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.

2019-10-20: Photo Art – Owls

I recently saw a beautiful abstract painting of an owl, and it inspired me to work on some of my owl images in a different way.  All of these were created in Topaz Studio, using a variety of different filters and techniques.  It’s been a lot of fun playing around with these this week.

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You can find these images, and lots of others, over on my gallery page.

2019-09-23: Monochrome Monday

Here are a few images of red-billed quelea murmurations that I hadn’t finished editing when I was doing my month of posts on birds.

I was a little unsure of converting these all to black and white, because they had beautiful sunset colours; but stripping it back does change the focus and impression.  What do you think?

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Quelea stretching from tree to tree.
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Two flocks off in the distance.
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Watching a flock of a thousand or more quelea fly by while on a sundowner drinks stop.

Wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead!

2019-09-15: Photo Arts – Birds

As much as I had hoped that my photo art topic would allow me to get comfortable with Topaz Studio version 2, I haven’t actually even tried it yet.  Fingers crossed that this week coming up I can make some time to a watch a tutorial or two and get familiar with the program operation, but for now, I have stuck with the original version, and I am really happy with the results of this weeks experiments.

I decided to focus on birds this week, and played around with two basic combinations of software.  The sunbird and hornbill were edited primarily using the Topaz AI Remix module, while the rest were done with Impression (along with the usual basic edits to start for tone, cropping, etc.).

Do you have a favourite this week?

I hope you enjoy, and wishing you a great week ahead.

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Lilac breasted roller
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White bellied sunbird
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White backed vulture
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Ground hornbill
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African wood hoopoe

2019-08-31: Birds – Shades of Blue

Travelling through southern Africa, pretty much any time of year, will provide the opportunity to see a great variety of birds.  Today I chose to focus on ones with feathers in shades of blue.  I hope you enjoy the variety of images today, and wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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A lilac breasted roller
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A burchell’s starling
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A white-bellied sunbird
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A pair of cape glossy starlings
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A green wood-hoopoe
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A cape glossy starling
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A wire-tailed swallow
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A double-collared sunbird
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A lilac breasted roller