Despite heavy rain in the morning I had made a promise to some friends to assist with the Open Day. Rietvlei, as usual, did not disappoint. Shooting in the rain brings a number of other photographic opportunities that you just don’t get in a sunny day. Sadly, only one of eight confirmed showed up. Those that did not make it lost out on some wonderful sightings and valuable tuition in difficult shooting conditions. Thanks to the summer rains, Termites were out in their tens of thousands and the bird-life that appeared for the feast was astounding. With dull poor light and rain drops streaking down some great moments presented themselves:
Cape Longclaw © Harvey Grohmann 2012 (light rain)
The Cape Longclaw or Orange-throated Longclaw (Macronyx capensis) is a passerine bird in the family Motacillidae, which comprises the longclaws, pipits and wagtails. It occurs in southern Africa in Zimbabwe and southern and eastern South Africa. This species is found in coastal and mountain grassland, often near water. At 19–20 cm height, the adult male has a grey head with a buff supercilium and a streaked blackish back. It has a bright orange gorget, black breast band and otherwise yellow underparts. The female is duller, having a yellow throat and much weaker breast band. The juvenile has a dirty yellow throat, indistinct breast band, and yellowish white underparts and is usually found in pairs throughout the year. It feeds on the ground on insects and some seeds.
What is unclear to me is the need for those extremely long claws? I’ll scan Carnaby’s Bible.
Red-knobbed Coot © Harvey Grohmann 2012 (light rain)
The Red-knobbed Coot or Crested Coot, (Fulica cristata), is a member of the rail and crake bird family, the Rallidae. It is a resident breeder across much of Africa and in southernmost Spain on freshwater lakes and ponds. It builds a nest of dead reeds near the water’s edge or more commonly afloat, laying about 8 eggs (or more in good conditions). However, its behaviour towards its own young is so aggressive that only a few are likely to survive to adulthood.
African Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) © Harvey Grohmann 2012
The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), also known as the Pūkeko, African Purple Swamphen, Purple Moorhen, Purple Gallinule or Purple Coot, is a large bird in the family Rallidae (rails). From its name in French, talève sultane, it is also known as the Sultana Bird. This chicken-sized bird, with its huge feet, bright plumage and red bill and frontal shield is easily-recognisable in its native range. It should not be confused with the American Purple Gallinule, Porphyrio martinica. I watched him for an hour, ripping reed shoots out with his powerful neck, holding them upside down with his claws, clipping the end like a pair of scissors and then eating the soft central pulp. There were two in the area, the one chasing and dominating the other.
Hunter vs Hunted © Harvey Grohmann 2012 (advanced edit) for DP Challenge
Marsh Owl chasing down a “flying ant” © Harvey Grohmann 2012 (basic edit)
The Marsh Owl (Asio capensis) is a species of owl which is a mainly resident breeder in Africa and Madagascar. This species is a part of the larger grouping of owls known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most species of owl. The other grouping is the barn owls, Tytonidae. Marsh Owl nests on the ground on open marshy areas, laying 2-4 eggs amongst tussocks. It hunts over open country, often by day. Its food is mainly insects, but it will take small mammals, such as rodents and birds.
At one stage I counted 6 Marsh Owls in the air or on the ground. There may have been more hiding in the grass with stuffed bellies! This image was shot in a mild downpour.
Birds seen: 51 plus a few LBJ’s I’m still ID’ing
Marsh Owl, African Stone Chat, Cape Long-claw, Sacred Ibis, Southern Red Bishop, Masked Weaver, Cattle Egret, Pied Kingfisher, African Swamphen, Yellow-billed Duck, Red knobbed Coot, Little Grebe, Cape Glossy Starling, Pied Starling, Crowned Lapwing, African Wattled Lapwing, Blacksmith Lapwing, Black Crake, Common Moorhen, Swainson’s Spurfowl, Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Common Ostrich, Whiskered Tern, Lesser Striped Swallow, White Throated Swallow, Rufous-Naped Lark, European Bee-Eater, Dideric Cuckoo, Black-Shouldered Kite, Green-Backed Heron, Western Cattle Egret, Stone Chat, Reed Cormorant, White-Breasted Cormorant, Ground-Scraper Thrush, Common Waxbill, Pin-Tailed Whydah, Long-Tailed Widowbird, Cape Sparrow, Common Fiscal Shrike, African Pied Wagtail, Dark Capped Bulbul, Pied Crow, Grey Go Away Bird, African Mourning Dove, Red-Eye Dove, Cape Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Egyptian Goose.
Mammals seen (I’ll post images later):
White Rhino, Black and Blue Wildebeest, Eland, Springbok, Blesbok, Waterbuck, Zebra, Red Hartebeest.
Descriptions © Wikipedia.
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Gear I use: Bodies: Nikon D-SLR’s / Lenses: Nikon, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar
Filters: Hoya UV & Polarizing / Flash: Nikon Speed-lights / Bag: Lowe Pro
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