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Hamerkops build huge nests and this bird was very busy collecting sticks from around our camp site. I started off hand holding the 300mm lens, which is very possible with 7.5 stops of image stabilizer, but there is no doubt average sharpness improved when I got the tripod out of the car and certainly composition did.

Kenya was an exciting trip. We rented an old Toyoto Landcruiser, which was hard work to drive and went to Samburu, Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara. Unlike Uganda last year we had no punctures, but had to top up the radiator twice a day and the black smoke from the exhaust was embarrassing at times. Navigation was more difficult than anywhere else I have been and without GPS we would have found the Masai Mara impossible to get around. It all looks the same.

The Landcruiser was brilliant off road and I began to feel there was no river or ditch it would not cross, but on tarmac roads 50 mph was its best and that would take 3 minutes to reach. The air-conditioning did not work and the suspension was hard and bone crunching.

Hammerkop or Hamerkop, Scopus umbretta, Single bird on grass with nest material, Kenya, September 2019. Olympus E-M1x, 300mm f4 lens. 1/400th at f4. 1600 iso.

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