, a very productive tidal lagoon? I am looking forward to my next outing.

Nikon Coolpix P1000
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