Coastal REFLECTIONS
African Birdlife|November/December 2021
CLOSE TO where I live on the Cape Peninsula, a broad white beach sweeps south to meet the mouth of a small river. The outlet greets the sea at the base of a mussel-encrusted, rocky point, while the back of the beach sometimes features an expansive tidal lagoon, a combination of elements that creates a haven for coastal wildlife.
ANDREW JENKINS

In winter, Cape Cormorants like to ride the tumultuous push-and-pull of high tide at the river mouth as they hunt shoals of mullet fry caught up in the chaos. Getting focused and composed shots of a successful bird as it surfaces is a challenge, especially while lying in the shallows and trying to avoid being engulfed by the rushing salt water.

Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 300 f/2.8 Mark II with 1.4x extender III; 1/4000 sec; f/4; ISO 160

Over the past three years, I’ve spent many hours photographing birds at this magical spot. Operating mostly at ground level, my process has involved quiet observation, tapping into the birds’ daily and seasonal routines, and easing myself into their lives by creeping closer to gradually habituated individuals and flocks. It’s a patience game and not without tedium and physical discomfort. But I hope the results at least hint at something a little different – candid, eye-level views of beautiful animals, calmly living in a beautiful place.

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