We that work in such a beautiful heaven on earth, have the greatest opportunities to capture moments with our cameras. Photography in my opinion is a reflection of a moment in time where you are trying to recap that which you see, keeping a memory of a sighting, of something special, but also a representation of the emotion of that moment, both in the eye of the animal you photographing and your emotion of the sighting.
The majority of us here have camera’s for that very thing, may it be to take images for a blog, a record of something special, or just having fun, it is difficult not to get involved with some sort of photography.
My favourite photography is close up wildlife and movement images, in particular birds in action or in flight. It can be challenging and tricky at times, but rewarding when you get the image.
I also like revealing different behaviours of animals in my photography, in the series here which I have included with some of my birds in motion captured in the Selous, it is of a Dark capped Bulbul. A very common African species, but still has its own beauty. I was sitting in the office, catching up on some emails, when I noticed this male in display. He was flicking his wings and tail, showing off his yellow rump, trying to impress his lady and in the same moment seeing off any potential threats. During this time constantly vocalising and fanning out his tail feathers. This is his way of showing affection to his partner, and also getting her in the mood for mating. These birds are monogamous, and a close bond between pairs develops, where they will settle for the night, perched close together, touching, and will often allopreen one another. This behaviour is where both individuals preen the feathers, strengthening their relationship.
After mating the female builds the nest, of grass, twigs and some rootlets, forming a neat cup, held together with some spiders silk. 2 – 3 eggs are laid, and almost exclusively incubated by the female. One of the main influencing factors to the survival and success of the nest is parasitism by the Jacobin Cuckoo, who often lay their eggs in Dark capped Bulbul nests. The Jacobin Cuckoo male will distract the Bulbuls, whilst the female slip undetected, into the nest and lays her eggs inside the bulbul nest.
The foster siblings are bigger bullies than the bulbul chicks and thus, push and shove the chicks, eventually causing starvation, due to these fosters receiving all the food and attention from the foster parents. As cruel as this may sound, it is a way of controlling numbers.
The Dark capped Bulbul feeds predominantly on fruit and some insects to substitute the diet. What we notice here when the Long pod Cassia is fruiting, with their exceptionally long pods, is that the bulbuls enjoy opening them up and eating the seeds inside the pod. These birds have also been recorded feeding on falling fruit which have started fermenting and getting slightly tipsy, so even birds enjoy a little alcohol from time to time. As they are quite social, with sometimes as many as 50 – 100 birds foraging in a tree, it isn’t a surprise that they enjoy the odd party.
Nature is a wonderful thing, and it is nice to take with you an image of something of fascination and reflection, but you must always remember to also enjoy the spectacle and not only get completely emerged in only getting the right image.