<< Previous Next >>

Eastern Curlew

Eastern Curlew
Photo Information
Copyright: Gethin Hill (inked) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 132 W: 0 N: 249] (771)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-12-31
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 400D (Rebel XTi), Canon EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 III
Exposure: f/16, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds in Flight 2, Birds In Flight Part Two, My Bird Photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-01-30 1:05
Viewed: 4422
Points: 25
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Eastern Curlew - Numenius madagascariensis

Hi everyone,

took this photo recently of an Eastern Curlew in flight at Yorkeys Knob, near Cairns, in Qld, Australia. It was wading in the mudflats and i slowly made my way towards it. I looked down at somestage to look where i was stepping, and when i looked back up, it was gone from the mudflats!! i quickly tried to get my camera ready and this was the result.. maybe my best in-flight shot to date.

Hope you like it!!

About the Eastern Curlew - from MeMeMcdonald.com

The Eastern Curlew breeds in Siberia and flies along the East Asian Australasian Flyway to inter-tidal wetlands and occasionally as far south as Aotearoa, New Zealand. There are at least another 35 species of birds which regularly migrate along this same flyway, many travelling from beyond the Arctic circle. The Eastern Curlew is the largest of the migratory wading birds.

To make this journey of approximately 10 000 kilometres, the Eastern Curlew depends on a chain of wetlands on which to rest and feed and regain strength before attempting each further leg. Because of their various feeding methods and the different foods they take, many different species of migratory wading birds can share the same mudflat without significantly competing with each other for food.

Like all waders, the Eastern Curlew will increase its' body weight by between 40 per cent and 70 per cent before migrating and will lose all of this added weight within two or three days of continuous flying.It may travel up to 5000 kilometeres in one flight, reaching a speed of 70 kilometres per hour.

The Eastern Curlew chicks attempt their first migration when they are only six or eight weeks old. Also, they attempt this enormous journey after the adult birds have already departed. These chicks inherit from their parents an innate sense of the direction and distance for their migration.

How the birds navigate on their long migration remains a mystery. One theory suggests that the birds maintain their flight path by alignment with the sun, the moon and the stars. Another theory suggests that they have a particular sensory ability which attunes them to the earths magnetic field and they set their course accordingly.

Recent comprehensive surveys throughout Australia and along the Flyway have established that the world population of the Eastern Curlew is about 20 000. Some Eastern Curlew have been known to live for more than 20 years, however because of the hazards of migration and the difficulties of finding food the average life expectancy for the young birds is only three or four years.

crs, Argus, uleko, mariki, kjpweb, matatur, Jamesp, JPlumb, jusninasirun has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Jamesp: re: welsh ancestryinked 1 01-30 23:53
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

  • Good 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-01-30 1:10]

Hi Gethin,

This is a good picture of a flying bird. I like the position of birds wings. Light is good and nice natural colors are in the photo. It looks to me a little bit unsharp but it might be from resizing.

Best regards,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-01-30 1:46]

Hello Gethin,
Though this is slightly soft the details are more than good enough to see the characteristics of the Eastern Curlew in flight. Your panning is excellent and the curlew contrasts well with the blurred tree BG. The lighting and colours are good too.
As this Curlew is facing to the right it would have been a better composition if you has more space in front of it and less space behind it, if the original allowed it of course.
Thanks for sharing this one,
Regards, Ivan

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-01-30 2:13]

Hello Gethin,
Lovely and very well-timed capture of the Eastern Curlew in fine light that's brought out the beautiful colours of the plumage. Great focus, fine details and I like the soft natural background.
TFS and regards, Ulla

Hello Gethin,

Good shot of this flying curlew. Good sharpness of the bird. That is only a pity that the background is a little bit disturbing. Beautiful natural colours.

A good one. While true that it is a bit soft and the background not ideal - getting it in the first place is a good feat. And you did well! The wing pose is great! Cheers, Klaus

Hi Gethin,
You've captured a good "outbound" here, the downstroke of the wings are nicely frozen, exhibiting great feather detail, and the "panning" movement of the camera helped to blur the BG nicely. TFS.

i just dont know how you guys do it
all mine are a pos! translate that
good and sharp showing all the musculature and wing action..
brisk detail and eye as well

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-01-30 14:16]
  • [+]

Hi Gethin

Great action shot - good detail and POV. I find this type of shot very difficult to achieve well.


PS Do you have Welsh ancestry?

  • Great 
  • JPlumb Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
  • [2008-02-12 18:41]

Hi Gethin, this is a very beautiful in-flight shot of this Eastern Curlew. I haven't seen on of these guys yet, so its something for me to look forward to. The bird is sharp, yet I see you've used somewhat of a panning technique for the shot, the colour is great and composition wise, you've placed him right is the "sweet-spot" for this frame. And all this after trying to find him in the sky after your look down. Very excellent work. Your great notes are appreciated too.

Thanks, John

hey gethin this is a nice action and panning shot of this beautiful bird, thanks for posting this one, congrats

Hello Gethin,

I have never seen this bird before even on pictures. Amazing shot in flight with excellent wingspan.

This is really a fine capture under good lighting exposing the pattern and texture of the plumage. The sharpness is well observed and what a log beak she has. Well managed speed and depth giving the sense of speed of the flight.


Hello Gethin.

Excellent image, nice composition and colors.

Jose Luis.

  • Great 
  • Zeno Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1345] (10867)
  • [2010-08-19 4:13]

Hi Gethin,

This is the first time I see an inflight photo of this bird. Well done!
Sharpness and colors are very good.


Calibration Check