Day 5 brings the majestic Martial Eagle to Birds of Prey week. This was taken in one of my favourite national parks in the world – the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (formerly the Kalahari Gemsbok Park). Renowned for its large numbers of predators and raptors, it is a magical place for wildlife photography of species in the desert-like environments. Most of the action takes place, in and around, the dry river beds and the location of this photo was not different.
Whilst driving on the soft sandy road, I saw two breeding Martial eagles on a nest across the wide expanse of what once must have been a big river. I parked up and watched them through the binoculars, and with the simmering heat of midday, it was clear, no photographs would be forthcoming due to the heat haze. Nevertheless, I was in the shade, watching and listening to the various small birds making a noise around me. Suddenly it all went quiet, and I saw that there was only one eagle left on the nest.
I jumped across to the passenger seat and scanned the skies for the other bird, it was on the wing, and drifting away from me at pace. I jumped back and drove off along the riverbed, keeping my head out the window to track it as it flew. The road went up onto a small escarpment and I managed to stop, hand-hold the 500mm out of the window and get a few photos as it circled. I just love the way that their wings don’t move as they soar, but their heads are constantly moving and scanning the ground.
Species: P. bellicosus