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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.