Sunday, December 12, 2010
This young female which we dont see often was lying up on a mound in the more remote northern area of the reserve as the sun popped down. She isn't very used to vehicles but was remarkably relaxed in the gloomy light and gave us a great view before she moved off.
A little spotlight illuminated her and kept the scene looking very natural.
A beanbag was essential as I wanted to shoot on ISO 400 so there was no grain. A low colour temperature is important to keep the light looking natural when spotlight is used.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
They were firmly put in their place by a confident show of horns by the males and decided to head off and find something smaller to hunt!
Monday, December 6, 2010
Hlaba Nkunzi's cubs are now 11 months old and on a drizzling overcast morning were more active, stalking each other and practicing their hunting skills.
I like this tail up shot which captures the perfect balance as she launches her attack.
Heavily overcast conditions are difficult and I had to shoot on ISO 1000 to achieve a fast enough shutter speed of 1/800 sec to freeze most of the action and still show movement with the blurred left paw.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
This is the young Xinzele male who has a territory along the Sand River.
These images were taken just after a fight with a young male encroaching on his territory, the expression on his face sums up his sombre mood.
The low angle created the shot in late afternoon light as he briefly rested on a mound contemplating his predicament before disappearing into the river.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The playfulness of youth kicked in and she stalked them without success, she was never really going to catch one out in the open, it was good practice though!
The light was very harsh but I managed to get a high enough shutter speed at full 400mm focal length to at least keep her sharp enough as she charged.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
One of the cubs was clearly bored up there for so long and was very curious towards us gazing up from underneath, providing some great photo opportunities.
The day was overcast and the light very harsh so my 580 EX II flash was used to full effect in brightening up the cubs face and adding detail to the expressions. What was also nice was that the tree they chose was dead so no leaf and branch clutter in the images!
Monday, October 25, 2010
A backdrop of recently burnt grass, a few green shoots and some winter brown combined with the painted coat and some late afternoon light. This created a wonderful composition for this one.
The glowing orange eyes and cocked ears in this image capture the essence of my favourite animal to spend time with in Africa!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
This all unfolded in front of the camp after the males had been seriously tracking a buffalo herd. A female lion turned up and suddenly the buffalo were gone and all attention was focused on the female in oestrus! Brothers hunting together quickly turned into brothers fighting over the female.
Everything happened so fast as these things tend to do but I managed to get a high enough shutter speed to freeze the action. None of the males were clearly dominant and the fight ended abruptly with both licking their wounds.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
What happened was that the mother (Hlaba Nkunzi) managed to subdue the young Bushbuck and left it for her cubs to practice their hunting skills with.
An emotional sight for some but what a priveledge to watch the young cubs development. In this image is the young female cub who dominated the male cub and didn't let him very close to "her catch".
Sunday, September 26, 2010
This was one of the final images I took of the last surviving youngster a few weeks ago... a tired face that captures the story. He was briefly resting on a termite mound as his mother frantically traversed her whole territory trying to avoid the rampant male who would not rest until all the cubs were out of the way. A valiant effort by the lioness but he got his wish and all the females are now back in oestrus or pregnant!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
This female Leopard is called Hlabankunzi, (Shangaan word for Torchwood tree and an area she frequents alot). She has successfully raised her first litter of 2 cubs to over 7 months already, a remarkable effort for a first time mother. She is seen frequently around the lodge area which is at the core of her territory. Some pics of her hunting and resting in the dappled light with one of her cubs after a meal.
This territorial male is called Tegwaan (Shangaan for Grey Heron and an area he frequents alot) and is the father of the cubs. He is seen much less often as he roams a huge territory and is always on the move as in this pic when he was marking an calling.
Monday, September 6, 2010
This is a big male, you can see the big occipital flaps on the back of the neck.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
This female Leopard made another Impala killl the other day and her 17 month old sub adult cub was there again to share the spoils. Mom's growls and snarls are getting more intese every time, she is losing patience with her offspring, time to catch your own food!
Monday, August 16, 2010
After 5 minutes of snarling at each other they suddenly broke away and ran in opposite directions.
When the dog family mate, the male's penis base (Bulbus glandis) swells during intromission. The female vulval entrance also swells, effectively locking the animals together.
The male will cock a leg over the female's back and they stand back to back until swelling subsides (usually 1 to 2 minutes). We witnessed this for at least 5 minutes, so these 2 were locked for an unusually long time.
This apparently ensures that sperm is transferred effectively in a single mating session! The animals stand back to back to look for danger while they are in this vulnerable position.
Friday, August 6, 2010
This Sub Antarctic Skua was following our boat hoping for some fish while the Indian Yellow Nosed Albatross made an appearance right at the end of the boat trip and took a rest right next to us!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
This female Leopard and her 15 month old female cub have provided us with some fascinating interaction around the mother's kills lately. The cub or should I say sub-adult is nearing the time when she must move off and find a territory of her own.
It is not so easy sharing mom's kills anymore!
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Below are some portrait shots of some large but rather rare Southern African specials .
I was lucky enough to see a Slaty Egret on a recent trip to Moremi, Botswana and working in the lowveld provides the occasional opportunity to view Ground Hornbills and Saddle Billed Storks in one of their last habitat strongholds.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
There have been remarkable sightings of the young guns in the Western Sabi Sands lately.
This relaxed and very confident young male Leopard is 1 of 2 cubs belonging to our resident female while these young Wild Dog pups are part of a litter of 7 that have a den in our area for the first time in many years. (These pups have endless energy and are proving very tough to photograph!)
Monday, July 12, 2010
Winter in the bushveld provides wonderful backlight opportunities in the early mornings and evenings, a Side Striped Jackal and Zebra make great subjects.
My personal favourite is this Verraux's Eagle Owl raising his feather crest and catching the last warming rays of the evening.
Lions have many different faces and are always a pleasure to watch.
One of the Mapogo coalition quenches a mighty thirst after a vicious Buffalo feeding frenzy with 2 of his brothers in the Sand river one cold morning. While just further south the next generation is gently nurtured...