3 Caspian Gulls ~ Dungeness, Kent - 23.12.17

Monday 25 December 2017

With the gull numbers building nicely it seemed like more birds were possible but you cannot complain at 3 Casps, 2x 2nd.Winter and a 1st.Winter, 2nd.Winter Yellow-legged and a 1st.Winter and the brute of a juvenile Glaucous Gull ..

Poor light resulted in iso 6400

2nd. W. Caspian Gull #12

2nd. W. Caspian Gull #13

And then this now the regular 1st. Winter Caspian which has been present at least from the 30.09.17

Same bird 28.10.17

Same bird 30.09.17

Glaucous Gull ~ Juvenile ~ Dungeness, Kent - 23.12.17

Saturday 23 December 2017

Late afternoon at the fishing boats, Dungeness and after about an hour the big brute of a juvenile Glaucous Gull cruised in and clumsily fed in the melee ..

All shots were taken at iso 6400

Capped Wheatear ~ De Hoop NR ~ Overberg, South Africa - Dec '17

Monday 18 December 2017

A three hour drive to De Hoop nature reserve, Overberg from Kirstenbosch at the base of Table mountain, Cape Town, Jono drove and I was look out ..
The drive once off the main road was through continuous rolling plains we were on high alert for Bustards but the harder we tried the worst it became with everything seemingly looking like our target of bustard, bush bird, rock bird even geese became bustards ..
After many stops for fake birds we eventually arrived late afternoon and checked in, the car was then abandoned at reception and off I went for the many Capped Wheatear which were on the short grazed grass amougst the Bontebok and Zebra at this point I had a mini-meltdown the strong wind and sun were the same direction meaning the birds are looking away from the sun so instantly gave up and Left Jono with them, I went towards the trees and had some success with Shrikes and Bokmakierie ..
Later that evening we exchanged what we had achieved, Jono had persevered with the Wheatear and done well ..
The alarm was set for 05:00am but  for me there was only one target bird. I tried quite a few different individuals trying to find a confiding one ..

Capped Wheatear


I hardly ever carry binoculars and camera at the same time for me they are one less thing to hold but today I did have both and found a much better use for them than looking through them, if you stand them up with the big front lenses in the dirt you can balance the camera on top as a great support for low level shooting !!

I watched this juvenile for about an hour at first it would sit and wait either in the tunnel chamber entrance or a small scrap just outside patiently out of sight.
The adult must of called although I never heard it and the juvenile would rush out to be fed each time staying out a little longer to the point that it fledged as it never returned to the chamber preferring to move around with its other siblings ..

The feeding of the juvenile by the adult was fascinating so set about photographing it, the adult was quickly in and gone again off catching more insects for the other siblings and not knowing what direction the juvenile would rush out the chamber from made it most challenging but the satifaction of getting the image was wonderful ...

My Image of the Trip


Cape Sugarbird ~ South Africa - Dec '17

Wednesday 13 December 2017

High on my targeted want list for South Africa were Sugarbirds and Sunbirds with Malachite probably being my favourite but unfortunately although I did see them they gave no photographic opportunities the same went for Orange-breasted, Southern Double-collared were the most abundant but the males were in moult.

So on to day one December 2nd and in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town feeding on Proteas was a Cape Sugarbird the light wasn't great but the bird performed well ..

This male was a real poser ..

Cape Sugarbirds are also endemic.

At Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, Betty's Bay on the 4th there were many more birds feeding on the Proteas in better light, one problem with the gardens is that they don't open until 08:00am and with the sun rising at 05:30am the best of the light had been and gone so it was already beginning to be harsh, and also straying from the tracks to more vegetated areas  for that better angle or another bird had its drawbacks as to the possibility of highly venomous snakes like Puff Adders might of been a little over cautious but more research on this for next time will be useful ..

Would of liked to of seen some tail in this one ..

A bit more of a head turn otherwise pleased with this one ..

My favourite image of the Cape Sugarbird ..

Maybe next time I will try August ..