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 🙂

2018-06-17: Monthly Photo Projects – Birds

I had planned on creating a post about hummingbirds this week, but it’s just not going to happen.  I have been out taking photos of them as much as possible, but I haven’t had a chance to edit them yet.  As it’s Father’s Day today, I want to spend time with Pops rather than at my computer editing images.

Below is a selection of bird images from my travels that I haven’t had a chance to share yet.

Hummingbirds next week – I promise.

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A huge gathering of marabou storks and white backed vultures on the banks of the Boteti River in Botswana.  May, 2017.
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Groups of darters and cormorants in the early morning fog at one of the dams on Phinda Game Reserve.  A few hippos in there for good measure 🙂

 

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A pair of tawny eagles spotted in the Okavango Delta.  May 2017.
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My best guess at identification is a banded snake eagle.  This bird was up and away very quickly; spotted on a game drive through Amboseli National Park.  September, 2016.
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A Coqui Francolin spotted in the Masai Mara.  September, 2016.

2017-01-24: WPC Graceful

I can’t think of anything more graceful than watching birds in flight.  Trying to capture that grace and beauty with my camera is a challenge that I am always happy to undertake 🙂

 

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A tawny eagle, Masai Mara, Kenya.
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A pied kingfisher carries home the catch of the day.
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A pair of gulls catch the eye of a marabou stork.
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A pelican soars of the Kazinga Channel in Uganda.
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A fish eagle crosses the river, heading to its mate.

Please visit:
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.

and

https://shopvida.com/collections/voices/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.

WPC: Graceful

2016 Year in Review #5

I decided to take a look back at my most “popular” posts of 2016 – going only by the number of post views; since many of them are from the earlier part of 2016, I’ll be sharing them again over the next few days, along with a new photo related to the the original post.

I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane 🙂

Coming in at #5 is the post 2016-02-07: What I’ve seen this week.  I was lucky to see a pair of eagles during my daytime walk back in February, under lovely blue skies.

The photo below was one that I originally dismissed, but looking at it again, I really like the triangles of light hitting the eye, beak and back, which tie together with all the triangles created with the mess of tree branches.

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Please visit:
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.

and

https://shopvida.com/collections/voices/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.

2016-02-28: What I’ve seen this week

This week has flown by, as most of them seem to do lately.  Rather than ramble on and on, I’ll get straight to the pictures.

I hope you enjoy, and wishing everyone a wonderful week 🙂

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A pileated woodpecker that I spotted at the top of my road Tuesday morning. 1/640sec, f4.0, ISO125
(Taken with my new Panasonic camera. I’m pretty impressed with it, and it certainly is nice and light to take on walks)
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I glanced out the window while in my office, and noticed the pileated woodpecker in the forest behind my house. This one was shot through the window with my Nikon / Tamron combo.
1/500sec, f6.3, ISO640 @ 600mm
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I ventured outside to get a few shots, keeping a safe distance so I wouldn’t startle the woodpecker.
1/640sec, f6.3, ISO 2200
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Not a classic bird photo, but I love the contrast of the blurry branches and the nicely lit eye.
1/640sec, f6.3, ISO 2500 @600mm
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I ventured out to West Lake yesterday, because as you can see, it was just too nice to be indoors. There was quite a brisk breeze, and the place was deserted save for one other car. Spencer had a great time sniffing along the edge of the frozen lake.
1/640sec, f8, ISO 125
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An eagle’s nest high in the treetops. I imagine once the tree is in full leaf, many people sitting at the benches below wouldn’t even realize that it is there.
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I noticed movement in the nest, but was having a hard time seeing what it was. On full zoom, I finally caught sight of an eagle 🙂 1/640sec, f4.0, ISO 160
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An explosion of movement that I wasn’t prepared for at all. I had no idea there were two eagles in the nest until they decided quite suddenly to vacate it and head for another nearby tree. Given the proximity to my house, I wonder if this is the pair I saw a few weeks ago at the deer kill site?
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Eagles always look quite fierce to me, so it’s hard to tell if this is a dirty look, or just a normal one.
1/1250sec, f4.0, ISO200
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A bit of preening in the sun.
1/1250sec, f4.0, ISO 160
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One final shot before it was time to head home.
1/1250sec, f3.8, ISO 125

2016-02-21: What I’ve seen this week

The week ended on a very interesting note, and has left me with a fair number of photos to go through.  On the advice of one of the members of the photo group, I went east of town yesterday hoping to see the northern hawk owls that had been spotted earlier in the day; I managed to see one, perched so high up in a tree, the first time I drove straight past it.

Today, I decided to take a drive about an hour out of town to a park, to scope out potential photography areas for the spring.  It was just too lovely a day to be indoors.  I had Spencer with me and we had a nice walk along the frozen marsh, but on the way out, I started to pull over closer to the side of the road to let a truck past, and the combination of ice covered road and extremely soft snow on the side, I ended up with the passenger side wheels stuck.  A lady tried to give me a tow (who it turns out is also part of my photo group, but we hadn’t met yet), but that didn’t work so we set off to get into cell range so I could call for a tow truck.  While I waited for the tow, it gave me a bit of time to catch up on some podcasts I’d been wanting to listen to, and honestly, the people around here are lovely.  Every single person heading in or out of the park stopped to see if they could help in any way.  I’m very grateful to the kindness of strangers.

And if I hadn’t been delayed an hour, I likely wouldn’t have seen a bald eagle perched high in a tree on the side of the highway (thoughtfully, right near a truck pull out so I could safely pull over).  And since many wise photographers have always said “look behind you”, I turned to scan the opposite side of the highway, and saw two more perched in a tree and one soaring above, calling repeatedly.  So an owl Saturday, and four bald eagles (plus a slightly lighter wallet) on Sunday.  All in all, an excellent weekend.

And with that long and rambling weekend description behind us, on to the photos.

Enjoy, and have a lovely week.

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Couldn’t ask for a prettier late winter day – warm out and sunny blue skies.
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Moonrise, peachy coloured clouds… it was too pretty not to snap a quick photo on our late afternoon walk.
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A slightly odd shot that didn’t quite turn out as planned, but that never seems to stop me from including them anyways. A couple night ago while out with Spencer, I was intrigued by the fast moving clouds and the bright moon. I decided to play around with the new camera and it wasn’t quite doing what I anticipated, but I do like the rainbow effect around the moon.
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The brilliant blue sky, bright sun and fluffy clouds reminded me a little of some of the sky shots I took in Botswana…. until you look down and see the glare from the snow!
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I’ve had requests for Spencer to be included in my posts, so here he is – enjoying his day out.
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The eagle I spotted from the road while driving.
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The fourth eagle of the afternoon

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I waited around just long enough for the second eagle to get its face out from behind the branch.

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2016-02-07: What I’ve seen this week

It was quite an exciting week for photos this week!  Given the continued icy conditions on my road, I’ve been driving a short distance away to one of the main roads to walk Spencer.  Tuesday morning, there were a huge group of ravens and magpies surrounding a ravine, so I stopped the car to see what  had happened.  During the night, the local coyote pack took down a deer, and the birds were tucking into the leftovers (evening at 9am, maybe only 1/4 of the deer remained.

We set off again at lunch for another walk, and this time the ravens and magpies were absent; while walking I figured out why – a beautiful bald eagle was watching over the area.  I grabbed a few shots and he or she flew off through the field, and I carried on with my walk.  On the drive home, I spotted the eagle again and grabbed a few more shots through the open window of the car, before realizing that there were two eagles in the area.  I followed one to the end of the cul de sac, and was lucky enough to be able to get a few more shots in before it was time to get home and get back to work.

Fingers crossed this coming week brings more wonderful photo opportunities.

Have a great week!

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On Monday afternoon I spent a bit more time with the northern hawk owl. It was late afternoon and snowing lightly, and he chose the top of the tallest tree possible to perch. This was the best of the few shots I got.
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First spot of the eagle; this was only the second time I have seen eagles in my neighbourhood. The first time was a fleeting glimpse far too quick for me to capture.
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The deer carcass was at the base of this hill. The previous day, the snow was untouched; there certainly was a large amount of activity that went on in the night.
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I stopped the car, put on the four way flashers, and took a few photos (I live in a really quiet area so it’s not a safety issue).
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This is the second of the eagles I saw. I don’t know of the distinguishing features between sexes, so I don’t know if I saw two males, two females or one of each.
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I couldn’t have asked for better light. Midday sun up north in the winter comes in at a pretty gentle angle.
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The branch shadows are a bit unfortunately, but at least the body positioning leaves the stunning yellow eye exposed.
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Up and away. I did briefly see the pair when I returned home, circling high up, reminding me of the vultures in southern Africa.
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What more could you ask for on a Tuesday lunch break?
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I always love the opportunity to capture birds in flight. 1/1600sec, f5.6, ISO 180

The Daily Post: From Every Angle

After seeing this challenge, I decided to go through the photos I took of fish eagles throughout my last trip to Southern Africa.  I saw them from a lot of different vantage points, including from above, which is a unique way to watch birds.

I hope you enjoy!

Looking into the river, looking for the next meal. 1/1000sec, f10, ISO 400
Looking into the river, looking for the next meal.
1/1000sec, f10, ISO 400
This juvenile fish eagle was perched in a tree across from my room.  The branches in the background are distracting, but I couldn't ask him to move, and I didn't want to spend ages photoshopping them out. 1/32sec, f5.6, ISO100
This juvenile fish eagle was perched in a tree across from my room. The branches in the background are distracting, but I couldn’t ask him to move, and I didn’t want to spend ages photoshopping them out.
1/32sec, f5.6, ISO100
The tilt of the head shows off the hooked book. 1/320sec, f5.6, ISO 100
The tilt of the head shows off the hooked book.
1/320sec, f5.6, ISO 100
An attempt at dinner as the light fades.  This time, he was unsuccessful. 1/800sec, f5.6, ISO 6400
An attempt at dinner as the light fades. This time, he was unsuccessful.
1/800sec, f5.6, ISO 6400
A view from behind.1/800sec, f7.1, ISO 800
A view from behind.1/800sec, f7.1, ISO 800
Watching a fish eagle fly from above, during a helicopter tour of the Okavango Delta. 1/1000sec, f9.0, ISO 900
Watching a fish eagle fly from above, during a helicopter tour of the Okavango Delta.
1/1000sec, f9.0, ISO 900
Capturing a fly by. 1/250 sec, f5.6, ISO 160
Capturing a fly by.
1/250 sec, f5.6, ISO 160
A pair of fish eagle perch along the river. 1/200sec, f7.1, ISO 200
A pair of fish eagles perch along the river.
1/200sec, f7.1, ISO 200
Flying off into the sunset. 1/800sec, f5.6, ISO 2200
Flying off into the sunset.
1/800sec, f5.6, ISO 2200

Daily Post Photo Challenge

Fish Eagles

On my first trip to South Africa, I completely blanked on the name of this bird while watching a pair perched in a tree along the river, and asked my guide the brilliant question “What is their primary prey?”  Fish.  Oh dear… I felt quite silly. I learned a bit more about the fish eagles this past trip (thank you to Graeme, Rebecca and Vincent for all the valuable information throughout my stay!)  You can tell the difference between the males and females by the white front feathers.  The males have a shirt, and the girls have a skirt.  I had serious trouble distinguishing between the two at times though – those fish eagle girls sometimes have VERY short skirts!  I’ll give my best guess as to the sexes in the pictures below.  I’ve got a 50/50 shot of being right. Have a great evening!

Maybe not the nicest perch, but it certainly was a popular one.  During my two weeks at Zimanga, I saw herons, kingfishers, fish eagles and an assortment of other birds on this dam structure. 1/320 sec, f5.6, ISO 640
Maybe not the nicest perch, but it certainly was a popular one. During my two weeks at Zimanga, I saw herons, kingfishers, fish eagles and an assortment of other birds on this dam structure.  By looks I think this is a male, but I think this may be the eagle that I was told was indeed a female with a very short skirt.
1/320 sec, f5.6, ISO 640
A male fish eagle gave us a fly by while we were out doing our monitoring activities.  The more I look at this picture, the more it looks like I (badly) photoshopped the bird into the background.  I can assure you I didn't! 1/800 sec, f5.6 ISO 800
A male fish eagle gave us a fly by while we were out doing our monitoring activities. The more I look at this picture, the more it looks like I (badly) photoshopped the bird into the background. I can assure you I didn’t!
1/800 sec, f5.6 ISO 800
A female fish eagle along the shores of Jozini Dam.  I saw several fish eagles during my morning boat trip, but unfortunately for my photography, most were too far away to get a reasonable picture on a somewhat bumpy boat ride. 1/1250 sec, f5.6, ISO 320
A female fish eagle along the shores of Jozini Dam. I saw several fish eagles during my morning boat trip, but unfortunately for my photography, most were too far away to get a reasonable picture on a somewhat bumpy boat ride.
1/1250 sec, f5.6, ISO 320
I'm not even going to hazard a guess on the shirt vs skirt for this photo! 1/1600 sec, f6.3, ISO 400
I’m not even going to hazard a guess on the shirt vs skirt for this photo!
1/1600 sec, f6.3, ISO 400