Dave Williams

Supermodels! Simply the best!

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Encouraged by one or two I thought I'd start this thread to share not only a bird of outstanding beauty in the eyes of the beholder but to share the experience of seeing it too.

I thought I'd start with this one :-

Wallcreeper  (Tichodroma muraria)

 

When I first started birding a friend told me his ambition was to photograph a Wallcreeper and described this stunning little bird. On a visit to the South of France I looked but failed and it was 8 years later before I got my chance when on a trip to Bulgaria. I was so impressed the friend I was with and I returned a year later having made a special journey back to the site we had been to.

To set the scene.

18732207226_4cf666715e_b.jpgWallcreeper site by Dave Williams, on Flickr

A roadside lay-by just before entering a tunnel. Down on the gorge below a river can be heard but other than the occasional passing car there is silence. Suddenly we hear the bird, the weirdest and eeriest sound from a bird I have ever heard, indescribable really and nothing at all like the one suggested in the bird guide book. A mournful but stunningly beautiful sound though and one that echoes from the steep cliffs that surround us.

Then we spot it, right there fluttering more like a butterfly than a bird as it crosses over the gorge and lands just feet in front of us.

18787082736_4ef64f7216_b.jpgWallcreeper   Bulgaria by Dave Williams, on Flickr

Not the most spectacular bird at first sight but then it opens it's wings and wow!

18808332282_0556ce6835_b.jpgWallcreeper   Bulgaria by Dave Williams, on Flickr

It's probably not the most visually spectacular you'll see but it explodes in to colour in the drab surrounds it tends to inhabit.

It's a huge photographic challenge too which adds to the satisfaction of seeing one.

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Fantastic photo! I'm always loking for them here in Austria but have failed so far.

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Beautiful shot! I too love wallcreepers.

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Beautiful indeed! Thanks for starting this thread, but you've placed the bar very high with the first post!

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I have another nomination waiting to be posted but hopefully someone else might contribute first?

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That's a very pretty bird. My vote would go to this tiny species, only 8-10 cm in length they are breath taking in their beauty and I also love their call.

The Spotted Pardalote, known as the jewel of the Australian bush. There are 5 species of pardalote, unless they have been split since I last bothered to look.

5986f4216e80a_565_Geoff_Gates_6744-2.thumb.jpg.929115e62e18be8bc7a17bf5a6797deb.jpg 

 

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Beautiful photo @Geoff of a beautiful bird and yes they sure are tiny!

 

Can't say I know their call even though some years back they nested in the roadside bank almost opposite my home.

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Definitely a good looker Geoff. Cracking photo you got too.

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Very beautiful! :)

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Posted (edited)

Here's my second nomination, and again i can give a little background information too.

The Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae) is a bit special simply because it's the world's smallest bird. It's endemic to Cuba and not that common either. In fact it's becoming increasingly uncommon I believe.

As it's so small it's also more difficult to find I imagine but for me it was very, very easy. This enterprising couple have, for a small fee, opened their garden to birders and have a steady stream on guided tours as well as one or two who like me found their own way there if they had transport.

25382644692_f3a14d36a5_b.jpgHummingbird garden by Dave Williams, on Flickr

That's the lady and behind her the tree and it's flowers the bird favours. The neighbours must be envious as they don't have one!

These birds are so used to the visitors now that they will come to hand held flowers dipped in sugar solution.

25284584051_689b18520c_b.jpgBee Hummingbird by Dave Williams, on Flickr

That gives you an idea of size too. The male is slightly smaller than the female which isn't as attractive either. Sorry ladies, it's usually the case in birds but not humans of course.;)

24646682843_153d6d6b6e_b.jpgBee Hummingbird    Cuban endemic by Dave Williams, on Flickr

The male on the other hand is a bit of a stunner.

25494375885_0a550dcf40_b.jpgBee Hummingbird    endemic to Cuba by Dave Williams, on Flickr

What is really amazing is that suddenly the plumage appears to change colour.

25401560001_6d15bbe9bb_b.jpgBee Hummingbird      endemic to Cuba by Dave Williams, on Flickr

 

I guess if it was a bigger bird the effect might be even more amazing!

I went to Cuba determined I would nail this bird but even after spending three visits and several hours on each I came home unhappy with the results.

Maybe I'll have to go back and try again, it wouldn't be a hardship. Hummingbirds are, in my opinion, the most fun birds to photograph and I'd love to try for more than the 5 species I have seen so far on my travels.

Edited by Dave Williams
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Beautiful!

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What magnificent little birds @Geoff and @Dave Williams! I would love to get an opportunity at hummingbirds some time!

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I want to nominate the whole family of Sunbirds. I still don't have good photos of most members of the family, but here are just a couple of examples:

 

Amathyst Sunbird:

 

Amathyst2ODP.thumb.jpg.cc1808ea1948fcc563304e25e52739cc.jpg

 

Greater Double-collared:

 

gdcsb1ODP.thumb.jpg.0ba497b3f0c4821c613604d6ac8f8fbc.jpg

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wow all really stunning beautiful birds. 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, Peter Connan said:

I want to nominate the whole family of Sunbirds.

 

Yep. I have to agree. Some beauties in that family group. 

 

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Those Bee Hummingbird photos are gorgeous @Dave Williams

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Great thread, looking froward to more stunning posts.

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I agree @Peter Connan about the Sunbirds but we should stick to one at a time in case we overlook one in a post;) I was thinking upcoming Kingfishers!!!!!

 

Here's my Beautiful Sunbird (Cinnyris pulchellus) contribution from a trip to The Gambia a year or two ago.

 

26329573732_cd316c44ee_b.jpgBeautiful Sunbird   Marrakissa,Gambia 2015 by Dave Williams, on Flickr

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That is a beauty. MAgnificent capture @Dave Williams

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Come on @Peter Connan Let's move the bar up to your Kingfisher!!!! I have to say maybe some will draw level but I think it will be difficult to beat! 

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Racket Tailed Roller must be a contender. It even has the pose.

rackettail-detail.jpg

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@Soukous Nice one , they are going to be no rollover in the quest for the top. Might be an idea to set a deadline on entries and ( if it's possible @Game Warden ) have a voting poll to decide the winning species ( not the photograph either).

A similar thread for mammals etc might also be a bit of fun.

 

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Posted (edited)

Lovely roller @Soukous

 

 

There are still a lot of entries to go @Dave Williams, so don't be too hasty!

Bush-shrikes, Rollers, Cuckoos, Bee-eaters, Parrots and who knows what else deserve a mention here!

Edited by Peter Connan

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Posted (edited)

Does the Blue-eared Kingfisher merit a place amongst these beauties? (Kinabatangan River, Sabah.)

 

29597516412_b1fadbf6bc_h.jpg2R4C1317 by Whyone, on Flickr

 

29627507821_1447614536_h.jpg2R4C1084 by Whyone, on Flickr

 

 

Edited by Whyone?
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1 hour ago, Whyone? said:

Does the Blue-eared Kingfisher merit a place amongst these beauties? (Kinabatangan River, Sabah.)

 

Absolutely! 

Lovely looking bird. Neat photos too.

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