More Botswana with Grant Atkinson

There are several reasons I wanted to do a photo safari.  I knew that we would be spending as much time as we wanted with each sighting and that I could learn from Grant since his explanations for questions I’ve had over the last couple of years are always in a way that I actually can understand.  What I experienced was better than I ever expected.  I was probably the least experienced person on this trip but I managed.  This post will be just birds.

BIRDS

I know most people don’t appreciate vultures very much nor do they find them pleasant to look at.  Vultures do play a critical role in keeping the ecosystems in balance and while not considered critically endangered (although a few species are), they are rapidly declining at alarming rates due to habitat reduction and sadly, rampant poisoning.  I actually love vultures… I wonder what that says about me!   This is a hooded vulture.  They are quite small compared to many of the others and I was surprised to find that in the days we visited this elephant carcass (died of natural causes) they were the only species that was there.  Usually there are several species of vultures at a carcass, including the enormous lappet faced vulture who is often necessary to open a carcass if they are feeding on an animal that has not been previously fed on by other animals.

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This is a verreaux’s eagle owl.  They are extremely large for an owl and probably rival that of our great horned owl.  Maybe bigger.  These are not very good photos but I almost never have seen the bigger owls during the day, much less flying.

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The bird I was so excited to see, southern carmine bee eater.  They are so beautiful and it’s fascinating to watch bee eaters ‘hunt’ for insects.

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White fronted bee eater.. these are common.  I’ve seen these just about every where I’ve been in Africa.

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A tawny eagle.. their color varies considerably and this one was quite pale in comparison.  They are easily seen pretty much every where that I’ve been.

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Red billed hornbills.  Although many of the hornbills have similar bodies, their beaks vary widely in color and shape.

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The beautiful and graceful goliath heron.  And they are goliath!

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But not always so graceful….

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African fish eagle.  I pretty much see them every where.  But I’ve never seen one actually fishing.

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Nice rotting carcass, probably a catfish.

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These are african skimmers.  If you look carefully you can see that the bottom half of the beak is longer than the top.  They literally skim across the water and that beak is so sensitive they know immediately where the fish is.

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This is what they do when ‘fishing’.  This one is grabbing a drink.

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Ground hornbill.  I love this bird.  It’s big and walks quite proudly.  I wish these were closer so you could see their lovely long black eyelashes.  They have a booming call that I have only heard once.. on my very first trip to Africa.  You wouldn’t recognize it as a bird’s call if you didn’t have someone to tell you!

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A juvenile with this adult.

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Little bee eater.  Many of them look quite similar and this guy, though colored much the same as others is a bit smaller.

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The beautiful, graceful wattled crane.  They have red eyes which are hard to see in their red face unless you are close.

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African hoopoe… a beautiful bird.  I have yet to manage a decent photo.

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I’m pretty sure this is a brown snake eagle.

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white faced or whistling ducks

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A tawny eagle having a meal.

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African darter.  pretty much the same as the anhinga.

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can’t resist this bird!

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White stork.  We visited a nesting site for the white stork and cormorants.  We arrived before dawn and watched them wake up.  Spectacular!

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Great white egret

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grey heron.. very much like our great blue heron

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another tawny eagle.. this one is darker.

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african spoonbill

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While this heron and the hippo seem to quite content, another hippo arrived and seemed quite annoyed with the bird on the back of this hippo.  Eventually, the bird left the back of this hippo and landed on the back of the other without further issues on the part of the intruder.

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This is the malachite kingfisher.  It is quite small and it took us several tries to get fairly close without it flying away.  As it was, this isn’t very close.

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These trees were filled with cormorants and storks, adults and juveniles.  This is before dawn so ISO was high.  Lots of noise in the photo.

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Landing isn’t easy when you’re a young stork.

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african darter soaking up the first rays of the sun.

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Time to leave the roost.

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here comes the sun..

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I could go on…. and on, and on.  I won’t.

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2 thoughts on “More Botswana with Grant Atkinson

  1. Wow, that’s the best bird blog and photos I can recall seeing of yours. Your birds in flight photos have really progressed. I am wondering if Grant had anything to do with this.
    So many outstanding photos however 16960, the colours are spectacular. And 14449 the African Fish Eagle, he must have nearly been in your face.
    Awesome blog Nancy, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I do love the Carmine Bee-Eaters and hope that I am lucky enough to see them oneway.

    • Of course Grant had a lot to do with it. HTook me a while get the hang of it. Helped using Grant’s 5d mark111 ! He always gave settings for likely shots. Glad you liked them!

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