Peter Connan

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Everything posted by Peter Connan

  1. @penolva, that first shot is really cool! It reminds of the crossed swords at a military wedding.
  2. Well, you got a few I didn't. I saw but never got the Longclaw. Where did you get that beauty of the Common Fiscal? And the last shot of the Masked Weaver is also magnificent. Sorry about the potholes...
  3. I (the king of procrastination) personally tend to leave things to "the very last minute". Typically, the industry I work in closes down over December, but one is never quite sure of the dates more than a few months before the time, and this makes planning rather difficult. A large part of the problem is that my wife doesn't handle heat very well, and in southern Africa, heat in December is pretty much a given. Furthermore, I just can't get my head around planning two hoildays at the same time. One has to be finished before the dreaming for the next one starts. The result is that I tend to plan no more than about 9 months in advance. However, I have managed to "break out of the cycle", at least temporarily, with a trip to Namibia coming up shortly. However, the other day a friend of mine dropped a bomb on me by sending me an invitation to what looked like a fabulous trip. Unfortunately, it fell on almost exactly the same dates as my Namibian trip, and I had to decline. Since he also already had a trip planned for the same dates, he just went ahead and organised a similar trip for 2018, and then re-invited me. I just couldn't say no again, so I started begging my wife. She, to my surprise, said yes within the hour. So then I bragged to my friend @@xelas, and the next moment he almost begged to be allowed to come along. So here's what the three of us are doing in March next year (copied from the brochure): " Please have a look at map… our Goals are as follow: A – Starting the EXPEDITION in Mahalapye at 12h00, our first goal will be to track and follow the Route used by the old Explorers like David Livingstone to navigate the pans to the Zambezi. B – To do the almost 200km of the 19:20 cutline named line X. C – After the Selinda Track (Linking Moremi with Seronga), we will explore a new cut line on the border with the Caprivi in extreme Northern area of Botswana. (Rated to have the toughest sand roads in Botswana) D – From our Old Camp “Nuka” on the “Corni” cut line to travel to Gcwihaba Hills, the home of Drostky’s Cave – The World of the lost city of the Kalahari. " This is primarily a 4x4 expedition, rather than a traditional game-viewing safari, and it breaks with my normal holiday habits in several important ways: 1) This is a guided trip. I have never used a guide before. 2) It looks as if we will be driving pretty much every day. I tend to prefer staying at least two days in any one area. 3) The trip is partially catered. Normally, we self-cater all the way along. 4) There will in almost all cases be no facilities whatsoever at the campsites, which will almost all be informal. What makes it a little more challenging is that no trailers are allowed, nor "complicated tents" (I am currently unsure what that means). On the other hand, it promises plenty of time for five of my favorite pastimes, spending time with my wife, spending time with good friends (there will be 10 vehicles excluding the guide, almost all guys who I have travelled and camped with before), 4x4ing, photography and exploring new areas. And since we will be travelling through a number of areas where tourists seldom go, the "exploring" might be much closer to an absolute truth than is normally the case (although the areas will obviously never be completely new and un-travelled), and conjures up visions of mile upon mile of twisty little two-spoor. As you can no doubt tell, I am immencely excited about this trip!
  4. More magnificent photos!
  5. Some really beautiful shots. I'm afraid this part of my thread (when i eventually get there) is going to look very similar.
  6. Thank you Alex for the kind words. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
  7. They are very tricky because they keep changing direction...
  8. When things go wrong... Shutter speed too low (1/500th), badly over-exposed (I had the exposure compensation wound up as it had been flying against an overcast sky seconds before), and at a relatively high ISO (2500) too. I am surprised the result is in any way usable, but I really love the pose and how it's flying between the greenery.
  9. Thanks @pomkiwi, that gladdens my heart.
  10. Time to gt this ball rolling. To be honest, I haven't really decided what form this thread is going to take. Again, I don't expect to be competing for top honours on the count alone, and thus will once again be sacrificing numbers for quality. The goal in that regard is that all photos here will be at the very least clearly identifyable by anybody with a field guide covering the relevant area. But actually I hope that most photos will themselves be guide-quality (although not necessarily of adult males as the guides so often concentrate on). But i want to add something extra. Firstly, as far as possible I want to show behaviour and interaction. I am also considering adding some additional information, and am to some extent open to suggestions about what form that should take, whether information about the birds themselves, or about how the photo was taken? Anyway, enough waffling... 1) Lesser Masked Weaver Kleingeelvink Ploceus intermedius (Male on top) 06h43, 1 January, Pilanesberg Nikon D500 + 500mm f4, Manual mode, 1/3200, f4, EV-0.7 exposure compensation, auto-ISO (320 selected by camera). Taken from Mankwe hide, with camera resting directly on the edge of the hide.
  11. 200 before February's payday! Well done! I think if one wants to run separate scores for different countries (or continents), you kind-of need to pot all the birds you have seen in those countries, irrespective of whether you already have them on the count. This may increase the workload even further, but could add to the interest...
  12. I am glad you got some reasonable shots of the Blackie @Tdgraves! Now how about the Bumblebeebird (Yellow-crowned Bishop)?
  13. Really magnificent photographs from both of you this year!
  14. Thank you @elefromoz, @Tdgraves and @xelas @elefromoz, it is still very dry, and there is very little grass now, precisely when there should be a lot. The Klaserie is even worse. However, we received about 7 mm of rain last Friday, and I believe many areas have received much more since then. I believe @pomkiwi is there now, perhaps he can enlighten us? Of course, they will need regular rain over the next month or two if the grass is to recover... @xelas, not so fast please!
  15. 51) European Bee-eater Europese Byevreter Merops apiaster The avian equivalent of the Eurofighter Typhoon perhaps? Fast, agile, unbelievably accurate and beautiful to boot! Pilanesberg, 1 January Last year I showed pictures of them taking a bath. Seems it happens more often than I thought... This time it was also raining lightly. Rathlogo dam, Pilanesberg, 30 January 2017
  16. 50) White-fronted Bee-eater Rooikeelbyevreter Merops bullockoides Almost exactly the same spot as the previous bird, but a day later...
  17. 49) Diederick Cuckoo Diederikkie Chrysococcyx caprius This is a bird which is often heard (during summer, as they are migrants) but seldom seen. They are brood parasites of a relatively vile nature, destroying at least one of the host's eggs and replacing it with their own. The hosts are much smaller birds as well, with probably the most common target being the Masked Weaver. 1 January, near Mankwe Dam, Pilanesberg
  18. 48) Chinspot Batis Witliesbontrokkie Batis molitor Always keep your eye open around camp or in picnic spots! These were taken at a picnic spot in Pilanesberg on the 1st of January And these were taken just outside camp at Joubertshoop, Timbavati, on th 15th of February
  19. Magnificent photos, magnificent birds, scary numbers! I stand in awe.
  20. I am very envious @pomkiwi. A thunderstorm in the Lowveld bush is the most awesome and fulfilling experience I know of, and have fond memories of sleeping on the porch with lightning flashing all about, the smell of wet earth permeating.
  21. @pomkiwi, when was this taken? If not today, you are possibly the luckiest person in the world!
  22. Thank you very much @PeterHG
  23. Thanks @TonyQ, you probably have a point there.
  24. Some lovely examples of "the art of framing" there @Whyone?

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