Chestnut-headed Bee-eater on the wing

David Clarke

Joined March 2009

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Last year, I uploaded a shot of one of the chap’s relatives sitting on a branch to the left of our apartment in Phuket, Thailand, where there is lush, tropical rainforest. (See lower shot below).
At the time, I didn’t have my Big Bertha lens with me, so this year I brought it along and waited… and waited. Finally, about a month ago, I was sitting on the balcony and three of them appeared. I wanted shots of them flying – not easy because they are fast. I managed the shot above, just the one (!) of one of them launching itself from a branch. Ten minutes later they all disappeared and I have seen one on just one occasion since, and too far away. So Big Bertha languishes.
The shot reminds me of the Douglas Adams tips on how easy it is to fly – ‘Just throw yourself at the ground and miss!’

This is what Mr Wiki has to say about the bird:
The Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Merops leschenaulti is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family Meropidae. It is a resident breeder in southern Asia from India east to southeast Asia and Indonesia.
This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, slender bird. It is predominantly green, with blue on the rump and lower belly. Its face and throat are yellow with a black eye stripe, and the crown and nape are rich chestnut. The thin curved bill is black. Sexes are alike, but young birds are duller.
This species is 18–20 cm long; it lacks the two elongated central tail feathers possessed by most of its relatives.

The image is quite a crop. To put the shot in perspective, a different crop is shown below.

Canon 1DMkII with Canon 300mm IS f2.8 lens with Canon 1.4x extender; ISO 400 f9 1/5000

Uploaded 12 February 2012

Best viewed large!

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