Elephant edition: Two more.

African Elephant, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, August 2022 — A couple of other sots of the most cooperative, and most photogenic, of the elephants we encountered on our way back to the lodge from the Nile River Murchison Falls tour boat. You might think the Piapiac birds riding the elephant are like Oxpeckers…but they are quite different. Oxpeckers do not ride elephants because the elephant’s hide is too thick to host ticks…and too thick for the Oxpeckers to open wounds to attract other insects…which they do, for instance, on the tender hides of giraffes. The Piapiacs are strictly hunting from the handy perch of the elephant’s back…and are aided by the fact that the elephant moving through the grass stirs up a lot of insects. It is an opportunistic relationship as opposed to the symbiotic (or parasitic in the case of the giraffes) relationship of the Oxpeckers. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 351mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 1600 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

Yellow-billed Stork

Yellow-billed Stork: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, August 2022 — A very wet and bedraggled Yellow-billed Stork on the banks of the Nile from the tour boat to the base of Murchison Falls…showing the pink blush on the wing coverts and pink legs of breeding plumage very nicely. The Yellow-storks must breed in Uganda, since Murchison Falls NP is pretty far from major breeding areas in Kenya, but there are actually no known breeding sites in Uganda. The Yellow-billed Stork is one of four storks in a closely related group…which includes the American Wood Stork and the Milky and Painted Storks of Asia. Yellow-billed, Milky, and Painted all look very alike, while the Wood Stork lacks the bright colors. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 200 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

Elephant Edition: Catching a ride

African Elephant: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, August 2022 — We came up on a second small herd of Elephants moving parallel to the road on our way back to the lodge from the boat tour on Nile in Murchison Falls National Park. A whole flock of Piapiacs were catching a ride and hunting insects put up by the elephants. Sony Rx10iv at 351mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 1600 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

Red-throated Bee-eater

Red-throated Bee-eater: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, August 2022 — Red-throated Bee-eaters nest in a clay bank on the Nile a few miles upstream from the bridge at Murchison, and a few miles downstream from the falls. In 2019 when I visited, there were several hundred birds on that bank, and Red-throated Bee-eaters were all along the river. In 2022 we were a week earlier in the year, and while the Red-throateds were in the area and we saw them here and there (never very well as the photos attest), they had not yet congregated for nesting. Various range maps show them as resident in Murchison, but the locals consider them a seasonal bird, only appearing in large numbers during nesting season. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4.5 @ 1/1000th and ISO 400 @ f4 @ 1/500th.

Why is it a Darter?

African Darter: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, August 2022 —A companion post for teday’s Pic for today. Why is called a Darter? Ask the catfish 🙂 This bird passed just under the bow of our tour boat on the Nile below Murchison Falls in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda, still carrying its prize. Sony Rx10iv at 567mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f5 @ 1/1000th.

African Darter

African Darter: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, August 2022 — The tour boat to the base of Murchison Falls from the old ferry crossing (and new bridge) on the Nile is always productive. This year we had afternoon rains to contend with, so part of the journey was spent huddled under the awnings on the boat, but still, we saw many birds and quite a bit of wildlife from the water. This stretch of river is good for the African Darter…the African species of Anhinga. (The Anhinga of North America is sometimes called the American Darter), The four species of Anhinga world-wide, American, African, Oriental (or Asian) and Australian are distinguished primarily by region. Front and back view here…probably female and male, and quite possibly with some juvenile plumage on the male. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th and 1/800th.

Lizard edition: Agama Lizard

Agama Lizard: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, August 2022 — There are several common lizards around the grounds of Pakuba Lodge where we stay in Murchison Falls National Park when we visit. The Agama is certainly the most colorful! Sony Rx10iv at 485 and 341mm equivalents. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 and 800 @ f4 @ 1/800th and 1/500th.

Juvenile European Bee-eater

Juvenile European bee-eater: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, August 2022 — This is clearly a juvenile of some Bee-eater. At the time we called it a European and that is still most likely because of the rufous on the head and the light yellow wash on the throat, and because of the on-the-spot id by our guide who is familiar with the species as it appears in Uganda. Merlin, bless its little AI heart, does not give European as the first choice with either photo of this bird that I have, so I had to consider both Blue-checked and Swallow-tailed, which are very similar, according to the field guides and the few internet photos I could find, in juvenile plumage. Still, I am fairly confident this is an immature European Bee-eater, which is a common migrant bird all across Uganda and all of East and South Africa. As always, I am willing to be corrected by anyone who knows better 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f6.3 @ 1/1000th.

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill action

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, August 2022 — There was more than one group of Abyssinian Ground Hornbills near the Hippo Pools at Murchison Falls National Park when we visited in August. I thought at first that I was seeing a female and a chick…with some begging going on, but looking at the photos both female birds appear to be full grown adults, and I took the picture of the two males walking in a line only a few yards away, so this is more likely two pairs, and the females are just having a little spat. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/800th and 1/1000th.

Thick-knees

Water and Senegal Thick-knees: Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, August 2022 — These photos were taken a few miles, and a few hours, apart, one from the shore of the Nile at the Hippo Pools in Murchison Falls National Park in late morning, and one from the tour boat to the base on Murchison Falls on the Nile in the afternoon. I am pretty sure I have both possible Thick-knees here, the Water Thick-knee on the shore, and the Senegal Thick-knee from the boat. (The AI engine in Merlin agrees, for what it is worth 🙂 They are easy to tell apart in the East African Birds guide, but neither bird here looks like the illustration of the Water Thick-knee in the book. (In fact, I can not find a photo of the Water Thick-knee anywhere that looks like the bird in the book. The ones in Merlin certainly do not???) I am totally willing to be corrected by anyone who knows better. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/1000th and 1/800th.