Small birds are attractive but big birds are better. The wonderful thing about Africa is that it has such a wide variety of raptors. Not only do you constantly see them but it’s also not too difficult to come away with good shots of them.
Shortly after entering the park at Malelane we came across this splendid Tawny Eagle high in a tree next to the road picking the feathers of something that he has just caught. His positioning in the tree was not the best but it still provided for some reasonable shots.
Not long after the spectacle of the Tawny Eagle eating its lunch we spotted a pair of African Hawk Eagles sitting together on a relatively low branch of a dead tree very close to the road. We tried approaching very slowly so as not to scare them off, but one immediately took flight, followed by the second shortly afterwards leaving me with only a few shots of this magnificent bird.
One of the prizes of our trip was spotting this Snake Eagle shortly before last light. At first we could not see what it was that was hanging out of its mouth but as soon as I turned the big bomber on him I realized that it was the last 300mm of a snake he had caught. Obviously the snake was too long for him to swallow and it had to be digested in stages…a sight that was definitely something different to observe.
Tawny Eagles are always something special. These magnificent birds of prey are fairly common and it is usually possible to come away with a few good shots of them every trip. This guy was captured late in the afternoon. The light was just perfect to highlight his splendid plumage.
I think the highlight of this years raptor hunt was this Bateleur Eagle photographed mid afternoon just north of Shingwedzi. He had obviously been down at the water washing as his feathers were all wet and he was busy preening and airing his wings. The light was a bit too strong for my liking and the end shots are a little too burned out, but it was by far our best sighting of this, the King of African eagles.
Last but not least comes this frontal shot of a Black-Shouldered Kite photographed in the vicinity of the Punda Maria camp. I have tried to capture this bird a number of times but they always duck off before I can get focused. For some reason this time this guy posed on his perch until I at least got a few shots off. It was early morning and the light was front on, not the best for something with his coloring, but its all I’ve got, so no complaints until I can get better.