2017-03-12: Kingfishers

Again this week I am replacing my “What I’ve seen this week” post with some photos from my time in Uganda.  Basically, because all I have seen recently is snow… and not the nice to photograph, snow glistening from sunlit trees… the regular, driveway and road clogging, get out the snow blower and get on with the day kind of snow.  Perhaps my desire for winter to end is a bit apparent!!! But anyways, on with today’s post.

During my time in Uganda, I took an afternoon boat trip along the Kazinga channel, where I saw more kingfishers in under 3 hours than I had seen in all my life before, combined.  I’m not exaggerating to say there were hundreds of individuals there.  There are nesting colonies along the river banks with dozens of birds at each site, and it just kept going and going.

Note, I meant to post this much earlier in the day, but I have been having nothing but issues with the WordPress “http error” when trying to upload images.  My workaround was loading them to Google Drive, downloading to my mobile phone and uploading to media that way, but it certainly isn’t an efficient work around.  Hopefully the “Happiness Engineers” will have some info as to how to resolve this issue.

Now, onto the pictures.

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It was easy enough to get a photo of a pair of kingfishers as we cruised along, but the tree had probably 20+ birds in it.

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Get off my branch!
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A malachite kingfisher spotted in the reed beds.
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A happy couple perched on an acacia tree.
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My first sighting of a woodland kingfisher – what a beauty!
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Another view of the malachite in the reeds. I spotted two of these while on the cruise, but only managed decent-ish photos of one.
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It was very loud from all the calling and chattering by the pied kingfishers.
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The pied kingfishers nest in the steep banks of the channel.
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Soaked after a dip.
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On the lookout.

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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 🙂

 

tawny-eagle
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

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: SMALL SUBJECTS

I had fun going through my archives for photos that would fit this challenge, as I was able to select ones that may not have ever been worked on otherwise.

I hope you enjoy, have a great evening.

A grey heron takes a pause atop a group of hippo.
A grey heron takes a pause atop a group of hippo. Timbavati Reserve, South Africa, May 2015. 1/200sec, f8.0, ISO 640
A pair of pygmy kingfishers are small no matter how you look at them.
A pair of pygmy kingfishers are small no matter how you look at them. Chitwa Chitwa Lodge, May 2015. 1/1250sec, f5.6, ISO220
A woodland kingfisher is dwarfed by the buffalo weaver nest he is sitting next to.
A woodland kingfisher is dwarfed by the buffalo weaver nest he is sitting next to. Chitwa Chitwa Lodge, May 2015 1/800sec, f5.6, ISO 560
Some of the large animals in the world look tiny when viewed in the vastness of the Okavango Delta by air.
Some of the largest animals in the world look tiny when viewed in the vastness of the Okavango Delta by air.  How many animals can you spot? Stanley’s Camp, Okavango Delta, April 2015 1/1250sec, f9.0, ISO 1100

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: SMALL SUBJECTS

Male Brown Hooded Kingfisher

Unlike the pygmy kingfisher, I didn’t have any success capturing the brown hooded kingfisher in the water.  Next time!  He did however provide me with lots of lovely photo opportunities.  My favourite will probably be a surprise to most, but there is just something about it that makes me smile.

Enjoy!

A beautiful pose to show off his lovely turquoise feathers.  The male brown hooded kingfisher has black shoulder feathers, while the female has brown  (Thanks to my handy Roberts Bird guide app for that information). 1/2500 sec, f7.1, ISO 4000
A beautiful pose to show off his lovely turquoise feathers. The male brown hooded kingfisher has black shoulder feathers, while the female has brown (Thanks to my handy Roberts Bird guide app for that information).
1/2500 sec, f7.1, ISO 4000
A bit of post splash bath preening. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A bit of post splash bath preening.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
The is how a bird deals with an itch on the top of its head. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
The is how a bird deals with an itch on the top of its head.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Take off! 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Take off!
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A nice smooth landing. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A nice smooth landing.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Striking a bit of a model pose, glancing over a raised wing, 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Striking a bit of a model pose, glancing over a raised wing,
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Trying out the crested feather looked. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Trying out the crested feather look.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A little shake from behind. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
A little shake from behind.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Believe it or not, my favourite of all my kingfisher photos.  It just makes me smile :)  And it reminds me of the photos of dogs caught mid shake - they just look so goofy. 1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000
Believe it or not, my favourite of all my brown hooded kingfisher photos. It just makes me smile 🙂 And it reminds me of the photos of dogs caught mid shake – they just look so goofy.
1/2500 sec, f9.0, ISO 2000

Male Brown Hooded Kingfisher

African Pygmy Kingfisher

I’ve finally worked my way through all the photos that I took of the pygmy kingfisher at the Mkombe hide at Zimanga.  Some of the action shots I’ve included are not as crisp as I would like, but I’ve posted them anyways as they do show a nice representation of what the pygmy kingfisher looks like in flight and when coming out of the water.  The sole crisp water shot that I managed to capture was done by pre-focusing on the spot I thought it would fly to (an ounce of technique and a pound of luck).

A pygmy kingfisher perches after a splash bath. 1/640sec, f5.6, ISO6400
A pygmy kingfisher perches after a splash bath.
1/640sec, f5.6, ISO6400

Pygmy Kingfisher - Model Pose

Once the clouds parted and the sun came out, the pygmy kingfishers colouring looked even more spectacular. 1/2000sec, f8.0, ISO2500
Once the clouds parted and the sun came out, the pygmy kingfishers colouring looked even more spectacular.
1/2000sec, f8.0, ISO2500
1/2000sec, f8.0, ISO2500
1/2000sec, f8.0, ISO2500

Pygmy Kingfisher

Striking the perfect model pose. 1/2000sec, f8., ISO 2500
Striking the perfect model pose.
1/2000sec, f8., ISO 2500

Pygmy Kingfisher - Model Pose

Peering downwards the water, planning for the next spot to take a bath. 1/200sec, f8.0, ISO2500
Peering downwards the water, planning for the next spot to take a bath.
1/200sec, f8.0, ISO2500
The kingfisher breaks back through the water while a laughing dove watches in the background.  1/1250sec, f14, ISO 2500
The kingfisher breaks back through the water while a laughing dove watches in the background.
1/1250sec, f14, ISO 2500
Heading for the water. 1/1250sec, f11. ISO 1250
Heading for the water.
1/1250sec, f11. ISO 1250
A blue waxbill comes into land at the waterhole, as the kingfisher takes her (or his) leave. 1/1250 sec, f11. ISO 5600
A blue waxbill comes into land at the waterhole, as the kingfisher takes her (or his) leave.
1/1250 sec, f11. ISO 5600
Getting closer in my attempt to pre focus, but still not quite there. 1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 1250
Getting closer in my attempt to pre-focus, but still not quite there.
1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 1250
Success!!! 1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 1250
Success!!!
1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 1250
A pygmy kingfisher flies past while a laughing dove stops by for a drink. 1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 4000
A pygmy kingfisher flies past while a laughing dove stops by for a drink.
1/1250 sec, f11, ISO 4000

Striped Kingfisher

Like the giant kingfisher I posted a couple days ago, this is the token photo that I have of a striped kingfisher.  And actually, I didn’t even realize I had it until I started going through all my kingfisher photos and rating them; going back and forth between a couple photos, I finally spotted the difference between this and the brown hooded kingfisher (photos to follow on the weekend).  I don’t mind admitting a bit of a “duh” moment, and that it took me ages to spot the different species amongst my photos.  Honestly, I am just grateful I came home with so many photos, as at the start of my trip, it seemed the only kingfisher sightings I was going to have was as they flew away from me down a drainage line or up into the trees beyond the reach of my camera.

A striped kingfisher pauses long enough on a bare branch for me to snap a photo. 1/400sec, f5.6, ISO160
A striped kingfisher pauses long enough on a bare branch for me to snap a photo.
1/400sec, f5.6, ISO160

Giant Kingfisher

I spent some time going through my kingfisher photos today, and am very happy that I will have lots of shots of both the brown hooded kingfisher and the pygmy kingfisher to come in the following days and weeks.  Unfortunately, I only managed a single photo of the giant kingfisher, and while it isn’t a fantastic shot, I thought I would post it anyways, as I think the variety in size and colouration of the kingfishers is phenomenal, and it seemed wrong to leave this one out.

We spotted this kingfisher when we were crossing from the north to the south side of the river.  We briefly parked on the bridge to take some photos, but the kingfisher was at a fair distance to begin with, and after I managed only two photos, flew away.

A giant kingfisher perches in a tree above the Mkhuze River. 1/250sec, f5.6, ISO 1800
A giant kingfisher perches in a tree above the Mkhuze River.
1/250sec, f5.6, ISO 1800

Malachite Kingfisher

I’ll get this out of the way, right away. The following are no where near the best photographs I captured of kingfishers on my recent trip to South Africa. But, as anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows, I am always happy to share what I found to be an interesting capture, regardless of whether the photos end up great or not. It’s about the experience.

While at Zimanga Private Game Reserve, I had the opportunity to photograph the Pied, Giant, Pygmy and Brown Headed kingfishers. Some I even captured from the comfort of a hide, resulting in some fantastic images which I look forward to going through and sharing. The one I only saw in glimpses, and never managed to photograph, was the Malachite kingfisher.

After Zimanga, I spent two fabulous days at Thonga Beach Lodge (which I can honestly say I wish had been two weeks). I went on a sundowner drive along Lake Sibaya, and while most of the guests were hoping to see hippos and crocs, I looked forward to what shore birds I might see. On my last night, I was having a glass of wine along the shore enjoying the herons, egrets and a pied kingfisher hovering above the water. The skies were dull and grey, night was fast approaching, and it was raining. Another guest asked if the kingfisher I was watching had landed in the reeds next to the lake, which I replied no as I was still watching the pied kingfisher hovering. Our guide Thulani then answered that yes indeed that was a kingfisher, the Malachite. Once they directed me to its location, I captured the best photos I was able given the quality of light and my distance away from the bird (I didn’t want to go too close to the edge of the water, given the possibility of crocs and the fact I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking as much as what I was shooting).

I watched as the kingfisher went on several fishing expeditions, and managed to capture her success, with what appears to be a tadpole in her mouth. I gave in to the growing dark after that and watched until she took off further down the lake.  It was great to watch, but of course I do hope the next time I see one, the sun will be out to really show off the beauty of the feathers.

Malchite Kingfisher-3 Malchite Kingfisher-2

1/125 sec, f5.6, ISO1600
1/125 sec, f5.6, ISO1600

Malchite Kingfisher-4

Belted Kingfisher

A couple of weekends ago, I was out for my usual morning walk with Spencer when I finally had the chance to get some photos of the kingfisher that I have been seeing intermittently for the last year.  The kingfisher was out along the river where I normally see the herons and ospreys, so I wasn’t able to get the crisp, clear shots I have been hoping for all this time.  But, I had a great sighting, which is all that really matters to me!

While we were on our return along the dikes, the kingfisher was flying from one wooden post to the next, in the same direction we were headed.  I tried a few shots each time she stopped at a different location, but the distance was the always just about the same, so there wasn’t much difference in the shots.  Right near the end of the dike, I stopped to take one more shot, and managed to catch a sequence of the kingfisher diving, catching a small fish, dropping it, and then flying away.

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