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A Lapwing For All Grandmas

A Lapwing For All Grandmas
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-10-17
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, Digital ISO 100, UV 86mm Kenko
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park - 2007
Theme(s): Baby Animals 5, Wildlife of Africa, Birds of Africa, 50-59 points Chapter 7, A study in Ornithology (birds) 1, Birds of Southern Africa II, Dedications at TrekNature Part Two, posts with a difference, Kruger National Park 2, Family Matters 2, My Dedications ;o) [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-12-09 19:54
Viewed: 5696
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Blacksmith lapwing (plover) - Vanellus armatus

This one is dedicated to all the grandma's on TrekNature and especially to a very proud grandma ManYee and her grandchild. When I first saw this little fluff ball I could not help but to straight away think of ManYee and the beautiful and lovable "JinYao".

Since we have seen the introduction of television the traditional role of grandmas (& grandpas) has virtually disappeared from our technologically advanced societies. No more do kids sit around grandma's chair (at evening time) and listen to all those wonderful stories of days gone by and maybe even some stories about the adventures and mischief's of their parents who also once were kids. In our rushed and instant solution societies most modern kids do not have the privilege of having a personal and loving relationship with the storyteller since a TV can hardly be personal or loving./

We were travelling on the S142, near Mopani camp. As we crossed the low-water bridge near the Pioneer Bird hide we saw this strange looking little upright "soldier" moving straight to our vehicle and you can imagine the cries of "ooooh, look at that" & "aaaah, it's sooo cute" coming from Miss Piggy (my wife Anna). At that moment I did not have the faintest clue what it was that I was busy photographing. Then suddenly I became aware of this "clink, clink" sound and as I looked up from the camera I found this aggressive though concerned Blacksmith lapwing mother calling her youngster to safety. The adventurous little soldier did not pay much heed to any of her calls and wanted to see first hand and from close quarters what this big blue item was (our Nissan Tiida) that suddenly invaded its space. Unfortunately the mother kept a little distance away from the car so I could not catch the two of them together in one shot therefore, to remain with the theme of "baby animals" and showing junior with mum, I had to post this as a collage.

Taxonomic Classification

: Animalia (animals)
SUBPHYLUM: Vertebrata (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals)
CLASS: Aves (birds)
ORDER: Charadriiformes (waders, gulls, and auks)
FAMILY: Charadriidae (lapwings and plovers)

Physical characteristics
A medium sized lapwing bird approximately 30cm long. It is a strikingly patterned bird with red eyes, and very long legs. The long legs enable it to move very quickly across open moist landscapes. Both sexes are alike having primarily black and white plumage with a tinge of occasional grey. It has a white belly, a white nape patch on the top and side of its head, and white under the wings. The rump and tail is white with a bit of black. The rest of the bird is black. It has a spur on both wings buried in its plumage which is used for fighting and protection.

Distribution and habitat
The Blacksmith is distributed throughout southern and eastern Africa. It has recently extended its range and now breeds south to Cape Town, South Africa. It inhabits the dry ground beside rivers, lakes, dams, ponds, lagoons, waterholes and sewage farms.

The Blacksmith is an assertive, conspicuous but wary creature. When it's disturbed it makes a very loud metallic sounding "clink, clink" that resembles the sound of someone hammering a piece of metal. These lapwings are usually found alone or in pairs but will occasionally congregate with other lapwings and fly in a flock.

The Blacksmith spends most of its time during the day at lakes and marshes with muddy banks where it feeds on insects, worms, snails, seeds, small mollusks, and crustaceans. It plucks parasites from the backs of crocodiles as they bask in the sun. The Blacksmith will even enter the mouth of the crocodile to pick remnants of food from between the teeth or leeches from the lining of the mouth. It is a monogamous territorial bird.

Breeding and nesting
While the Blacksmith is in non-breeding it will form pairs or be part of a group. The courtship ceremony involves the birds running around in a straight up posture, getting very excited, calling, perhaps picking up an object and shaking it around, bowing, and turning the head from side to side. They will later pair off and may copulate. This continues while the birds are still in flocks and goes on until just before the eggs are laid.

Both sexes participate in building the nest. The nest is built on the ground and the bird use its body to dig the hole. This procedure is called the nest-scrape. The female lays one to four eggs each time. Incubation by both parents begins after the last egg is laid and lasts about 23-31 days. One of the parents must sit on the eggs at all times in order for them to hatch. The parents relieve each other every 20-80 minutes.

Blacksmith lapwing chicks weigh approximately 0.46kg at birth. The chicks leave the nest within just a few hours. The babies depend on their instinctive response to the parents call and their ability to camouflage themselves for survival. They can make themselves almost invisible with their plumage and remain motionless until any danger has passed. Source

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Adam73, red45, Aaltjie, vanderschelden, Debz, pankajbajpai, uleko, Alex99, marhowie, Dyker, manyee, Rehanna, haraprasan, Adanac, jcoowanitwong, Isu, Miss_Piggy, betsie has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Adam73 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 208 W: 5 N: 522] (2253)
  • [2007-12-09 21:50]

Beatiful bird, and wonderful work with exposing the whites. I am a friend of Manyee's and love the dedication.

Lovely photo with superb detail. I like the double presentation.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2007-12-10 0:28]

Hello Loot!

Very good post! Quality of pictures are very high. Subject is interesting and cute :-) Great note and dedication.

Dear Loot
Reading your introduction paragraph in your notes had me thinking of my own grandma, and I had a few minutes of memories of her. Never thought it would happen but I had to pink away and hide a teardrop or two remembering how special she, as well as my granddad were. It is due to their stories that I developed a love for nature and the animal kingdom. If it was all possible, I would also have dedicated this unique photo to them. This is really a lovely gesture dedicating this to ManYee and including all other grandmaís of Trek Nature.
Do you think they will notice if I slip through as a grandma? Ė Just kidding.

There's a special place in my heart
That only Grandma can fill
And I think of her quite often
When it is quite and still

She was kind yet firm, serious yet playful
And by no means a saint
But in my eyes as a child
She certainly did fascinate

I thought she hung the moon and the stars
Her old sayings never grew stale
The old family stories held such intrigue
Even the silly tall tales

I wish I knew her full story
For I am sure that in her day
She was quite a hell raiser
"Les bon temps" she would say

Many things remind me of her
And will always make me smile
The list could go on and on
For perhaps a mile....

Like muskadine jelly, cous cous,
And the scent of a magnolia blossom
Her favorite things tug at my heart
Whenever I run across them

Her life has spawned a ripple
Of descendants that will never end
And I'll proudly pass on her legacy
Till in heaven we meet again
Dawn Thibodeaux

Kind regards

Hello Loot,
After hitting the 'next' button in the gallery, I was surprised.
"Hey, my blacksmith lapwing...":-)
Of course I saw the little fellow as well and knew it wasn't my image as I didn't encounter or maybe didn't spot that little one.
Very good image(s), Loot. I experienced what you mentioned in your note; difficult to capture the two in one image. Eventually you can generalize this to all animals, I guess...
Well done!

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-12-10 2:16]

Probably one of the nicest dedications I've seen for a long time :D
Congratulations Manyee if you see this :)
Exceptional pair of shots.
The little fluff ball is very cute :)
Well done Loot.

Watter ouma kan lief wees vir hierdie lelike eenetjie?? Mens kan amper nie glo dat hulle word sulke mooi voŽls nie. Ek dink jy was baie gelukkig om die ma en die kuikentjie so saam op die grond te kry. Dit is baie selde wat mens dit sien, so dis 'n baie waardevolle foto. Goed gedoen!

  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-12-10 3:47]

Very nice to see two view and two generations of the Lapwing Loot. The Blacksmith is certainly very handsome and you have caught this one with good light and exposure on those black and whites, nice pose and pov on the adult. Both shots clear and sharp.

hello loot,

lovely capture, the birds look nice here, sharp image, you have managed exposure well here,

nice compilation of two images of the infant and the grandma, this one is so touching dedication and i am sure that manyee would be delighted,

well done,
tfs & regards

Btw a fan of yours have posted a dedication for you too and hope that you will like it.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-12-10 6:55]

Hello Loot,
Lapwings are beautiful birds and these are both splendid captures. The little one is so cute in its camouflage plumage. Excellent sharpness and natural colours in both images and very nicely presented.
A fine dedication too.
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-12-10 7:51]

Hello Loot,
Superb double of the Blacksmith Plover, both mother and child being presented in technical excellence with fine OOF BG's. The harsh lighting has been well managed.
Nice dedication to Manyee and a fine post for us all to admire!
Regards, Ivan

Hello Loot,

Beautiful pictures of the lapwings, adult and baby.
Good POV and DOF, beautiful natural colours.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-12-10 9:20]

Hi Loot.
What nice two pieces of high photo art. Brilliant reproduction of so charming creatures. Clearness of the colours and their richness, impressive strong lights and terrific details with wide DOF are simply amazing as well as the touching interesting note. My best wishes and TFS.

Hello Loot,

Fine composition. The oldest and youngest bird in one photo. It make it easy to compare. What a beautiful red eyes by the old one. Both photo are sharp as usual. Ful of fine details. You show us the enviroment where these birds live A very good impression. Thanks for that. Your notes are as usual. PERFECT. Regards and TFS BOB

  • Great 
  • Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)
  • [2007-12-10 14:18]

Fantastic pair -- superb colours and details on both

Hi Loot,
I was lucky then, because I had both grandparents in the houshold when I was a kid for the first 10 years..I was a "television" baby, but also remember all the stories my grandparents liked to tell..
TV time was limited, which is not so much the case these days I'm afraid. Anyway :)
Excellent side by side post with very good exposure and detail, both great POV's.
Very well done,

  • Great 
  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-12-11 6:33]

Hello Loot
A lovely dedication and I am sure Manyee will appreciate it. The general dedication to all grandmas and the notes about how they faithfully and lovingly engaged the kids with many a lovely - and sometimes a tall - story brought a tear or two close to my eyes. Those were the days. This double capture was well done to show us the two birds together. Both have excellent focus and colour while you also deal with the difficult exposure levels very well. I like the clarity of the eyes on both birds.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-12-11 23:50]

Wow, Loot... I am speechless!
What a wonderful dedication... I could not be more thrilled. : )
You sure know who the "apple of my eye" is... my little sunshine of a grandson. : )
Both Jin Yao and I thank you for your thoughfulness.

That fluffy little ball is amazing. What a cutie!
Both pictures are superb in the clarity of details and the saturation of colors.
The birds are both captured in poses that show off the best of their plumage.
Fantastic close-ups of these beautiful lapwings, two generations thereof.
Thank you, my friend. This dedication means a lot to me, as you well know. : )

Hello Loot

Nog 'n pragtige bydrae in jou moeder en kroos reeks. Ek moet eerlik sÍ dat ek hierdie reeks sover terdeŽ geniet. Hierdie kombinasie foto het baie goed uitgekom en dit lÍ klem op die habitat/omgewing waar hierdie voŽls meerendeels gevind kan word. Naby water en vleilande. Wel gedaan.


Hi Mr. Loot,
A beautiful collage of this lapwing. A very nice dedication. Very nice details and composition in each picture. One question your lens 170-500 must be a very heavy one. Are these shots taken hand held or beanbags or tripod? Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-12-17 18:47]

Hello Loot,
Both images are splendid, great notes all around superb posting Loot, thanks very much.

Hi Loot,
What a nice dedication and great pictures! Your notes about television and grandmas are so true! I like to see this excellent and original collage showing us this beautiful bird in its prime glory and the adult one. This is a complete and very well done document :) Thanks,

Hello Loot,
Wonderful pictures. The young looks innocent and weak. The mother looks strong and mature. A nice contrast of two stages in life. TFS these two fine images and your informative note.

  • Great 
  • Isu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 313 W: 0 N: 21] (1663)
  • [2007-12-18 9:43]

Saludos Loot.Interesante y buena presentaciůn,colores idoneos y nitidos, bellos pajaros... Sira

  • Great 
  • reina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 257 W: 1 N: 330] (2032)
  • [2007-12-25 8:48]

high factor of cuteness. Mery Christmas to you and your family and thanks for all your work on trek nature this year. Great inspiration. Reina

Hallo Loot
I remember when we saw this little Blacksmith plover for the first time during our trip. I could not help but just to fall in love with it. It was so cute walking up and down, to and throu like a little soldier with its matchstick Pinnochio legs. I still have that cute and adoreable scene in my minds eye. You have combined the two images well for us to see the two age groups of these Lapwings. You have captured this very handsome bird with good light and exposure on those black and whites. Nice pose and viewpoint of the mother. The little one is quite a fluff ball. Both shots are clear and sharp. Looking at this very sweet and cute image, reminded me once again to our last Kruger trip, which I always enjoy.Thanks for sharing.
Kind regards

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