2020-06-28: Hummingbirds

For a while it seemed that all hope was lost for hummingbirds this season, as all but a couple disappeared within two weeks of showing up (that’s what Prince George weather does to you!). But I kept filling my feeders for the couple that were around and enjoyed the brief glimpses that I had. Then quite suddenly it was a flurry if activity, at one point counting 15 individuals, and I’ve been filling up 5 feeders at least once every second day, if not more often.

They don’t stick around long so I am enjoying it while it lasts, although I do call them my little piggy birds.

While I would much prefer to get shots in a natural environment, we have so few flowers that the feeders are the only attractant, and they disappear deep into the forest when not feeding.

Hummingbirds galore!

2020-06-07: Local Birds (and more)

We have had some truly dismal weather the past few weeks, so much so that almost all of the hummingbirds have disappeared, presumably to find somewhere a little more hospitable to nest. But, I have seen a fair amount of wildlife, even though I haven’t had a chance to take pictures of all of it. The western tanager couple is back, and I see them flit through the yard usually once a day. Out on my walks, there have been frequent sightings of hermit thrushes, which surprises me after all the years I listened to them singing without being able to see one. There have also been a few different warblers; the Townsend’s, which I didn’t manage to get a photo of, and the Wilson’s warbler, which I managed a couple of ID shots of.

A male western tanager
A Wilson’s warbler
A hermit thrush

In addition to the variety of birds, I’ve seen both black bear, a cinnamon bear, and I finally caught a glimpse of the lynx that I saw tracks of all through the winter. I was walking my dog early one morning and saw it at the side of the road off in the distance, and it was so far away that I needed my camera to figure out what it was! Gratefully it stayed put for enough time to let me snap one photo, and then it evaporated into the bushes.

That’s all for today, wishing everyone a wonderful week.

2020-05-18: Monochrome Monday

I had grand plans for photography and posts this past week, but my schoolwork got me bogged down, so much so that I even missed my usual Sunday post.  Now it’s nearing the end of the long weekend and the weather has cooperated to get out for a round of golf, so a quick image and then I am off.  After a long winter and lots of time during the week spent at the computer, I have to have my priorities!  Have a great week everyone!

 

20200518_MM
A grey heron preening in the early morning, seen while out on a game drive from Lion Sands River Lodge.

2020-05-03: Backyard Birds

I’ve been letting the feeders run to empty now, given the likelihood of bears in the back yard, but that hasn’t slowed down the volume of birds in the yard at all, at least not yet.  Today I spotted a new species for the first time, a Townsend’s Solitaire, and while I didn’t get a great image of it, at least it got me outside for a few minutes to capture the other visitors, before it started to rain.

The one bird I didn’t get any images of today is a hummingbird, and they have arrived back here as well.  They are one of my favourite birds to watch, and hearing them buzz and chatter from the bushes or investigate me when I am out walking the dog is one of the joys of summer.

Just a couple today, I hope you are also getting the chance to get outside and enjoy spring.

DSCF0191-Edit
I only got my camera out when this bird was spotted to try and snap a picture to help with identifying it.  Since it is a new species for me, I thought I would share, despite it being a bit blurry.

DSCF0192
A dark-eyed junco nibbling on seeds on the ground.  It is so nice not to be seeing snow any longer!

DSCF0207-Edit
A group of white crowned sparrows and house finches.  I am struggling to identify the brown and white striped bird in the bottom left corner.  I am pretty sure it is the same struggle I have every year!

2020-04-20: Monochrome Monday

Spotlights can add a strange colour cast to images, and rather than tinkering for ages with colour correction, I moved this to black and white to see how it would look, and loved the result.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week!

20200420_MM.jpg
A southern white-faced owl spotted while on the way back to camp while staying at Chitwa Chitwa in the Sabi Sands.

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.

 

 

2020-03-15: African Birds

It was far too cold for me to get out and photograph any local birds this week, so instead I have come up with quite a random assortment of African bird images to share this week.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.  Stay safe out there!

DSCF0531 copy-Edit
A pair of crested francolin, part of a large group that were foraging along the side of the road.

DSCF0890 copy-Edit
My personal favourite, the lilac breasted roller.

DSCF2467 copy-Edit
A female bearded woodpecker seen on an early morning game drive.

XT3X3188 copy-Edit
This photo makes me laugh, because when I look at it, I can hear the bird calling “Go Away”.  These are a pair of grey go-away birds.

XT3X3703
A coqui francolin pausing from it’s foraging to give me a photo op.

2020-03-08: Redpolls

For two seasons in a row, I didn’t see a single redpoll over the winter, but over the last few weeks they have been in my yard in droves, jostling for position on the feeders with the chickadees and adding little flashes of colour to the otherwise rather drab winter landscape.

I still find it a bit baffling that anything would consider my area a good place to spend the winter, but I do get that in comparison to places even further north, it’s probably a bit easier to make it through the season here.

I’m enjoying their presence while it lasts, as soon bird feeding time will be over as the bears begin to emerge.  There’s still a while to enjoy the birds as we are still pretty deep in the grip of winter, despite my best attempts to will the snow to melt with the power of my mind 🙂

Here are a few images I captured a couple of days ago, when it wasn’t -20C!

I’ll keep up my mantra, spring is coming soon!  Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

DSCF0154 copy-Edit

DSCF0176 copy-Edit

DSCF0178 copy-Edit

2020-02-23: Heading into the photo vault

I have some bird images that I took on my first trip to Africa, which I printed to fill a frame with 4 – 5″ x 5″ openings. While I see it every day, I haven’t really given it much thought in years.  But today when I looked at it, I wondered if with the skills and software I have now, I could improve upon those images.

All of these were shot in raw format with a Nikon D5100 with a 55-300mm kit lens.  I did the best I could at the time with editing them, but we all know that software has come a long way in the last 6 years, not to mention there has been a ton of room for improvement in my skills with editing (and still so much to learn).

A lot of these were taken during the harsh light of midday; but when you are out and about, you shoot what you see, when you see it.  You never know if you’ll even see the same species of bird again, let alone have another opportunity to photograph it.  And as it stands, after 6 trips to Africa, I have only seen carmine bee-eaters on that very first trip while in Zambia, so I am glad I did capture what images I could 🙂

For each image, first is the original edit, and second is the updated edit.

DSC_0465

DSC_0465 copy-Edit
A lilac breasted roller in flight.  A challenge I still enjoy trying to capture; these are my favourite bird.

DSC_0273

DSC_0273 copy1-Edit
A red bishop in breeding plumage.  

DSC_0141

DSC_0141 copy-Edit
A pair of blue-cheeked bee-eaters.

DSC_0146-Edit

DSC_0146 copy-Edit
A flock of carmine bee-eaters.

I think in every case, the re-edit made substantial improvement.  As soon as I remember to pick up a replacement light magenta ink cartridge for my printer, I am going to reprint these and replace the original images in that old frame.

I have a few other ideas of images I would like to explore from my archive, so watch this space in the coming weeks and months.

Have a great week!