Recently I’ve been busy; busy busy busy; and I’ll tell you why. But first there’s some explaining to do.
A common bird in New Zealand is the fantail. It’s smaller than a sparrow but with a tail that fans out. In some places (such as where I live) there are dozens of them. They don’t behave like most birds. They flitter-flutter around your head when going for a walk. They’re catching insects that are disturbed. Picture a juggler going for a walk with three or four feathered friends being juggled in the air. If you twirl a tree leaf back and forth between thumb and forefinger, a fantail might sometimes land on your arm! They also come through your house cleaning up any spiders and bugs.
AND because they don’t keep still for any amount of time they are almost impossible to photograph. I have a reason for wanting to photograph one in particular which I shall tell you about shortly.
The usual colouring of a fantail is a dull brown back, yellow breast, and tail feathers that are white and brown. Here is a photos of one that kept almost still for long enough.
Recently in my nearby little town of Stratford, a pure white fantail appeared in a park. Dozens of would-be bird-watchers crowded the park each day in the hope of a glimpse. Only one onlooker managed a half decent photo. I haven’t seen the bird.
Now here’s my secret… About two minutes from my house, in a little glade of trees, is a pitch black fantail. Every day I take my camera on my walk. He/she is usually there flitting about, but seems a little shyer than some of the other fantails. Hence, after a month I have only two out-of-focus photos.
I don’t want to announce its where-about because who wants dozens of onlookers walking onto ones property? So that’s what I’ve been busy doing each afternoon after lunch. I shall post a further photo on this blog should a successful photo session occur. I thought a black fantail to go with the white fantail could be fun.
Tomorrow I shall post a piece of music called “Fantails” composed for oboe and piano. It doesn’t try to capture the fantail’s call which is a twitter-twitter to disturb insects. Rather the music tries to capture its flitter-flutter-all-over-the-place-flight. And who knows? Today’s walk might perhaps be my lucky in-focus day!