Sunday, 19 December 2010

Kestrels Summer 2010

Went on a trip to Lodmoor, saw the Marsh Harriers and a Sparrowhawk was patrolling the skies, almost close enough for a good photo...

On the way home a Kestrel was hunting a field over looking Weymouth harbour.
A few weeks later in the top photo, whilst out locally another Kestrel, at Hengistbury Head.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Kenya Safari 20th - 29th June 2010. Masai Mara

The last safari of the holiday, more Lions were around, the only member of the Big 5 not seen was Leopard, this was being frantically looked for, in the middle of this I found my only Masai Mara Eagle, a quite distant Tawny Eagle being constantly mobbed by two small birds. Later a Jackal to add to the variety and a White Backed Vulture. I would definitely agree, if you get the chance to go to Africa - you should go!

Kenya Safari 20th - 29th June 2010. Masai Mara

Went on an extra safari today (one that isn't part of the itinerary), seeing as it was the last day before flying home, decided to make the most of my time in Kenya. This was a longer safari, we left late morning just after the early morning safari and back early afternoon, back for the afternoon/late evening one.
Which meant we could travel further, first a group of vultures, which contained a Lappet Faced Vulture, after much searching we (the guide) found a large pack of lions all asleep under a large tree and obscured by long grass, occasionally a pair of eyes would peer out.
Further up I could make out a Raptor in a tree, which turned out to be a Verreaux's Eagle Owl and a bit later 3 Lions walking down the track towards us.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Another day, another safari in the Masai Mara, a Lioness out hunting, a Hippo wallowing in a river (Hippo's could be heard from our accommodation at night) a Hooded Vulture and a bit of drama unfolded when at first lots of Vulture's where feeding on a carcass, when a Hyena appeared in the distance, the Hyena got closer and closer, then promptly came straight in and walked off with the meal.

Kenya Safari 20th - 29th June. Masai Mara

The last Safari destination was the famous Masai Mara. The terrain was much more open, with scattered bushes, good for big cats (and vultures). Slightly strange looking Secretary birds could be found here too.

Kenya Safari 20th - 29th June. Lake Nakuru National Park.

One of the things Lake Nakuru is most famous for, is it's Flamingos, a large White Rhino broke into a quick jog next to the lake and as we turned the corner in the Safari Mini Bus in the woodland, we came across a family of Baboons, some of which were happy to pose!

Kenya Safari 20th - 29th June. Tree Tops and Lake Nakaru.

The next stop on the safari was the famous Tree Tops tree lodge, like a giant hide on stilts, with accommodation cabins, bar and restaurant. Tree Tops overlooks a water hole, with many observation places, the Elephant photo was obtained by sticking my camera through a hole in the basement hide. After Tree Tops it was on to the Lake Nakuru National Park, if I'm honest, if I had one target it would be African Fish Eagle, I was lucky that almost as soon as we entered the park, one was sat conveniently in a tree. I needed help ID'ing the other raptor which is an Augur Buzzard, the park is also famous for White Rhino's.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Kenya Safari 20th - 29th June. Samburu Nature Reserve

Another amazing safari, this one was in the afternoon, the big cats still hiding in the undergrowth, although the lion cub did pop out into the open. But Birds of Prey were quite obvious. Right at the beginning of the safari a Tawny Eagle was sat on a perch in the open and right at the end of the safari I noticed a Raptor in a bush, which turned out to be a Martial Eagle.

Kenya Safari 20th - 29th June. Samburu Nature Reserve

A selection of pictures from the early morning safari in Samburu, on the holiday, Samburu held the most variety of animals, the landscape was mountainous with scattered trees and bushes, which made it harder to spot big cats, more places to hide.

Kenya Safari 20th - 29th June. Samburu Nature Reserve

I approached this trip differently to other trips, usually I would have target species to photograph and would do a lot of research before we left, on this trip I decided to go with the flow and leave it all to chance, although I did mention to John our driver and guide that as well as the mammals, I liked Birds of Prey and if he wouldn't mind being on the lookout just in case! Apart from the Eagle, all the pictures were taken on the first afternoon's safari.
The next day was lucky for me on the very early morning safari I got lucky and I was met with a new phenomenon perched Raptors in Kenya are not quick to take flight, they almost pose! The Safari minibus parked right below a tall bush and sat in it was a Brown Snake Eagle, unfortunately the sun was right behind it though!

Kenya Safari 20th - 29th June. Samburu Nature Reserve

I was a little bit apprehensive going to Kenya, I have a big obsession for Raptors and was aware we would share a minibus for over a week with people we had never met before, it was unlikely they would share my obsession! I imagined at the start it would be OK to stop and photograph every bird of prey we saw (whilst everyone else would be primarily focused on seeing Africa's big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo) and by the end of the week, it would be "Here comes Eagle boy again"! A friend joked that if was like the TV programme "Coach Trip", I would be voted off first. But I was told by another Nature enthusiast that if you get chance to go to Africa you should go.
The first destination on the safari was Samburu nature reserve north of the capital Nairobi. The monkey above was photographed in the lodge compound, in fact we were told not to leave our front doors open, the rest of the pictures from our first safari, the afternoon we arrived at the reserve, it was amazing to see these animals in the wild for the first time.