2020-09-13: Uganda Revisited

For the last few blog posts, I have been revisiting my journey through Uganda and editing some photos that I passed by the first go around. It’s been wonderful to review these images and relive the memories that I carry of that wonderful journey. Today and tomorrow will be the last of Uganda revisited, and after that, I am going to be moving on to revisiting my time in Kenya.

These images were taken at Queen Elizabeth National Park while staying at Ishasha Wilderness Lodge, along the Kazinga Channel while staying at Mweya Lodge, and in the Kibale Forest, where I stayed at Primate Lodge.

I hope you enjoy!

A yellow throated long claw seen in burnt vegetation along the side of the road, just after coming into Queen Elizabeth Park from Bwindi.
A beautiful sunset while on a game drive from Ishasha Lodge.
A leopard and a topi. This leopard has in fact taken the topi’s small fawn which was why she was standing and looking at the leopard so intensely.
A group of pied kingfisher seen while on a birding boat cruise. The number of pied kingfisher we saw was unbelievable, as they were nesting in the tall sand banks of the channel. They were there by the hundreds.
A woodland kingfisher see along the Kazinga Channel
Traditional boats along the Kazinga Channel.
A red-tailed monkey I spotted while walking around the grounds of Primate Lodge.
A malachite kingfisher seen while on a birding cruise along the Kazinga channel.
Toti the chimp telling our group what he really felt about us (assuming that means the same in chimp language!)

2020-07-19: Yellow-rumped warbler

I was out with my dog at lunchtime this past week and saw an unfamiliar bird hopping through the lawn. I had just enough time to dash back inside and grab my camera to get a few shots to try and ID it later. I was actually a little disappointed when I did, as the yellow-rumped warbler summers to the north of here and winters far to the south in California and Mexico; Prince George is part of the migratory zone, so it was already on its journey southward again, reinforcing the notion that summer is waning (when weather wise, it has never really begun).

I’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the hummingbird numbers over the past week and I am sure within a week or so they will all be gone. I will miss hearing their buzzing while out for walks and my daily feeder fillings.

The seasons move on, whether we want them to or not, and I am going to keep this brief as the sun has finally come out, and it is time to get out and enjoy the few hours of summery weather we will get this weekend.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

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.

2020-03-08: 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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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.

2019-09-15: 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

2019-08-18: Birds – The ones that are hard to get

Everyone that enjoys watching birds and photographing them knows that there are some species that are harder than others to get images of.  I love the challenge of trying to capture that elusive clear image of a bird that tends to hide in the densest part of the treetops.

Locally, we have beautiful birds like the Western Tanager; a bird that I have only seen a handful of times, and photographed only on a rare occasion.  The incredible yellow plumage on the males makes them targets for predatory birds, so sticking to dense areas makes a lot of sense.  I admired the beautiful song of the Hermit Thrush for years before I finally saw a small brown and white bird singing, and had my first clue to discover the identity I had wondered about for so long.

While traveling, I kept up with trying to ID and photograph birds hiding in treetops and thickets.  Some were deep amongst the leafy trees foraging for fruits, some were naturally shy and trying hard to stay out of sight, and sometimes, it was just unlucky positioning of the vehicle, and having to shoot through branches and grasses, before the bird flew away.

Here are a few of my shots of some of the more challenging birds spotted on my last trip.

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I’ve had success with images of African Hoopoes in the past, but this trip, I seemed to spot them only when they were behind a bunch of branches, or as they were flying away.

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A Purple-crested Turaco.  Such a stunning bird, which I was fortunate enough to see at two different camps, but only high in the treetops, feasting on tiny fruits.  This was the best shot I managed over a couple of days trying!

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A green pigeon devouring figs.  There were so many birds in this giant tree, and I had to stand underneath to take pictures.  It was a dangerous place to be, and I nearly got pooped on more than once.

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Another glimpse of a Purple-crested Turaco.

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A green pigeon pausing from its afternoon meal.

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A white-crested helmet shrike.  Sadly, I only saw this species once, and this is the best of the images I could get.  At least you can make out the yellow, wattled eye ring.

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A chinspot batis that I spotted outside of my room at Chitwa Chitwa.  I went out on the patio and was lucky to get this shot before the bird flew deeper into the trees.

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A black-backed puffback, also spotted from the deck at Chitwa Chitwa.  The late morning and early afternoon hours between game drives are great times for bird watching from the comfort of your room 🙂

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My views of adult bateleur eagles are usually of them flying away, and not managing any shots.  This is as good as it gets, so far.  There’s always next time!

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A different hoopoe, in a different tree, but still obscured by branches.

2019-04-07: Birds

A random selection of bird images this week!

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Oftentimes, spotting a congregation of vultures like this, and heading to where they are circling yields an interesting discovery… but in this case, they were all just hovering over a bare patch of desert beyond this bush.

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A group of wattled cranes seen in Botswana.

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A little bee-eater ruffling its feathers.

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Try as I might, I am unable to identify these raptors.  They were spotted on a game drive in Botswana from the Leroo La Tau camp.

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A red-billed quelea flock at sunset.

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Red-billed quelea leaving a roosting spot.  That small tree was absolutely vibrating with energy while they were there.

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An African harrier hawk taking some grief from a pigeon.

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My personal favourite, the lilac breasted roller.

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A Meyer’s parrot spotted in Botswana.  This was the first wild parrot I’d ever seen.

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A Meyer’s parrot.