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Marievale Bird Sanctuary, South Africa


Peter Connan

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Tdgraves

@@Peter Connan - I noticed some widowbirds in your collection. Is it a good place to photograph them? I saw loads just now, but all by the side of the road, so not really practical to stop and photograph....

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Peter Connan

@@Tdgraves, widowbirds are pretty common in grasslands at the right time of year. But they are often fairly difficult to approach closely.

 

My best luck with widowbirds has been at Rietvlei, but Marievale is also good. Ideally though, try and time your search for the morning after a big rainstorm. The termite alates that erupt at such times really draws them, and keeps them entertained so that you can approach more closely.

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  • 1 month later...
Peter Connan

Went back again on Saturday. We were lucky enough to see Black Egret:

 

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and African Snipe:

 

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As well as African Rail:

 

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And we had some awesome Malachite Kingfisher sightings:

 

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KaingU Lodge

Fantastic stuff Peter.

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Kitsafari

@@Peter Connan what great shots! I went wow wow wow especially for post #5 and My jaw just dropped uttering WoW to the black egret! My favourite of the lot as you make him look like a dark mysterious intimidating super-bird.

 

You make the birds look so beautiful, I can't imagine anyone who isn't into birds, not get into birdies after seeing your beautiful photos.

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Alexander33

@ Peter Connan

 

These are all great, but the second shot of the black egret is especially compelling. I find myself returning to the image and just staring at it. And let me add my own "wow" to the Malachite Kingfishers!

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Peter Connan

Thank you lady and gentlemen.

 

It was quite funny actually, at one stage there were about 5 or 6 photographers sitting in the hide and a Malachite kingfisher landed on one of the closer perches right in front of the hide. It sounded like world war three breaking out. I think there must have been about 300 photos taken in the space of one minute!

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Marks

These are all great, but the second shot of the black egret is especially compelling. I find myself returning to the image and just staring at it.

 

Agreed, something about the reflection is just mesmerizing.

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Treepol

@@Peter Connan love the second photo with reflections of the black egret and also the malachite kingfisher. I already have a visit to Marievale on my next African itinerary - it certainly delivers.

Edited by Treepol
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Tom Kellie

@@Peter Connan - I noticed some widowbirds in your collection. Is it a good place to photograph them? I saw loads just now, but all by the side of the road, so not really practical to stop and photograph....

 

~ @Tdgraves:

 

May I please note that in Tsavo West in January, there were highly approachable widowbirds mixed in with Paradise-Whydahs.

We were pleased by their nonchalant response to our presence.

Yes, @@Peter Connan's avian images are a treasure for all would-be South African visitors.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-21073900-1428593031_thumb.jpg

~ @@Peter Connan:

 

What is this?

The bedrock image of your portfolio to join the field photography staff of National Geographic?

If I made forty safari visits to Africa, I'd never equal such a shot.

Kudos to the tenth power, @@Peter Connan!

Tom K.

 

 

Edited by Tom Kellie
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Peter Connan

@@Tom Kellie, thank you for the compliments.

 

These photos are all of the same specie, namely Black Egret (some people callit a Black Heron) Egretta Ardesiaca.

 

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It has a unique hunting method, called "tenting", in which it shades the patch of water where it is standing by building a tent with it's wings:

 

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With regard to the shot itself, it was really just luck, that the egret "did it's trick" in conditions where I not only had light from the right side, but also a clear view of the bird and some clear water in front of it. The rest was just bog-standard basic photography.

 

Here in South Africa, we have a famous old golfer by the name of Gary Player, who has an oft-quoted but very apt saying:

"The more I practise, the luckier I get"...

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Tom Kellie

~ @@Peter Connan:

 

It doesn't get any better than that!

Really like the Gary Player quote — so apt and so on-the-mark.

Your photo series of Egretta ardesiaca is stunning. Really.

After you described the ‘tenting’ behavior, I realized that somewhere along the line — most likely in an African bird field guide — I had read about that.

Your outstanding photos restored and clarified the memory.

Such talent, such photos, such a species!

With Appreciation,

Tom K.

Edited by Tom Kellie
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  • 4 weeks later...
xelas

@@Peter Connan: I am late with my praises for the "tent" shot, and could not add anything to what Tom has already said. I hope this photo already hangs on the prominent spot in your house! I might even come to see it in its full splendor :) !

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TonyQ

@@Peter Connan

Just to add my praise to your photographs - all beautiful, but the kingfisher - superb, and as for the black egret with reflection - an amazing shot. I keepgoing back to look at it as well.

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Tom Kellie

@@Peter Connan: I am late with my praises for the "tent" shot, and could not add anything to what Tom has already said. I hope this photo already hangs on the prominent spot in your house! I might even come to see it in its full splendor :) !

 

~ @xelas:

 

I completely agree with you that such a stellar bird portrait by @@Peter Connan deserves pride of place on one his walls.

One suspects that if it were submitted to a nature photography competition it might very likely be honored by the judges for its technical and artistic merits.

Tom K.

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  • 2 weeks later...
PCNW

Just enjoyed a 2nd trip to this TR.

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