Continuing my trip to Sydney in October (Part 1 here). As I mentioned, I was on a work trip, so most of my bird photography was done relatively close to the CBD in the mornings and evenings.

Royal Botanic Gardens

I didn’t have a lot of success in the botanical garden. Most of the birds were common species, and I didn’t find much in the way of pretty settings. The cormorants were all up in trees on an island with no interesting background in sight. There were parrots high up in the treetops. Pretty much my whole evening went that way. There may be Powerful Owls in the park, which could make it worth a visit.

I got some nice photos of Noisy Miners in an Australian bottlebrush tree. While Noisy Miners are native to Australia, they’re considered a pest as they’ve adapted so well to human-modified habitats that they’re driving out other bird species. If you can get past that aspect, they’re funny-looking birds, fairly tolerant of humans, and constantly showing different looks as they forage for food.

Centennial Park

Centennial Park was a great park for urban bird photography. There are a variety of habitats including ponds, swamps, and stands of different trees. It’s on a light rail stop with frequent service to and from the CBD.

All of the typical water birds are present, including Australasian Grebes, various ducks, various cormorants, and Black Swans. There are also Powerful Owls and Laughing Kookaburras, but I didn’t see either in my short visits. While there are Superb Fairywrens, I found the ones at Bicentennial Park easier to photograph.

Another bird photographer was able to track down Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos at the park, but I failed in my quest. They’re apparently a bit more common in winter.

While I missed out on many of the birds I was searching for, the ponds gave me great colors in the morning light. These Pacific Black Ducks were photographed at Kensington Pond about 30 minutes after sunrise.

I also had fun shooting Welcome Swallows in a sports field. The lighting was fairly harsh and the field didn’t provide the most exciting setting. Still, it was a great place to practice photographing these speedy little birds.

If I lived in Sydney, Centennial Park would be one of my regular spots. I got decent photos with just a bit of effort. It felt like it had many treasures waiting to be unlocked by a persistent photographer.

Sydney Park

The final park I visited was Sydney Park. It’s smaller than Centennial Park, but has many of the same birds.

I photographed the Australasian Grebe and Dusky Moorhen in Guwali Wetland. There’s a fence ringing the pond, but the gates are unlocked. Most of the pond is surrounded by thick reeds, with two concrete ramps providing direct access to the water. It’s not very comfortable to lie at water’s edge, but you can get down to eye level with the birds.

The grebe kept its distance at first. Before long, it got more concerned about foraging for its mate than the weirdo with a long lens, so I got a nice shot as it swam into my section of the pond.

I saw a Buff-Banded Rail and an Australian Reed Warbler in the reeds surrounding the pond. They’re both secretive birds, and I was unable to get a good photo of either.

I really enjoyed photographing the Crested Pigeons in Sydney. They’re common birds, but much more striking than the Rock Doves we have in San Francisco. And, unlike the Rock Doves in San Francisco, Crested Pigeons are native to Australia.