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My Haunting Nightmare

My Haunting Nightmare
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: 2006-10-09
Categories: Birds, Bushveld
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO Ultra DG, Digital ISO 400, UV 86mm Kenko
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger National Park - 2006
Theme(s): _Fotos adicionadas por 5 ou mais membros II, Birds of South Africa 1, Birds / Aves, Wildlife of Africa, Birds of Africa, Starlings, Different Birds, A study in Ornithology (birds) 1, 90-99 Puntos (chapter 1), Kruger National Park 1, Blue Things, 5 favs. and up - PART 4, Blue Birds, Metallic wonders of nature 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-06-14 14:22
Viewed: 12431
Favorites: 5 [view]
Points: 94
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Greater blue-eared glossy starlingLamprotornis chalybaeus

You might ask "Why is it called My Haunting Nightmare?"

Every time, since we came back from the Kruger Park, when I wanted to prepare a new posting I would ask Shorty for any suggestions (for those of you who do not know, Shorty is my wife Anna). Her answer would always be the same. "The Blue Bird". So, to stop the nagging I finally abdicated and decided to throw in the towel and hereafter hopefully she will be able to focus on some other possibilities (chuckle). Actually she loves purple and if the bird was purple I probably would have been forced (at gun point if necessary) to post it as my first Kruger photo. At least she seems to be very content with the current development or preparation for this posting and need I say that she is sitting next to me while smiling from ear-to-ear.

This photo was taken on our first day in the park. As we entered the Berg-en-Dal camp, early-morning on a darkish, cloudy day, this guy was sitting on a patch of grass next to the road. The safe choice was to opt for ISO400 to gain some shutter speed due to the lack of light and since the focal length was in the region of 300mm+. Even with the aperture set to f/5.6 the best shutter speed I could muster was 1/200 seconds. This was somewhat complicated by the fact that the bird was busy feeding on some insects (I think it was ants) in the grass and would not stop long enough to give me a proper opportunity for a steady shot. Slowly it was foraging away from me and I realised that I better take a quick shot before the bird moved away too far

The Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling belongs to the family of birds classified as Sturnidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Greater Blue-eared Starling is also known by these other names: Blue-eared Glossy Starling, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Green Glossy Starling, and Green-winged Glossy Starling.

These are smallish birds but they are somewhat larger than a house sparrow. Their height is about 22cm’s and they weigh about 90 grams. The male and female have the same plumage and colours.

- Head is blue.
- Ear patch is dark blue (not green).
- Eye is bright orange.
- Bill is black.
- Throat is blue.
- Back is blue, green.
- Belly is blue (not green).
- Legs are black.

The name comes from the ear coverts being dark and without gloss, forming a dark patch behind the eye.

Habitat & Behaviour
Open bush or thornveld, mopane woodland, grasslands, and riverine areas but they are also found in wetland and bushveld areas. They are quite at home in cultivations and around human habitations.

You will normally see the Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling by itself rather than in the company of birds of the same species.

Africa from Senegal and Gambia then east to Ethiopia and North-West Somalia. From there the range is south through Kenya and Tanzania to Zambia, Angola and North-East South Africa.

They are omnivores and feed on insects on the ground or on the wing, although they will take fruit or seeds from trees. Some will feed on or near large mammals to find insects that were disturbed by the animals.

They breed from September to November, nesting in a hole in a tree trunk. The bird lays eggs which are purple in colour and number between 2 to 5. The female will incubate for around 14 days.

They are monogamous unless one mate dies. In the event of a partner dying they will seek out a new mate.

Names of this avian species in other languages
Afrikaans - Groot-blouoorglansspreeu
German - Grünschwanz-Glanzstar
Portuguese - Estorninho-grande-d’orelha-azul
French - Choucador à oreillons bleus
Dutch - Groenstaart-Glansspreeuw. Source.

PS. I will be away for a few days, because for the first time ever I will attend a "Digital Photographic Workshop for Beginners" which starts tomorrow (Friday) and will continue until Sunday afternoon.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0

SunToucher, ridvan, mikou, kjpweb, SelenE, nglen, saguzar, Proframe, manyee, Janice, sandpiper2, dew77, jmp, Aaltjie, ellis49, SkyF, blakitan, Dyker, Shoot_Score, marhowie, peter_stoeckl, vanderschelden, betsie, jeanpaul, cicindela, pilonm, Alex99, zeca, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Shoot_Score: Ssssssht...loot 1 06-25 21:35
To Aaltjie: Listen to your wife?loot 4 06-19 10:18
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot,
How sweet to post this wonderful photo for your wife Anna. I am sure you need to keep her positive since she is probably taking care of you for as long as you are recovering. I like the fact that she can appreciate the nick name.
I have to agree with Anne, this is a wonderful looking bird with really stunning colors. They eye does it for me. It stands out so beautifully against the blue/green color. Superb work on the details and DOF. It really looks as if the bird is comming of the photo onto my desk.

  • Great 
  • ridvan Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 498 W: 0 N: 1136] (5205)
  • [2007-06-14 15:01]

selam loot ; excellent shot of this bird, very good details presented , very nice BG and POV, well captured with splendid colours TFS

  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2007-06-14 15:08]
  • [2]

Hi Loot.
Wow. This is splendid bird with amazing colors.Well composed,excellent exposure and very good focus.Very nice POV and pretty blurred BG.I like wonderful colors with metallic gloss on plumage and also I like his beautiful eye.Superb done this presentation,thanks for sharing.
Best greeting Milos.

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  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-06-14 15:23]

Hello Loot, wonderful Starling with stunning collors and details, great BG, excellent POV, and composition..Well done!.

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  • kjpweb Gold Star Critiquer [C: 326 W: 86 N: 1084] (4788)
  • [2007-06-14 15:37]

Great capture and colors of this interesting bird. Good post, as well!

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  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2007-06-14 15:38]

Well Loot, the nightmare i hope comes to atleast a temporary halt with this blue eared starling.Wonderful shot despit the conditions.Good details and that eye is a real puller.Anna has to be happy for this blue you got in your life.
Well Done.
TFS & Cheers

Hi Loot,
the birds in your country are wonderful - what great colours, I love the glance so much.
Thanks so much for showing us animals I never saw before, bye and many greetings
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Hello Loot.

Excellent picture, very good details and colors.

Jose Luis,

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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-06-14 16:49]

Hi Loot. Whata fine looking bird which you have captuerd very well. very bright colurs and good detail . a nice POV and DOF. very good notes make a great read thanks. very well done TFS.

Hello Loot,
yes, that you have obtained a very beautiful photo, the metallic colors of the bird are impressive, that stands out very well on the defocused grass suitably. The details are of first level and allows to see the plumage very well. Only I have to congratulate you for share it.
Sincere greetings

PD: I see google earth few days ago near Kruger N.P and see amounts of lines like street or cultives in a big zone. What is it?

Great colors in this very beautiful bird image Loot.
Most wonderful matallic glow on the feathers.
What I also love very much in this image is the color contast between the blue tones, the black around the birds yey and than in the middle of this the wonderful orange color tones of the eye itself.
Sharpness and exposure are spot on.
A great joy to look at.
Thanks for sharing.
Kind regards, Harry

Wow Loot, what an amazing looking starling. The image of it is fabulous, great detail. Very impressive indeed.

Hallo Loot,

Congratulations on this picture. The exposure are always difficult on these bird, and you got ot spot-on. Very well done.


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  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-06-15 2:58]

What can I say? Anna has good taste. : )
I am glad that you are sharing this beauty with us.
An excellent shot. Despite the low light and the distance, you managed some very sharp details. The exposure is perfect, bringing out the metallic sheen of that gorgeous blue. The orange eye is a stunning contrast against the dark streak.
A magnificent "blue bird". : )
TFS, Loot.
P.S. Are you going to that "Beginner Workshop" to teach it? Hehee...

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  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2007-06-15 3:06]

I love Anna's "Blue Bird".
What magnificent colours he has. Is it real? Are you sure you have painted it with this irridescent turquoise paint?
Groot-blouoorglansspreeu - what a mouthful to say and read Blue Bird.
Great catch, Anna - you know best. But then, women always do:)
Have a good 3 days away - and come back and tell us what you learnt,
Kia ora

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  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-06-15 4:42]

Hi Loot,
Wow! Wish I had colors like this :o) Composition, details, colors, contrast and exposure handling is very good. I liked your eye contact with this beauty a lot. It has an amazing eye by the way... Very well done and TFS.

Well Loot your wife has every right to nag you to post this shot. If I was there I would be naging too:)!
It just beautiful. A beautiful bird and superbly captured in a great pose.
I think this is your best post so far IMO. 10/10.
Excellent work

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  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2007-06-15 13:30]

Hello Loot,
Very nice capture.I'd never seen this bird before.Shining blue feathers attract attention.Nicely exposed and composed.I liked POV,pose of bird and 3D effect also a lot.Excellent work!

Hello Loot , congrat. to you , perfect colors , good sharpness , beautiful bird , TFS.

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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-06-15 14:45]

Hello Loot,
Many photos I've got of this Starling. So I know how difficult it is to make a photo of this bird in the real colours. In the sun there's a good chance of overexposure, in the shadow the colours look black. But this is how it used to be. Superb.

Hi Loot
the colours and pose of this magnificent bird are outstanding!
thecnically a perfect shot...yes the bird stands out from the screen...
( you are the teacher of the workshop for sure!)
best regards

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  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-06-16 8:13]

Hi Loot,
Really a very beautiful blue bird! I think your wife was right about the opportunity of posting this beauty. No one would say to contrary! Outstanding close-up, with excellent details, pov, pose and colours.
Best regads, José M.

So waar as padda manel dra!
This is a superb photo. Loot, I think you must listen to your wife more often. They normally know what they are talking about. We (men) just do not want to admit it. The female gender do have good taste. This photo just proof it once again. The points go to you, but the trophy belongs to Anna. I just love it. It is absolutly beautiful.Stunning striking colours. Stands out on the screen. Excellent choice. Please ask her to start browsing through your images for the next choice of posting. I am sure it will be a winner as well.
Well I cannot wait to see, how your pictures will turn out,now that you have been on this Workshop. Not that I think you needed it in anyway. But on the other hand, what would an old Kaaskop like me know?
Kind regards and I hope you had a wonderful Fathersday.

HI loot,
I'm late as usual ;-)
Your wife is absolute right, this is a beautiful bird.
The colour tones in the plumage are amazing and the yellow rng
around the eye is also very nice.
Well composed, good POV and fine details.
Great work, MF.

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  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2007-06-18 9:08]

Hi Loot,
Not surprised your wife loves this photo this bird is gorgeous , those colors of the plumage is amazing.
Very nice composition with the bird filling almost the entire canvas. The details and sharpness are perfect. Beautiful POV and the DOF is spot on.

Hi dear Loot ,
very nice image with great focus.
it has amzaing and lovely colours.
well composed and nice sharpness.
A perfect capture
My best regrads

Hi Loot,
Well, this is obviously a lovely bird. I guess your wife made a good suggestion for posting this one....
Excellent shot of this blue bird.


Hi Loot
Baie mooi kleure - lyk of jy met kleur gespeel het hier! stunning!! - Die agtergrond is vir my persoonlik bietjie "blur", maar nogtans 'n baie mooi foto.


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  • Dyker Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 0 N: 57] (170)
  • [2007-06-19 10:13]
  • [2]

Hello Loot
What a lovely shiner. The "blue bird" turned out to be a winner as Shorty predicted. I have tried to photograph this bird and every time it was a flop. It comes out either too dark or over exposed, but you succeeded brilliantly to capture the remarkable sheen and radiance of this bird's plumage. The focus is sharp and the colours are beautiful. That bright orange eye is quite a draw card.

Well Loot "She who must be obeyed" has a good eye for a very good shot. What took you so long Loot to "see the light"? I suspect that you wanted to hang on to this "spreeuw" monogamously... while at the same time secretly enjoying Shorty's exhortations!

As to the bird: The metalic colours are amazing! Hierdie grootblouoorglansspreeu magtig pragtig! Schitterend die! Why is it hiding its toes?

Tfs, Jay

PS Congrats Loot on breaking the SixthOUsaND barrier...

Wow colors seen in our feathered friend Loot, nice.
Perfect DOF separating subject from BG, nice and sharp, and excellent details.
Very nice job on the exposure, comp, & PP as well mf :)

Well I would almost have to say this bird was produced in a metal foundry as it looks so unreal but incredible at the same time. The metalic blue effect on the plummage of this bird is amazing, and your POV does the subject justice. Super snap Loot! :)

Dear Anna,
or may I say "Hi Shorty",
thank you for insisting on Loot posting this starling at once, after keeping it back since October last year.
That majestical deep blue bird is WONDERFUL. And the way is wonderful, too, in which Loot captured that bird precisely and clearly in its slightly inclined side position in front of that well contrasting red soil.
The bird's colours are divine. Medieval European painters would have ordered a few ounces of precious lapislazuli pigments at once to start painting that jewel of nature (see Albrecht Dürer, Wing of the Roller).
My best regards to you, and to my dear friend Loot.

Hi Loot,
It is a wonderful bird through these blue colours.
Well composed.
Good work for your 'Shorty' and TFS

Hi Loot
Excellente action!

Bravo pour l'exposition et les belles couleurs juste. Félicitations pour l'éclat des couleurs et la qualité de l'image.

Merci pour l'envoie et au revoir...JP.

Hello Loot !
Wow, this is probably the most beautiful bird I have ever seen ! This metallic blue color is amazing, and such a gorgeous eye ! A beauty ! And you have captured him perfectly - details, colors, composition, POV, pose of the bird, eye-contact... everything is excellent. I understand why your wife wanted you to post it ! :-)
very well done !

Hi Loot,

What a colour. Whauw. The contrast between the eyes and the bodycolour. Amazing. A very nice BG and POV. Sharp as usual. Regards and TFS Bob

Hi Loot!
WOW! This picture is just amazing! Great, vivid and well saturated colours, perfect details and DOF, and very good POF. What do I want more? Maybe an interesting note, but this is also excellect!
Very well done! Bravo and TFS!
Greetings from Poland,

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  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2007-06-27 15:07]

Hello Loot,

Thank you for the perseverance of your wife Anna for we can now see that wonderful, colorful, splendid, remarkable bird! :-D

A lot more colorful that our European starling (ironically a very common sturnidae in North America). The iridescent colors of the bird is astonishing... And when we know that blue doesn't exist in bird pigmentation!!!

Great capture and great pose from the bird!

Congratulations and TFS,


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  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-07-08 10:41]

Hi, dear Loot.
Once more amazing interesting note and superb of magic beauty blue bird. I like all components of photo masterpiece. Amazing combination of bright colours, perfect low POV an excellently selected DOF. Now I think that too blurred ground as a BG is not perfect always. Your BG is well detailed and supplements the main subject very well. Composition is excellent and it is natural for you. My best regards and heart wishes,

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  • zeca Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 373 W: 14 N: 539] (2887)
  • [2007-07-18 18:34]

Beautiful bird, Loot! The metallic shine is just great! Excellent capture!

Loot, Brilliant Blue Bird. I did not notice this all this while. It is indeed attractive. The one Blue Bird you do not want to miss is Indian Peacock. The most spectacular bird of all blue birds.
- Murali Santhanam

so glossy and beautiful, TFS Ori

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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-01-22 9:43]

Hello Loot

Amazing colours.
This bird is so bright and colourful.
The eye detail is wonderful.
Excellent plumage detail and feather definition.
Your low POV is very good.
This is a very beautiful bird.


Hi Loot,
The starlings are some of Africa's most beautiful birds - your image does justice to them - showing all their colors and beauty.
Pose of the bird is very nice and note more than complete.
TFS, Shir

Dear Loot
And how did I haunt you to place this photo? Over and over until the 14th June 2006. I think by that time the nightmares got worse, and you decided to give in. Blue is not my favourite colour but this Greater blue-eared starling makes up for this fact. Clear, sharp and a well composed image, with stunning colours. A masterful shot, were you managed to capture the details of the plumage perfectly. I like the green grass and the way you have blurred out the background, still leaving enough to see of the photo. I enjoyed looking at this one again. Especially the eye is very attention-grabbing. Thanks for sharing.Lovely and interesting note as usual.

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  • RDx Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 14 W: 4 N: 65] (282)
  • [2009-08-29 1:39]

I would gone a bit lower to get a eye level shot !! But then , what the heck !!! The colours on this one, makes up for everything else. Cant take my eyes off this one.

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