Surveying his domain

Pausing at the top of the dam wall to survey his domain.  We were parked about 20 to 30 feet below him, giving us interesting angles to shoot with. 1/320 sec, f7.1, ISO 220
Pausing at the top of the dam wall to survey his domain. We were parked about 20 to 30 feet below him, giving us interesting angles to shoot with.
1/320 sec, f7.1, ISO 220

Occupational Hazards

There are sugar cane fields surrounding portions of Zimanga Private Game Reserve, and on some of our tracking outings, we would follow the cane field fence lines to get where we were going.  After tracking the cheetah for some time, we finally spotted him, but I am sure the worker cutting cane (probably less than 10 metres away) didn’t have a clue he was there.

20150224_Occupational Hazard

Warthogs

Given the sheer quantity of warthogs I saw while at Zimanga Game Reserve, I’m surprised it has taken me this long to post any photos of them.  They were everywhere I looked, from dawn till dusk.  In our yard, wandering down the road (and seeming to take great joy in holding up the vehicle progress) and I am pretty certain there was at least one (probably more) hanging around every time we stopped the vehicle to do our tracking.

They could be described as having a face only a mother could love, but honestly I found something kind of endearing about them.  And if nothing else, I really, really needed to work on a blog post of a land dweller, or I’d have to change the tagline of my site to “Images of birds and more birds”.

Have a great evening!

A young warthog I caught snooping around the garden while I was outside photographing the birds. 1/500 sec, f7.1, ISO 100
A young warthog I caught snooping around the garden while I was outside photographing the birds.
1/500 sec, f7.1, ISO 100
The second before "Oh no, they see me!" 1/640 sec, f9.0, ISO 400
The second before “Oh no, they see me!”
1/640 sec, f9.0, ISO 400
Catching a nap in the mid afternoon heat, in the garden of the Wildlife ACT volunteer house. 1/500 sec, f5.6, ISO 250
Catching a nap in the mid afternoon heat, in the garden of the Wildlife ACT volunteer house.
1/500 sec, f5.6, ISO 250
Big tusks on this one! 1/500 sec, f5.6, ISO 1100
Big tusks on this one!
1/500 sec, f5.6, ISO 1100
A large female warthog popped by the Mkombe bird hide for a drink. 1/1250 sec, f8.0, ISO 1600
A large female warthog popped by the Mkombe bird hide for a drink.
1/1250 sec, f8.0, ISO 1600

Sunbirds

I’m both happy and irritated with myself at the moment.  Happy that I discovered a few additional sunbird photos that had not been properly tagged, and annoyed with myself for not going through the proper workflow to begin with.

That off my chest, here are a few additional sunbirds I saw during my last trip to South Africa.  Enjoy!

My best attempt at an identification - I believe this is a female amethyst sunbird. 1/800 Sec, f5.6, ISO 800
My best attempt at an identification – I believe this is a female amethyst sunbird.
1/800 Sec, f5.6, ISO 800
A purple-banded sunbird.
A purple-banded sunbird.
A male purple-banded sunbird perched in a distance tree. 1/640 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
A male purple-banded sunbird perched in a distance tree.
1/640 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
A female scarlet-chested sunbird feeding on aloe. 1/640 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
A female scarlet-chested sunbird feeding on aloe.
1/640 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
A huge stretch to reach the perfect aloe blossom. 1/640 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
A huge stretch to reach the perfect aloe blossom.
1/640 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
A female scarlet-chested sunbird in flight. 1/640 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
A female scarlet-chested sunbird in flight.
1/640 sec, f5.6, ISO 400

Lilac-breasted roller

While organizing photos, I came across a few lilac-breasted roller shots that frankly, I forgot I had.  They are from my trip this past October / November to Zimanga.  While there, I didn’t have a lot of success capturing the roller, as most of the time we were driving when I noticed it, and it was gone by the time we stopped, if we were able to stop at all.  If there is a more beautiful bird though, I’ve not seen it yet.  When the sunlight strikes its feather, the colours are just amazing.

Enjoy the photos and have a lovely day.

A cheeky glance over the shoulder.   1/500 sec, f5.6, ISO 100
A cheeky glance over the shoulder.
1/500 sec, f5.6, ISO 100
If the light would have been on my side, this obviously would have been much better.  I included it as I really like the composition. 1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 100
If the light would have been on my side, this obviously would have been much better. I included it as I really like the composition.
1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 100
Perched in the thorn tree, I snapped this just moments before the roller took off. 1/1000 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
Perched in the thorn tree, I snapped this just moments before the roller took off.
1/1000 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
Up and away.  Not the sharpest in flight shot, but a lovely display of the colourful feathers nonetheless. 1/1250 sec, f5.6, ISO 400
Up and away. Not the sharpest in flight shot, but a lovely display of the colourful feathers nonetheless.
1/1250 sec, f5.6, ISO 400

You can see some of my roller shots from my first trip to South Africa here: Lilac Breasted Roller, The lilac breasted roller.

Bee-eaters

I saw several bee-eater species on my first trip to Africa, which have been featured on several previous blog posts: Carmine bee-eaters, Bee-eaters, Birds in flight

This past trip, I added the little bee-eater to my list of birds, and saw the white fronted and european bee-eater again.  I’ve only ever seen the european bee-eater from far distances, so I am hoping some day I will have some nice close up shots to work with.

A pair of white fronted bee-eaters perched on a thorn tree branch. 1/250 sec, f5.6, ISO 1000
A pair of white fronted bee-eaters perched on a thorn tree branch.
1/250 sec, f5.6, ISO 1000
While the female look away, the male sneaks off. 1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 1000
While the female look away, the male sneaks off.
1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 1000
Contemplating following her partner... this female white fronted bee-eater stuck around for another minute before heading off after her mate. 1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 1000
Contemplating following her partner… this female white fronted bee-eater stuck around for another minute before heading off after her mate.
1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 1000
A lone little bee-eater perched on a low branch.  It's mate was just out of the shot, about a meter away. 1/1000 sec, f5.6, ISO 720
A lone little bee-eater perched on a low branch. It’s mate was just out of the shot, about a meter away.
1/1000 sec, f5.6, ISO 720
A pair of little bee-eaters perched on a broken branch. 1/320 sec, f7.1, ISO 400
A pair of little bee-eaters perched on a broken branch.
1/320 sec, f7.1, ISO 400
A pair of little bee-eaters pose for some photos. 1/320 sec, f8.0, ISO 400
A pair of little bee-eaters pose for some photos.
1/320 sec, f8.0, ISO 400
A European bee-eater perched in a far off tree. 1/250 sec, f5.6 ISO 800
A European bee-eater perched in a far off tree.
1/250 sec, f5.6 ISO 800

Pin-tailed Whydah

A pin-tailed whydah stops in for a drink at a puddle that was definitely more mud than water. A blue waxbill is also hanging out. 1/500 sec, f7.1 ISO 100
A pin-tailed whydah stops in for a drink at a puddle that was definitely more mud than water. A blue waxbill was also there looking for a drink.
1/500 sec, f7.1 ISO 100

Mousebirds

More pictures from my session at the Mkombe hide at Zimanga.  The mousebirds were a favourite of the photo coordinator, and the bird she most hoped seeing when we started our hide session.  The red faced mousebird only made brief appearance, but a good number of speckled mousebirds spent a great deal of time at the water.

Looking at the photos now, I find a resemblance between the mousebird and a cardinal (head and beak shape) though I must be honest I have not seen a cardinal other than in photos for over 30 years, so I could be completely wrong about that.

Wikipedia provides some information on the behaviour and habitat of the mousebird:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mousebird

Have a great day!

A red faced mousebird leans in for a drink.  This type of mousebird showed up before anyone even had their cameras attached to the tripods in the hide, and never came back again. 1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 1600
A red faced mousebird leans in for a drink. This mousebird showed up to our afternoon session at the Bhejane hide, before anyone even had their camera attached to a tripod, and never came back again.
1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 1600
A long mousebird perched above the watering hole. 1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 1000
A long mousebird perched above the watering hole.
1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 1000
Feathers ruffled.
Feathers ruffled.
Five mousebirds around the watering hole on a sunny spring morning. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 1600
Five mousebirds around the watering hole on a sunny spring morning.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 1600
Wings back and claws extended as the mousebird comes into land at the watering hole. 1/2500 sec, f9.0 ISO 1600
Wings back and claws extended as the mousebird comes into land at the watering hole.
1/2500 sec, f9.0 ISO 1600
Two drinking, one eyeing up the situation from the perch, and one on the way out (bet you didn't notice that one at first!) 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Two drinking, one eyeing up the situation from the perch, and one on the way out (bet you didn’t notice that one at first!)
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A mousebird lands at the water hole as an emerald spotted wood dove takes off. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A mousebird lands at the water hole as an emerald spotted wood dove takes off.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
The long tail feathers of the mousebird are well displayed during take off. 1/2500 sec, f9.0 ISO 2000
The long tail feathers of the mousebird are well displayed during take off.
1/2500 sec, f9.0 ISO 2000
The last of the mousebirds takes off for the trees. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
The last of the mousebirds takes off for the trees.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000

Weavers

A friend of mine recently showed me some lovely photos she took of a Baltimore oriole, which inspired me to get to work on the photos I have of beautiful yellow birds – the southern masked weaver and spectacled weaver.

I was lucky enough to be able to watch the southern masked weavers crafting their nests in a tree in the back garden of the Wildlife ACT volunteer house at Zimanga, plus have them visit the water hole while we had time at the hides.

Enjoy!

A female southern masked weaver perched high in the branches in the back garden.  Not a great shot; I included it to show the difference between the male and female. 1/320 sec, f5.6, ISO 450
A female southern masked weaver perched high in the branches in the back garden. Not a great shot; I included it to show the difference between the male and female.
1/320 sec, f5.6, ISO 450
A southern masked weaver works on his nest upside down. 1/320 sec, f5.6, ISO 280
A southern masked weaver works on his nest upside down.
1/320 sec, f5.6, ISO 280
The weaver makes a retreat after having a quick splash in the water. 1/1600 sec, f9.0, ISO 1250
The weaver makes a retreat after having a quick splash in the water.
1/1600 sec, f9.0, ISO 1250
A southern masked weaver flanked by a pair of cape glossy starlings.  I love the contrast between the colouring of the weaver and the starlings. 1/1600 sec, f9.0, ISO 1250
A southern masked weaver flanked by a pair of cape glossy starlings. I love the contrast between the colouring of the weaver and the starlings.
1/1600 sec, f9.0, ISO 1250
The early stages of the nest process.  The grasses are woven together with a great deal of intricacy. 1/500 sec, f5.6, ISO 100
The early stages of the nest process. The grasses are woven together with a great deal of intricacy.
1/500 sec, f5.6, ISO 100
Several southern masked weavers work on building the perfect nest. 1/500 sec, f5.6, ISO 140
Several southern masked weavers work on building the perfect nest.
1/500 sec, f5.6, ISO 140
A spectacled weaver eyes up the water hole before heading down for a drink. 1/2500 sec, f7.1, ISO 5000
A spectacled weaver eyes up the water hole before heading down for a drink.
1/2500 sec, f7.1, ISO 5000
A southern masked weaver perched above the watering hole. 1/1600 sec, f9.0, ISO 1250
A southern masked weaver perched above the watering hole.
1/1600 sec, f9.0, ISO 1250

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