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Rainbow Pitta

Rainbow Pitta

Howard Springs, Northern Territory, Australia. 5 October 2017
EOS 7D mk II with EF 100-400mmf5.6 II & x1.4TC

On our first full day in Australia, my number one priority was to try to find a Rainbow Pitta that was top of my "most wanted" list for this trip. In the Darwin area, Howard Springs was reputed to be the site where success was most likely. And so this is where we headed after a very productive dawn walk close to our hotel. Arriving mid-morning it was alreay quite hot, and so probably not the best time for birding.

Walking round the small loop that is supposed to be best for this desirable species, initially all that could be found were Orange-footed Spurfowls that made a great deal of leaf rustling noise - that was supposed to be a tell-tale sound of the Rainbow Pitta. However just as I was becoming a bit concerned, I suddenly spotted one, out in the open and quite close to the path. Stopping immediately, and then sitting down cautiously, we had an amazing session with this bird and it hopped about, seemingly unconcerned by our presence. At one one point, it approached us to within a few metres and then jumped up on to this perch momentarily, giving just enough time for three shots, before dropping back down onto to the ground. A very memorable encounter!

Its just a slight shame I didn't have time to zoom out slightly to get all of the bird's left foot in the frame. We had no more sightings of this species after this, and found an information board that indicated they could be quite difficult to find in the dry season when they are very silent.

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