Saturday, 17 May 2014

Point Nepean National Park

As I was going to have time before the last ferry on my way home from the Birdlife Melbourne Photography Group day out on Mornington Peninsula, I decide to do a quick reconnaisance into Point Nepean National Park to check it out as a location for a future birding trip. This National Park encompasses the old quarantine station and military fortifications on Point Nepean (see National Park website) as well as some great remnant coastal scrub and relatively unspoiled beaches.

I drove through to Gunnery Cottage (as far as you can drive your own car--any further is on foot, bike or pay for the shuttle bus)--and took the 400m Walter Pisterman Walk to Observatory Point, on the way spotting a flock of Brown Thornbills doing their last minute feeding. Again, low light made photography difficult but I managed to get one shot with flash that captured most of a bird.

Brown Thornbill,
Walter Wisterman Walk, Point Nepean National Park

I arrived at Observatory Point in time to catch the last rays of sunshine peaking through the clouds over Port Phillip Heads.

Sunset over Port Phillip Heads
Observatory Point, Point Nepean National Park

Observatory Point is the location of the ruined Cattle Jetty.

Observatory Point, Point Nepean National Park

I spotted three Pacific Gulls circling around a spot a few hundred metres offshore. On closer inspection, they were harassing a fur seal that had captured (what I subsequently--see below--found out to be) a squid.

Pacific Gull and Australian Fur Seal
from Observatory Point, Point Nepean National Park

One of the birds managed to get hold of the remnants of the seal's meal and bring it to shore.

Pacific Gull (immature)
Observatory Point, Point Nepean National Park

After several unsuccessful attempts to swallow the morsel whole and an equally unsuccessful attempt to tear it apart, the bird abandoned it and flew away to land on the other side of me giving some interesting silhouette shots as the sunset in the background. (In the meantime, I managed to check out the abandoned meal and it was what was left of a squid)

Pacific Gull (immature)
Observatory Point, Point Nepean National Park

The gull eventually took off and circled around overhead for a few minutes giving me time to change the camera settings to try for a proper silhouette (helped a little by Photoshop later)

Pacific Gull
Observatory Point, Point Nepean National Park
and to top off the birds in flight, an Australasian Gannet and squadron of Australian Pelicans did a last minute fly-by/over.

Australasian Gannet
Observatory Point, Point Nepean National Park
Australian Pelican
Observatory Point, Point Nepean National Park

By the time I reached the ferry terminal in Sorrento, the sun was well and truly set but I couldn't resist trying to get these two Silver Gulls standing on the pier railing.

Silver Gull (adult on left, immature or right), Sorrento Pier

and one more with flash, just to see if I could get anything useful...I'm not sure, I'll leave it to the readers to judge...

Silver Gull (adult on left, immature or right), Sorrento Pier

2 comments:

  1. Hi Ian- love your shots especially of the gannet and pacific gull-just wondering what lens you use -must have been fast shutter speed to get the gannet that sharp.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Matt,
      Thanks for the comment and sorry I've been so long replying - I've been away for most of the last 6 weeks. I was using a Sigma 300mm f/2.8 lens with 2x adapter, the Gannet was shot at f/5.6, 1/500 with ISO at 1600 to get the shutter speed up.
      Cheers, Ian

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