Actually any wildlife tog should have a mental code of practice…
I’m the first to admit that I am not the world’s biggest twitcher. I battle to identify many of the obscure lesser seen species, especially those darned LBJ’s (how many do we have?!) and Eagles perched in a tree 400m away or soaring in the sky… I don’t race around the countryside looking for that elusive species. I don’t make use of playback vocalisations to call them in. I go. I see what I see. I’m happy to be out there, no just so that I can tick it. I carry a few bibles with me and I always ask someone who knows better than I especially the bloke with the monster prime lens Mind you, I’ve spoken to some who couldn’t tell the difference between a Heron and a Hadeda but they had all the latest gear and best glass, bodies…and bank manager!
My friend David from Seokama can identify LBJ’s and others from their calls without even setting eye on them. The yellow what-sit pictured (L) was hastily photographed there out the car window before it took off. Terribly handy to have Dave on my workshops with me
I do try to be as unobtrusive and non-invasive as possible. I often miss shots because of this. Or I’ll let someone else push his way into the hide before me to race off and grab the best seat…even though he and his entire family arrived after me…I know that, by them being the impatient kind & pushing me out of the way, if they don’t at least see 14 elephants at the hide followed by a Leopard and her cub with a kill in a tree, they’ll be outta there before I even set up my gear…aaah peace
The last time this happened to my wife and I (Lake Panic, KNP), she spotted 2x and I spotted 1x Bushbuck right next to the hide alley. We stood silently and let the noisy Homo Sapiens pass us, and then resumed watching the buck feeding… The previous time it was at a hide near Satara, and 2x Klipspringer were so close to the viewing window we could touch them, but half a dozen holiday makers came and went in 5 minutes without even spotting them. The rest of us were going to mention it to them but they never gave us a chance
Once in the hide, I did get some great shots of a croc eye abstract and a terrapin taking a piggy back ride on a hippo and the Klipspringers. The birds were a bit shy but we did see a few. A bad day in a hide beats a good day at the studio.
Here’s a few tips (saves me typing them) from BirdGuide.com and most of this is common sense, but even that’s not so common any more
Be patient and be thoughtful of nature first and others second. Your photo album will love you for it! So will the critters. So will I when we share a hide in Africa somewhere Take a plastic bag for your own rubbish. I’ve often cleaned up others rubbish and tossed it at the camp or the next stopover.
PS: So what bird IS that above? PPS: What tree IS it sitting in? I know, do you?