Living Large

The Southern Grounded Hornbill, or known by the locals as a Bromvoël, is the largest hornbill species in the world.

How big is that? They get up to 1m in length and can weigh up to 4kg.

They hide some amazing white feathers under those dark covers which are seldom seen as they do not like to fly. And I had no intention to get out of the car and run after them with them big cats lurking around.

Southern Grounded Hornbill (Bromvoël) - Kruger National Park - 70D @ 147mm 1/250 f4 ISO100

Southern Grounded Hornbill (Bromvoël) – Kruger National Park – 70D @ 147mm 1/250 f4 ISO100

Elusive kitty

Usually, if you want to see the big five in Africa you plan for a couple of days of driving.

You’ll see lots of elephants, then some buffaloes, with a bit of luck a rhino or two but the predators, lion and leopard, are very scarce. Not surprisingly if you consider that they typically sleep for twenty hours a day and if you do manage to spot them, they might be very far or you will have some flora in the way.

We were extremely lucky to see all 5 in our first day.

Here is one of the more elusive ones.

Leopard (Luiperd) - Kruger National Park - 70D @ 200mm 1/500 f4 ISO100

Leopard (Luiperd) – Kruger National Park – 70D @ 200mm 1/500 f4 ISO100

Tawny Eagle (Roofarend)

Tawny Eagle (Roofarend) - Kruger National Park - 70D @ 74mm 1/2000 f4 ISO100

Need some help here…

I think these are Tawny Eagles, but I may be wrong. I simply can’t find another image on the internet showing eagles like these with the white chests. If you can confirm these to be Tawny Eagles, or otherwise, please let me know.

Tawny Eagle (Roofarend) - Kruger National Park - 70D @ 200mm 1/2000 f4 ISO100

Tawny Eagle (Roofarend) – Kruger National Park – 70D @ 200mm 1/2000 f4 ISO100

Also learned another valuable lesson here.
When multiple birds in the frame, increase depth of field to ensure all subjects are in focus.

Pied Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher - Kruger National Park - South Africa
70D @ 200mm 1/800 f4 ISO100

Pied Kingfisher – Kruger National Park – South Africa
70D @ 200mm 1/800 f4 ISO100

Patience is a virtue…

These little guys will sit for hours on a branch, or in this case bridge, over some water waiting for the next meal to pass. I’ll see if I can get a shot of one with a fish in it’s beak when I go again.

Impala (Rooibok)

Impala (Rooibok) - Kruger National Park - 70D @ 200mm 1/1250 f4 ISO100

Impala (Rooibok) – Kruger National Park – 70D @ 200mm 1/1250 f4 ISO100

Even though you’ll pass hundreds of these on any given day in the Kruger, they can be notoriously hard to photograph.

They instinctively always turn their backs on you so as to be ready to run at a moment’s notice. Any sudden movements, such as stopping the car may set them off. If an when they are calm, they are mostly grazing with their heads down to the ground. I picture like this, is then the exact moment between opening the window, stopping the car, the impala pausing their grazing and lifting their heads right before they take off.

Birds of Prey

Tawny Eagle chases  Lappetfaced Vulture - Kruger National Park - 70D @ 200mm 1/2000 f/4 ISO100

Tawny Eagle chases Lappetfaced Vulture – Kruger National Park – 70D @ 200mm 1/2000 f/4 ISO100

It is not often that you get to capture different species interacting in the wild.

Here a Tawny Eagle chases off a Lappetfaced Vulture in the Kruger National Park.
Was it a territorial display?
Is the vulture really scared of the eagle?
Or is that branch something of a Sheldon’s spot?

Personally I like each image for it’s own uniqueness but I think the sequence tells the story.

2015-09-15 - Africa - _MG_2080 - 4K

Tawny Eagle chases Lappetfaced Vulture – Kruger National Park – 70D @ 200mm 1/2000 f/4 ISO100

2015-09-15 - Africa - _MG_2082 - 4K

Tawny Eagle – Kruger National Park – 70D @ 200mm 1/2000 f/4 ISO100

2015-09-15 - Africa - _MG_2084 - 4K

Tawny Eagle – Kruger National Park – 70D @ 200mm 1/2000 f/4 ISO100

2015-09-15 - Africa - _MG_2087 - 4K

Tawny Eagle – Kruger National Park – 70D @ 200mm 1/2000 f/4 ISO100