Our first afternoon in Masai Mara we found a group of elephants feeding right next to the road. It turned out we saw them in the same area all three days. It was near a small stream and a tiny marshy area, and they evidently liked the fresh green foliage there. This specimen was disemboweling a bush and went away with a large chunk of it wrapped in its trunk. I like the photo as a action portrait. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
Driving through the marsh at Amboseli National Park, we found this Bohor Reedbuck, rarely seen in daylight, standing not far from the track. The Reedbuck is only found in the marsh and the marshy edges of Lake Amboseli in the park, and spends most daylight hours hunkered down in deep grasses, hiding from predators. Only the males have horns. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
We saw Thompson’s Gazelles in every park or reserve we visited in Kenya. The images above are from Tsavo East, Amboseli, Crescent Island on Lake Naivasha, and Masai Mara. They were, on our visit at least, by far the most numerous of the antelope species, perhaps because their preferred habitat is also the most common in East Africa. They are on the smallish size, smaller then either the Impala or Grant’s Gazelles they often associate with…and the black slash on the side makes them stand out even at a distance. Sony RX10iv at various focal lengths at the long end of the zoom. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
We only stayed one night in Tsavo West, at Ngulia Lodge far in the southern section. On our way back out the next morning we went to Mzima Springs for Crocodiles and Hippos and whatever else we could find, and as we left the springs on our long drive to Amoboseli we encountered a large group of Baboons right by the road. Like any troup, there were baboons of every age, from full grown males and females to infants, and everything in between. They were moving along beside us so we slowed and stopped and they proceeded at a long diagonal past the van and across the road ahead of us. Sony RX10iv at various focal lengths. Program mode. Processed in Polarr. You can view any of the images a full screen by clicking or tapping the one you want.
When I went out the other day to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge headquarters trail looking for landscape photos for my “For the love of landscape” posts, I was, of course, captivated by the fall litter on the forest floor. It was a moody day, with the sun just beginning to break through clouds away off to the south. It had been raining up to an hour ago. The light in the forest was subdued, and everything was still damp. Between the light and the wet, the colors simply glowed. I framed a lot images that were simply about color and light and texture and shape. This ladder of scale fungi on the fallen birch log, and the brown maple leaf beside it is a good example. A quiet image of nothing in particular that I find still very satisfying. Sony RX10iv at 300mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
This little Chipmunk seemed to think he needed to explore me while I was walking the trail at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Wells, Maine. I first saw him near the trail, but when he saw me he scampered back into the woods, only to make a loop at about 12 feet, and come back toward me. He eventually ran out into the trail and around me in a tight circle, inches from my feet, before heading back into the woods on the same side as he started from. Who knows? These three shots were taken at close to my lens’ minimum focus distance of 4 feet at 600mm equivalent. Sony RX10iv in Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
So, I am thinking this bird is a Song Sparrow. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I can not be sure. For one thing, there was a flock of them, feeding together in short grass between the drive and the edge of the woods and/or hedge at Laudholm Farms in Wells Maine. They would fly up and into cover when I approached. I have seen Song Sparrows behave that way, but only during migration, and only at Cape May, New Jersey. Still, it is the right time of year. For another thing, most of the birds lacked any noticeable central breast spot…but then, Song Sparrows are notoriously variable. Finally, they seemed too small, and not “plump” enough, but then I generally see Song Sparrows posted up (and probably puffed up) singing. The alternatives are not good either. I have other shots from further away, and in no shot can I see even a hint of buff where it ought to be on a Lincoln’s and I have never seen a Lincolns out in the open feeding as these were. Savannah? I should see at least a hint of yellow above the eye on some bird, don’t you think? And way too brown for Vesper, and lacking the bold eye-ring. So, Song Sparrow. I think. Unless am just missing something obvious altogether. I am probably overthinking it, but I have seen what happens when people post pics with the wrong ID. (Not pretty!) This is one of those cases where it really would have been better to make the ID in the field, and not rely on the pics when I got home. (You can, by the way, take a look at each photo at higher resolution.) On the other hand, I really like the photos. The bit of fall foliage and the poses, etc. Great Sparrow shots…just not totally sure which Sparrow. And really, I ought to know better (or at least be more confident). Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
Grant’s Gazelles were the most common Gazelles in Tsavo East and Amboseli National Parks, where these shots were taken. As we traveled further west, the Thompson’s displaced them. Grant’s are slightly larger and a bit heavier boned…but still very elegant. The mature males have horns almost as long as an Impala, but not quite so recurved. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
The red clay of Tsavo East National Park in Kenya produces more than Red Elephants. It also produces pink Zebras. The Elephants consciously cover themselves in clay. The Zebras only occasionally take a dust bath…but there is enough dust in the air at all times to tint the white stripes. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
One of the classic images of Africa has to the the Mongoose standing sentry. In this case, the Banded Mongoose, and in two different parks. the dry savanna is in Tsavo East, as far east as we got, and the burnt savanna is from Masai Mara, as far west as we got. Mongooses, however, are the same the world over 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.