There are many bird species that are eye catching, but one the most eye catching has to be Bee Eaters. It does not matter where in the world they are, these bird’s are stunning. And from a photography perspective the great thing about them is they are posers and generally allow you to get close enough for good shots.
This last trip to South Africa was an opportunity to put a few more gigs of nice bee eater shots in the files, so I thought why not feature them in a blog.
Just on the outskirts of Pretoria and only a 40 minute drive from Johannesburg is Rietvlei Nature Reserve a 3,800 hectare nature park supporting 270 species of birds and a variety of wildlife. It’s a great location to photograph both grassland and waterbirds. And obviously a superb place to get good White Fronted Bee Eater shots, especially along the edges of the rivers where there are a lot of insects and dragonfly’s. The birds are so prolific it’s basically a Bee Eater for Dummies photo location.
During the rainy season the grasslands of Rietvlei are lush and rich with flowers providing opportunities to add color by mixing and matching the birds with various blooming plants.
For birders Kruger national Park has to be one of the world’s top photography locations. The size of the park and great diversity of flora and fauna means supports a huge diversity of species, and if you are not photographing animals there is always a bird or two catching your eye. This last trip in late December and early January meant the park was full of migratory birds not seen during the cooler dryer months and we were very pleased to have the opportunity to photograph Southern Carmine Bee Eaters, European Bee Eaters, Little Bee Eaters and of course White Fronted. On some occasions we had all four species perched and feeding together…..happy days!
Southern Carmine Bee Eaters are really beautiful. These and Malaysia’s Chestnut Headed species are my favorites, so whenever we saw them we had to stop and put away another few hundred shots…..but what the hell, it’s like eating oysters, why stop at six if you can pig out on a dozen!
When you have so many good shots in the files, The problem is choosing which ones to post. So, it’s a tough day in the office today!
The female Southern Carmine is a dull orange but still a very nice looking bird.
European Bee Eaters are migrants from Southern Europe and North Africa that winter down in the warmer climates of southern Africa. They are also very colorful birds, but somehow a little more shy and quicker to fly than the other species. So my shots of this bird were not as prolific and not as good as the others.
Little Bee Eaters like their name suggests are the smallest of Africa’s bee eater species. Very similar in head and chest color to Swallow Tailed Bee Eaters they are also very, very attractive. My dream shot would be to get a bunch of these all sitting together on a branch, but that’s a dream that will have to wait for the next trip to see whether it gets booked.
So if you are a birder who likes a whole lot of honey, head to South Africa and poke your lens in the direction of it’s bee eaters. You simply cannot fail to come away with some great shots worth posting!!