2019-09-09: Monochrome Monday

Like impala, vervet monkeys can sometimes be seen so frequently from camp and when out on game drives that you stop paying attention to them, or taking the time to take photos of them.  The alarm calls of the vervet monkeys can sometimes lead to predator sightings, so they are definitely an animal worth paying attention to out in the bush.  They are interesting and inquisitive animals, and can often be seen up in the trees near camp buffet tables, trying to work out the best way to steal a muffin.

None of the vervet monkeys in the photos below were up to any such mischief (though I have seen it happen many times).  These were from two different troops that we stopped to spend time with while out on game drives in May.

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2019-09-02: Monochrome Monday

Today I wanted to share a few of the images that I captured while driving the Panorama Route in South Africa earlier this year.  It’s a beautiful scenic drive with lots of opportunities to stop and take short walks to view waterfalls and breathtaking vistas, like the three rondavels.  If you are travelling to South Africa, it is definitely a day trip worth taking.

I hope you enjoy my selections for the day, and wishing everyone a fantastic week ahead!

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The three rondavels under stormy looking skies (not a drop of rain fell during the entire time I spent in South Africa though).
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Some of the small waterfalls at Bourke’s Luck Potholes, another stop along the panorama route.
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Berlin Falls

2019-08-31: Birds – Shades of Blue

Travelling through southern Africa, pretty much any time of year, will provide the opportunity to see a great variety of birds.  Today I chose to focus on ones with feathers in shades of blue.  I hope you enjoy the variety of images today, and wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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A lilac breasted roller
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A burchell’s starling
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A white-bellied sunbird
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A pair of cape glossy starlings
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A green wood-hoopoe
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A cape glossy starling
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A wire-tailed swallow
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A double-collared sunbird
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A lilac breasted roller

2019-08-26: Monochrome Monday

It’s no secret that I love elephants, and that I love editing elephant images in black and white.  Here are a few from my most recent travels.  I hope they brighten up your Monday 🙂

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This little elephant was precocious and kept all of us laughing and smiling as he played with sticks and branches, tossing them over his head.
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A mama guiding her young calf across the road to join the rest of the herd.
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Another adorable youngster; this one was very inquisitive and spent lots of time near the vehicle, seeing what we were all about.
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A large bull elephant in musth.  Our guide was very cautious as this guy approached us on the road, but the elephant turned off into the bushes, after giving his head a dramatic shake at us.
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Drinks stop while Mom graves.

2019-08-25: Red-billed Queleas

It seems a little bit strange creating a blog post that doesn’t actually show you what a red-billed quelea looks like up close.  I don’t think on any of my trips to southern Africa I have managed to get that type of shot.  What I wanted to share with you today was some shots of the stunning murmurations that the quelea display.

These little birds are the most abundant bird species on earth, and many farmers consider them a pest, given the way they can strip a cultivated field in the blink of an eye.  I can understand the devastation that they cause when they end up in cultivated areas on mass, but watching them out in the bush against a colourful sunset is an absolute sight to behold (and definitely one worth putting down the sundowner glass of wine, and picking up the camera).

My only regret is I didn’t switch into video mode at any of these sightings; I’ll put that on my to-do list for the next time. 🙂

I hope you enjoy these images, and wishing you a fantastic week ahead.

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2019-08-20: Monochrome Monday

Happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend, and is ready for the week ahead.  I found a lion image from a previous trip that had been edited but never shared, so I found a couple of others to put together this grouping.

I hope you enjoy, and wishing you a fantastic week!

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This image was from 2017, when we had prolific lion sightings and had the pleasure of listening to their roars cutting through the night.  On this past trip, I didn’t hear a single lion roar, but the lion dynamics can change significantly on properties over a few years.
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This young male was seen in the late afternoon lounging next to a waterhole at Kings Camp in the Timbavati.  Doesn’t he look majestic?  You can find this image, along with lots of others, over in my gallery.
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This lion and his brother were moving at speed through the property that Chitwa Chitwa has traversing rights to.  We were fortunate to have an opportunity to view them before they crossed the boundary, and could no longer be followed by our vehicle.

2019-08-18: Birds – The ones that are hard to get

Everyone that enjoys watching birds and photographing them knows that there are some species that are harder than others to get images of.  I love the challenge of trying to capture that elusive clear image of a bird that tends to hide in the densest part of the treetops.

Locally, we have beautiful birds like the Western Tanager; a bird that I have only seen a handful of times, and photographed only on a rare occasion.  The incredible yellow plumage on the males makes them targets for predatory birds, so sticking to dense areas makes a lot of sense.  I admired the beautiful song of the Hermit Thrush for years before I finally saw a small brown and white bird singing, and had my first clue to discover the identity I had wondered about for so long.

While traveling, I kept up with trying to ID and photograph birds hiding in treetops and thickets.  Some were deep amongst the leafy trees foraging for fruits, some were naturally shy and trying hard to stay out of sight, and sometimes, it was just unlucky positioning of the vehicle, and having to shoot through branches and grasses, before the bird flew away.

Here are a few of my shots of some of the more challenging birds spotted on my last trip.

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I’ve had success with images of African Hoopoes in the past, but this trip, I seemed to spot them only when they were behind a bunch of branches, or as they were flying away.
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A Purple-crested Turaco.  Such a stunning bird, which I was fortunate enough to see at two different camps, but only high in the treetops, feasting on tiny fruits.  This was the best shot I managed over a couple of days trying!
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A green pigeon devouring figs.  There were so many birds in this giant tree, and I had to stand underneath to take pictures.  It was a dangerous place to be, and I nearly got pooped on more than once.
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Another glimpse of a Purple-crested Turaco.
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A green pigeon pausing from its afternoon meal.
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A white-crested helmet shrike.  Sadly, I only saw this species once, and this is the best of the images I could get.  At least you can make out the yellow, wattled eye ring.
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A chinspot batis that I spotted outside of my room at Chitwa Chitwa.  I went out on the patio and was lucky to get this shot before the bird flew deeper into the trees.
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A black-backed puffback, also spotted from the deck at Chitwa Chitwa.  The late morning and early afternoon hours between game drives are great times for bird watching from the comfort of your room 🙂
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My views of adult bateleur eagles are usually of them flying away, and not managing any shots.  This is as good as it gets, so far.  There’s always next time!
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A different hoopoe, in a different tree, but still obscured by branches.