2021-04-26: Monochrome Monday

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.

2021-04-25: Hornbills

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.

A yellow-billed hornbill with a bite of lunch.
A red-billed hornbill perched in the late afternoon.
A southern ground hornbill, along with a pair of egyptian geese.

2020-04-05: Sunrise to sunset during safari

I’m working on a guest post for a friend doing an Armchair safari series, and thought I would share the images here as well.  I decided that the theme of my post would be sunrise to sunset on safari; showcasing images from dawn till dusk while out in the bush.  These are all shot during my last trip to South Africa and were from all of the camps that I stayed at.  I would have to plan a lot more in advance while out in the field to have a sunrise to sunset images from a single day (note to self, do that next trip!).

Rather than a highlight reel of amazing sightings, these are just a collection of moments out in the bush.

I hope you enjoy.

6am - Lions
6am – Lions.  Two of the Torchwood Pride greet each other.

7am - Hyena and Impala
7am – Hyena and Impala.  A group of impala look on wearily as a hyena approaches down the road.

8am - Elephants
8am – Elephants.  A pair of youngsters tussle while the older elephants graze nearby.  

9am - Giraffe
9am – Giraffe.  A giraffe bull paused in the road allowing me to capture this image while on the way back to camp for breakfast.

10am - Waterbuck
10am – Waterbuck.  A waterbuck heads towards the dam for a drink.

11am - Hippos
11am – Hippos. A group of hippos making their way back to the water to beat the midday heat.

12pm - Hornbill
12pm – Yellow-billed hornbill.  A “flying banana” perched just beyond the deck at camp.

1pm - Infrared Landscape
1pm – Landscape in infrared.  Midday was a great time to wander around camp with my infrared filter and play around with long exposure photos. This was shot from the deck at Lion Sands Tinga Lodge.

2pm - Purple Crested Turaco
2pm – Purple Crested Turaco.  I tried for ages to capture a good image of this beautiful bird from my balcony, but given they like to be deep in the branches, it really wasn’t meant to be.  It was a fun way to spend part of the afternoon though.

3pm - Cheetah
3pm – Cheetah.  We’d only been out on game drive for about 10 minutes when we came across this cheetah, and had the chance to watch her stalking some impala.  They spotted her right away so supper wasn’t in her immediate future.

4pm - Wild Dog
4pm – Wild Dog.  Spending time with wild dogs always makes my heart happy.  We had a good half an hour with them before they took off in all directions, setting out to hunt.

5pm - Honey Badgers
5pm – Honey Badgers. I had always wanted to see honey badgers and on my first game drive of the trip I finally had my chance.  It only lasted about 30 seconds but it certainly was thrilling, even if all I could get were butt shots!

6pm - Leopard
6pm – Leopard.  We were heading back to camp for drinks and dinner and came across this leopard heading in to this large puddle to drink.  It was a quick stop before the leopard was on its way.



2019-08-04: Hornbills

As mentioned last week, I am going to focus on birds for my Sunday posts during the month of August.  I had some really interesting bird sightings during my recent travels, and I am looking forward to editing and sharing some of the moments.

I decided to start off with hornbills; the only reason being that a hornbill was the first bird image I took when I got to the bush, so it seemed a logical enough place to start.  I posted a few hornbill images back in June as a wordless Wednesday post; you can find those here.

During my travels, I saw 5 different species of hornbill, including several sightings on two different properties of the endangered southern ground hornbill.  Our rangers shared some fascinating information about these birds; the southern ground hornbill has helpers to raise their chick; these baby-sitters put in several years of assistance duties before they take on the responsibility of mating themselves.

A family group of 3 southern ground hornbills foraging in the early morning near Lion Sands River Lodge.  South Africa, May 2019.

This hornbill was also in a group of 3, seen while staying at Kings Camp in the Timbavati.  The group were spread over over several different trees and fallen branches.  May, 2019.

More common to see while out on game drives and the red and yellow billed hornbills (or banana head and chill pepper as they seem to be called quite often :))  Our rangers also explained some interesting facts about the breeding habits of the hornbills; I am not 100% certain if this applies to all the African hornbill species, but during breeding, the female will lay eggs into a tree hollow, and then allow herself to be sealed up inside the tree cavity with only a small opening to allow the male to pass food in to her and the chicks once they hatch.  The female removes all her flight feathers during this time and allows them to regrow while nesting, and as such she is completely reliant on her mate for her survival, as well as the survival of their offspring.  Such trust!

A red-billed hornbill showing off some serious flexibility.  I’m pretty sure there are yoga poses that look like this 🙂

A yellow-billed hornbill perched against the clear blue sky.

A pair of red-billed hornbills spotted at sunset.

These last two hornbills are less common (at least for me) to see while out in the bush.  I’ve seen the grey hornbill and crowned hornbill each on only one other occasion.  Both of these were spotted while out on game drives from Lion Sands River Lodge.

A grey hornbill perched in the tree tops.  Lion Sands River Lodge, May 2019.

A crowned hornbill giving us a backwards glance.

2017-08-17: WPC: Ooh, Shiny!

The WordPress photo challenge topic for the week are things that are distracting, and I need look no further than birds.  Just yesterday, while taking my dog for an afternoon walk, a flash of yellow caught my eye in the bush, and I ended up rather mesmerized at the side of the road trying to photograph the birds flitting passed, mostly so I could try and identify them later.  Those photos aren’t worth sharing, but I’m no different whilst on holiday either.  Birds are definitely one of the things that stop me in my tracks so I can gaze at them in wonder.

I hope you enjoy my selection of photos.

20170817_WPC Ooh Shiny
A black korhaan, also known as the helicopter bird, spotted while out on a game drive in Etosha National Park.  Namibia, April 2017.

20170817_WPC Ooh Shiny-6
A flock of red billed quilea taking to the air.  Okavango Delta, Botswana.  May 2017.

20170817_WPC Ooh Shiny-5
A southern ground hornbill spotted on an afternoon game drive in the Okavango Delta.  We were very fortunate to see these endangered birds on several game drives in the delta.  Botswana, May 2017.

20170817_WPC Ooh Shiny-4
A grey go-away bird running along the edge of the Boteti River in Botswana.  Granted it isn’t the best bird shot, but I loved the gesture of it too much not to include it.  He looks like he’s doing a jig!  Botswana, May 2017.

20170817_WPC Ooh Shiny-3
A pale chanting goshawk perched next to the Boteti Rover in the early morning, likely looking for some breakfast amongst the frogs and other small creatures at the waters edge.

20170817_WPC Ooh Shiny-2
I think I need to bring a magnetic bumper sticker the next time I go on safari that says “We brake for rollers”.  I’ve never seen a lilac-breasted roller I didn’t want to snap a photo of.  They are such beautiful birds, with such a gorgeous array of colours.  Botswana, May 2017.


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WPC: Ooh, Shiny!

2016-05-15: Hornbills

I’m out of town this weekend, and got this post ready ahead of time, as I knew I wouldn’t be back in time to do my usual “What I’ve seen this week” post.  I hope you enjoy this instead.

According to a quick Google search, there are 29 different hornbills in Southern Africa.  So far, I’ve seen 5 of them.  The variety of shapes and colours was the reason I wanted to create this post.

Now for the photos!

A crowned hornbill. South Africa, April 2015

A red-billed hornbill. Botswana, April 2015

A yellow-billed hornbill (or as my Dad calls them, flying bananas). Botswana, April 2015

A ground hornbill seen on my first trip to South Africa, April 2013.

A grey hornbill. South Africa, May 2015

A red-billed hornbill. Botswana, April 2015

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