From Nairobi, fly (or drive) into the Maasai Mara.
The marabou stork’s nickname, ironically, is “the undertaker bird.” The black plumage of their wings and back resemble a cloak. Typically, they are opportunistic, feeding off carcasses. During the breeding season, however, they turn to more live food to feed their young. Though they are not endangered, marabou storks perform an essential role in the environment, preventing the spread of disease by consuming decaying material. Nikon D850 + 200-500mm f5.6 lens at 500mm; 1/1250 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 160; hand-held with Visual Echos panning plate on Molar bean bag from vehicle.
The Great Migration in Kenya’s Maasai Mara conjures images of chaotic stampedes and claws and jaws of predator ambushes. Yet life hangs in the balance at all levels of the food chain. As the rising sun painted the Olpunyata swamp with its glistening morning rays, a naturally rim-lit marabou stork completed a quick catch and consumption of an unsuspecting African clawed frog. For a creature that often scores as an “ugly duckling” in the avian beauty category, my impromptu moment in photographing this scene calls attention to a striking bird of stately stature; a brilliant halo beautifully accentuating its shape and texture.