The pygmy is the smallest of the kingfishers seen in Southern Africa, and they really are a treat to spot, with jewel tone feathers and an intensely orange beak. This one was seen in typical woodland habitat. The barbed wire seems out of place in the bush, but the track we were driving along had an open construction excavation along the length of the road (I believe putting in a new water pipe), and the wire provided some demarkation between the work zone, and where it was safe to drive.
We were fortunate as this kingfisher kept flying off and back to almost the same spot on the wire, giving everyone in our group ample opportunities for spotting and photographs.
I believe this is a tawny eagle, but raptor identification has never been my strong suit, so I hope if I have that wrong, someone will provide a correct ID. I saw a lot of raptors on my trip, but didn’t get into the habit of writing down names, as often they were spotted when I couldn’t get an image of the bird. It was different being on a specific birding trip, rather than a general safari. Birding was concerned with sightings, whether they were close up or far away (and some of them were really, really far!), whereas a general safari is more focused on close sightings and photography. It was interesting learning more about birding during my trip, but I must admit, I prefer my bird watching to be closer to me, where I can really enjoy them, rather than a small spec through binoculars.
My photo sharing has been quite haphazard and random lately, and today is no different. As I got to my computer to work on images, the heavens opened up with the first thunderstorm of the year. After calming the pups down from the surprise of the loud noises, I thought decided to focus on bird around the water for today.
All of these birds are ones that I had seen before, but I still needed to go to my bird app to double check on both the heron and the kingfisher. Hopefully I have those identified correctly.
The arrival this week of the robins makes it feel like spring is finally on the way, despite the volume of snow that is still on the ground. Listening to their song and seeing them on the road reminded me that I have posted very few bird images lately, even though my last trip was bird focused.
The selection for this week is fairly random; just a small sampling of some of the birds seen on my most recent trip, with more to follow.
I was glad to start the new year working on my photography a bit, even if it was primarily behind the scenes, housekeeping type work, like finally finishing my first round of star rating my trip photos. When I came to the few photos I captured of the male violet backed starling, I smiled remembering how excited I was to finally have the opportunity to capture one of these birds in fairly decent light; that was enough to decide that this was the photo to edit if there was only going to be time to do one.
Our tour had a one-day trip into Chobe National Park in Botswana. It was a place I had visited on my first trip to Africa, and our group even had lunch at the same lodge I visited the first trip, so it really was a walk down memory lane. Being a different season, the experience was significantly different, but still very enjoyable. After border formalities and getting to the park, we were driving towards the river when our guide heard of some lions off of the main road about 20 minutes away. Our two guides chatted for a few minutes while slowly driving along, before making the choice to turn back to give people the chance to see some big cats. We spotted this starling just before making the decision to turn around, and it was only one of two that I saw on the trip (the other not offering any photo opportunities) so I am glad we carried on as far as we did before turning back for the lions.
It’s been a long time since I’ve taken any volume of photos (May 2019 to be exact) and I’d forgotten how time consuming it is to go through images and rate them to determine which deserve editing. With other obligations for my time, I’ve only gotten through about 2/3rds of my images from my recent trip, on a first pass only. But, at least I am making progress. I reached the image I’m sharing today and decided to stop and edit it. I absolutely love owls, and it’s magical whenever there is an opportunity to see one. I was lucky enough to have one land outside my office window earlier this week, but as I was working I didn’t get any images. Maybe that is why this one stood out for me today.
On my recent tour, we were transferring from Hwange National Park to Tsowa Island in Zambezi National Park, and came upon a family of 3 Verreaux’s eagle owls. While they were quite high in the trees, there were still opportunities for good viewing and photos. I think I captured a few images with a least two of the family together, but I’m running out of day, so a single owl will have to do for today.
While I still haven’t gotten back into any type of routine with editing and posting, it feels good to be spending some time on this again.
I’d planned to get some images of local birds this week, but the weather was playing against me, with lots of rain and gloomy skies. And, the one time I did get out with my camera, every bird in the yard mysteriously vanished, only to reappear once the camera was put away. They didn’t budge when I was out doing yard work, just when I had the camera – some days are like that.
So, instead I have a saddle billed stork taking a rest at the side of a dam. They look very strange with their legs folded in that manner, with their bodies appearing far out of proportion to their height off of the ground. The saddle billed stork is one of the nicest looking stork species in my opinion. I must admit, when I see a marabou stork, I do cringe a little bit.
Fingers crossed for more promising opportunities with the local birds, as there is a wonderful variety here now.
I’ve only had a couple of sightings of grey hornbills, and they have all been when the birds have been high in the treetops, usually at some distance, making capturing a decent image a bit of a challenge. The last trip I took probably had the best opportunity yet, though I still hope I will get to see this bird closer up, and in more detail, in the future. So we can add the grey hornbill to the always expanding list of things I want to see when I return to southern Africa sometime in the (hopefully) not too distant future.
I’d planned to edit and post these two weeks ago, but life got in the way. First, I was distracted by some ravens in the yard, and last week, I was caught up with studying for finals and didn’t manage to sneak in any time for photo editing. I’m enjoying a very brief break from studies and to be honest, not quite sure what to do with all this free time on my hands!
This week will feature some hornbill images, and hopefully I can carry on with local birds next week, as there are lots of new faces in the area now that it is warming up.