After about 30 minutes in the presence of our family of Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda, the silverback, who had shown signs of being increasingly uncomfortable, decided to move the family on. I put it down to one of the cell phone toting tourists (not one of my group) getting at bit too close and making eye-contact one too many times, but the silverback might well have just gotten bored with us. Once he had disappeared through the heavy vines at the clearing edge the others quickly followed. Mom patiently waited for the youngest to climb aboard before she moved off. She did not seem to mind when the infant grabbed fists fulls of her fur for climbing holds. Sony Rx10iv at about 200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. For the full story on my Mountain Gorilla Trek, visit here.
Mountain Gorillas are mostly vegetarian. They eat all parts of the plants around them from roots and bark to seeds and fruits…over 140 species of plants. One favored food is the gallium vine, which we saw them eating in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park when we visited our family of Gorillas. The silverback (male) was cracking the vine open to get at the soft parts inside, while the female was stripping leaves. Mountain Gorillas are big…the silverbacks can run to 440 pounds, and it takes a lot of vegetation to keep them healthy. They forage in morning and again in the evening before bedding down. Sony Rx10iv at 440mm and 540mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
The mother Gorilla taking a moment of rest while the male finished his breakfast and the youngsters played. As I said, in 30 minutes with the Mountain Gorilla family in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda, we had the opportunity to observe and photograph an amazingly wide range of behavior as the gorillas went about their morning routines. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, Apple Photos, and TouchRetouch. For the full story and more photos on my Gorilla Trek, visit my post on Point and Shoot Nature Photographer.
During the 30 minutes before our family of Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park got tired of us and moved on, the three youngest off-spring spent almost all their time playing. The youngest, in particular, seemed to have just discovered that it could climb and was busy trying out the vines and brush around the edge of the breakfast clearing, with more or less success depending on whether the vine would carry its weight.
My article on the whole adventure, with lots more photos, is done now, if you want to take a look here.
Sony Rx10iv at about 225mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
This is female, the mother, in the family of Mountain Gorillas we visited in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda. As I mentioned yesterday, the Gorillas at Bwindi live in family groups, generally one male, or silverback, his mate, and their offspring. This family was 6: dad and mom and 4 youngsters. One of the rules of any Gorilla encounter is that you do not make eye-contact, even through your lens. (The other is that you do not eat or drink in their presence.) That is easier than you might think, as the Gorillas avoid eye-contact as well. Though they were certainly aware of us, they did their best to ignore the humans invading their breakfast nook by never looking directly at us. Sony Rx10iv at 250mm and 375mm equivalents. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, Apple Photos, and TouchRetouch (to remove out of focus flies).
This is the “silverback” male of the family of Mountain Gorillas that I visited in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. It will take me several days to post even a few of my photos from our Gorilla Trek, and I find that I have way too much to say about the whole experience for any reasonable post or series of posts. Over the next few days I will build a blog post on psnp.info to share the experience in more detail. I will post a link when I am done for those who are interested. For now, just realize that after 2 hours of hiking through the, steep, muddy, dense, “impenetrable” cloud forest of Bwindi, we entered a small clearing, like a room 20 by 20 feet, where this silverback, his mate, and four children, aged maybe 4 years to 2 months, were enjoying a late breakfast and some play. We spent 30 minutest with them, before they had had enough of us and moved on up-slope and out of sight…but those 30 minutes are some of the most treasured in my life. Sony Rx10iv at about 210mm equivalent (I said we were close!). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr, TouchRetouch (to remove flies), and Apple Photos.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is home to 10 primate species, from the Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee to small nocturnal monkeys. On our way to our lodge in the center of Bwindi, Moses, our sharp-eyed guide, spotted a group of monkeys working in a tree just off the road, and we stopped to see what was what. Of course, most of the monkeys took off deeper into the forest, but individuals of two species hung around long enough for photos.
This is the Red-tailed Monkey, also known as the “black-cheeked white-nosed monkey,” “red-tailed guenon,” redtail monkey,” or “Schmidt’s guenon”, depending on what reference you check. This is the best shot I managed before the whole troop disappeared, but you can pick out all of the features that give it its various names.
The somewhat larger Blue Monkeys in the tree were bolder and hung around longer, giving me more opportunities for photos. They were also more curious and actually came down closer to see what we were up to down on their road. Notice the length of that tail!
We had not been back and continuing our journey more than 5 minuets when we drove up beside another Bwindi monkey. It took two tries. The first scampered away and a few moments later we managed to roll to a stop beside this L’Hoest’s Monkey, who was busy with something in the short grass along the road. L’Hoest’s are generally shy, and I feel privileged to have gotten this shot.
Sony Rx10iv at various focal lengths as needed to frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.