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Farmer's Friend

Farmer's Friend
Photo Information
Copyright: John Plumb (JPlumb) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 618 W: 158 N: 896] (2904)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-06-22
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200, NIKKOR AF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 ED DX VR
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Threskiornithidae (Ibises & Spoonbills) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-11-26 19:25
Viewed: 3814
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Along the Strand in Townsville there is a “rough” area of grass between the beach and a walkway. In this rough, there are a few different birds that graze the area. One of these is the Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis).

It is said to be found throughout mainland Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea, Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island. Not to question this but, I’ve only seen it so far in Queensland. Around the Sydney area the Australian White Ibis is much more prevalent.

These are large water birds with a naked black head, long downcurved black bill and yellow throat plumes. It has a glossy blue-black back, with metallic purple, green and bronze sheen, a white nape and sides of neck and white underparts. It’s preference for grassland insects such as grasshoppers and locusts has earned it the name of “Farmer’s Friend”

They prefer wet and dry grasslands, pastures, croplands and swamp or lagoon margins. It is rarely found on coastal shores, mudflats or mangroves. It is generally less adaptable than the Australian White Ibis.

They feed mainly on terrestrial invertebrates, especially grasshoppers and locusts. It is rarely an opportunistic scavenger, unlike the Australian White Ibis.

These birds form large breeding colonies. The nests are large trampled platforms of reeds, rushes and sticks over water, often blending together to form on continuous platform, and are re-used over many years. Both sexes build the nests, incubate the eggs and feed the young.

Much of this from: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder/display.cfm?id=193
ID from: Simpson K. and Day N. (2004), Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Penguin Books, Camberwell.

Workflow for this shot was as follows:
The shoot – shot in Raw with Jpeg reference
NEF file adjusted for exposure and shadow
Adjusted levels for black and white points with some midpoint adjustment (by eye)
Adjusted curves for contrast
Burned and Dodged with overlay layer (5-10% opacity black and white brush)
Added saturation layer for bird only +15 to master, masked out white areas @50%
Added saturation layer for yellow grass +10 for Hue, +6 for Sat, -13 for Lightness to bring back a green colour to the grass to match the jpeg.
Saved as a tiff
For this post, sharpened with USM (toned down edges and grass area with layer mask and 60% opacity black brush), framed, and saved as a jpeg

rcrick, Jamesp, pierrefonds, pablominto, Argus, mlines, jusninasirun has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-11-26 21:23]

Hi John,
Just marking this wonderful post from you and will come back with a proper critique in a while.

Hi John, nice capture of this Straw-necked Ibis, excellent detail in the feathers, good colours, is there just a slight movement in the head ? just looks a little softer then the rest of the bird, Cheers Rick :)

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-11-26 23:05]

What an interesting bird, John.
I have never seen that before.
You really did a good job catching the different hues in its plumage. Those blue and purple highlights on the wings are very beautiful.
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-11-26 23:24]

Hi John

Good shot of this Ibis. I have seen them many times, but never as close. Good detail in the plumage.


Hi John,

A nice image of the Straw-necked Ibis, the photo has a good composition, sharpness and beautiful colors. thanks for sharing.


Hi John,
Nice catch of this Straw-necked Ibis.
It is always great to see them around.
Well done. Perfect capture.

Hello John,
The action is well captured, as the bird is finding food in the field!
It is kind of amusing as I get the feeling the bird is keeping an eye on the photographer...
Well composed presentation, fine details in the plumage!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-11-28 8:46]

Hello John,
Very good photo of this special Ibis. Very goos details, nice colours and good composition.

Hi John,
Lovely catch of this Straw-Nicked Ibis, great shot and beautiful colors and sharp picture, Excellent POV. and details, Very well done,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-12-09 7:25]

Hello John,
I tried to get a good shot of a Straw-necked Ibis a couple of years ago when we were in Qld. but didn't close enough to get as good a shot as this one. This is pretty sharp and contrasts nicely with the natural grassy BG, in a good pose and an adult in breeding plumage.
Well done and thanks for sharing this one,

Hi John. These Ibis are certainly ver beautiful and photographic birds. Their long necks make me think of dancers. This is very clear and colours natural . TFS. Murray.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-02-10 16:01]

Hello John

A very good POV on this shot.The full frame composition works well.
The plumage detail shows with very good colour and feather definition.
Captured in a natural setting.The notes were very informative.


Hello John. Thanks for sharing this bird with naked head that I have never seen before. Excellent exposure of the plumage with good sharpness around the head in natural habitat. I like the long beak that you captured in good walking pose. Well done and best regards. Jusni

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