What a sight it is to see African Aloes in full bloom down under in Australia. The aloe section of the Brisbane Botanical Gardens is presently a mass of splendid nectar laden flowers and the local birds are more interested in getting a suger high than worrying about cameras. It’s a splendid mix of bright colors that every nature photographer just has to take advantage of while the going is good. In Africa the aloes attract a constant stream of Sunbirds, In Australia it’s Lorikeets and Honey Eaters. Both differ but are equally beautiful. In Africa the birds feathers shimmer whereas in Australia its a brash splash of color with the common denominator the aloe flowers.
We came away with so many good shots it was difficult to decide what to start with. But given that I think that the colorful Rainbow Lorikeets are everywhere I should start with them. What can I say about these birds…obviously god spilled the paint when he was working on them and they must have protested loudly. But the outcome was an incredibly colorful and extremely noisy member of the parrot family. Lorikeets are also unbelievably fast in flight and almost impossible to photograph on the wing, so getting a few nice open wing shots of them as they came into land on the aloes was very pleasing. They may be as common as sparrows around here, but lets face it they are really attractive birds.
Next up is another very common local bird the Noisy Miner. Places and things in Australia are named very simply, usually directly describing the sight, plant or object and the Noisy Miner is no exception. It is a very gregarious and vocal member of the honeyeater family with large and varied repertoire of songs, calls, scoldings and alarms. Compared to the Lorikeets it is a dull bird, however it is not unattractive and perched on and within the aloes proved to be quite a photogenic subject.
This following shot of a Miner was taken with water sprinklers going in the background. Lets just say the effect is a little different!
The third poser in this bird and aloe blog was a pair of Blue-faced Honeyeaters. These are extremely beautiful birds, but birds I have found very difficult to photograph as I just can’t seem to catch them in a reasonable pose. Either they fly off before I’m ready or they are partially hidden behind branches or some other obstruction. So, getting a chance to photograph them from a relatively close position in a more open and colorful setting was a big bonus. The problem was that the resident colony of Miners was constantly harassing the honeyeaters and whilst I took many shots, none of those of the male with his distinctive blue eye patch came out, so sorry for this.
Later in the day while watching the Miners we realized they had a nest with young in a tree very close to the aloes and this is why they didn’t want any other birds around.
To close off the blog, I decided to insert one shot I took with the 300mm of the flower of an aloe from Madagascar, which when processed almost looks like a studio shot. In fact the black background was very dark foliage of tree’s in shadow behind the plant.
The moral of this story…if you are in either Africa or Australia and there are aloe plants within your vicinity get out the camera because they are in bloom and the birds are out!