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It is very rare that i come across such instances or should i say that such instances happen to me. Now, the other day i packed my bags, camera equipment and the wife out for another expedition out in the wild. What i did not know was that the wild was also anticipating my arrival

I had discovered this rare gem that is just outside the city in the sun. A place full of untouched wildlife, maintained well as a private ranch hosting over 20,000 acres with indigenous species. Being on the eastern side of the country, the area happens to be quite dry, dusty and full of acacia trees and shrubs (Yellow Acacia and Gall Ball Acacia)

Gnu in the area

Swara Plains hosting a wide range of birds of the dry regions. very beautiful location for a one day out for the family

Nevertheless, we packed a small throw in the boot luggage and headed out for the weekend. I was really excited and was anticipating to capture an image of one unique bird. At least that was what my expectations were leading me to. With an early morning game drive the next day, my click finger was getting relaxed and my mind was already setting up for a good frame

We arrived Swara plains as the sun was going down and got to catch the last rays of warmth for the day. Having booked for a full board stay at the Acacia camp, we were received well by the great hosts. Jill and her team ensured that we got a great accommodation with a lovely unique bathroom, an awesome meal for dinner and a peaceful night in. What a lovely experience it was at Acacia camp. Most definitely i will find my way there again and this time for a longer stay

The next morning we were early, fortunate to experience the wide array of birds that came to the camp. From the likes of the Purple Banded Sunbird both male and female, spotted morning thrush, a close up of the Stuhlmann’s starling et al were all around the camp calling me to follow for a good shot

Can you believe that we were delayed for the morning game drive? All be cause yours truly was chasing birds. It was a fantastic morning that Sunday. My smile was close to my ears, happiness galore yet i was still expecting something to happen. After a much delayed game drive, we were off to the plains with the binoculars in check, our bird books with writing materials and of course the Canon EOS 7D having had the previous images transferred from the memory card

As we drove on slowly, we came across a climb where my beautiful wife noticed a rare bird that we had not seen in a while; a Hartlaub’s bustard trying to camouflage within the gall ball acacia. We stopped and followed on with the binoculars. She seemed scared and kept going further into the bushes so we left her alone. At the same spot, we noticed a shrike that was also some distance away on the same bushes.

From previous experiences, shrikes are birds that will always leave a party when you check in or even seem to notice them. So i zoomed in as much as i could and took a few shots. Majority were blurred but We kept following until it went away. Oh well, in my mind i was like; that was what i expected it to do. So we drove on into the plains and saw other animals and birds as well

As the sun was overhead, we were making our way back for lunch. When we reached the slope where we had seen the HartLaub’s bustard, i drove on slowly hoping that it would show itself again. Well i can say, that it had already gone. But still i drove on slowly down with my eyes on the look out. Then i saw it. The long tailed shrike was further off in a distance but along the road. Easy and slowly i drove down, angling the car to take a good shot. The close we drove the better, the shots were. And slowly we closed distance and the bird was just staring. It was not taking off

Long tailed common shrike

A case of very curious long tailed Fiscal

This was a very rare instance for me and i was not about to let it go. Closer and closer and as we got to about eighteen meters or so she took to flight. I tried to follow the shots but the angle was not letting. In my mind, i was OK and fine that i had got that much shots. Then it happened! She had taken to flight to come to a closer bush next to my side of the car window. I was in the process of putting down the window, when i heard my wife go “ooh wow” and there she was

Magnificence! Purely black and white, glaring at us. The moment that i had been waiting for and I was nearly forgetting to take the shot, till i was reminded. you should have seen me trying to bring the camera to the right setting and focus at rate slower than a snail so to not chase the bird away. Through the eye piece, she was more lovelier. And she kept changing sides for me to see her beauty. That moment seemed paused just for me to take more close up

Truly amazing! No one was talking just the camera clicks and my heartbeat could be heard. The moment i had been waiting for all that day was here and i was taking part in it. God send i tell you! By the time she was taking off, i was wishing to take her home and make more beautiful images. Then again, she was home and we were happy with the day. Her curiosity brought joy and laughter and many stories to share the rest of the drive

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