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Everything posted by offshorebirder

  1. Yesterday I drove an hour and a half to enjoy and photograph the annual Kite spectacle near Allendale, South Carolina. I've posted about it before, so I'll keep it brief and just toss up a couple of photos. Here is a shot I took just after the parent dropped off a large katydid for junior to consume. The parent is vocalizing to the other youngster, who was bobbing up and down and whistling in an adjacent tree. Here is the parent ferrying a large katydid to one of the fledglings:
  2. Very nice photos @Soukous. And I am very jealous of your travels - Botswana in May and the Farne Islands in June!
  3. @janzin - if I were going to Madagascar with a bird tour, I would not use anyone other than the Wings tour that Brian Finch leads! In my opinion, nobody else can come close to showing you the birds of Madagascar as well as he. He spends a lot of time in Madagascar and at one point was managing a hotel there and doing lots of birding. They have a tour in August-September 2018:
  4. Wonderful Lion hunt you saw in Samburu @pault! And I love the group photo of everyone in post #53. Always nice when the guys with AK-47's are smiling.
  5. @kittykat23uk - I just ran across this excellent trip report while searching the archives. The butterfly in post #25 looks like an African Monarch (Danaus chrysippus). I regret disagreeing with your pelagic bird guide, but the photo in post#10 is not a Flesh-footed Shearwater. It lacks the bright pink bill (with black tip) that a FF Shearwater would show and clearly has an all-dark bill. Only 2 shearwater species are all-dark and have dark bills: Sooty Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater and the dark form of Wedge-tailed Shearwater. Nothing in the photo looks wrong for Sooty Shearwater but with the angle and photo resolution I can't completely rule out a dark morph Wedge-tailed Shearwater.
  6. Pelagic photography has to be one of the more difficult shutterbug pursuits. The bouncing and unstable platform, inability to use tripods, the ever-present salt spray, tricky lighting reflected off the water and other challenges, it can be extremely frustrating, yet very rewarding when things go right. Needless to say, high shutter speed is a must, since both photographer and subject are moving... I'll post a sampling of my pelagic shots - would love to see other people's from their respective areas - particularly the Cape of Good Hope area, Humbolt Current in S. America and New Zealand. Black-capped Petrel (an endangered species) "scrum" in pursuit of food in heavy seas. In the Gulf Stream, 90 miles from land over the Charleston Bump - an underwater seamount that deflects the Gulf Stream. June 10, 2013. Canon 7D with 300mm f4. ISO 400, f/8, 1/2000 second. Wilson's Storm-Petrel walking on water in the Gulf Stream off Charleston, South Carolina, USA. May 25, 2014. Canon 7D with 300mm f4. ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/1600. Skipjack Tuna in pursuit of prey (note the small baitfish it is tracking) in the Gulf Stream off Hatteras, North Carolina, USA. July 7, 2013. Canon 7D with 300mm f4 - unknown settings. Black-capped Petrel missing its mark while feeding at a cold core eddy near the Charleston Bump. June 10, 2013. Canon 7D with 300mm f4. ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/2000 Gervais' Beaked Whale (male) off Hatteras, North Carolina. July 7, 2013.- very few photos of this species (while alive) exist. Canon 7D with 300mm f4 - unknown settings. Atlantic Puffin off Virginia Beach, Virginia, January 19, 2013. Canon 7D with 300mm f4 - unknown settings. Dovekie off Virginia Beach, Virginia. January 19, 2013. Canon 7D with 300mm f4, ISO 400, f/8, 1/2000
  7. Wow - you photographed a trio of Hueglin's Coursers @Bush dog! You really were lucky with birds on this trip Mike - I would kill for a Marsh Owl.
  8. I am looking forward to your TR @pomkiwi!
  9. I too sincerely hope @Rainbirder gets better!
  10. So glad to have you back @Jochen! I was wondering when we would be graced with your presence just the other day when reading through one of your threads. Now if @Rainbirder would put in an appearance! I look forward to reading your catch-up posts and also using your services when I visit South Africa in the next couple of years.
  11. I tell you what @amybatt - I had to do Offbeat Mara twice in twelve months to even begin getting it out of my system. If it's any consolation, I too am torn between Zambia and one more swing through Kenya/Tanzania for my next safari. And Ecuador now that I have a line on reliable Spectacled Bear encounters... So many places to go, so little vacation time and money!
  12. Quite right @Kitsafari. And like the UAE and its artificial sand island developments, Singapore's land expansion also destroys its own marine habitats.
  13. I am glad to see the harmful environmental effects of sand mining getting more attention: Here on the east coast of the USA, constant dredging of offshore sand to replenish beaches is harmful to the benthic communities just offshore. One of many effects: falling populations of clams and other bivalves that sea ducks need for winter food. Repeated dredging (to forestall beach erosion) keeps "rebooting" invertebrate populations and with smaller and smaller windows between renourishment projects, the populations have less and less time to recover. The dredging process also breaks up shells and countless tiny jagged shell pieces get mixed into the slurry that is pumped up onto the beach. This new sand mixture makes for a less hospitable beach for invertebrates that shorebirds depend upon.
  14. Black-necked Stilt in flight. Bulls Island, South Carolina on June 6, 2017.
  15. Bets of luck @Dave Williams! Nice capture of the flying fish - I know how they can drive you crazy trying to get a decent photo.
  16. @Dave Williams - it wouldn't by chance be a Scilly Isles pelagic organized by Bob Flood would it?
  17. Here is a bit of good news for a change - Cambodia just banned exporting its mined sand:
  18. Thanks @Geoff - I'm really anticipating this trip report. Already some very nice photos - the Bee-eater is crisp! And I like the leaping Wildebeest a lot.
  19. @Towlersonsafari my friend, don't start away uneasy (I'm sure you'll figure out how to work it in). @Dave Williams - I hope you see a Cheap Day Return for your Salmon.
  20. Then wouldn't it be good of the book's authors to release it into the public domain?
  21. @lmonmm - thanks for posting that article. By coincidence, I am planning to take a group of blind people birding next spring to enjoy the sounds, smells and sensations of a spring morning in a Longleaf Pine forest. As all birders know, one's ears are as important as one's eyes in terms of finding and appreciating birds. To get back on-topic: Safaris for me are part communing with nature, part escaping hectic modern life, and part "time travel" - glimpsing the world as it used to be...
  22. Thanks so much @inyathi for posting the above "Species accounts" for several kinds of deer. They are a wealth of information.
  23. This sounds like good news: "The Ewaso Lions Project in Kenya has reported the arrival of four new males (who have manes!) in Samburu – the first time since 2008 that new lions have been seen in the area." (scroll down a bit to reach the article text):
  24. "A herd of endangered rhinos fleeing the deadly floods sweeping northern India now faces another threat, wildlife officials said on Monday: Poachers are stalking the animals in the few areas of high ground to which they have managed to escape. Severe flooding since June in Assam State has forced half a million people from their homes and left scores of animals in Kaziranga National Park in grave danger, said Pramila Rani Brahma, the state’s forest and environment minister. Some animals, including most of the park’s elephants, have managed to flee the flooding to areas near where park officials say they can provide them protection from poachers, but the rhinos have escaped to areas difficult for the rangers to patrol, said Satyendra Singh, the park’s director."
  25. I found it particularly repugnant that Tanzania was importing "Ethiopian dam experts" for advice and expertise - the same crowd that is engaged in starving Lake Turkana of water and destroying the lives of so many Kenyans that depend upon it.

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