Friday, October 28, 2011

A Reptile Story

It started quite innocently - the head of a Water leguan (Monitor/Lizard family) appeared at the water's edge . . .

. . . but the next moment it spun around & a lot of slashing & spinning about ensued.

On closer inspection this strangely dinosaur-look-alike appeared to have caught a fish.

As if to "prove a point", the leguan protectively hovered over its unexpected prey - feeling threatened by my pressence?

Well, its flipping tongue certainly made this reptile appear aggressive - trying to intimidate me?

When this didn't work, the leguan turned around, although it continued to "eye" me suspiciously.

Still not at ease, the leguan "took possession" again of its prey . . .

. . . and finally started to feed - which looked more like nibbling, though.

Since this "took place" at the Chobe River (in Botswana), other reptiles are also in abundance - like a (Nile) crocodile.

Revealing aggression appeared to be the "order of the day", & in contrast to the leguan, a large crocodile opening its mouth & revealing its "killer" teeth, certainly has an intimidating effect!

Last but not least & to "round off" this reptile story - 2 tiny geckos eyeing each other ideally "round off" another story.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An Elephant Story

Whilst cruising on the Chobe River during the last tour, a herd of elephant came into view. Once they moved apart . . .

. . . a tiny elephant came into view - & it was battling to cross a ditch.

Obviously noticing how the tiny youngster battled, other elephants moved closer - appearing really concerned & prepared to somehow assist.

The tiny elephant didn't appear to notice this & instead reached for sustenance = "comfort food". . . .

. . . whilst two elephants "demonstarted" how it could be done = how to cross an obstacle with a "little help from a friend".

The little one didn't appear impressed, though . . .

. . . and again reached high for comfort = sustenance - whilst its mother patiently waited for her youngster to "learn a trick or two".

Eventually her patience was rewarded & the little one did manage to cross the ridge of the ditch = "mission accomplished" . . . .

. . . but the youngster was obviously exhausted & again moved underneath the protective "shield" of its mother's large body = resting in the shade for a moment.

Eventually the elephants moved on - now that the tiny one had mastered the obstacle - but its mother still protectively assisted her youngster along.

Bravely now the little one demonstrated that it was able to follow in the footsteps of the larger "trailblazers" . . .

. . . whilst we had one last glimpse and sighed in relief that this story had a "perfect" ending.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sun has set

For me "the sun has set" on yet another tour - so I'm back home for a while & happy to share photos taken during the tour incorporating a visit to parts of Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia & Zimbabwe.

Towards the end of the tour we were privileged to experience this almost psychedelic sun set whilst cruising on the Zambesi River.

As one of the ladies in our group commended: if you would suddenly see this image (instead of proggressively watching the sun set), what would you think it represents? Perhaps a "lightened" dome of some kind?

Although I'm more interested in detecting "unusual" birds or other wild animals, to "face" a lion (= lioness) in the wild is always exciting - this one was still panting heavily after a chase or kill? [Click on photo to enlarge to see blood "covering" her mouth].

Accordingly I was excited to detect this rare & tiny antelope under a bush in the Etosha Game Reserve (Namibia) = a (Damara) dik-dik. It was difficult to "clearly" photograph in the underbrush . . .

. . . but the next day we had the opportunity to see this little antelope at "close quarters" at the (private) Mt Etjo Safari Lodge.

For me - a special moment when moments later, I could photograph this magnificent Roan antelope.

Towards the end of the tour & in the Chobe Game Reserve, we also saw this related Sable antelope - if far in the distance.

Back at Mt Etjo, where a great variety of often "unusual" wild animals roam the reserve, this Black wildebeest reminded me of a bull ready to fight (= in a bull-ring).

I did say: unusual - because seeing a white blesbok in the wild certainly is an unusual sight!

Well, at Mt Etjo finding a white blesbok isn't unusual at all, because there were quite a few of them around - like this white youngster. Also, we were told, these are white - & NOT albino!! - animals (because they don't have pink eyes!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October Flower

Cosmos, according to "floriography" (= the Language of Flowers), is the flower for the month of October & is said to symbolise modesty. With that "message" - Happy Birthday to everybody born this month & au revoir until the 24th Oct (until then I'm guiding a tour again).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Camera - Action!

I have just returned from another tour with very dear tourists, who got to know our country as actively "inhabited" by a great variety of wild life - so the resulting photos often "incorporated" more than only one animal species: in this case a Helmeted guineafowl next to a "lazy" crocodile.

Since eagles were mainly the "subject" during my 2 previous blog-entries, I was excited to see this one right in the road in the Kruger National Park, although we were deeply sorry to see that its victim was an indigenous Tree squirrel - but which eagle is it? According to its "colouring", perhaps a Snake or a Tawny eagle?

Only when it took off with its prey onto a nearby branch did we see white wing-feathers as well as what suddenly looked more black than brown plumage - certainly not "part" of the above-mentioned eagles.

As I've mentioned before (in another blog-entry) identifying juvenile eagles is rather difficult if an adult isn't close "at hand", because it sometimes takes a few years before juvenile eagles are "adorned" with adult plumage. So this one turned out to be a juvenile Bateleur!!

And as if "on command" we saw an adult Bateleur soon after :)

Life at the Sunset Dam (near the Lower Sabie camp in the Kruger Park) usually is profilic - and that was especially the case during our last visit - some hippos out of the water, many a crocodile & a heron to "round off" the wild-life scene.

Although the weather was cold & cloudy, the wild animals were also "out in great numbers" once we reached the Hluhluwe Game Reserve (in KwaZulu-Natal) - a herd of buffalo in the background, whilst a giraffe & some Burchell's zebra are also in "the frame".

Talking about profilic - so were the blommetjies (= flowers) in the (Little) Karoo - one didn't even have to drive all the way to Namaqualand (= usually the "place to go" to see the desert "coming alive" with flowers) to admire this magical event after optimal winter-rain.

The flowers were truly magnificent & we regularly stopped (with the tour bus) so everybody could have their "fill" of this great phenomena.

Even the Chinese lantern bushes looked "fuller" than I've ever seen them before!?