Thursday, April 29, 2010

At the Sea

We were for a week at the sea - visiting our daughter & son-in-law in Port Elizabeth.

During a walk along the coast in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve, we saw this Kelp gull carrying a fish. However instead of gobbling it down the gull seemed to have more fun playing with the fish.

Together with friends who also live in PE, the 6 of us went on an early morning hike along Sacramento Bay & watched the sun rising along the coast.

Although I mostly photograph birds & animals, I nonetheless "aim" my lens at anything with visual appeal.

My original goal was to photograph the Cape bulbul sitting "centre-stage", but then I realised what an interesting "frame" the dead tree stumps created.

We discovered this interesting (heart-shaped?) sea-"organism" lying on the beach.

In contrast to my "dependency" to photograph what I find in nature (= on terra firma), our son-in-law takes the most amazing photos whilst scuba-diving in the sea around PE - of which this pretty squid curled around seaweed is just one example of "another world" under the water.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Recent Tour

During the last tour, we were "treated" to this sighting of klipspringers, which are usually found amongst rocks or boulders. When standing or walking, they "balance" on the tips of their narrow, blunt-tipped hooves, which are specifically adapted to rocky terrain (= their habitat). Klipspringers are browsers & feed on a variety of wild fruits & leaves - which (in most cases) provide all the moisture they need.

To our delight, the young lady with the "eagle-eyes" [See: previous entry] also "discovered" 3 lionesses amongst thick grass during a game drive in open safari-vehicles in the Kruger National Park. A lion's feeding pattern customarily "depends" on the success in hunting of the females in a pride. Lions require a great deal of food - although their "favourite" prey include larger animals like buffalo, giraffe, zebra & wildebeest, lions aren't "fussy" & will feed on any mammal crossing their paths, as well as birds, reptiles & insects, even carrion, if necessary.

Knowing that lions have such an "all-embracing" diet, isn't it surprising that they seldom regard humans as potential prey? Whilst watching these 3 lionesses crossing the road ahead of our vehicle, we were delighted (instead of afraid) by their "caring" behaviour - so familiar amongst most cats.

Further on, this herd of elephants suddenly "emerged" in the road - appearing to aim straight for our vehicle! Although enormous, they seldom strike one as "dangerous" & in this case, soon veered off the road - their target: the nearby river (& NOT to cause us "any grief").

My first reaction, when near a river, I saw this elephant on the ground: had it slipped? Was it hurt? I soon had my answer:

The elephant only had some fun! Now it reminded me of a puppy exuberantly rolling in the sand. It also reminded me of a scene I had "witnessed" last year - of a frolicking hippo [SEE my blog-entry Friday, 6 Nov 2009].

Amongst thick undergrowth, I "detected" what I thought was a peacefully serene impala-scene. It would ideally have "fitted" amongst the pages of my latest book, Impi the Impala - a "story with photos" - [View my blog: OR see what the cover looks like on this blog, posted Friday, 19th March 2010]

Although today's entry is "dedicated" to larger "creatures", I do want to share this photo of a (grey) squirrel, who was collecting "provisions" ahead of winter & who's "home" is the Company's Garden in Cape Town. It's NOT an indigenous species, but was introduced to the Cape by Cecil John Rhodes at the end of the 19th century. This squirrel is a "native" of North America, was brought from there to England, from where Rhodes decided to "introduce it" (amongst many other exotic species from all over the world) to his Groote Schuur Estate.

Friday, April 9, 2010

In Retrospect

As my "followers" surely are aware of by now, most of my photos are taken in nature with "emphasis" on birds. So during the last tour (yet again with a wonderful group of German visitors) I was excited to see these Whitefronted bee-eaters the moment we entered the Kruger National Park through the Phabeni gate. Unfortunately their nesting sight was "disturbed" by road-works at the riverbank but it still was an amazing sighting.

I always love watching birds enjoying a bird-bath near the day-visitor centre at the Lower Sabi camp, where this Blackeyed bulbul & a Glossy Starling + junior either come to have a drink .....

..... or frolic in the water, as these sparrows & weavers did.

Amongst the smaller animal species we also had the pleasure to come across this chameleon jerkily moving across the road in the park.

Although I'm usually the one making everybody with me during game drives aware of any birds "on display", this lovely couple of Lilacbreasted rollers was "discovered" by a young lady (who has what I tend to call "eagle-eyes") with us in the open safari vehicle.

"Back at the ranch" (= our hotel), I had an early morning visitor in my bathroom in the form of a slug. Of course it became a "target" I wanted to photograph (LOL).

To my delight the slug "decided" to pose "prettily" for a photo of which in retrospect, I'm very proud of.

Outside in the garden I found the "counter-part" to the "visitor" in my bathroom - this time a snail with its shell.

During a rather "bumpy" boat-trip from the harbour in Houtbay to Duiker Island, where a colony of seals are "at home", I was lucky to get this shot of a "flying" seal.

[More photos of some "larger" animals we came across during the last tour will follow]