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.
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’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.
Now that February is ending, it won’t be long before it is time to bring in the feeders, as the birds start having better sources of food available. Mostly though, it’s to mitigate the risk of having bears close to the house; if I could, I would keep feeders out year round to watch the birds.
With the cold and damp, I’ve not spent much time outside snapping shots of the chickadees and pine siskins, so instead, I found some bird images I hadn’t worked through yet from my last trip. There is one mystery bird in there, that I didn’t write the name down when I saw them, but I am hoping a friend based in South Africa will be able to help me out – fingers crossed.
This barred owl seems to be having good success in the yard with either mice or shrews that are running around under the snow. It was also eyeing up the flock of pine siskins that have been around, but I haven’t seen it have any success in catching one of those – at least not while I have been watching.