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Dave Williams's 2018 Big(Photo)Year!


Dave Williams

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293) Peregrine Falcon I would have happily swopped my photo haul for being in the canoe until this magnificent specimen came along. Peregrine Falcon   Falco peregrinus by Dave Williams, on F

294) Ring-necked Duck. I wasn't going anywhere on Sunday but sitting in bed with laptop and coffee I read that a rarity had been spotted down at the local reserve. I had to go for it. I decided I

48) Black Heron On a visit a few years ago I found the perfect place to watch the Umbrella Bird in action from a few feet away. I got some terrific views and some great shots  but then lost the l

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Dave Williams

Thanks everyone for your kind comments. It's tedious work processing these images, much more fun staking out the subjects! I think I'm getting some bad vibes from Claire as I spend my time on the computer while she has the vacuum cleaner going full blast.:o

Edited by Dave Williams
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Lucky you ... I have to operate both the cop and the vacuum cleaner ... :ph34r:

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101) Marsh Sandpiper

One of my favourite birds from this Gambia trip. A very confiding bird found on a pool not far from our hotel and one i haven't managed a decent shot of before.

39306995855_83d39f57eb_b.jpgMarsh Sandpiper   Tringa stagnatilis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

Lovely to watch in action too.

39306995975_a805d99323_b.jpgMarsh Sandpiper   Tringa stagnatilis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

28425103369_41d60c3cf2_b.jpgMarsh Sandpiper   Tringa stagnatilis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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102) Melodious Warbler

Only the second sighting I have ever seen, I thought this was a female Blackcap at first sight.

40172018162_781c43c3c2_b.jpgMelodious Warbler  Hippolais polyglotta 52018-02-01 by Dave Williams, on Flickr

Not this one though. I'm not sure if it isn't the same bird in different light or a pair!

39493680004_3d8b060662_b.jpgMelodious Warbler  Hippolais polyglotta by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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103) Northern Crombec.

I saw a couple in and around Kotu

39493714614_c29178bd1f_b.jpgNorthern Crombec  Sylvietta brachyura by Dave Williams, on Flickr

This one sat still for a moment too!

39493713384_6890b2de85_b.jpgNorthern Crombec  Sylvietta brachyura by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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105) Oriole Warbler

This was a bit of a find. Apparently they visit the hotel grounds where I was staying on a regular basis but they are very shy and although heard, not seen with ease as they are skulkers!

26332858278_f943ab8b12_b.jpgOriole Warbler  Hypergerus atriceps by Dave Williams, on Flickr

I should have spent more than one quick session with them but the BY demands you go in search of the next number!!

26332858508_c2c9385d5a_b.jpgOriole Warbler  Hypergerus atriceps by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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106)Orange-cheeked Waxbill

Seen on a trip near Kartong I couldn't wait any longer for them to emerge out of deep bushes and grasses.

39307044225_6734b4f398_b.jpgOrange-cheeked Waxbill   Estrilda melpoda by Dave Williams, on Flickr

so this will have to do!

26332530858_48ffee59d2_b.jpgOrange-cheeked Waxbill   Estrilda melpoda by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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107) Namaqua Dove.

Didn't see many of these lovely little Doves. This one was near Kartong and sitting in the road. Despite being pretty close the heat of the day has made the image blurred.

39493705344_6c146e34a4_b.jpgNamaqua Dove   Oena capensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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It is fascinating seeing the overlap between our visits - what we did see, and what we didn't. The Northern Black Flycatcher - yes, but the Oriole Warbler -no! nor the Crombec.

Your beautiful photos continue. The Marsh Sandpiper in particular is superb.

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108) Osprey

At the risk of being controversial ( me?!) I have to say that in my opinion too high a regard is put on breeding Osprey in the UK. They get too much adoration and protection compared to some of our native species IMO. Hen Harrier immediately springs to mind as one that could enjoy better funding and protection. A single nesting spot in Mid-Wales got an £800,000 lottery grant to build a viewing station and visitor centre which charges a handsome amount to use it too.

In The Gambia, especially around the bigger rivers they are to be found in abundance almost. Every tree seems to have one perched in it!

26333201118_61a125e87a_b.jpgWestern Osprey  Pandion haliaetus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

They are a magnificent bird though.

26333197778_f69477d796_b.jpgWestern Osprey  Pandion haliaetus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

Every bird photographers dream has an Osprey rising out of the water with a fish in it's talons as one for the portfolio!

26333197458_2711c8b656_b.jpgWestern Osprey  Pandion haliaetus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

Hunting though it was, the shot didn't come this time!

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michael-ibk

A superb collection from Gambia, Dave - it really seems to be a premier birding destination. Unfortunately, flights connections are not very good from here. FWIW, I also think that must be a Short-Toed Snake Eagle. Especially enjoyed the unknown (to me) species like Blue-Bellied Roller and Kingfisher, but Oriole, Bearded Barbet, Beautiful Sunbird, Black Heron and Giant Kingfisher also deserve special mention - fantastic!

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2 hours ago, michael-ibk said:

A superb collection from Gambia, Dave - it really seems to be a premier birding destination. Unfortunately, flights connections are not very good from here. FWIW, I also think that must be a Short-Toed Snake Eagle. Especially enjoyed the unknown (to me) species like Blue-Bellied Roller and Kingfisher, but Oriole, Bearded Barbet, Beautiful Sunbird, Black Heron and Giant Kingfisher also deserve special mention - fantastic!

@michael-ibkMaybe not as difficult as you imagine. Hop on an Easyjet at Vienna to Manchester or Gatwick then a Thomas Cook package holiday which may well be cheaper than a package holiday from Austria to a similar place. While we are still in the EU it shouldn't be a problem.

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Galana

Great captures. too many to make comment but that Oriole Warbler has to be really special.

Marsh Sandpipers are one of my personal favourites too. So dainty and delicate.

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Peter Connan

The last few have gone without likes from me purely because I have apparently reached my daily limit.

 

More fantastic shots!

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Dave Williams
5 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

The last few have gone without likes from me purely because I have apparently reached my daily limit.

 

More fantastic shots!

Not a problem Peter, nice though it is to know someone has looked at your efforts it can be tedious finding the ones you have liked and the ones you haven't as yet!

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109) Greater Painted Snipe

Of all the birds I saw in The Gambia this is the one that I coveted most. Why? Probably because they are beautiful to look at and not easy to photograph as they are very shy. I spent far more hours trying than I did actually taking photos. In fact , knowing where the specific viewing spots are was a help and on one afternoon I spent around 2-3  hours sat waiting for a bird to emerge from the stubble of mangrove roots 25 m away having spent all that time just looking at an eye! When he did emerge they weren't the best of shots due to the distance and I ended up getting better elsewhere but only of the female not the male.

26347040048_36d38b89d7_b.jpgGreater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

I saw this one out of the reeds and standing alone.

26347039588_3e44e1dd49_b.jpgGreater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

I managed to get a bit closer before she was off.

39508180014_af9e4c8afd_b.jpgGreater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

but I don't think she was on to me as she started feeding .

28440037379_f0031855c2_b.jpgGreater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

That's when a Cattle Egret swooped in just above her head and she flew.

28440038229_37f4270d5b_b.jpgGreater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

Cursing I got up and left and wandered back to the open space I had successfully photographed other waders whilst out in the open. Paying little attention I suddenly realised that the Snipe had joined them!

39960778621_76a3e218c5_b.jpgGreater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

She might have been considering a bath but I had blundered in and she was off and I was left cursing what might have been had I paid more attention!

28181272009_c417f5e2c0_b.jpgGreater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

As for the male, a similar story in as much as I arrived at the original viewing spot with two friends , one spotted a male fairly close to the hide we can use. I hoped he would wander out in to open water as had the likes of the Green Sandpiper but alas, two steps and he was gone back to his hiding place!

  39508179714_832823749b_b.jpgGreater Painted-snipe. Rostratula benghalensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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111) Pearl-spotted Owlet

This one was roosting daily in a tree in Kotu, amazingly as a group of drummers regularly beat hell out of their instruments at ground level and I'm surprised the Owl didn't move.

Each day I'd check to see if it was in a better position than high up in a Palm Tree.

28440331699_8845d12c92_b.jpgPearl-spotted Owlet. Glaucidium perlatum by Dave Williams, on Flickr

I think it recognised me in the end!

40219721321_91fa76d6c4_b.jpgPearl-spotted Owlet  Glaucidium perlatum by Dave Williams, on Flickr

and obligingly came down much closer to the ground.

40219720881_bcab869430_b.jpgPearl-spotted Owlet. Glaucidium perlatum by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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112) African Swamphen

We arrived at Kartong to get views of many species, all were distant or with the sun behind. It wasn't worth trying to do better than this. I'm not sure if this is Purple or African Swamphen as they appear to have been split as a species yet again.

26347404178_8413b0a583_b.jpgAfrican Swamphen, Porphyrio madagascariensis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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113) Piapiac

A small family were piggy backing on a herd of pigs wandering around Kotu rice fields.

39508540404_851d497df5_b.jpgPiapiac  Ptilostomus afer by Dave Williams, on Flickr

These were sat on the same wall as the Blue-bellied Rollers somewhere off the road to  Kartong.

39508539404_c7a3887867_b.jpgPiapiac  Ptilostomus afer by Dave Williams, on Flickr

The pink bills indicate juveniles. A black billed adult was watching over them nearby.

39321773475_463581f22d_b.jpgPiapiac  Ptilostomus afer by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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114) Pied Crow.

These are big crows, Raven sized even. I came across this one who had just flown out of a small holding garden in Kotu Creek having stolen a hen's egg i presume.

39508542734_276ae4eb27_b.jpgPied Crow  Corvus albus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

It wasn't going to leave the prize behind and didn't fly. Mu problem was i was too close!

39508543694_8ae9c98d31_b.jpgPied Crow  Corvus albus by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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115) Pied Kingfisher

Even the most ardent Kingfisher fan will eventually ignore them as they are so numerous in places, especially Kotu Creek!

39508548864_5aea08a6bc_b.jpgPied Kingfisher   Ceryle rudis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

They are easy to capture hovering as they do so close to human presence without any fear.

39508550674_1119b31f36_b.jpgPied Kingfisher   Ceryle rudis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

Strangely I never saw one catch a fish although maybe as I wasn't looking too hard it's not surprising.

39508551584_5f1742f927_b.jpgPied Kingfisher   Ceryle rudis by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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116)Pink-backed Pelican

A pair drifted up river towards Kotu Bridge at high tide most days.

39508562344_e505bbb09f_b.jpgPink-backed Pelican. Pelecanus rufescens by Dave Williams, on Flickr

I never saw one catch anything other than this that looks to me like a stick in the pouch.

39508561044_dbc5899469_b.jpgPink-backed Pelican. Pelecanus rufescens by Dave Williams, on Flickr

One of the smallest of the Pelican species they are still quite big though.

39508560634_0e3dc296c3_b.jpgPink-backed Pelican. Pelecanus rufescens by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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