SciBlogs

Archive December 2011

Sea-Eagle Panorama Brendan Moyle Dec 20

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This is three shots from an Australian sea-eagle in flight, stitched together into a panorama.

Each frame was taken at 1/4000 second. The tricky bit was being in a small boat on the Mary River at the time, as this isn't the most stable of platforms.



(From my Australian Birds of Prey photo album

An intense moment: Rainbow Lorikeet Brendan Moyle Dec 20

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Something colourful and festive for this time of the year :)

Rainbow Lorikeet


(From my Parrots photo album)

An intense moment: Rainbow Lorikeet Brendan Moyle Dec 20

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Something colourful and festive for this time of the year :)

Rainbow Lorikeet


(From my Parrots photo album)

Last night at the #ICCB Brendan Moyle Dec 14

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After I gave my paper on the tiger black-market, it was time for a beer or two before the actual banquet. As part of the evening's entertainment, there was a performance by "Drums of the Pacific". This gave me a chance to try the NEX-5 out with some snapshots. (I really wasn't motivated to do the quasi-photographer thing with an SLRs and big, low-light lenses).

The NEX-5 has maximum ISO-rating of 12800, so that's what I was shooting at. I was also using the kit lens which for all its merits, really isn't a low-light lens (wide open it's f5.6 at the long end). The big advantage of the camera is really its compact size combined with the larger APS-C sensor.

Anyway, this is a round about way of saying that this was more of an 'on the ground' experiment under some pretty extreme conditions. So here's what a couple of these performers looked like (I did in the end, do a black and white conversion of the shots).

1. Dancer 1


2. Dancer 2


The shots are clearly not as good as what you could get from a pro-photographer rig. But they're still of a reasonable quality. These still enough detail in them, and perfectly adequate for viewing on the web.

Some ICCB tiger thoughts Brendan Moyle Dec 12

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- #iccb #tiger -

The Society for Conservation Biology 25th Annual Meeting concluded on Friday. This was the first SCB meeting I'd been to since the Hilo meeting in Hawaii.

My fear that my paper on the tiger black-market inside China would have poor attendance (it was literally the last paper of the last session in the last day) was poorly founded. The room was fairly packed with people standing in the back.

In terms of other tiger news, well, Emma Stokes from WCS confirmed that even if there are tigers in Cambodia, there's no breeding population left. That pretty makes Thailand the most important range state for the Indo-Chinese subspecies now.

The more positive news is that Petri Viljoen has succeeded with the rewilding of the S China tigers in South Africa. The S China subspecies was only known from zoo populations a few years ago, and had less than 100 animals. A small population was translocated to South Africa to undertake a rewilding programme, and this has grown (there are second generation tigers present now). Eight tigers are now rewilded and can hunt an ungulate of similar size to the sika deer (this would be its main prey back in China). The tigers actually proved very adept at learning to hunt by themselves, and have even managed some successful strategies for hunting in the open. In some ways, this isn't a surprise as the tiger is an extremely adaptable predator. Its range extends from Siberia all the way to the tropical islands of Indonesia.

This rewilding is actually pretty big news. It means that say, if Australia and NZ wanted to reintroduce Sumatran tigers back into the wild, there is now the techniques to do so. Australia and NZ zoos decided to coordinate and specialise in a captive breeding programme of the Sumatran tiger some years ago. We have an important backstop population, but prior to this, no actual way to put tigers back into the wild.

I confess also to some perverse pleasure at the success of the rewilding. I had been assured by various tiger "experts" that rewilding tigers was actually impossible. The claim was that cubs needed their mothers around to teach them how to hunt prey.

In less positive news Davidar reported on the decline in tiger numbers in the Similapal Tiger Reserve in the W Ghats. Numbers have declined from about 100 to an estimated 22. One of the causes of continued wildlife decline is the insurgency. A significant number (28%) of reserves in India are also the scene of insurgency. The insurgents are drawn from tribals living within the reserves. In Similapal the megafauna (tigers, elephants) are being killed as icons of the state the insurgents are fighting against. They're not being poached for any commercial gain, just killed and left there. It's getting hard to be optimistic about the future of tigers in many Indian reserves.

Tonight’s Wildlife Photo: Monitor Lizard Brendan Moyle Dec 04

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The Sungei Buloh reserve to the north of Singapore has a large population of these monitor lizards. I wasn't at the time, visiting Singapore for wildlife photography (and let's face it, going to Singapore to photograph wildlife isn't the first thing you think of with Singapore).

This is a round about way of saying I didn't actually have any of my usual long telephotos for wildlife work. In this case I was using my old Minolta 70-210/4 beercan lens. They're very impressive reptiles nonetheless.

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