blp shabash 430x45

  • Superb Fairy-wren (Image ID 30571)

    Superb Fairy-wren.   Photographer: Emmy Silvius

  • Red-necked Stint (Image ID 22152)

    Red-necked Stint.   Photographer: Michael Schmid

  • Pied Stilt (Image ID 24586)

    Pied Stilt.   Photographer: Sandy Castle

  • Regent Honeyeater (Image ID 25598)

    Regent Honeyeater.   Photographer: Bill Harding

  • Australian Wood Duck (Image ID 22526)

    Australian Wood Duck.   Photographer: Con Boekel

Wow, this competition has it all! Dramatic action, birds with attitude, gruesome details, and some pretty pictures of beautiful birds going about the business of feeding. When reviewing my short-list of ten images I kept coming back to the action shots and the realization that the photographers had captured something special. These are shots that are out of the ordinary requiring knowledge of bird behaviour, good field-craft, patience, deft anticipation, smart camera work, and some good luck.

Too much choice!  So many excellent images to choose from.  Some general observations:

What a pleasure it is to review such a fine collection of images representing the theme of “Feeding”.  A very good proportion of these pictures have impact – that elusive and difficult to define experience that elicits a response in the viewer along the lines of “Wow – look at that!”

This has proved to be a tough assignment for many photographers because of the harsh light and heat haze often encountered in arid regions of the country.  Most of the best images were captured early or late in the day or on cloudy days.  In dry country, water points attract birds so it was not surprising to find over a quarter of the images were captured around water.  There are few ‘action’ shots and I was surprised not to find some outback raptors.  Nevertheless, there are some outstanding images that reflect considerable credit on the photographers. 

The theme for this competition was to submit pictures of birds which are found in Australia's arid areas - and that's a lot of the country!  A map of Australia delineating arid habitats was provided to members for this competition, but it was at the discretion of the moderating panel as to whether the species and location submitted adequately fitted the description of a bird found in an arid habitat.  The moderating panel deliberations were stretched at times but in the end their decisions were sound.

This competition is about a specific type of bird.  Not just any bird, but one that is found in Australia's arid areas.  This means an area where there is the lack of available water. It is a harsh environment where survival is a challenge.

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