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!

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A pair of crested francolin, part of a large group that were foraging along the side of the road.
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My personal favourite, the lilac breasted roller.
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A female bearded woodpecker seen on an early morning game drive.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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

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A red bishop in breeding plumage.  

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A pair of blue-cheeked bee-eaters.

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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!

2020-01-19: Barred Owl

I spotted a barred owl hanging out in the backyard a couple of days ago while I was having lunch.  It spent a bit of time trying to hunt, and the rest trying to nap.  It was -28C, so I took the photos through my window, as it was just too cold for me to get out to take a couple of pictures.  Besides, Murphy’s Law would have kicked in, and by the time I got bundled up enough to head outside and take a few images, the owl would have flown away.

Thankfully things have warmed up a little bit here; still cold, but at least not bitterly cold.  I hope your week ahead is looking up too 🙂

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Trying to catch a few zzz’s

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Puffed up against the cold.
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Scanning for something to eat.

2019-12-29: Lilac Breasted Rollers

I missed the opportunity to get out and photograph my local birds today, which is a bit of a shame, as it has been a lovely day with mild temperatures and blue skies.  So instead, I’ll share a few images of my favourite African bird, the stunning lilac-breasted roller.

This will be the last Sunday post not only of the year, but of the decade.  It seems a bit hard to believe.  I don’t yet have a grand plan for the blog in 2020; so far, the only plan is to continue to share images and some of the stories that go alone with the photos, and see how things go.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead, and many thanks for your support throughout the year.

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2019-12-15: Photo Art – Birds

For the last few days, it has been very quiet around the yard in terms of bird life.  While last weekend the chickadees, nuthatches and flickers seemed to be around non-stop, the past few days, even on my walks, I haven’t heard a twitter.

With birds on my mind, I decided to play around with some of my photo art edits for my post this week.  This is a topic that I have worked on previously; if you missed some of the posts from a couple of months ago, here are two links to take a look at:

2019-10-20: Photo Art – Owls

2019-09-15: Photo Arts – Birds

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A saddle billed stork resting along the shore of a small dam.
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A pair of Verreaux’s eagle owls
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A helmeted guinea fowl
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A long-crested eagle perched at the top of a dead tree.
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One of my favourite birds to see on safari, a lilac breasted roller.  Just a little brighter than you may see in real life 🙂

2019-12-08: Random photos from walks

I always take a camera with me when I go out for walks with my dog (or on the rare occasion when I go for a walk on my own).  I haven’t taken too many images in recent months, and as such hadn’t downloaded the card in quite some time.  While out on Thursday, I saw a beautiful barred owl near my house, and while reviewing those pictures, I found a few others I had forgotten that I had taken.

This is a bit of a random assortment of images taken since July, while out and about on walks.

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I see this young buck frequently around the neighbourhood now, but this was the first time that I had spotted him while out on a walk.
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A violet-green swallow seen while out on a walk on the dikes in Pitt Meadows.
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A proof shot that there are moose in the neighbourhood, even if they are seen very infrequently.
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A barred owl spotted on my morning walk last week.
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An early morning along the Pitt River.

2019-10-27: Weaver Nests

I’ve been having fun this weekend working on some of my photo art images, but decided to share a few images of interesting weaver nests today.  They caught my eye, and I decided to just go with it.

On my most recent trip, we saw communal nests of the red-billed buffalo weaver and the typical hanging basket style nest of southern masked weaver (that’s my best guess, as we didn’t actually see anyone in residence).

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Loads of tiny basket style nests, abandoned for the season.
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These nests are built on the north and east branches of the tree; I believe in order to keep the nest cooler.  Our guide told us that this was one way to determine direction if you are lost out on the bush.

On previous trips I saw several other great examples.

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In Etosha National Park, the Sociable weaver nests had gotten so large, it brought down the branch of the tree.
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One of the many sociable weavers still in residence in the broken nest.
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In Amboseli National Park, another tree filled with the basket style nests of the weavers.  I don’t recall which variety would have bee the architects here.
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A black headed weaver gathering supplies to work on a nest in Queen Elizabeth Park in Uganda.