That was 2017, part 1

Way back at the beginning of January 2017 I was planning to be diligent about posting on my blog this year, envisioning at least one post a month. That idea fell by the wayside rather quickly. In my defence, we have had a bit of a crazy year, what with selling our house, moving, travelling and so on. I did manage to squeeze in a fair amount of photography along the way so have decided to share some highlights of 2017.

In January I spent a lovely morning watching the Fairy Tern colony at Rous Head, where these endangered birds raise their chicks on a small patch of fenced off land in the middle of Fremantle’s busy port (see here for more information).

We spent many weekends during 2017 in Bridgetown, working on our new house,  particularly the landscaping. In February I practised some macro photography on subjects found while gardening and moving soil. March was not a great month for photography as we decided to sell our Perth house and I spent most of my time painting, cleaning and de-cluttering. One thing I did manage was experimenting with taking bird’s-eye-view images of leaves and insects floating on the surface of the pool (probably when I was supposed to be keeping it clean). I was very happy with how an image of bleached bougainvillea flowers turned out (called “Floating Trio”). It has done well in a couple of competitions, netting a Silver Award with a score of 87 in the Revealing Nature category of the 2017 Better Photography competition.

Our Perth house sold in April, which was a great relief. I was lucky to get a week off from the chaos, visiting Far North Queensland with my daughter. We hired a campervan and explored the area near Cairns, managing to make it to the Daintree, one of my bucket list destinations. Although it wasn’t the ideal time of year for birding we saw heaps of interesting things, including a couple of very special birds on an amazing boat cruise with Ian “Sauce” Worcester on the Daintree River.

May was a mad rush of packing and moving, with some stuff going to Bridgetown and some to a rental in Perth. We did get a bit of time to enjoy autumn down south.

Once the moving was all done, we set off in our camper trailer for a long-awaited month of long-service leave, travelling north from Perth all the way to Broome and back (about 2400 km each way). We saw some amazing landscapes, met interesting people and saw lots of birds and other animals.

Highlights included some amazing station stays at Wooleen Station, in the Gascoyne, Hamelin Bay Station near Shark Bay, Quobba Station north of Carnarvon, Bullara Station on the way to Exmouth and Pardoo Station on the northern coast. In Broome we stayed at the awesome Broome Bird Observatory and on our way back south we detoured to Millstream-Chichester National Park in the Pilbara.





Birding in Montagu

Nana's cheeky robin-chat waiting for his snack.
Nana’s cheeky robin-chat waiting for his snack.

Firstly some apologies for my absence – we’ve been travelling for a few weeks. My original plan was to prepare some posts to publish on the go but things got away from me and it never happened. Maybe next time! And so back to July last year for a look at my favourite birding images from my stay in Montagu. The Cape robin-chat above is very tame and has my parents well trained to produce snacks of cheese on demand. If they are a bit tardy, he wanders into the house to hurry them up!

Birding in my parents’ garden is always rewarding, especially as they have a good supply of bird feeders. Another awesome spot in Montagu is the lei-water dam, used as a roost by egrets, herons and cormorants. It is right in town and has a great hide/platform which gives good access for photography. I could probably spend a whole day there — no-one else in the family can quite see the attraction as it is a bit smelly. My favourite image is the male Cape weaver in breeding plumage hanging from the bottom of his nest, which is built on the end of a thorny branch and suspended over water. Hope the lady weaver approves! We also found more industrious weavers in the nature garden on the other side of town – this time, a Southern masked weaver was busy with the beginnings of his nest. It was fascinating to watch him weave the grass strands in and out.

Early morning on Rottnest

Herschel Lake at sunrise
Herschel Lake at sunrise

The first time I stayed over at Rottnest I was there to help with a bird banding project – banding almost always involves early starts. The first morning I rode past the beautiful scenery and shorebirds, wishing I had time to stop with my camera. The second morning I arranged a little bit of time off – I think it was worth it to get such lovely light. My plan is to find a way to spend a whole week over there just taking photos, as the birding and scenery is so wonderful.

Rock parrots on Rottnest

Rock parrot on Rottnest Island
Rock parrot on Rottnest Island

A little while ago I spent a weekend on Rottnest Island trying to get some decent images of these gorgeous little birds. There is a very small population of Rock Parrots (Neophema petrophila) left on the island, although there are more on the mainland. This first image gives a good idea of their small size, with the bird not much bigger than the tufts of grass.

So far, three of the Rottnest birds have been banded (or ringed). The plan is to monitor this group of birds and collect information to help determine the exact population size, whether they are breeding, which parts of the island they use and so on. The researchers wanted some images of banded birds to use for posters asking for sighting information from the public. We managed to find a group of four rock parrots, including the three banded birds, each of which has a metal band on its right leg and a coloured plastic band on the left leg. They were moderately cooperative, allowing me to get some images of them and their bands. They didn’t go so far as to fly into the nets that had been set up in the hope of catching the unbanded bird!

Anyone who visits Rottnest and is lucky enough to spot a banded Rock Parrot, please report date, time, location, number of birds and band colour to For more information see

Birding in Denmark, Western Australia

The south-west corner of Western Australia is very beautiful, but even so, the small town of Denmark stands out as a wonderful place to visit. During a short stay in January, I was very torn between birding and photographing landscapes. Here are some of my favourite  bird images from the week.

Little black cormorant drying out, Wilson Inlet.
Little black cormorant drying out, Wilson Inlet.

The Wilson Inlet is a large body of water nearly 50 square km in size, close to Denmark and home to a huge array of water birds. I wish I was brave enough to take my camera on a kayak, as that would be the ultimate way to explore.

Crested tern hovering - Wilson Inlet, Denmark, Western Australia
Crested tern hovering – Wilson Inlet, Denmark, Western Australia

William Bay National Park is a short drive east of Denmark – more gorgeous scenery and more birds! I was pleased to capture some of the fairy wrens that are prolific in the area.

© Jennie Stock – Nature in Focus, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any images or other material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.