Giraffes Necking

We came across a journey of giraffe during a mid-afternoon photo drive on Zimanga Game Reserve.  Several of the males had gathered together away from the rest and were busily beating on each other using head, neck and horns. It only seemed to be play fighting, rather than any real push to establish dominance as they seemed to far too young for that.

From Wikipedia:

“Adult giraffes do not have strong social bonds, though they do gather in loose aggregations if they happen to be moving in the same general direction. Males establish social hierarchies through “necking”, which are combat bouts where the neck is used as a weapon. Dominant males gain mating access to females, which bear the sole responsibility for raising the young.”

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Male Brown Hooded Kingfisher

Unlike the pygmy kingfisher, I didn’t have any success capturing the brown hooded kingfisher in the water.  Next time!  He did however provide me with lots of lovely photo opportunities.  My favourite will probably be a surprise to most, but there is just something about it that makes me smile.

Enjoy!

A beautiful pose to show off his lovely turquoise feathers.  The male brown hooded kingfisher has black shoulder feathers, while the female has brown  (Thanks to my handy Roberts Bird guide app for that information). 1/2500 sec, f7.1, ISO 4000
A beautiful pose to show off his lovely turquoise feathers. The male brown hooded kingfisher has black shoulder feathers, while the female has brown (Thanks to my handy Roberts Bird guide app for that information).
1/2500 sec, f7.1, ISO 4000
A bit of post splash bath preening. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A bit of post splash bath preening.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
The is how a bird deals with an itch on the top of its head. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
The is how a bird deals with an itch on the top of its head.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Take off! 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Take off!
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A nice smooth landing. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A nice smooth landing.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Striking a bit of a model pose, glancing over a raised wing, 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Striking a bit of a model pose, glancing over a raised wing,
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Trying out the crested feather looked. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Trying out the crested feather look.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A little shake from behind. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A little shake from behind.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Believe it or not, my favourite of all my kingfisher photos.  It just makes me smile :)  And it reminds me of the photos of dogs caught mid shake - they just look so goofy. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Believe it or not, my favourite of all my brown hooded kingfisher photos. It just makes me smile 🙂 And it reminds me of the photos of dogs caught mid shake – they just look so goofy.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000

African Pygmy Kingfisher

I’ve finally worked my way through all the photos that I took of the pygmy kingfisher at the Mkombe hide at Zimanga.  Some of the action shots I’ve included are not as crisp as I would like, but I’ve posted them anyways as they do show a nice representation of what the pygmy kingfisher looks like in flight and when coming out of the water.  The sole crisp water shot that I managed to capture was done by pre-focusing on the spot I thought it would fly to (an ounce of technique and a pound of luck).

A pygmy kingfisher perches after a splash bath. 1/640sec, f5.6, ISO6400
A pygmy kingfisher perches after a splash bath.
1/640sec, f5.6, ISO6400
Once the clouds parted and the sun came out, the pygmy kingfishers colouring looked even more spectacular. 1/2000sec, f8.0, ISO2500
Once the clouds parted and the sun came out, the pygmy kingfishers colouring looked even more spectacular.
1/2000sec, f8.0, ISO2500
1/2000sec, f8.0, ISO2500
1/2000sec, f8.0, ISO2500
Striking the perfect model pose. 1/2000sec, f8., ISO 2500
Striking the perfect model pose.
1/2000sec, f8., ISO 2500
Peering downwards the water, planning for the next spot to take a bath. 1/200sec, f8.0, ISO2500
Peering downwards the water, planning for the next spot to take a bath.
1/200sec, f8.0, ISO2500
The kingfisher breaks back through the water while a laughing dove watches in the background.  1/1250sec, f14, ISO 2500
The kingfisher breaks back through the water while a laughing dove watches in the background.
1/1250sec, f14, ISO 2500
Heading for the water. 1/1250sec, f11. ISO 1250
Heading for the water.
1/1250sec, f11. ISO 1250
A blue waxbill comes into land at the waterhole, as the kingfisher takes her (or his) leave. 1/1250 sec, f11. ISO 5600
A blue waxbill comes into land at the waterhole, as the kingfisher takes her (or his) leave.
1/1250 sec, f11. ISO 5600
Getting closer in my attempt to pre focus, but still not quite there. 1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 1250
Getting closer in my attempt to pre-focus, but still not quite there.
1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 1250
Success!!! 1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 1250
Success!!!
1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 1250
A pygmy kingfisher flies past while a laughing dove stops by for a drink. 1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 4000
A pygmy kingfisher flies past while a laughing dove stops by for a drink.
1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 4000

Striped Kingfisher

Like the giant kingfisher I posted a couple days ago, this is the token photo that I have of a striped kingfisher.  And actually, I didn’t even realize I had it until I started going through all my kingfisher photos and rating them; going back and forth between a couple photos, I finally spotted the difference between this and the brown hooded kingfisher (photos to follow on the weekend).  I don’t mind admitting a bit of a “duh” moment, and that it took me ages to spot the different species amongst my photos.  Honestly, I am just grateful I came home with so many photos, as at the start of my trip, it seemed the only kingfisher sightings I was going to have was as they flew away from me down a drainage line or up into the trees beyond the reach of my camera.

A striped kingfisher pauses long enough on a bare branch for me to snap a photo. 1/400sec, f5.6, ISO160
A striped kingfisher pauses long enough on a bare branch for me to snap a photo.
1/400sec, f5.6, ISO160

Giant Kingfisher

I spent some time going through my kingfisher photos today, and am very happy that I will have lots of shots of both the brown hooded kingfisher and the pygmy kingfisher to come in the following days and weeks.  Unfortunately, I only managed a single photo of the giant kingfisher, and while it isn’t a fantastic shot, I thought I would post it anyways, as I think the variety in size and colouration of the kingfishers is phenomenal, and it seemed wrong to leave this one out.

We spotted this kingfisher when we were crossing from the north to the south side of the river.  We briefly parked on the bridge to take some photos, but the kingfisher was at a fair distance to begin with, and after I managed only two photos, flew away.

A giant kingfisher perches in a tree above the Mkhuze River. 1/250sec, f5.6, ISO 1800
A giant kingfisher perches in a tree above the Mkhuze River.
1/250sec, f5.6, ISO 1800

Lesser Striped Swallows

I had a wonderful time watching the lesser striped swallows while staying at the Zimanga volunteer house.  There really wasn’t a time at home when they weren’t keeping us company, as they had established two nests inside the house, and one on the front porch where we typically had our meals.

I got used to them calling and chattering from the window when I checked my email (I wish I could find a link to post of their calls; they make such wonderful sounds) or swooping above my head while I had lunch or dinner outside.  My vantage point was usually not great to take photos of the swallows (lots of shadows), but spending the time watching them build their nests and interacting with each other was such a treat.

Since I don’t have a lot of variety in my swallow photos, I decided to take my favourites, and edit each of them in different ways.  Adding things like a vintage film effect isn’t part of my normal editing process; this has been a fun post to get ready.

It was lovely to capture on of the swallows on a bright, sunny day. 1/640 sec, f8.0, ISO 720
It was lovely to capture one of the swallows on a bright, sunny day.
1/640 sec, f8.0, ISO 720
Eyeing each other up. 1/1600sec, f5.6, ISO 400
Eyeing each other up.
1/1600sec, f5.6, ISO 400
Mid call or asking for some food?  I'm really not sure. 1/1600sec, f5.6, ISO 400
Mid call or asking for some food? I’m really not sure.
1/1600sec, f5.6, ISO 400
Coming into land on the window frame.  Edited with my normal, minimal adjustments. 1/1600sec, f6.3, ISO 400
Coming in to land on the window frame. Edited with my normal, minimal adjustments.
1/1600sec, f6.3, ISO 400

Scarlet chested sunbird – dirty look

A scarlet chested sunbird appears to be giving a bee a dirty look.  I guess the bee was on the aloe flower she wanted to eat from! 1/640sec, f8.0, ISO400
A scarlet chested sunbird appears to be giving a bee a dirty look. I guess the bee was on the aloe flower she wanted to eat from!
1/640sec, f8.0, ISO400

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Female Scarlet Chested Sunbird

While at the Zimanga volunteer house, I had a great time in the garden on a few afternoons, taking pictures of whatever birds happened to be hanging around.  A pair of scarlet chested sunbirds allowed me to hover around them for close to an hour while they had a meal at an aloe plant.  Unfortunately, getting a photo of both of them together was not in the cards, but I do have lots more photos of them to go through and post in the near future.

1/100sec, f5.6, ISO800
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO800

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Female Scarlet Chested Sunbird

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