Two flamingos feeding
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Gallery: reflecting on birds

Maybe a desert isn’t the obvious place to look for bird reflections, or indeed reflections of any kind. Deserts are dry, no? And the Atacama Desert in Chile is especially so. In fact, it’s the driest non-polar desert in the world, and has had no significant rainfall for 400 years.

And yet, the shallow waters of its barren salt flats offer picture-perfect reflections of feeding flamingos; an ideal place to start a short journey to find some reflections of birds for Lisa’s Bird Weekly challenge.

As well as the Andean Flamingos pictured above, we found others enjoying the rich feeding at the Salar de Atacama, including Andean Avocets …

Black and white birds on a sandbank
Andean Avocets, Salar de Atacama

… and a Baird’s Sandpiper.

White and brown bird reflected in blue water
Baird’s Sandpiper, Salar de Atacama

I’ll share more about our visit to the Salar de Atacama in a future post. It’s a stunningly beautiful place! Meanwhile elsewhere in the Atacama, at the Putana Wetlands, we saw we saw Giant Coots, Andean Geese and Ruddy or Andean Ducks with their distinctive blue bills reflected in the muddy waters.

Brown duck with blue bill
Ruddy Duck, Putana Wetlands

It’s harder to get a good reflection in the sea, but in a quiet rock pool on the beach at Ngala Lodge in the Gambia I was able to photograph this Whimbrel mirrored in the water that glows copper red from the reflections of the low cliffs that line the beach.

Brown bird in a rock pool
Whimbrel on the beach, Ngala Lodge

This White-crowned Plover wading in the waters of the Chobe River in Botswana has found a tasty insect.

Long legged bird with white and brown plumage
White-crowned Plover, Chobe River

Closer to home

My remaining photos were taken closer to home, starting with a swan on Langham Pond at Runnymede.

Swan on a pond
Swan on Langham Pond, Runnymede

And here’s another swan leading a pair of youngsters on a tour of the lake at Syon Park.

Swan and two cygnets
Swans at Syon Park

Here are a couple of Tufted Ducks photographed at Boston Manor Park. I love the elegance of their black and white markings.

Black and white ducks
Tufted ducks, Boston Manor Park

Also at Boston Manor is this Grey Heron, fishing from an overgrown islet in the middle of the lake.

Heron among bushes
Grey Heron, Boston Manor Park

I’ll finish on the River Thames, first with a pair of Egyptian Geese at Strand-on-the-Green. Yes, we are a long way from Egypt, but these birds, introduced into England in the 17th century, became popular exotica on private estates and subsequently escaped into the wild. Today the RSPB estimates there are around 1,100 breeding pairs in the UK.

Two brown geese
Egyptian Geese on the Thames

And finally another Grey Heron in Richmond-on-Thames. Like many of us at the moment, he seems to be having a bad hair day!

Black and white photo of a heron
Grey Heron at Richmond-on-Thames

I’m also sharing these images for Cee’s CFFC Birds theme.

And I’ll finish with a puzzle for you. All but one of the photos above is a genuine reflection. One however was manipulated with an app, Mirror Labs. Can you tell which?

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