New adventure takes flight for avid grey nomad birdwatchers

After having their wings clipped by the pandemic over the past few years, veteran grey nomads Keith and Judy Humphreys are thrilled to be finally getting back on the road.

And the couple has a special reason to be excited to be travelling again … they are passionate birdwatchers.

Since retiring in 2010 the pair has travelled extensively in their caravan, camping predominantly out in the bush, and they have seen and photographed around 500 of Australia’s 850-plus different species of birds.

“Photographing any type of wildlife in its natural habitat is very much like hunting, it requires a stealthy approach and a great deal of patience,” said Judy. “It also requires a good amount of walking which helps us to keep reasonably fit.”

Bird photography for grey nomads

Keith and Judy use digital SLR cameras with 600mm lenses. They say that, with smaller interchangeable lenses, they can also take images of landscapes, other wildlife, insects, and wildflowers.

“Our travels aren’t just all about birdwatching and our photographic activities … we also enjoy fishing, bushwalking, visiting wineries and historic sites,” said Judy. “But we sometimes research what birds are in a specific area and then travel to that area.”

Red-capped Robin

Red-capped Robin, taken in
Wyperfield National Park, Victoria.

The couple says their favourite destinations are the Outback, Far North Queensland, the Kimberley, and the Top End. They have also flown out to Lord Howe and Norfolk Island on the lookout for special birds, but they insist you don’t have to go to those lengths.

“Naturally birds can be found basically anywhere,” said Judy. “National Parks and State Forests are hotspots, but it’s surprising how many interesting birds can be found in and around free camping areas and roadside rest areas.”

Keith and Judy are both Birdlife Australia members and contribute to the group’s Photographic Gallery.

“Our images have been used for lectures, publications and also used by various nature-based organisations including tourism,” said Judy. “But we do it for the enjoyment, not for any financial gain.”

Birdwatching has long been touted as great hobby for grey nomads travelling Australia long-term.

For interested grey nomads, there are free mobile phone wildlife identification apps for every state and territory are available to download. You can check those out here.

  • Are you an on-the-road ‘twitcher’? Or do you have a great hobby that might be of interest to other grey nomads? Email us here to share your thoughts.

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