Canberra photographer Sake Oostra films koalas and birds in the wild

Some of the candid wildlife moments captured by photographer Sake Oostra at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and his own backyard in Canberra.
Some of the candid wildlife moments captured by photographer Sake Oostra at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and his own backyard in Canberra.

Sake Oostra and his wife wake up at 6am almost every day to walk through Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on the fringes of Canberra.

Mr Oostra has captured baby koala twins, possums, mating birds, snakes, and fish being guzzled whole in photos and videos he shares with fellow wildlife lovers and photography enthusiasts online.

As Australians head into nature over the holiday season to escape the crowds and avoid the pandemic, Australian Community Media (ACM) asked Mr Oostra, who is in his late 70s, to share his wisdom.

His first tip? Wake up early.

Little pied cormorant swallows a fish whole

Sake Oostra filmed a bird having fish for breakfast in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on December 14, 2021..

A little pied cormorant is seen to swallow a whole fish in one video filmed early in the morning at Tidbinbilla earlier this month.

Mr Oostra said he often sees the cormorants in the reserve but he had never seen them eating, which was "pretty special".

"We looked around and suddenly I saw the cormorant and he made some strange movements and I thought 'what's that?' So I just aimed my camera and lo and behold he had a big fish!" he said.

"I was just in time just to catch it a little bit. I would have liked to have filmed a little bit longer because he was moving the fish around so he could swallow it - he was trying to put it in the right position. I was amazed how big the fish was and that he could just swallow the whole thing."

Mother koala with her joey twins

A mother koala was trying to sleep but her restless joey twins had other plans...

Mr Oostra also managed to film a mother koala with her joey twins in the koala enclosure at Tidbinbilla earlier this month.

"Always when we drive there, that's [the enclosure] always our first visit. Sometimes they are sleeping and nothing happens but this one was just sitting in the top of the tree and we thought they had a young one," he said.

"We watched it for at least 10 minutes and suddenly they also started moving and we realised she had twins. It was a fantastic moment to film a bit and take a few photographs."

Mr Oostra advised nature lovers to wake up early when there are less people in the reserve to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife.

"That's when it happens. It's just like everything is still fresh and they [the animals] wake up. As soon as it gets a bit warmer, they start to slow down," he said.

"Early in the morning, that's when you've got to be there. That's when you see most of the nice things happening around you."

Crimson rosellas mating

Sake Oostra filmed a very intimate moment between two crimson rosellas.

The intimate moment a crimson rosella pair begin mating was also filmed by Mr Oostra in his backyard in the Canberra suburb of Macgregor.

"That happened in our backyard and, to be honest, you never see it because they [crimson rosellas] are actually pretty shy," Mr Oostra said.

"I've got a little viewing room and I've always got my camera ready if I see anything unusual. I just happened to see it and it was a little bit of magic. We observed the whole ritual of what was happening. Those things are fascinating to us."

Patience is key

Mr Oostra advised people simply stop to look around and be in the moment to see local wildlife.

"You have to look around. You just have to observe what is happening around you. When we are in Tidbinbilla people just talk and talk and there is so much things happening around them and no one has a good look," he said.

"There are so many things going on; you will be amazed if you just walk and stop and sit down on a bench. Just sit there for five, 10 minutes and it's amazing what happens around you.

"That's the thing about observing a photograph or video. You just have to take your time and be patient and it will happen."

Mr Oostra shares his photos and videos on the Canberra wildlife photography Facebook group.

This story Photographer captures candid wildlife moments and reveals how you can too first appeared on The Canberra Times.