Another of the highlights of the trip was the wide range of raptors seen – not always close enough for good photos, but always spectacular.
Sunday, 25 April 2010
As you’ve probably gathered from the photos from Malawi I’ve posted so far, the birding was pretty good, and the scenery was constantly superb. But both of these were surpassed by our first experience with African Elephants: we found a group of c.64 animals from a boat trip one morning, and had the privilege of watching them feeding, bathing, drinking and even wrestling at pretty close range for around half an hour. I really can’t think of a more impressive or memorable wildlife encounter – they were just fantastic! Photos can’t really do justice to the real thing… but here are the best I could do.
Saturday, 24 April 2010
More from Malawi in a day or two, but first a few common bird photos taken locally over the last two weekends. This selection of wildfowl was taken at Fishers Green, in the Lee Valley.
Next, one of Wanstead’s finest – this male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker showed fantastically well, drumming and calling this morning. Not particularly obliging for photos, but they’re always a cracking little bird to see…
Also following in Jono’s blogging footsteps, a Reed Bunting portrait from Rainham in this evening’s sunshine:
And finally, this Goldfinch wasn’t the main attraction at Welney today… but it was a lot more accommodating than the white-spotted Bluethroat, which was very elusive and only showed briefly in a three hour vigil!
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Monitor Lizard: after a very near miss with a large Monitor that crossed right in front of our 4x4 on the first evening, we only saw a couple more during the trip. I guess this one was around 3-4 feet long – they do get a bit bigger as well!
Saturday, 17 April 2010
So, after spending most of the afternoon editing photos, it’s time to publish the first batch of the results. Most of these shots were taken in the vicinity of Mvuu Lodge, in the Liwonde National Park, where a number of boat safaris provided an excellent (and relaxed) means of getting close views.
White-backed Night Heron: generally a tricky bird to see, this was one of two seen well in dense vegetation along the banks of the Shire River.
African Openbill (Stork): quite a common bird around Liwonde, including a ‘stack’ of approx 60 birds circling on a thermal overhead.
Great White Egret: this shot was taken in the late evening sunshine, prior to a superb sunset (and an unsuccessful search for Pel’s Fishing Owl!)
Malachite Kingfisher: I know, I know… I’ve already posted a shot of one of these. No apologies though – they’re just too stunning to ignore!
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Here’s a selection of birds, mammals and insects photographed during our trip - anyone keen on ID-ing the insects for us? They’re in chronological order and I took them using my new camera, a Panasonic Lumix FZ38, bought especially for my trip to Ghana in the summer. I was really pleased with how adaptable it is. It took great landscapes (see previous post), some pleasing macro shots of flowers, butterflies and dragonflies and with it’s 18x optical zoom I even got a few decent bird shots although they obviously do not compare to the Canon photos…
An excellent example of just how tatty the butterflies were, it would appear that the birds are pretty good at catching them but only by their wings. This one looks like it’s been nibbled at least five times and still lived to tell the tale…
The elephants were amazing, we sat in our boat just metres away from a herd of over sixty. They even came and played in the river with us. Have you ever seen an elephant attempt a backwards roll in the water???
My attempt at Pied Kingfisher