October, due to its very hot temperatures, is locally referred to as “Suicide month” in Africa. So why head up to the north of Botswana to photograph birds in this month? Well, a few factors combine in the Panhandle of the delta to make for some great bird watching and, of course, photography. (You can see the collection of images from the trip here)
So I headed up with a couple of Photography friends, set up a small camp and jumped onto a boat to se what we could find. I mentioned a couple of contributing factors making it a good time to photograph- well it was prime season. Almost all the birds were breeding, meaning breeding colonies, the rains had not come keeping the skies clear of clouds and lastly, the water levels had dropped sufficiently. Why Sufficiently? Well, when the water level drops, it exposes the sandbanks allowing the African skimmer to breed. This near threatened bird struggles to find suitable breeding spots, but here on the Okavango, they still breed in good numbers.
And with so many good bird species to photograph I was naturally very comfortable in the environment! Some of the highlights were working with the carmine bee-eaters. What lovely jewels of the air! I was quite happy to be amongst them again of the tried some new angles and approaches to photographing them. The results of the creative stuff will be out soon. Of course the pied kingfishers, white fronted bee-eaters, jacanas and other colourful birds were all in abundance and were photographed in their fullness.
But the star of the show for the week was working with the African skimmer. A relatively large bird, they are quite easy to photograph- so my real ambition was to get something new and different of these spectacular birds. We spent quite a few hours with these birds and I eventually ended up in the water trying out different angles. Of course back lighting came into play. I really enjoyed how these birds stood out against the sun- the way the light reflected off their wings and the colour of light on their beaks. Spectacular!
Speaking of water- if you hear rumours of me in my underpants stalking pratincoles through the shallows- it’s completely untrue…
Hope you enjoy the images. Be sure to look at the collection.