01 September 2012

James's (puna) flamingo

At somewhere around 5000 metres, the ability of anything to live seems astonishing. Yet the saline lakes of Bolivia's altiplano were home to hundreds of birds, including many of these James's (puna) flamingos (Phoenicoparrus jamesi). I never tired of seeing them.

[25 October 2011, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 300 mm, ISO 200, 1/2000 at f8]

All content © 2012 Pete McGregor


The Elephant's Child said...

A truly amazing shot of an incredible bird. Thanks.

Zhoen said...

Extremophiles. Out on the edges of the possible, sometimes wandering beyond.

Relatively Retiring said...

You can see why Lewis Carroll appreciated the surreal quality of these wonderful birds, and the fact that they live in such a surreal environment enhances their qualities.
It's always sad to see them in captivity in places like Slimbridge, in weak sunlight against a dull sky.

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

Oh, I do love flamingos! I confess, however, that this 'James' is a new type for me ... love its beak.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing bird! You got a great shot. Oh the places you've been:^) -Maureen

pohanginapete said...

Elephant's Child, you're welcome. Glad I could show you something of these astonishing birds.

Zhoen, sometimes when I saw flamingoes I did get that feeling of slight disbelief, as if they couldn't really exist.

RR, very true — seeing them in their true environment does emphasise their strangeness.

Barbara, the pattern of colour on the beak is one of the key features distinguishing them from the Andean flamingo which lives in the same environments (I often saw mixed flocks). The James's has much more yellow on the beak.

Maureen, I'm so lucky to have been to so many wonderful places. The altiplano will always be particularly special for me.

Rohit Pansare said...

Beautiful shot of the bird! I was however wondering how you managed to get such a close-up with a 300mm. I often go to wetlands in and around Gujarat, India, but could never get so close to these magnificent birds!

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Rohit. The lens is the Panasonic 100–300 mm, but it's designed for four-thirds sensors; on the Panasonic GH1 the focal length is the equivalent of a 200–600 mm on a full-frame 35 mm sensor. The autofocus is awful, so I wouldn't recommend that system if you're specialising in wildlife photography, but for travelling it's brilliant.

I photographed flamingoes near Jamnagar in early 2007 but was using the Canon 20D and 300 mm f4. I had the same problems as you — they were always just a bit too far away. I think the birds on the Bolivian altiplano are easier to approach.