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Nikon D800's "Swift" performance

The Nikon D800 is a remarkable camera, sporting an astounding 36,8MP sensor capable of delivering extraordinary detail. It is, however, not known for its speed - when this is needed the D4 delivers the goods. It is claimed to share the autofocus sensor of the D4 and I wondered how the autofocus would hold up when shooting fast moving subjects. I tested it on swifts and was not disappointed. Although the frame rate is much slower (4 fps) the autofocus managed to track this fast flying White-rumped Swift Apus caffer with astounding accuracy even when flying towards me. As is often the case frame rate is no substitute for accurate tracking and good panning technique. I find as our equipment gets better we often blame our autofocus systems for soft images, when in fact it is our panning technique which can so easily let us down...

Camera details: Nikon D800 with Nikkor 500mm f4 VRII handheld. Exposed at 1/4000sec at f/5.0, ISO 800

Portfolio in African Birdlife

It is a real privilege and honour to have a Photo Portfolio of some of my Kalahari photos featured in the first edition of the new African Birdlife magazine! Well done to Birdlife South Africa, Mark Anderson in particular for helping to make this new magazine possible and to Eve Gracie and her team for a great first edition - by now the second edition has reached the shelves. Here's to a bright future for our very own Bird magazine!

Namibia - Dec '12 Latest updates

Cinderella waxbill

I must admit that we find it more and more difficult to keep up this blog due to the time it takes. We, as many others, have reverted to facebook due to the ease of sharing photos and also obviously the instant gratification one gets when other people acknowledge your work.

We do however, still update our Galleries database so if you visit this website to look for specific species and not just some general browsing please feel free to use the search engine.

We did a very successful trip to northern Namibia to look for Angola Cave Chat and had some other opportunities too!

Cinderella Waxbill - differences between male and female

Even recent field guides such as Roberts Bird Guide still mentions the sexes to be similar..

A male Cinderella waxbill Estrilda thomensis note the black belly - something I never mentioned when I did my original article on this species in Africa Birds & Birding Vol.11, No.6 in December 2006. These birds were erroneously described as having red tails up to then and the photographs clearly proved that this was wrong - the birds have all black tails! Sexes were also described as being similar - I noted more red on the flanks extending higher up in the males but failed to mention that the males have a black belly extending up beyond the legs! It is so obvious on this photo.

Below is one of the previously published photos of a female, clearly showing this distinction.

Latest updates on the website

The latest category updates from our recent trips to the Caprivi and around Pretoria.

Rufous-bellied Tit                          White-breasted Cuckoo-Shrike                      Pygmy Goose                                     Copper Sunbird

Wood Pipit                                             Sharp-tailed Starling                            South-African Cliff-Swallow                   Western-banded Snake-Eagle

Melodious Lark                                      Carmine Bee-eater