Monday, March 29, 2010

Nesting Chameleon

Sometimes the most remarkable sightings happen in the least expected places. The garden for instance. Now I must add that I do not live out in the absolute wilds anymore but I have the likes of Egyptian cobra, Narina Trogon and a wide variety of other creatures in my garden and in the hills at the back, even Leopard.

A few days ago I stumbled onto this scene. A Flap Necked Chameleon in the process of laying its eggs. To say that this animal was inching forward as it dug its nest would be optimistic; they’re not exactly known for their speed, are they? From the time I observed it the first time it took about 24 hours to finish the job of digging its hole in rain soaked soil to laying the eggs and covering up the hole again and departing, never to see its own young again. Now in about 220 odd days they eggs would hatch and the youngsters will emerge. Its marked on my calendar so watch this space.

A very tired chameleon covering up its nest with soil and plant material the following morning.

Where all the action took place. Slap bang in my garden.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kruger National Park

As I have said before the Kruger National Park must be by far one of the best, if not the best, value for money wildlife destinations on the continent. Yes there may be areas where you will be overrun by tourists (same as many other African destinations) but if you know where to go it is easy to avoid the crowds. For instance the many secondary roads that offers great game viewing with very little traffic and there were times that I drove for miles without seeing any other vehicle. Here are some pics from one of our recent visits.

Daybreak announces a respite from the dangers of the night yet this male Impala remains vigilant.

Spotted Hyena shortly after a mid morning drink and bath.

Although it was the end of March and nearing the end of summer many of the migrants such as this European Roller were still present in good numbers.

And I always find it very encouraging to see the large raptors - an indication of a still (largely) intact ecosystem.
A delicate male Steenbok.
A sleepy Black-Backed Jackal before the start of his nocturnal foray.

Obiquitous throuhough the park, a Burchell's starling announced nightfall.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Unlikely Nemesis

An incredible sighting we had a while ago of some very rarely seen predation. Although it is known that small birds can get stuck in the webs of the Golden Orb web spider I cannot find any confirmed report that the spider actually fed on it. We found this freshly dead little Blue Waxbill one evening entangled in the web of the Spider and was astounded to see the large female actually bite into the wing of the bird and proceed to feed on it.

When we visited the site the next morning the female was still in the same position and a large wound had formed at the site of the bite. At the same time the feathers also seemed to fall out at the site of the bite.

As a photographer I always try to capture the mood of events and try to steer away from just straight forward documentation. In this instance I photographed against the greying sky while using a slow shutter speed to enhance the sinister mood of the events. The flash was held off camera as always to increase detail.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Karongwe Sightings

Some of the latest images from Karongwe. In just over two weeks we encountered five different Leopards, one of which was during a Game Walk.

Portrait of a male Leopard in prime condition.

This scruffy looking female gave us a most indignant stare as we unknowingly disturbed her attempt at hunting Impala.

Hyena visited camp every night and even the activities at the sleepout in the bush got the better of this cubs curiosity who came to investigate.

One of the Hippo dams. A great spot for sundowners.

And curiosity even gets these behemoths to pop around for a closer look.

As allways, striking birds such as this woodland Kingfisher are never far.

A Yellow Billed Stork in interesting pose.

A Magnificant male Lion obligingly becoming active just as the sun filters through the clouds and grants us wonderfull photograhic opportunities

And just to round off the predator sightings, two male Cheetah decided to hunt down a young Wtaerbuck around camp only to settle for Impala later that afternoon.