Botswana

Africa is my fovourite place, so far it is definitely my favourite place. I’ve been asked so many times where Botswana is, I thought this would explain.

The wildlife here is just amazing, so many elephants!


Zebras looking out for eachother. If they stand like this they can keep watch in  all directions


Giraffes having a rumble


Butter wouldn’t melt..!


Warthogs often kneel down to eat

Colourful bee eaters and sun birds, eagles, vultures, waders… too many to list. It’s so dificult to choose, but I just had to show you this vereaux eagle owl with it’s chick.

We were lucky enough to see some of the rarer animals too. Don’t want to get too close to this honey badger with his fearsome reputation.

Wild dogs resting in the shade

The wildlife is mostly uninterested in people unless they get too close. They’re so used to us, but we did manage to annoy an elephant or two.  They are such gentle giants and they do give fair warning. This first one is just a young male with a lot of attitude

 

He may be young but is a force to be reckoned with because of his size.

This guy meant business though, definitely time to go.

Just a thought, I haven’t included cats, just to put that right this is a leopard taken in the last light of the day.

Evening light .

The laziest lion blocking the road, this is as animated as he got!

Twitching morning

I don’t go after the rare birds very often and I didn’t today but it just so happened that I was in the right place and somebody was there to point them out,

I’m not good on gulls but this is a bonapartes gull from America – pretty lost obviously.


A shoveler

Scaup, a very pretty duck among the tufted ducks but with a grey back and a green shine on it’s head.

That’s it, I don’t do twitching, ticking off lists- humph,  an interesting day by the lake though.

 

Painting the Northern Goshawk

I promised to make a post showing a painting in progress, What better then a goshawk? I really enjoy painting birds of prey and the goshawk must be king. I started with photos I took on my trip to the Czech Republic, she’s a rescued bird which flies completely free – no jesses.
I usually give my canvas some sort of hot coloured wash, it means I don’t have to fight the blank white of a new canvas, In this instance I started with a fair chunk of the background then started on the bird.

It’s important to follow the markings very closely, if it’s not right it’s …but we don’t mention that word!

A fiddly job but worth the hours

Getting there,

The feet are quite tricky, goshawks have very long toes!

-and claws

Background in and signed,  then it’s off to the printer,  then the framer then away to a  new home. – this one is sold but needless to say the prints have arrived and the print is here

 

 

The lesser grebes unveiled

I’d been trying to get the lesser grebes diving, just that perfect shot with the tip of the beak touching the water, failed attempts too many to count, blink and you miss it, but here’s why, the next three photos were taken at one sixteenth of a second intervals, not much time to sort that out, the first shot shows there’s no clue it going to dive, then gone.

You could spend a long time failing to get thet shot, you see, it has to be from the side, with a prfect refection too. I fear it may never happen.

On another subject, Does anybody know why this grey heron sprayed water from it’s beak? It did it many times, it didn’t have a fish or seem to be going for one,

Fish may come up in the rain..??
Perhaps somebody can let me know.

Stithians Reservoir

Just a good place to go for a few hours with a sandwich, flask and camera. nothing rare to report but a good day for photographs all the same.

Here are a few of the caste,
Great tit
Greater spotted woodpecker
Longtailed tit


Goldfinch


Reed Bunting

A sparrowhawk gave them all a scare but I think all the  gang were alert enough to be back tomorrow

and this heron has no need to worry about all that.

Spoonbill

Spoonbills are becoming more frequent visitors to Cornwall, they used to be resident here untill a hundred and fifty years ago (give or take a few) and it looks as though they’re on their way back.


This one’s been around in the estuary for months now and this was a particularly good view of it


You can see how big these birds are against the egret.


All in all a very impressive bird

A quick visit to Hayle estuary

greyheron

Agrey heron with a fish the gave him a lot of trouble, he’s bitten off more than  he could chew, I watched for a while and he wasn’t going to give up.

horron

He popped it back in the water a few times, I have no idea why, but didn’t let go.

grey heron

This went on for a long time, eventually there was a very full heron.

goosander
A very pretty female goosander,

Dab Chicks

lesser greebe
Dab chick is a popular name for these pretty little birds. the lesser grebe, they are usually very shy but these allowed me to get close, a good opportunity to try for a diving shot which, it turns out, is not as easy as it sounds, they’re very fast and give almost no warning that they’re going to go underwater.
little greebe
A good view of it’s feet?
littlegreebe
A circular bird?

lesser grebe

The trick is…well I haven’t found it yet, but I’ll go afer them again, that perfect shot is yet to happen, perhaps next time.

To Photograph Tigers in India

It would be so difficult to describe my experience in India so I’ll just just try to give a snapshot, the people are a delight, so kind and friendly and able to send their kids to school immaculately dressed from houses with no running water or washing machines or electric irons, The air and roads are so dusty and hot with cars and cows, lorries, motor bikes, pony carts, goats, dogs, tuk tuks and buses all sharing the same space. Somehow it just works. Leaving me unable to cross the road without a guide.

cows-free-lunch

The hunt for tigers began at Pench National Park, starting out at dawn, piled into jeeps we set out, The spooted deer keep company with the languar monkeys probably to give alarm when a tiger is near.

spotted-deer

With guides who are so focused on getting close to the tigers taking time out to photograph the birds is a little ticky,

golden-oriole
A golden oriole

indian-goar
Goar, a massive animal

crowned-eagle
crowned eagle

But no tigers, Bandhavgarh was the last hope,
Then on the first drive into the park

tiger_bandhavgrah

and
tiger_bandhavgarh

What an amazing trip! I’ll go back.

Sandmartin Chicks

nesting sandmartins
On a nearby beach, in a high sand cliff, tiny sandmartins nest,
sandmartin chicks
They really are small birds, you can see the scale from the fly lower in this photo.
sandmartin chick grounded
The cliff is so friable this sometimes happens, a chick had fallen out of the nest, I had no idea which nest it came from and there was no way to reach the fifteen feet or so up the cliff – with herring gulls closing in there was only one thing to do, so I picked the tiny mite up and took it home.
All the rescue centres were closed, it was 6.00 on a Saturday, so we were in the chair.
After a reluctant start it took cat food (always a good standby)from a small paintbrush and we were able to keep it going untill the wonderful Mousehole Bird Sanctuary took it over for us, A happy ending I think.