2020-04-05: Sunrise to sunset during safari

I’m working on a guest post for a friend doing an Armchair safari series, and thought I would share the images here as well.  I decided that the theme of my post would be sunrise to sunset on safari; showcasing images from dawn till dusk while out in the bush.  These are all shot during my last trip to South Africa and were from all of the camps that I stayed at.  I would have to plan a lot more in advance while out in the field to have a sunrise to sunset images from a single day (note to self, do that next trip!).

Rather than a highlight reel of amazing sightings, these are just a collection of moments out in the bush.

I hope you enjoy.

6am - Lions
6am – Lions.  Two of the Torchwood Pride greet each other.
7am - Hyena and Impala
7am – Hyena and Impala.  A group of impala look on wearily as a hyena approaches down the road.
8am - Elephants
8am – Elephants.  A pair of youngsters tussle while the older elephants graze nearby.  
9am - Giraffe
9am – Giraffe.  A giraffe bull paused in the road allowing me to capture this image while on the way back to camp for breakfast.
10am - Waterbuck
10am – Waterbuck.  A waterbuck heads towards the dam for a drink.
11am - Hippos
11am – Hippos. A group of hippos making their way back to the water to beat the midday heat.
12pm - Hornbill
12pm – Yellow-billed hornbill.  A “flying banana” perched just beyond the deck at camp.
1pm - Infrared Landscape
1pm – Landscape in infrared.  Midday was a great time to wander around camp with my infrared filter and play around with long exposure photos. This was shot from the deck at Lion Sands Tinga Lodge.
2pm - Purple Crested Turaco
2pm – Purple Crested Turaco.  I tried for ages to capture a good image of this beautiful bird from my balcony, but given they like to be deep in the branches, it really wasn’t meant to be.  It was a fun way to spend part of the afternoon though.
3pm - Cheetah
3pm – Cheetah.  We’d only been out on game drive for about 10 minutes when we came across this cheetah, and had the chance to watch her stalking some impala.  They spotted her right away so supper wasn’t in her immediate future.
4pm - Wild Dog
4pm – Wild Dog.  Spending time with wild dogs always makes my heart happy.  We had a good half an hour with them before they took off in all directions, setting out to hunt.
5pm - Honey Badgers
5pm – Honey Badgers. I had always wanted to see honey badgers and on my first game drive of the trip I finally had my chance.  It only lasted about 30 seconds but it certainly was thrilling, even if all I could get were butt shots!
6pm - Leopard
6pm – Leopard.  We were heading back to camp for drinks and dinner and came across this leopard heading in to this large puddle to drink.  It was a quick stop before the leopard was on its way.

 

 

2019-08-04: Hornbills

As mentioned last week, I am going to focus on birds for my Sunday posts during the month of August.  I had some really interesting bird sightings during my recent travels, and I am looking forward to editing and sharing some of the moments.

I decided to start off with hornbills; the only reason being that a hornbill was the first bird image I took when I got to the bush, so it seemed a logical enough place to start.  I posted a few hornbill images back in June as a wordless Wednesday post; you can find those here.

During my travels, I saw 5 different species of hornbill, including several sightings on two different properties of the endangered southern ground hornbill.  Our rangers shared some fascinating information about these birds; the southern ground hornbill has helpers to raise their chick; these baby-sitters put in several years of assistance duties before they take on the responsibility of mating themselves.

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A family group of 3 southern ground hornbills foraging in the early morning near Lion Sands River Lodge.  South Africa, May 2019.
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This hornbill was also in a group of 3, seen while staying at Kings Camp in the Timbavati.  The group were spread over over several different trees and fallen branches.  May, 2019.

More common to see while out on game drives and the red and yellow billed hornbills (or banana head and chill pepper as they seem to be called quite often :))  Our rangers also explained some interesting facts about the breeding habits of the hornbills; I am not 100% certain if this applies to all the African hornbill species, but during breeding, the female will lay eggs into a tree hollow, and then allow herself to be sealed up inside the tree cavity with only a small opening to allow the male to pass food in to her and the chicks once they hatch.  The female removes all her flight feathers during this time and allows them to regrow while nesting, and as such she is completely reliant on her mate for her survival, as well as the survival of their offspring.  Such trust!

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A red-billed hornbill showing off some serious flexibility.  I’m pretty sure there are yoga poses that look like this 🙂
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A yellow-billed hornbill perched against the clear blue sky.
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A pair of red-billed hornbills spotted at sunset.

These last two hornbills are less common (at least for me) to see while out in the bush.  I’ve seen the grey hornbill and crowned hornbill each on only one other occasion.  Both of these were spotted while out on game drives from Lion Sands River Lodge.

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A grey hornbill perched in the tree tops.  Lion Sands River Lodge, May 2019.
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A crowned hornbill giving us a backwards glance.