Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gambia Birds; One in the Hand and Two in the Bush

During this long, cold and snowy Swedish winter I have been digging in my photo archives. That's what winter is for. If we had great weather year round like in my home town of San Diego I might never have time to go back and process my images. So this week we travel from the summer snows of arctic Svalbard to the winter heat of Gambia
In my previous post from our Christmas trip to Gambia I shared a few images taken on or around the hotel grounds. Those birds make wonderful subjects. They are used to humans and provide many great photo opportunities that most of us can just dream about.
But there are even more birds in the bush, countless birds just waiting to be photographed. The only problem is they are far less cooperative AND the light in Gambia gets to be too bright after about 9:00AM.m and it also gets too hot. For birders this is not such a big deal, but for photographers, it's all about the light. So we arranged with our guide that we would leave before sunrise and head out to his favorite birding areas while the light was still good. And Dawd Barry our guide delivered. He took us to several different habitats during the week where we were able to get close enough and with great backgrounds.

All shots taken with the Canon 7D and the 500/4 in most cases with the 1.4X or 2X extender.

A pied kingfisher hunting in the irrigation canals of nearby farming lands.

Little bee-eaters are everywhere, but they are still beautiful.

A pair of wire-tailed swallows mating at the end of December.

And in the bush a striped kingfisher spies after lizards and insects.

An amazing tail on the glossy starlings

The blue-cheeked bee-eater required a trip off the beaten path, but it also brought us out to the mangroves.

And I have to re-post the African pygmy kingfisher just because the colors are so amazing.

There are a number of reasonably priced hotel in Gambia and the local bird guides are generally very good. Bird photography a couple of hours in the morning and evenings  when the light is good and then lots of time to spend with the family for other activities. Who could ask for more.


  1. Hej
    Detta är tyvärr sant men jag har sorgligt nog inte besökt din sida förrän nu :(. Skäms på mig! därför din sida är ju en drömsida för mig som drömmer om att en dag äga 500/4 och att få åka utomlands (Afrika exempelvis) för att fotografera. Otroligt fina och skarpa bilder (även fast det är med 2x ext), imponerande bilder och sida:) blir definitivt att lägga i favoritmappen! / Sami

    1. Tack Sami,

      Jag kan också rekommendera 400/5.6 som ett mycket bra (och mycket billigare) alternativ i väntan på 500/4:an. :-)


  2. Jag kan också rekommendera 400/5.6 som ett mycket bra (och mycket billigare) alternativ i väntan på 500/4:an. :-)