Rangers and trackers were fortunate this week to have the team from Nikon conducting a photographic workshop at Londolozi.
Obviously on a photographic course one wants things to photograph, and we have been fortunate to view leopards in Jackalberry trees, large elephant herds in the Sand River and the Tamboti Young female dragging her minutes-old kill across a clearing.
Many new techniques were presented while old ones were discussed and refined. Look out for a blog on the course coming in the next week or two.
For now, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Nine hyenas were in and around Serengeti Pan on this day. Hot conditions persist, and this clan took full advantage of one of the remaining water sources to stay cool, although there were a few individuals who tried to dominate the proceedings.
Some of the clan were not too interested in the goings on…
We spent quite a while with this juvenile malachite kingfisher (differentiated from the adult by having a black, not red, bill), and this photo with a hippo in the background was probably the only half decent shot I managed to capture, highlighting how little and large can share the same water resources.
Tracking a bird which is basically a tiny azure missile is not the easiest task, and I was frustrated pretty quickly. This is the only usable shot I managed to capture of the bird after one of his fishing attempts.
The five-year old Tsalala lioness watches some vultures circling above the Manyelethi riverbed. The Manyelethi offers some amazing photographic opportunities, as its large sandbanks allow for low-angle-photography by parking one tier down from whatever animal you are attempting to take a photo of.
If you have no defense…hide! The crowned lapwing nests on the ground, and as such needs to protect its eggs in some way. It does this by laying eggs with wonderfully camouflaged shells.
On the subject of camouflage, this moth perched on a knobthorn tree outside the ranger’s room illustrates the value of being able to blend in. Many predators would not detect it as long as it remained motionless.
The older tailed Tsalala lioness peers out from between a boulder cluster in the Manyelethi riverbed.
The local kudu population has been taking a hammering of late. Very young calves are usually concealed in long grass and thickets by their mothers, but the dry conditions mean that very little ground cover is available for concealment. The Mashaba female has been taking full advantage of this, as evidenced by this kill, her second kudu calf kill in five days. This photo shows her cub looking longingly in the Mashaba female’s direction, as it was struggling to open the kill itself. Eventually it dropped the carcass from the tree – whether by accident or design we will never know – which forced the Mashaba female to approach and feed a bit, allowing the cub to feed more easily thereafter.
Another kudu calf fatality came at the hands of the Tamboti Young female, seen here dragging her kill past a vehicle of rangers and trackers on the photographic workshop (trackers Shadrack Mkhabela and Mike Sithole on the back seat). The mother kudu is looking on from the background.
A final look before moving away for good. The female kudu watches forlornly as the leopard places the carcass of the calf in a thicket, and the harsh reality of life in the bush sinks in.
This leopard tortoise was drinking deeply from this ephemeral puddle, but after we had photographed it we noticed it had difficulty extricating itself from the mud, so we gave it a helping hand up onto dry land.
Beautiful colours but harsh textures. A metaphor for the African wilderness as the thorns of a Buffalo thorn tree are silhouetted against the rising sun.
Ranger Garret Fitzpatrick works out his settings whilst participating in the Nikon photographic workshop. Ironically he is shooting with a Canon camera.
A tiny elephant calf (part of its umbilical cord was still attached) stumbles around in the dust kicked up by its mother. The dense wrinkles on top of its head show that it is barely a few days old.