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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We have a particular affinity for bird photography, but also enjoy the African game animals. I'm pleased to say we are all thrilled with the entire trip. Stu met us at the airport on day 1, and what was to have been a quick couple hour drive to camp, took all afternoon until sunset, we found so many things to shoot. Then we wanted to do something slightly off the itinerary on day 2, and Stu again accommodated us. It was like that throughout the entire trip, the Porter family was very accommodating. Even though we were in a big national park using public facilities, the Porter family made us feel like we were in our own private game reserve, and the animals were there just for us. Stu's local knowledge of the birds and game is just great, he's a walking guide book. And because he's in Kruger so often, he knows where the best spots are. Also he knows all the other guides, and they share information. And most importantly if you are considering a photo safari, Stu is an accomplished nature photographer himself. He knows the light and how to position and approach for the best shot. He knows what photographers want and how to get it. The experience might be quite different if just any guide were to drive you around. And having a spotting vehicle out searching for game really helped us see some extra animals we wouldn't have seen. The results were outstanding. We saw and photographed all the of the big five, and several seldom seen animals totaling 33 mammal species and 164 bird species. All in all, the trip was great!! highly recommended!
Con Foley, USA
'Thank you Stu for such a memorable safari to the Kruger. WILD4 provided a totally professional service, from the pre-safari preparation to the sighting and photographing of so many animals and birds, at all stages your team provided first class support and advice. The package you provide is superb and that is why I am booking another safari with you.
Pete Farmer, UK