March 24th, 2018

The Raven's Nest

Ravens are a bit different from crows in many ways. One key difference from my observations and other ideas supported by scientist around the world is their behaviour. In this photographic blog entry, I will be writing about my observations an photographs collected over the last month. Physically they are different, having a beard and also a larger forehead.

The first and most noticeable thing is that ravens are very hard to photograph. Even more so in flight, as they are very quick, and photographing black on bright blue is simply not an option. Whilst photographing this month, the key was in surveying areas with crows and waiting until the last 30 minutes of light to shoot with the camera on high sensitivity to capture both the satin, and gloss black variation of their feathers.

Secondly; ravens are very communal creatures and have large extended families. Seen here at the raven's nest it is very apparent. The nest was visited by a number of individuals, not just it's parents.  There was a group of more than 5 that were supporting the parents, to help raise its young. One was always on watch, and others were communicating who is to stay, and who is to go get the food. There is no doubt this strategy will help them raise their young.

The ravens communicate very effectively, and there is no doubt that they are using a language system to help communicate their needs and also more immediate problems. Originally the ravens would scowl when I approached them, this noise alerted everyone to my presence and they would flee. This noise travels well. After a month it became apparent that when I was nearby; they only made the noise that they use when they approach the nest. They were able to recognise my face, and they knew it was harmless. This ability to use languages was eventually communicated to the young, who now does not alert the parents to return to the nest. There is much more to do with the language of ravens, but we must remember that they are also corvoids, and you can teach them to talk very effectively. There is a huge capacity for them to learn, and they are very intelligent.

Over the month I have observed these birds, I can only commend such an incredible animal that can thrive in this environment. There are many more ravens than hawks, and I suspect that this has to do with the city of Alice Springs. These Ravens have learnt and passed on skills and knowledge to their young to survive in the town of Alice Springs. How to navigate the city, how to find food, and also how to live in the extended family. It is an observation that we can learn a lot from.

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Photography; Sir Terry Watts - Australian Expedition Photography

Yellow Faced Thorn-bill - Australian Wildlife

Today I was out testing some new settings on my camera when I found a new subject to photograph. The result was an unprecedented ability to photograph with a manual super telephoto lens. Giving greater depth and sharpness to the photographs taken. However, some greater skills were required to operate the equipment. The results though were phenomenal, considering that I was photographing from 60 meters away to take shots of a very shy bird. Just even spotting the birds from this distance was a challenge. But it was worth it. It shows that reading, researching, and honing skills is a lifelong attitude, and there is always progress to make.

The bird itself is a thornbill. Which was found living in between a gap in the mountain range. The river that cut the crossing; known as a gap, had a small aquifer type pool which was attracting small birds and lots of insects to keep him well fed. These birds also feed on tree lice using its small and sharply pointed bill. These small birds are also referred to as Tits; however, they are not a true tit because of a number of rules in classifying the small bird. In general; however, I think I was just really lucky in the first place to even find one to photograph. These are really small and very quick. I am happy to have tested out a new method of photography today. It will take more practice to master but it is worth it.