BIRDS of KRUGER photo safari - October 2014
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 27th Oct 2014
Yet again this proved to be a very successful photo safari with the focus being slanted towards trying to photograph the amazing bird diversity that the Kruger has to offer.
A total bird count of 178 with a very impressive 144 photos (of different species)
The aim of this safari is not to tick species off, but instead the challenge is to try and get some decent photos of Kruger's birds, with the additional challenge of trying to improve upon existing shots when better opportunities present themselves.
Northern Kruger is the real hotspot as this area has some special species not commonly seen in the rest of Kruger. We did very well with the Crested Guineafowl and Broad-billed Rollers, as well as getting to see the Trumpeter Hornbills again at the exact same nest site as last year ! We also added the rarely seen Crowned Hornbills to our photo list.
Kruger has such a diverse range of habitats which made the trip very enjoyable as we travelled from the North right down to the south over a period of 14 days. The trip was really relaxing, the binoculars and cameras were well used and our safari vehicle acted as the perfect mobile bird hide, this is the best way to get original and different shots of Kruger's birds. We saw a number of the same species as we did last year but they were all in different situations and circumstances which helps to keep the subject matter unique and fresh.
A number of migrants were already back, gearing up for the summer season in South Africa, Yellow Billed Kites, European Bee eaters, Cuckoos, Wahlberg's Eagles and a very rare sighting of a Grey Kestrel, normally only seen in Namibia.
The beautiful African Paradise Flycatchers seemed to be everywhere this year and we had a special sighting of a Black Heron and a Greater Honeyguide.
We did very well on the Owl front, notching up 4 different species (all during the day time)
Other highlights were getting to photograph both of the Helmet Shrikes and the Orange Breasted and Grey headed Bushshrikes.
The waterbirds were fantastic this year, Squacco Herons, Collared Pratincoles, Black Crake, African Jacana and many more. The visits to Lake panic Bird hide near Skukuza proved to be very productive - it is still one of the best places to see and photograph the Malachite Kingfisher !!
Sunbirds, Woodpeckers and the very active Weavers also added some great photo opportunities.
All in all it was a fantastically productive trip and really enjoyable to be able to go at a very different pace to the normal bigger mammal type photo safaris (of which we still got to see and photograph anyway)
Thanks very much to John for coming on the safari, it was a great pleasure to shoot alongside you !
Here are a few photos - enjoy !!!
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When two photo trips organised by my tour operator were cancelled. I looked around and found Wild4. Justyna was extremely helpful in putting together a tailor made tour just for me. I opted for 8 nights Kruger, 2 nights Big Cats & the Reptile extension. Some emails later and all was booked and paid for. I tend to shy away from flash but as we were doing a night shoot at the Big Cat Reserve, I quickly learned a great new technique and the photographs turned out wonderful. In short, Wild4 Photographic Safaris is the one you want to book with to get the best opportunities. This is not the last time I will make use of their services. Thank you Justyna & Stu for a wonderful time.
Rob Pelle, NETHERLANDS
I was fortunate to be on Wild4's “Best of Botswana” trip in May 2014. It could well be the Best of Africa. This trip featured two expert guides (Stu Porter himself and Nkosi from Letaka Safaris) and the abundant wildlife of four different Botswanan hot spots, with relatively few other vehicles around. Those features alone are worth the price of admission, particularly since they include Stu's vehicle modifications that ensure the best possible photographic experience. But if that isn't enough, we spent the first ten nights in expedition style mobile camps, roughing it with bucket showers and drop toilets, and listening to the leopards, elephants and hyenas wandering in and around the camps at night. But don't worry about the “roughing it” part. The expert staff prepares perfect meals, including fresh baked breads and cakes, and ensures that the camp is safe and clean. We finished the 12-night trip in a luxury lodge on the Chobe River, where we photographed from a boat customised to accommodate serious photographers (i.e. people with lenses bigger than their legs) and a waterway full of hippos and elephants and lined with Africa's most iconic birds. If you can only go once to Africa, go to Botswana with Wild4 Photographic Safaris. They will take care of every detail of your safari to ensure that everything is just right. If you are an old Africa veteran, ditto. You just can't go wrong with Wild4.
George Cathcart, USA