Frustration and Birds

Today was a bit of a frustrating day. I could not find anything exciting “in the mammal department” on both game drives. And when good sightings were called in on the radio they were too far away to reach in time before the end of the drives. Well, every occupation must have his frustration from time to time.

A bit of a compensation (at least for me 🙂 were two very nice bird bird sightings:

A Brown-hooded Kingfisher and a Cardinal Woodpecker.

Sniff!

My favorite picture from today’s game drive is of one of the younger Elephant bulls sniffing the back of Anton’s game viewer. Priceless looks on the faces of some of the volunteers 🙂

Outtakes

When I was selecting, sorting and filing the images I took since I arrived at Thanda I came across a few pictures I liked very much, but which did not make it onto my blog at the time. So here are four of these “outtakes”.

The first is of a small bird trying to reach the pollen on a Mountain Aloe. It is a Long-billed Crombec.

The second is of a small Vervet Monkey sunning itself in a tree.

The third is of two juvenile Lions of the Thanda North Pride “staking” a Warthog across a waterhole (for the Warthog lovers among you: the Warthog was never in danger from these two 🙂

The fourth picture is of a bunch of Red-billed Oxpeckers riding on the back of a Buffalo. The Buffalos, like most large mammals, love the Oxpeckers because they eat the Ticks of their back.

I hope you enjoy this set of “outtakes”!

Close Encounter

Today’s morning game drive started very slow. It had been a cold night with high winds and most animals had withdrawn into thick bush.

I tried to find Elephants but the only animals I found after 1.5 hours search were a group of Giraffe. But while we were watching them a young Elephant bull walked in on us. After showing his annoyance with a few head-shakes he moved off into the forest and moved away.

For our way home to Intebane camp I had chosen a route over a hill. When we came over the ridge the six Thanda South Pride Lions walk straight towards our game viewer. I stopped the car and told everyone to sit still. The Lions passed within a few feet of our car. Very exciting for the volunteers!

 

We followed them for a while and I got the beautiful shot of the young south pride male.

 

I love Lions!

Accidental Game Drive

On Sunday afternoon I was driving to the Bayete Camp on Phinda Private Game Reserve and I took a wrong turn on the way.

It was rather a lucky turn, because after a few hundred meters (or yards) I spotted a Black Rhino that developed some interest in my car. I got a few pictures before I turned around from my “accidental game drive” and got onto the right way to the camp.

My friends from Panthera (www.panthera.org) and Phinda (www.phinda.com) took me on a proper game drive in the evening. On that drive I took this picture with the funny Cheetah pose.

Reflection

Today’s picture was actually taken two days ago. I like the reflection in the ripples of the water.

I was not driving today (Office work and cleaning my Land Rover!). Tonight I will be meeting some of my friends from Panthera on Phinda Private Game Reserve 🙂

Have a good week!

One more image!

A few people have asked me: Why/how did the Zebra get away.

The answer: With a good kick – as you can see in this picture 🙂

This shot is a bit out of focus, but I thought it is worth posting it to illustrate the strength of a Zebra.

Have a good weekend!

A Lucky Friday, the 13th!

What a day!

At the end of our morning game drive we encountered a Lioness stalking a group of Zebra and Wildebeest.

I positioned the vehicle to the left of the lioness half-way between her and her prey. She singled out the Zebra that had gotten very close to her. The Zebra saw her just before she was able to start her run.

She almost got the Zebra, but in the end she had to give up and the Zebra got away.

Have a look at her face – Pure Focus!

And on the way home a few lions were very close to the road in the high grass. When we drove by (without knowing that they were there) they gave the car a short chase. This was very exciting for my passengers 🙂

For the Zebra it was a lucky Friday, the 13th, and it was for us seeing this scene!

Cold and Bliss

The morning game drive was very quiet. The cold morning air combined with wind had driven most animals into thick bush. But we had an early morning sighting of this juvenile Bateleur (Eagle). His puffed up feathers suggest that he was a bit cold!

He is at the stage where his plumage turns from the brownish colors of the juvenile bird to the black, brown and white design of the the adult. The morning drive ended with a Cheetah sighting on the savanna.

In the afternoon we saw a herd of Buffalo, White Rhinos and an Elephant Bull. This young Rhino bull was part of a crash of seven animals. I enjoyed his facial expression and his groans when he gave himself a good scratch – Pure Bliss.

A working day in the bush!

How does the average working day of a Special Photography Guide, Photography Teacher and Wildlife Photographer at Thanda Private Game Reserve look like?

My (winter-)day starts at 5:00am. I prepare my Land Rover for the day and I leave Thanda House at 5:45am to drive to the Intebane Camp to pick up the African Impact Volunteers. The drive to the camp takes about 25 minutes. In the cool winter month I am fully awake by the time I arrive at the camp (as the car has neither roof nor windows – a chilly affair).

At 6:30am we leave for game drive and return at 9:30am back to the camp for breakfast. After a few pieces of toast I usually drive back to Thanda House. Until lunch time I work in my office on the computer (picture and video editing, email, …). Sometimes I give lessons for guests either at the Thanda Lodge or the Thanda Tented Camp or sometimes I bring my Land Rover to the workshop.

For lunch I go either to the canteen (a 10 minute drive if there are no “Elephant road blocks”) or I have something small at my place at Thanda House.

In the afternoon I either continue my work in the office or I go out to drive on the reserve to take pictures by myself (and am still learning the road system :-). At 3:00pm I have to be back at the Intebane Camp for the evening game drive. We return at 6:00pm just in time for dinner. From time to time I drive to the local pub (called “Baobab”) or to the Mukze Cricket Club for a good steak 🙂

After dinner I return to Thanda House and usually end up back in my office for picture editing and blogging (like for this one :-). After a quick shower I am usually in bed by 9:30pm.

In the summer month the schedule will change a lot as we go out earlier on drive and return later. I probably will have to add a “lunch siesta in the bush” not to end up with sleep depravation.

On the weekends I either drive myself on the reserve for wildlife photography or I go to one of the neighboring Public Game Reserves to take pictures and videos. Occasionally I help out on weekends as guide at the Lodge or at the Tented Camp and teach photography if requested.

If love photogaphy, I love teaching and I love the wildlife in its natural environment. I am home 🙂 and I love my work!

PS: I thought I add one of my favorite Zebra pictures to the blog message for the animal lovers that are not interested in my working day 🙂