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No Rain dance today!

No Rain dance today!
Photo Information
Copyright: Japie Venter (japie) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1814 W: 100 N: 1904] (5187)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-04-16
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 300D, Sigma 50-500 F/4-6.4, Digital ISO 400, Skylight
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Predaceous birds - Aves predadoras, Birds of Southern Africa, 50-60 points chapter 3, Interacting birds [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-04-27 1:07
Viewed: 6607
Points: 58
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This here is one of my favorites taken in the Addo Elephant Park. It is of two Pale chanting goshawks (Melierax canorus Roberts’ No 162) enjoying the early morning sun, but also keeping a lookout for breakfast. What made this moment special to me is that they were about 40 - 50 meters away and not the least disturbed by my presense.

Would you expect a bird that hunts with a honey badger and dances in the rain to fight over territory with his own species until death? Being all this, this bird also seems to be one of the more interesting raptors around.

Although they are opportunistic hunters, they do have a very interesting way of hunting. According to well-known ornithologist, W Tarboton, it is a well-known phenomenon that they habitually follow a honey badger, foraging at a safe distance, sometimes following it on foot or hovering in the air behind it. If a gerbil or mouse is flushed out, the goshawk is on it in a trice.

It is also documented that they sometimes perform what seemed to be a ‘rain dance’ during a rainstorm. According to Dr Chris Brown of the Namibia Nature Foundation this is a typical behaviour pattern of some raptors. They are actually trying to clean their wings and feathers.

The Melie part of this goshawk’s generic name means melodious chanting or call, with canoris meaning basically the same, while rax is Latin for hawk. To be quite honest, I’ve never heard a PCG call, but apparently their call is quite melodious. They usually hunt from a perch, gliding down to the prey and then often pursuing it on foot if necessary. Their diet consists of lizards, insects, small birds, snakes and often carrion.

Her is some more exciting info od what is being planned for the greater Addo Elephant park It will be unique in the following respects:

unrivalled natural diversity, with five of South Africa's seven major vegetation zones (biomes);

the Big 7 (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, whales and great white sharks) in their natural habitat;

the future proclamation of a 120 000 hectare (296 500 acre) marine protected area that includes islands that are home to the world's largest breeding colonies of Cape gannets and African penguins;

rich heritage of archaeological and historical sites.

Looking it the above makes it a place that I will surely visit again

The camera settings:
Program Setting: Shutter Priority
Focal Length: 500mm
F Stop: F/9
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
ISO: 400
Tripod: No, but used a bean bag

Flash: No, to quote Bente, "I used the big lamp in the sky" :)

Reflective Panel: No
Cable release: No

manyee, Robbrown, sandpiper2, sAner, dew77, TAZ, red45, Janice, tinman, marhowie, deud, liquidsunshine, carper, gerhardt, Okan, naki, paulbright, Callie, dsidwell, Motrem, Comandante has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Simple very good Japie, just love the warm early lighting. TFS

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2005-04-27 1:38]

Wonderful picture, Japie. These are new birds to me, and you caught them so well in the light of the early morning sun. A great POV and composition. TFS. : )

For 40-50m distance this is a damn fine image, but then you use damn fine lenses. Good, compositioin, plumage detail and neutral background.

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-04-27 2:02]

Excellent capture Japie! Razorsharp details, fantastic lightening, nice colors and supern POV & DOF. Very well done. I also like your note a lot, especially the humoristic twists in the end. :) TFS!

I have not seen these birds before Japie. Lovely shot with both in the frame. Well composed. The good light, and that so important twinkle in the eye!! Very nice work. Thanks

Halo Japie!
This is great photo. Superb soft ligth and nice pose :-)

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2005-04-27 2:30]

Belle et intéressante photographie pour ce beau couple d'oiseaux. Jolies couleurs et bonne netteté.
Well Done !

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-04-27 3:04]

Hi Japie!
Very nice shot of the pair.Lighting,details and composition are perfect.TFS...:-)

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-04-27 3:12]

Superb note and picture Japie! Mother nature is fascinating! Great composition and poses of those two. TFS!

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2005-04-27 3:58]

Great capture of these Pale chanting goshawks Japie. You certainly make them look closer than 40 - 50 metres away. Good composition and their details are very clear. Very well shown, good job.

nice composition.
very sharp.
nice shot.
BG colour too bright for me.

Great shot Japie, but the colours look a tad washed out.. I dared to do a workshop.

Compo and POV is fantastic. They look like they are on lookout, trying to find food.

Goed gedoen

Japie, Great early light effect here..I found the notes very interesting..The "Rain dance" method of takin' a shower to get clean is something I'd really like to observe firsthand..Also their habit of using the badger to flush-out small prey is an interesting fact..TFS!!

  • Great 
  • deud Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 438 W: 11 N: 534] (2540)
  • [2005-04-27 7:59]

adorable couple! fresh and natural.

  • Great 
  • puciu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 16] (2631)
  • [2005-04-27 10:15]

Hi. Splendid photo, well seized.

Nice capture Japie,
Excellent composition, nicely exposed and good details, colours and sharpness.
Thanks for posting

  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2005-04-27 12:55]

Prachtig Japie,
Uitstekende foto, kijk dit zijn van die dieren die wij alleen in de zoo kunnen zien. Prachtige capture in a fantastic pov, very well taken shot, good note, very good job,
gr. Jaap

Pose is excellent, good work, Very good sharpness, details, colours and copmposition.
Thanks for sharing

You have indeed got a rare moment here Japie. Very well done. Lovely light. Very sharp and even more so considering the distance from the subjects. Great work.

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-04-27 23:49]

Japie, a great moment, a great photo.

Excellent composition and poses.

Both of them are in focus.

Excellent job.

Helo Japie, this is a wonderful shot, ı really like it much. But the light will be more soft with a little PS correction. I prepared a workshop for you hope you'll like it, all the best.

  • Great 
  • NINIX Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 158 W: 47 N: 355] (3001)
  • [2005-05-04 17:55]

Hi Japie,

I always feel unconfortable with my weeds and gulls. You are making such impressive photo's! I think I will give it a try over there. (maybe).
Thanks for the nice job,


  • Great 
  • Callie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
  • [2005-05-17 14:40]

Hi Japie
Good to see you are atil alive and well in cyber space. A very nce pair of goshawks, pose id great and the exposure very nice for the lighting conditions. The bright light is often a pain. TFS!

Amazing photo and notes, Japie. I like photos that show quasi-symmetry like this, but each side is slightly different, adding more information and interest. Very nice work!

These birds are magnificent with a beautiful light and well defined details. The brilliant petit point in the eye is a pleasant addition. I like the composition with this branch which crosses the image, a beautiful grip. TFS

Ces oiseaux sont superbes avec une belle lumière et des détails bien définis. Le petit point lumineux dans l'oeil est un ajout agréable. J'aime la composition avec cette branche qui traverse l'image, une belle prise. TFS

Very impressive picture Japie. I wish it was mine. Great POV. I love the lighting of pictures taken early in the morning or late afternoon. Ek het nog nie eers ooit een gesien nie, wat nog te se van afgeneem. :)


Hello Japie!
Very nice pair.Lighting,sharpness,colors and composition are excellent.Thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • optic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 322 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2005-07-28 22:33]

Hello Japie,
You did a great capture, i like the compositon & lightning, colours & details are splendid.

Very well done,


  • Great 
  • badar Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 0 N: 160] (785)
  • [2007-02-07 2:52]

Hi Japie,
Lovely composition, Love the light on them.Beautiful.
Badruddin Ali

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