Saturday, October 3, 2009

Birds of Amboseli

Since most birdwatchers go out in the morning in search of their feathered treasures, no better way than to start with a sunrise. For those who has stayed at the Amboseli Serena this is a familiar tree.
The Common Squacco Heron is abundant but shy to photograph and this is the first time I was able to get a decent image. It may be in the open when first approached but usually flies away or hide behind a bush. When breeding it has a solid black bill, this one has a partial black bill which means it is not breeding or an immature one.
This is a fabulous looking bird, the African Spoonbill has a peculiar bill and it is mainly a filter feeder. Spoonbills are found in other parts of the world. The Eurasian Spoon bill may be also seen i n Kenya. Here in the USA with have a Roseate Spoonbill that is commonly seen Florida, other than the colors, it looks the same.
The Grassland Pipit is fairly common and has the habit of perching on a rock singing to attract females. It usually has a favorite rock that he paints white with its dropping. Not difficult to photograph.
Would you believe this a starling, a Superb Starling at that. Here in the USA we have the European Starling introduced in Central Park, NYC back in the 1890's. From there they spread all over the continent. Whoever did that had poor taste or was not familiar of this one...a much better looking bird. As his cousin, is usually found in large groups and is a steal to photograph...just pretend you are throwing food into the air and they will come for the feast.
I found this bird very unusual for being so black with red eyes and a yellow bill, a Black Crake. It moves over the floating vegetation easily and mainly feeds in insects. This bird is not shy and by just seating in one place and waiting, it will not be long before they can fill the frame with a 300 mm lens.
This is another smallish bird that is easy to photograph, it walks at the edge of the water looking for insect, so when I saw one walking my way, I stopped the vehicle and wait for it to come by, so close that a times the lens was not able to focus. And it has a peculiar name, the Kittlitz's Plover.
This is a favorite of photographers, the Little Bee Eater and as the name implies it feeds mainly in bees. The bird is fairly common in East Africa from the savannas to the highlands. Most colorful and seldom seen alone.
A Crowned Lapwing, very common and is really a nasty bird. I will tell you why in a narrative below. It has a very peculiar call easy to identify.
The African Jacana is one of my favorite birds, the combination of blue frontal plate, white and black head colors is unique, its long toes allows for it to walk in the vegetation floating in the water. This peculiar one had a family of 5 chicks. When I firs saw it was seating on the ground, suddenly it stood up and opened the wings and all the little ones dropped to the ground and started feeding. I observed this family for quite a while but suddenly a pair of Crowned Lapwing flew in and attacked the chicks...none survive. Why the did this? It was not because food so I assume it was to eliminate habitat competition.
So let me bore you with another image of this neat bird.


SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Sorry I am so late in commenting. :)

What a spectacular sunrise and that tree is very familiar. I always look for lions laying in their shade.

Great shot of the Squacco!! I LOVE the Spoonbills. I have seen pics of the one in Florida and it is spectacular.

Please snd me another picture of the "Pipit" I need to see its beak. What size is is? Same as a sparrow or a Wagtail, maybe a lark?

Never seen a Superb Starling before but it is superb!!

The Bee-eaters have to be one of my favorite groups of birds. They are all beautiful.

What a shame about the chick. Nature can be SO cruel!! Those chicks are so small and adorable.

I think you saved the best picture for those wind blown feathers.

What a fantastic post Jose and I thank you for sharing.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Just thought of something else .... Have you ever seen the Plumb Colored Starling? THAT is even more beautiful. I often see them in Kruger. You would love them.

Ken Conger Photography said...

Exceptional series of images and supporting text. No way I could pick a fav, they are all good. Blue Skies.

Juan C. Aguero said...

Good reportage!

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Amboseli said...

Some great pictures there!

Amboseli has such an amazing, but unusual water-bird variety.