A wet Sea Lion and a dry Sea Lion have a very different look. The short dense fur is a sleek, smooth grey when wet, and a rough brown when dry. These two were on the rocks at La Jolla Cove in southern California when I visited the end of February and show the difference clearly. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 160 and 1/1000th @ f5 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.
This is a newborn Harbor Seal pup, only minutes old. We did not see it born so I am not sure, but it is certainly less then an hour old. We did watch a mother in labor for over an hour, but had to leave before she pupped. The water just in front of the seawall at Children’s Pool in La Jolla Cove (California) is calm, and crystal clear, behind a barrier of natural rock outcrops, and the mother Harbor Seals gather there to give birth, nurse, and give their pups a start in relative safety. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 1600. Processed in Polarr.
One of my favorite actions to watch is the Reddish Egret fishing. It is definitely a dance, though a sometimes erratic one. This bird was along Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville Florida. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. My birds in flight and action modifications to Program mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
At Selva Verde Lodge on the Sarapiqui River in the Caribbean lowland rainforest of Costa Rica, we often met after dinner to go over the bird checklist for the day. The days were full, and photo processing time and sleep time were at a premium, but I was always tempted to do a little flashlight frogging on the way back to bunk. I bought a “daylight balanced” flashlight for this visit to Costa Rica, and it worked well both to spot and to photograph the frogs. I had to turn it down to low power for the photos…at frogging distance (4-5 feet with my 600mm reach on the Sony) it was too bright at high power. Anti-motion Blur mode on the Sony takes three images and combines them, while processing out some motion artifacts, so the results are pretty good. And, of course, photos of the Red-eyed Leaf Frog (sometimes called Red-eyed Tree Frog) are emblematic of Costa Rican wildlife. These were all taken within 50 feet of the dinning hall at Selva Verde, around the little ornamental pools they maintain. I will be returning to Costa Rica and Selva Verde next December with another group of Point and Shoot Nature Photographers. You should join me.
Topi are another big boned African antelope species. We found these in the Masai Mara reserve. They are generally found in groups of up to 14…a dominant buck and his haram and children. They “rest” in a characteristic pose, with their noses on the ground supporting their heads and horns. The light of Equatorial Africa is always amazing. Sony RX10iv at about 32mm and 600mm equivalents. Program mode. Processed in Polarr. Panel assembled in FrameMagic.
I am working on telling the story of my Kenyan Safari and have decided it is best told by “encounters”. Traveling in Kenya is hours of butt-busting, dusty, barely roads or road clogged with tractor-trailer trucks, mostly uncomfortable travel…interrupted by some of the most amazing wildlife encounters imaginable. This is the first small sample. To view it, tap or click the link and it should open as a pdf in your browser. It might take a few moments to load 🙂
The Common Waterbuck is another of the very common antelope species in Kenya…especially in Tsavo East and West National Parks. Bucks are strongly built with impressive horns and females and young are on the cute side…so what is not to like? At Voi Safari Lodge they were often on inside of the fence with us, and in Tsavo East we saw many family groups and lone bucks. Sony RX10iv at mostly 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr. (Touch or click any image to view at full size.)
There are more Wild Turkeys in Southern Maine this fall than I have seen in many years. I have seen at least 4 different flocks of 20 or more along the back roads as I ride my eBike. Maybe there are always that many, and they just stay more hidden, but it seems like a lot. These were in the Senior Housing Condos behind Rt. 1 near the Wells line. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
I will admit to being somewhat startled when a pod of Hippopotamuses surfaced beside our small boat on Lake Naivasha. The boatman obviously expected it, and had brought us into this particular little cove for just that purpose…but still…he might have warned us. Hippopotamuses are big. Swamp-a-boat-easily big. And they just appear there, right beside you. So fast I could barely get the camera around to capture a few shots before they submerged again. The boatman stopped the boat, and we watched them for a few moments, enjoying themselves. Hippos spend the day submerged, coming up to breathe, or in mud flats where they can cover their sensitive skin with a layer of mud as sun-screen. They come out to browse the short grasses along the lake-shore at night. We stayed at Elsamere on Lake Naivasha, and one of its selling points (along with most of the other lodges on the shore) is that Hippos come out on the lawn at night. If you go to Africa, someone is sure to tell you that Hippopotamuses kill more people per year than any of the big five…than all of the big five added together…and it is true. It is easy to underestimate these huge, placid animals and get too close, or between them and their retreat to the water. They don’t tolerate that. So, I guess if you have to get close, in a boat is the way to do it. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
Lake Nakuru National Reserve is one of the “fenced” reserves of the Rift Valley. The animals are not free to come and go…which is not the norm in Kenya. In fact the unfenced reserves and parks are, in my opinion, one of the main differences between the experience of Kenya and, say, South Africa, where the larger Kruger complex…though huge…is totally fenced. Nakuru is fenced to protect surviving small numbers of both endangered Black and White Rhinoceros…from wandering and from poachers…and a thriving herd of the comparatively rare Rothschild’s Giraffes, which were introduced to the park for their own protection. When lake levels are right, the lake also attracts large numbers of Lesser Flamingos, which, as here, feed in the shallows. The Cape Buffalo are on a little spit of more solid land that runs out into the lake. Our guide lamented the fact that the lake is being polluted with runoff from Nakuru Town, on its northern edge, which he feels is reducing the numbers of Flamingos, and pushing them to the far south edge of the lake. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.