So, the other day I got an email. (See if you can tell where this is heading.) From Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Most wildlife photographers have heard of this competition – organised by the Natural History Museum of London (only one of my favorite museums ever – dinosaurs, anyone?) and BBC Wildlife, it’s considered the Oscars of wildlife photography. They’re halfway through judging this year’s entrants now… aaaand three of my photographs got selected for the Final Round! (Yes, that deserves to be capitalized. It’s that important.)
I submitted at literally the last minute, realizing submissions were open a day before they closed. I had almost forgotten about it, to be honest, so this was really, really surprising.
Without further ado, here my three shortlisted images – some of which you may recognize from this blog, some of which you may have seen on Saving MacRitchie.
Read more about my spotting of this spider on this post from Saving MacRitchie.
Not seen this image before? Well – wait till next Monday, when I post on Saving MacRitchie, and you will have. Hop on over then to read about the fascinating and aptly named robber fly.
You will have seen this before, in my post on my visit to the Dairy Farm Nature Reserve here. But the lizard’s red eyes haven’t stopped holding me thrall.
I’m so, so happy my photographs made it this far in the judging process – even if they don’t go any further, the honor at being considered amongst the number of fantastic photographers out there is just – woah. Thank you all for sticking with me all this way. I’ve enjoyed – and will continue enjoying – every minute.
I came to Africa with one bird, and one bird in mind only: the Lilac-breasted Roller.
Not for I were the innumerable Kenyan endemics, nor the plethora of endangered species in the area. Experience of birding failures had taught me to aim low and land high. I would be best, I decided, with an achievable goal that would make me happy, rather than a too-ambitious one that would leave me disappointed and unable to appreciate the rest. (I modified this strategy for my Kullu trip with three birds I ranked from achievable, definitely not achievable, and never in my wildest dreams. Needless to say, only the former got fulfilled.)
So the fact I’d seen this bird three times before we even stepped foot on the Mara went a long way towards my general enjoyment of our trip. This sighting in particular was of a juvenile, who surprised us by landing right next to our jeep. This prompted, of course, a storm of photographs of the fluffed-up thing from yours truly. But I still wasn’t satisfied. The colors of the juvenile – while spectacular by most birds’ standards – are only lackluster for this variegated avian. Without the long tail feathers of their older counterparts, they aren’t as appealing as the multi-hued sight we saw just disappearing from telephone wires and the tops of trees countless times.
Did I photograph the adult? Did I almost photograph it? Was it another disappointment? Find out in ‘The Lilac Saga, Part 2’, coming soon to a blog near you.
(Hey, that rhymes!)
Whether or not you’re interested in hearing about the adult roller, have you got a caption for the above photograph? What do you think it’d say if it could speak? Comment and tell me!
How good are you at spotting animals? A crucial part of appreciating nature is seeing it in the first place. There are two creatures in the picture below. One is relatively easy to find and one is harder. If you spot them, reblog the picture, circling the creatures and tagging it ‘Find It Friday’. Identify them as an added bonus.