Thanks for your reply Shawn.
Its a good idea but the background is different colors whcih is why i was using the transparent bg.
However - I have been trying to wade through photoshop help again since my post (not the easiest read) and have found that when you save a transparent gif you can select what colour the feather infills are. the default is white and i have changed to 'none'. BINGO!!!
Hope that helps someone else. Its been driving me mad for some time!