There are always surprises on our Point and Shoot Nature Photography Adventures in Costa Rica. This year’s stand-out so far, edging out the Yellow Eyelash Pit-viper by a nose, is the Lesser Anteater…also called the Collared Anteater or the Collared Tamandua. This one, the first and only I have ever seen, was climbing a tree along the road beside the old botanical gardens at Selva Verde Lodge in the Sarapique River Valley. We watched it devour termites (its main food) from a termite highway leading up the tree to a termite nest above for 15 minutes or more before moving on. Very special! Sony Rx10iv at 150mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
So I posed a bird of the day (Spectacled Owl), and a creature of the day (Eyelash Pit-viper, on Facebook and Instagram) from the 2nd day of the Point and Shoot Nature Photography Adventure in Costa Rica already. This has to be the mammal of the day. A Three-toed (or more properly, 3 fingered) Sloth at Donde Cope…Jose Perez’s home in La Union Costa Rica. He has a pair of Sloths living in his tiny garden. This male was slowly working through the vines just above our heads. I was after dark and raining so this was taken with the light of my little light cube mounted in the flash shoe of my Sony Rx10iv in Anti-motion blur mode. It is only at 254mm equivalent and it is a full frame shot (not cropped) so you might be able to appreciated just how close we were. The difficulty was catching the sloth’s face exposed as it climbed the among the vines. Yes, we are having fun in Costa Rica!
During our Birds and Wildlife Safari in Uganda in September there were lots of young animals around…calves and fawns, cubs and piglets. This is Warthog Piglet at Lake Mburo National Park…not newborn, as they only weigh 1 to 2 pounds at birth…but maybe a few weeks old. This is perhaps as cute as a warthog gets (unless, of course, it is a Disney warthog). Sony Rx10iv at 1200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Our third (out of 9) primate species on my September #Epic_Uganda_Vacations birds and wildlife safari in Uganda’s National Parks and Reserves. This fellow is in Murchinson Falls National Park. He climbed up to greet the first rays of the rising sun (and maybe to keep a better eye on us as we stopped on the road near him). They are more commonly seen foraging on the ground, and, indeed, that is where we saw our first one. This one presented itself a half hour later and further into the drive. Given their common social structure…they live and forage in troops of up to 25…there were probably a lot more of them out of sight in the long grasses under the acacia trees below. Sony RX10iv at 600 and 1200mm equivalents. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. The heavy brow and the dark eye-sockets make the eyes hard to recover but you can see a hint of them in the closer view. 🙂
We did not have any close views of wolves in Yellowstone. They were always well away, often across the river. This is a classic Yellowstone shot. American Bison holding down the top right, two Pronghorns crossing left, and a wolf in the foreground crossing right. They are all aware of each other, but not concerned, at least at the moment. Sony RX10iv at at least 600mm optical, and probably some Clear Image Zoom above that. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
After digiscoping more American Bison than you could shake a spotting scope at, we spent most of an afternoon looking for a Pronghorn at a reasonable distance for good digiscoping. One of our participants spotted this one on a little rise of ground above the road, right near a pull-out where the bus could park, and we all piled out with our scopes. The Pronghorn proceeded to amble down the hill toward us, and got as close as the legal limit of 25 yards. Any closer and, according to park rules, we would have had to back up. We had lots of time to take as many digiscoped images as we wanted before it turned and wandered back up the hill.
Despite their superficial similarity (and their other common names) Pronghorns are not antipopes. They are the last members of an otherwise extinct family of North American mammals, more closely related to Giraffes and Okapi, than to deer and old world antelopes. They are generally considered the second fastest land mammals, just behind the cheetah, and could, in theory, out last a cheetah over a mile chase. They are way faster than any existing North American predator.
Digiscoped with an iPhone 7 behind the eyepiece of a ZEISS Harpia 85 at about 1000mm equivalent. Exposure decreased manually to keep detail in the whites. Processed in Polarr.
Sea Lions are the original bathing beauties…and they spend a good deal of their lives sun bathing on the rocks. Living the good life in Southern California. These beauties are at La Jolla Cove north of San Diego. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 160. Processed in Polarr.
Sally, my daughter, and I found a couple of Dusky-footed Woodrats uncharacteristically out and about in daylight, feeding on flower petals along the path in Tecolote Canyon Nature Park in San Diego, California. She almost stepped on one right at the trail-edge while looking at birds. I managed to get this shot through the thick foliage. I know. It’s a rat, and many people have a thing about rats…but it is one of our few native rats, and an interesting creature. It builds large domed nests of sticks and litter (and sometimes adds a tree loft in a nearby tree), often in villages or hamlets of a dozen or more nests (perhaps the origin of its common name, Pack-rat, though it is a solitary creature in all other ways), stores food, builds a separate “toilet” faculty away from the nest, has soft fur and furry tail. I find it appealingly cute…certainly as cute as any gerbil or hamster. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 500. Processed in Polarr.
A mother and a new-born Harbor Seal recognize each other by the unique smell of each other’s breath…but it has to be learned and you can observe mother and child nose to nose soon after birth and repeatedly over the first few hours of life exchanging breaths. Later, when the pups are in the water and crying for their mothers, you will see adults approach the pup and check the breath to see if it is theirs. Adult females can be quite aggressive when approached by a pup that does not have the right smell. I always enjoy these nose to nose shots. This was taken on the outside of the seawall at the Children’s Pool in La Jolla Cove, in La Jolla, California. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000 @ f4 @ ISO 250. Processed in Polarr.
At the other end of La Jolla Cove from Children’s Pool and the pupping Harbor Seals, there is a good sized colony of Sea Lions. This group of adolescents was having a mild altercation over the occupation of some rocks above the shoreline. It is rare to see an adult sea lion without scars…so these confrontations do get more violent as the sea lions mature. La Jolla Cove, California. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds in flight and action modifications. 1/1000th @ f4 @ ISO 160. -.3 EV. Processed in Polarr.