Photographing birds in Malaysia is always hot hard work and after a few hours photography we are usually completely buggered and it is nice to come home, relax and take a shower. Then it is down to downloading the results which invariably turns out to be an excercize in deleting the shots that don’t make the cut. However, once in a while we get lucky and get something new or an unusual pose.
So, it was a few days back. We returned from a day’s photography and I had just finished deleting a few hundred crappy photos and decided to take a breather outside. Just as I walked out the door I noticed a flash of red fly into a tree in the bush in front of the garden. Now, seeing Red in Malaysia is very unusual (at least for us) so I went forward for a closer look and sure enough there was a red bird of some sort perched on a branch well within good photo range.
After rushing in to get the camera still with the telephoto lens attached I managed a few quick shots of what turned out to be a Banded Woodpecker sitting preening its rusty red and brown feathers. While this bird with it’s erect golden yellow nape looks like something straight out of a salon for punk rockers, it is a strikingly beautiful specimen to look at. Not satisfied with the results from the telephoto I dashed back inside and changed over to the 600mm which is a heavy bastard to hand hold (the tripod was still in the car boot). By the time I was finished my arms were shaking like an old man with Parkinsons and I was buggered! But the overall results were not at all bad and much better and sharper than I thought I would get.
We have only seen this bird once before high up on a branch and the shots taken that time were not the best. This time it was perfectly located and not only did it pose, it preened and preened seemingly oblivious to me and the lens about 10m away.
It was a hot afternoon and by the time I’d finished getting these shots I was chewed up by mossies and sweating like a pig. But in the end keepers like this make it all worthwhile.