Monday, April 27, 2009

Beauty Contest - Cat.4

Back to the adult bird "entries" (after the cute = immature birds 'dared' to "jump the queue") - today is "dedicated" to Insect Eaters (excluding starlings).

Another 'brave' entry because this Cape wagtail is less colourful than its counterparts, e.g. the Yellow Longtailed or African Pied wagtails.

This Red-eyed bulbul represents the entire bulbul-family in this 'beauty' contest - what a lovely pose!

Strange that an Olive thrush 'chose' to represent yet another bird-family which also features more colour birds, e.g. the Kurrichane or Rock thrushes. Olive thrushes, generally, are 'shy' birds (= don't 'allow' photographers close) therefore this close-up photo was a lucky shot!

The Heuglin's robin probably is the most vividly coloured member of this family and therefore not 'shy' to enter a beauty contest BUT sadly, this isn't the 'clearest' of photos.

Now why would a Cape robin 'dare' to enter if its more colourful 'cousin' (see previous entry) already features? Because it wants to show off its tail?

It's always a pleasure to detect a Paradise flycatcher BUT why enter a photo which doesn't 'serve its purpose' i.e. to impress the judges? Is it possible that no 'clearer' photo exists in the photographers 'archive'?

The Bokmakierie (= one of the Bush shrikes) is a welcome sight and the experience is even more 'enhanced' if a duet (= the call between both sexes) accompanies the sighting; a worthy entry BUT a more 'powerful' camera would have done this sighting more justice!

This photo of a Red-backed shrike probably is the winner of this category!? The photographer is very proud of the 'harmony' which exists between the attractive model and the setting.

Poor Wire-tailed swallow - the 'onus' of representing the entire swallow & Martin families (in this contest) rests on its shoulders! The question is: is it a winner?

You be the judge!

Monday, April 20, 2009

More cute Birds

After being away (on tour again but with family 'members' visiting from Germany this time around) let's continue with the BEAUTY CONTEST.

Since last the first group of "cute birds" didn't wait for their turn, let's continue the trend:

This little ostrich fellow certainly encompasses what 'cute' entails.

A young Egyptian goose - a "worthy" entrant in this category.

This immature Collared sunbird poses a problem: is it (= will it develop into) a double- or lesser-collared sunbird?

It's admirable that this young Dusky flycatcher "dares" to enter a beauty competition since it isn't as "colourful" as some of the other entrants!

Certainly a cute photo BUT isn't this a fully grown Cape white-eye? Well, the rules for this category don't specifically state that only immature birds are allowed to enter so we'll 'graciously' accept this as a 'legal' entry.

This (tiny) Scops owl appears 'hot and bothered' - anybody who lives or has to endure (or has experienced) the heat often prevalent in the Etosha National Park in Namibia (where this photo 'originated') will sympathise!!

Ooops! Another 'stolen' photo (taken by our son-in-law) of Natal francolin youngsters managed to enter! Since this is such a beautiful photo we'll ignore that there is more than 1 'model'.

You make allowances once (i.e. allowing a couple-photo = previous entry) and the result: a group-photo materialises!! But these Greater flamingo babies are so cute I guess they couldn't be left out.

And to conclude this category today yet another 'cheeky' group entry of African penguin youngsters.

Who is the winner of this category?

You be the judge!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cute Birds

OOPS!! How did these immature birds manage to "slip in"? Today was supposed to be "dedicated" to Insect eating (mature) birds, but I guess these youngsters were too impatient to wait for their turn after ALL the adult bird categories were introduced.

For "Cute birds" there are 2 categories: 1) Immature birds from our garden & 2) Others (from my "archive").

Since they "jumped the queue", today's entry is therefore Cat.1 = Cute Birds

Various sunbirds visit our garden, but it isn't always easy to photograph these "jumpy" birds, because they seldom sit down long enough to get clear visuals. Since it also isn't easy to identify some junior birds, in contrast to adult males, I assume that this is an immature Black sunbird, although the blackish "patch" on the throat "tells" me it could be a junior Marico sunbird (= both occur in our garden, also the White-bellied one).

What a cute specimen this Crested barbet is - we are lucky to often see (& especially hear!) these birds in our garden (in Jo'burg), also the Black-Collared member.

My personal favourite - an immature Fiscal flycatcher, which I watched on an almost daily basis growing into a handsome specimen. In particular I'm also proud about the "clarity" of this photo (= taken at the "right time of day" & from the right "angle").

Cute - this photo of an immature hoopoe is therefore ideally suited for this category. During this time of the year, our garden is often inundated by hoopoes, which dig out thick worms (plentiful because we had lots of rain lately).

Now this Brown-hooded kingfisher is NOT a regular visit to our garden, although I've spied one on 3 different occasions - most certainly a welcome sight if I do detect one, especially a youngster like this!

This immature Cape robin is another one of those youngsters I had the pleasure of watching growing up during the summer months - quite a shy bird (generally) but I had several opportunities to watch it "develop" (if not able to photograph it "clearly").

I love this photo of a young Black-eyed bulbul "balancing" precariously OR caught unawares by me? I think of this as a "lucky shot".

Now this little rascal, an immature Diederick cuckoo, was one of the most demanding juniors I had the pleasure of watching - it always alerted me to its pressence with persistent cries, demanding to be fed - by its "parasite" (= host) mother, in this case a Masked weaver!

A cute + "fluffy" Fiscal shrike (junior) - this bird species often frequents our garden, and I love its "cheeky attitude".

The little thief! Caught this immature Olive Thrush in the act of "stealing" a (baby) tomato in our garden.

So - who's the winner in this category?

"You be the judge" - Please vote via the comments option below.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Beauty Contest - Cat.3

[SEE Competition Rules for this Beauty Contest - Mon 30th March]

Category 3 - Seedeaters

This photo of a (not yet fully mature) Spotted-backed weaver is 'nice', i.e. not exceptional nor outstanding.

A quite 'cocky' looking (+ also not fully mature) Masked weaver! This young male was observed building quite an intricate nest, which, after inspection, a female found 'wanting' + therefore tore off - will this male weaver be more successful in the beauty contest than (his so far doubtful skill) as a nest-builder?

Ah, now we are talking business! Of the 3 (male) weaver entries, this photo of a Yellow weaver is the best in the overall-looks "department".

A 'brave' entry, because this Red-collared widow is a rather small bird - at 15cm (without its tail) = difficult to photograph 'clearly'.

What a gorgeous bird when its tail (only during the breeding season) is on 'full display'; the photo of this Long-tailed widow was unfortunately taken during the 'wrong time' of day (= over-head sun > shining from the side), which somewhat 'diminishes' an otherwise impressive image.

A guess is that this Bully canary entered the contest because ..... it can! As the sole entrant in the canary 'department' that is admirable BUT the quality of the photo is somewhat 'below par'.

Because of its 'impressive' colouring this Blue waxbill is probably a strong contender to win in this category mainly 'dedicated' to small birds!?

What a lovely photo of a Swee waxbill (only 9-10cm in size)!

["In-house" judge's footnote/explanation: the 'honour' of photographing this tiny bird goes to our son-in-law, who 'borrowed' my camera to "shoot" it]

The setting (on this photo) certainly enhances the look of this (otherwise quite 'common' ) Great sparrow - a worthy entry!

Now we are talking! Who would have thought that (another 'common' bird) a House sparrow can look so attractive? The photographer took a calculated risk, which paid off - IF only the bird could be viewed side-ways (instead of 'presenting' its back), or does that add 'quality' to this photo?

A late entry of a Cape bunting, which barely made the cut-off date for this competition - but it certainly was worth the effort, because it's one of the most handsome entries in this category -
which strangely, attracted the most (numerous) entries/category (11 > the usual 9)!?

"You be the judge" - of which bird (only 1/category!) goes through to the final round.
[To vote please use the comments option - below]