Posts in Category: wildlife

Hippos in the Mara River

Mara River, Masai Mara, Kenya

John, our pilot on our Kenya Safari, was under the mistaken impression that we only had one day in the Masai Mara, so he adopted a “see everything” policy that took us from the north east corner of the reserve all the way to the Mara River in the south. The Mara is famous for its Wildebeest crossings during migration. We were there at the right time, but the water was too high. Still there are Hippopotamuses and Crocodiles…both of which we did see. These photos were taken from the bluff on the north side of the river, looking down. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic. Note the Common Sandpiper (very much like our Spotted Sandpiper in both looks and behavior) on the back of the Hippo in the top image 🙂

More of Amboseli’s Elephants

Amboseli National Park, Kenya

We saw many elephants in Tsavo East National Park and many in Masai Mara, but by far the most in Amboseli. The well watered marshes and old lake bed are lush grazing for elephants. Sony RX10iv in Program mode. Various focal lengths. Processed in Polarr and assembled in ImgPlay.

Eastern Black and White Colobus Monkey

Elsamere Lodge, Lake Naivasha, Kenya

I was surprised, and delighted, to find a large family group of Eastern Black and White Colobus Monkeys on the grounds of Elsamere Lodge where we stayed on Lake Naivasha, in the Rift Valley of Kenya. The field guides I had studied before leaving home show the primate at higher elevations and in much more dense forest. (The Colobus has a limited range in the Masai Mara, mostly around Siana Springs Camp…not anywhere near where we were going.) It is a beautiful creature. From what I can find on-line the Colobus at Elsamere are natural residents and have been living there for several generations at least. Sony RX10iv at various focal lengths. Program mode. Processed in Polarr. 

Yard Turkeys

Yesterday’s day poem was about the turkeys who came wandering through the yard in the morning rain. 

Carol came in in the middle of my Qi Gong
this morning, me still in my bare feet, tee-shirt
and pajama pants, and announced that there
were six turkeys in the back yard. I grabbed
my camera. Turns out it was a hen and five
well grown poults, looking for sustenance
among the fallen leaves under our trees in
steady rain…making a short cut, maybe,
across our yard. I got a few shots from the
open deck door before they disappeared up
the alley between our house and the house
next door…not an alley proper of course but
the narrow area between our house and the
hedge, full of strawberry plants and sunflowers.
Eventually they came out onto the front lawn
and I could stand in the front door and photo-
graph them as they passed under our little
apple trees. Carol had to leave right then or
be late for a funeral, so she went out, and
of course they all took wing, the poults high
into the pines across the road and the hen
sailing down the road and across to the
woods at eye-level…which was all she could
manage in her mature dignity. Such a treat.
Making the most of a rainy morning. I got
back to my Qi Gong and the turkeys went
looking for sustenance in someone else’s
yard, or maybe the marshy edge of the wood.

What more can I say? Sony RX10iv at 600mm and 200mm. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and assembled as a video slideshow in ImgPlay. 

Bustards and Baboons

Another Encounter story from Kenya. Wait for it to load and then page through using the controls in the bar at the top or bottom of the panel. You can expand it to full sceeen by touching the icon in either bar.


Tsavo East Lion Encounter

For the full presentation look below. 

One of the most exciting encounters we have on our Kenya Safari. The PDF will take a moment to load. You can flip through it using the controls at the bottom or the top of the block. 


Vervet Monkey

The most common monkey of all of sub-Sahara Africa is the Black-faced Vervet. It seems to have an affinity for humans (or perhaps only for human food) and is very apt to be seen around camps and lodges. In South Africa when I visited they were a real problem at lodges…so bold that at least one person was assigned to monkey duty at each meal, otherwise they would have been up on the tables helping themselves whenever your attention wavered. Even with a guard they got away the occasion slice of fruit or toast. In Kenya they were much more shy…or perhaps not as hungry…or the camp staff have done a better job of training them to be unobtrusive. Only at one camp we visited for lunch were there any number of them…yet we saw large troops in the bush. These shots are from a lodge well within Tsavo East National Park. Sony RX10iv at various focal lengths. Program mode. Processed in Polarr. 

Sea Lions of La Jolla

Sea Lions, La Jolla Cove, California

As I have mentioned before, when I am in San Diego for the San Diego Birding Festival I always try to ge to La Jolla Cove for a morning with the Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Cormorants and Pelicans. This is a classic Sea Lion pile on the rocks of the sea cliffs of La Jolla. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. 1/640th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Anna’s Impossibly Bright

Anna’s Hummingbird, San Diego California

I pretty much had to force myself to go out yesterday morning in the light drizzle and heavy overcast, but the marsh and dunes behind my hotel at the mouth of the San Diego River Channel were just to tempting. And it was a great walk. Good close shots of Marbled Godwitts, a lone Willit, and a Whimbrel. And some dramatic seascapes off the end of the jetty. But the best treat was this male Anna’s Hummingbird that sat so that even the dull light lit its gorget and cap so brightly that it was just within the capture range of the camera. 🙂

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro. 

Burrowing Owl in Ice Plant: Happy Sunday!

Burrowing Owl, San Diego California

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus

Yesterday the San Diego Birding Festival started at noon, and I had a workshop at 12:30, so I slept in, and only went out to the San Diego River Channel and the Western National Wildlife Refuge across from Sea World. It is a good marshy river habitat, though the high banks of the river channel keep you well away from most of the birds. Great for scope views. There have been reports of a Burrowing Owl along this stretch in past years and I am always alert, especially in the area overrun by Ground Squirrels. I did not have to really even look for this Owl, as two other photographers were there already. Such a delight! I have not seen a Burrowing Owl this close since my days in New Mexico 30 years ago, and I can count the number of Burrowing Owl I have ever seen on my fingers without running out of digits.  I wrote a little poem about it for yesterday’s Day Poem.

Burrowing Owl on the bank above
the San Diego River, right by the
Sports Arena Bridge. What at treat!
Sat in a big patch of Ice Plant, a
mound really, at the mouth, obviously
of a Ground Squirrel burrow, the
sun in its bright yellow eyes, turning
its head side to side, and occasionally
looking straight at me. I felt privileged
to be included in its gaze. Privileged!

And of course another word for “privileged” is “blessed”. I felt blessed to see the Burrowing Owl. It is one of the things, the main thing, I love about bird watching. You never know what you will see, if you just go out with your eyes open…and you almost always see something that quickens the pulse and makes you feel more alive. Blessed. It is a part of the generous eye that I really enjoy. “Eye’s wide open” is the way another translator translates it…eyes wide open in wonder and delight. 

And may you go through this Sunday with generous eyes…and I believe God will bless you in what you see.