Thursday, August 20, 2009

Close Encounters

During the last tour, we encountered this "busy" family of baboons in the Kruger National Park - whilst I did my best to "include" the adults grooming each other, I mostly concentrated on the shenanigans the cute little baby baboon revealed.

As those "following" my blog-entries know, one of my aims in life is to photograph as many different bird species as I can find, so I always get excited when I "meet" a new "specimen" - but that was also the case when I had the opportunity to get my first clear visuals of a rather rare species - Samango monkeys! I realised I had snapped one of them before at the Hilltop camp in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve when I downloaded my photos at home and noticed that it didn't have the distinctive black face associated with the far more common Vervet monkey. It wasn't a very "clear" photo though but after this latest "visual" I'm happy to add a new specimen to my photo-collection. [If you click on the photo to enlarge it you'll "find" a youngster well-camouflaged to the left of the adult monkey].

Since I've "developed an eye" for smaller creatures (because I'm constantly on the lookout for "hidden" birds) I discovered this tiny Dwarf mongoose at the roadside in the Kruger National Park. Typically curious the little fellow stood upright to "survey" his environment. [Unfortunately it isn't too clear a visual but it does "give a good idea" that other creatures than e.g. the BIG 5 are around in the wilderness].

As all visitors to Kruger National Park know there are usually "masses" of birds like hornbills and Glossy starlings "present" (sometimes also Vervet monkeys) in the various camps - but at one of our "stop-overs" we encountered this handsome young bushbuck.

As if to say it's even more handsome than a bushbuck, we had a "close encounter" with this young kudu male.

At St.Lucia (= UNESCO World Heritage Site) in KwaZulu-Natal, we were, during a boat trip, "presented" with this visual of a crocodile basking in the sun at the edge of the lagoon.

On to a really close encounter with the giants of the oceans - Southern Right whales, which we were privileged to experience during a boat trip in the bay of Gansbaai.

The whales were so close and occasionally, it appeared as if they were as interested in us than we were amazed by them - this whale seems to "invite" us to stroke it - that's how close (and calm) it was.

Some of the birds we encountered during this trip are "on the menu" for my next blog-entry, so here's a taste of what's to come:

A Helmeted guineafowl, which is a common resident all over SA and which I snapped in the Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden (Cape Town) because it represented a "close encounter".

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