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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Hi Stu, Thank you for a wonderful trip. I have been on a lot of safaris around the world and you are the best in Africa. Your hard work pays off.
Dave Irey, USA
The Wild 4 team made my trip to South Africa a truly memorable experience. Photographing some of the orphaned captive animals at the private game reserve on the extension was a great way to start the holiday, and Stu's tuition on techniques, composition and familiarity with your gear was the foundation for the rest of the trip. In Kruger we had some wonderful sightings - including the 'Big 5' all in one day on two consecutive days! The highlights were spending 20 minutes with a leopard cub in a tree no more than 30 metres away, and on the last day watching a pride of 14 lions stalking a herd of zebra for more than an hour - just wonderful experiences! I'm sure the quality of the shots I took was infinitely better than if I'd gone on a regular safari, as the whole focus of the experience is expertly designed to maximise photographic opportunities - including only 3 photographers in the specially designed vehicle. Stu's knowledge, enthusiasm and patience were boundless, and Ann's spotting and catering skills were also priceless! I hope to visit Africa again soon, and without doubt Wild 4 will be my first option.
Greg Morgan, UK