Everything not cats, dogs or elephants.. Chobe River

Besides the obvious draw of elephants on the Chobe, there was still plenty more to watch.  Always lots and lots of hippos!DPP_17184DPP_17185DPP_17190DPP_17191DPP_17192DPP_17193DPP_17194DPP_17196DPP_17198DPP_17200DPP_16946DPP_16949

A little late afternoon light on the river…

DPP_16966DPP_16967DPP_16968DPP_16970

Here he comes…. really not as close as he appears.

DPP_17203DPP_17204DPP_17205DPP_17206DPP_17208DPP_17209

This is probably my favorite.  I can even see the color of his eyes.

DPP_17210

This is a sable antelope.  I have seen them in the distance before and very rarely.  But here was this guy just coming over the bank as we moved down the river.  Obviously, we stopped!  It was hard for me to get decent exposure because the animal is very dark and it was quite bright out.

DPP_16872DPP_16873DPP_16875DPP_16876DPP_16878DPP_16879DPP_16880DPP_16882DPP_16883DPP_16884DPP_16886DPP_16889DPP_16890DPP_16891DPP_16892DPP_16893DPP_16894DPP_16895DPP_16896DPP_16897DPP_16898DPP_16899DPP_16900DPP_16901DPP_16902

a couple of impala..

DPP_16950DPP_16951

I love photographing buffalo.  They are often overlooked by people since they don’t have the beauty of so many others.

DPP_16964DPP_16965

We were quite close to the bank where these crocodile was laying.  Since I couldn’t get a good shot of the head because of our proximity and my spot on the boat, I thought it would be interesting to show jus the tail.  It reminds me just how prehistoric they are.

DPP_16952DPP_16953

Tell tale sign of a recent meal..

DPP_16954DPP_16955

DPP_17089DPP_17090DPP_17091DPP_17094

This is a different croc.. I was quite surprised by how different they were in color.  Some where quite dark while others were much lighter like this one.

DPP_17101DPP_17102DPP_17103

Although hippos don’t usually spend time grazing during daylight, there are always a few to be seen here and there.

DPP_17133DPP_17134DPP_17135DPP_17138DPP_17139

Catching those big yawns, which are for display usually, is always something fun to do.

DPP_17276DPP_17278DPP_17281DPP_17307DPP_17308DPP_17309DPP_17310DPP_17311DPP_17312DPP_17313

This was hilarious!  This was the hippo that seemed annoyed by the grey heron on the back of another.  Suddenly it rolled over waving its feet in the air.  I have never seen that before and I really don’t know what was going on.  Perhaps a good back rub on the bottom of the river bed?

DPP_17317DPP_17319DPP_17320DPP_17321DPP_17322

A few more crocs resting in the heat of the day.

DPP_17329DPP_17330DPP_17331DPP_17332DPP_17333DPP_17524DPP_17525

More hippos, adults and youngsters..

DPP_17527DPP_17528

Young one trying to be impressive.  Kind of hard to do when you don’t have your big imposing teeth yet.

DPP_17529DPP_17530DPP_17534DPP_17535DPP_17537DPP_17538DPP_17539DPP_17540DPP_17541DPP_17542DPP_17543DPP_17586DPP_17587DPP_17588DPP_17589

Some minor altercation but it was impossible to see what was going on with all the splashing.

DPP_17676DPP_17672DPP_17673DPP_17675DPP_17677DPP_17682DPP_17683DPP_17685DPP_17686

There was a bit of wildlife that frequented the grounds of the hotel where we were staying while boating on the Chobe.  These are banded mongoose.

DPP_17688DPP_17689DPP_17690

More hippos..

DPP_17753DPP_17754

This fellow was pretty much alone so I guess the display was for our benefit.  This one was really getting into it.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one come so far out of the water during a display.

DPP_17755DPP_17756DPP_17757DPP_17759DPP_17760DPP_17761DPP_17762

DPP_17763DPP_17764DPP_17765DPP_17766DPP_17767DPP_17768DPP_17770

Such a unique shaped jaws!!  Vegetarian or not, I wouldn’t want to get caught in those jaws.  Compared to other animals in the water that pose a threat to humans, the fast majority of deaths are due to hippos.

DPP_17771DPP_17772DPP_17773DPP_17774DPP_17775DPP_17776DPP_17779

And that’s pretty much it.  Actually, it is it.  The last post I’ll be doing on Africa for quite some time.

everything not cats, dogs, birds and elephants (still with Grant)

There are still plenty of photos I like or remind me of some special interactions.  So I am putting them all here.

red lechwe

DPP_15595DPP_15596DPP_15598

such a handsome boy..

DPP_15623DPP_15624DPP_15625DPP_15629DPP_15632

DPP_15604DPP_15607

kudu.. they are so graceful and those horns make them seem so elegant

DPP_15722DPP_15726

a tangle of horns..

DPP_15730DPP_15733DPP_15734DPP_15735DPP_15739DPP_15740DPP_15742DPP_15743DPP_15746DPP_15748DPP_15750

a little landscape… it is a water world and yet water levels are significantly lower than normal.

DPP_16098DPP_16099DPP_16102DPP_16103

DPP_16130DPP_16131

female waterbuck

DPP_16119

a ridiculous number of photos from the helicopter

DPP_16142

At least in Botswana, the elephants are relatively safe from poachers.  It is wonderful to see so many everywhere you look.

DPP_16143DPP_16146DPP_16147DPP_16148DPP_16149DPP_16150DPP_16151DPP_16152DPP_16153

not too happy with the helicopter

DPP_16155DPP_16156DPP_16157DPP_16162DPP_16166DPP_16167DPP_16168

our camp

DPP_16169DPP_16170DPP_16171DPP_16172DPP_16173DPP_16176DPP_16177

DPP_16179DPP_16175DPP_16181DPP_16184DPP_16185DPP_16187

you can see the helicopter’s shadow!

DPP_16190DPP_16191DPP_16208DPP_16209DPP_16210

Even the big boys like to play in the water.

DPP_16214DPP_16215DPP_16217DPP_16218DPP_16220DPP_16223DPP_16224DPP_16225DPP_16226DPP_16232DPP_16234DPP_16235DPP_16236DPP_16239DPP_16242DPP_16243DPP_16244DPP_16248DPP_16249DPP_16256DPP_16257DPP_16260

DPP_16380DPP_16382DPP_16381

Many people find such situations upsetting but it is a necessary part of the cycle.  These hyena were quite skittish, as if they were expecting other predators to challenge them at any moment.

When an elephant is found dead, the wildlife service is contacted and the tusks removed for obvious reasons.  The carcass is left for predators and scavengers to complete the cycle of life.

DPP_16805DPP_16807DPP_16810DPP_16824DPP_16826DPP_16831DPP_16832DPP_16836DPP_16843DPP_16847

It’s always a surprise to find these guys.  I was quite happy to see this honey badger and also on my previous trip.  We hoped s/he would come closer to the carcass but after sniffing around for a bit, s/he disappeared as quickly as s/he appeared.

DPP_16496DPP_16497DPP_16499DPP_16500

I missed this little owl when I was doing the birds so it’s going here.  It’s a pearl spotted owlet.  I’ve seen quite a few but I think these are the best photos I’ve been able to get so far.

DPP_16110

It really is very tiny.  I am always amazed every time the guides spot one.

DPP_16111DPP_16112DPP_16115DPP_16116DPP_16117

Since there is as much abundant wildlife around the Chobe, I’ll do another post. 

Elephants and the Chobe River.. with Grant Atkinson

There is always so much happening on and around the Chobe River.  And all three days we were there, were spent on a boat.

Calves and adults seen to enjoy the water equally.

DPP_17016DPP_17018DPP_17026

DPP_17027DPP_17034DPP_17031DPP_17033

Stirring of the water and grass for those tasty clumps of grass.

DPP_17035DPP_17037

DPP_17039

DPP_17095

DPP_17096

DPP_17098DPP_17100

Love the big bulls… so stately and calm.

DPP_17045

DPP_17046

DPP_17047

DPP_17048DPP_17052DPP_17053

DPP_17104

We’re in the boat looking up at this beautiful bull.

DPP_17106

DPP_17107

DPP_17108

DPP_17109DPP_17110DPP_17111DPP_17112DPP_17114

DPP_17116

DPP_17117DPP_17120DPP_17121

Although it doesn’t appear as dramatic here, it was pretty cool to watch these elephants emerging from the dust swirling beyond the river bank.

DPP_17157

DPP_17159

DPP_17161

DPP_17162

DPP_17164

DPP_17165

They came down for a drink and then returned up the river bank and disappeared.

DPP_17166DPP_17168

DPP_17172

DPP_17173

DPP_17174

DPP_17175

DPP_17176

DPP_17177

DPP_17178

DPP_17179

More elephants that were close enough to focus on their faces.

DPP_17214DPP_17215

DPP_17216

DPP_17217

DPP_17218

DPP_17219DPP_17220DPP_17221DPP_17222DPP_17236

DPP_17237

DPP_17240

DPP_17241

DPP_17243

DPP_17244

DPP_17245DPP_17247

Hippos, elephants, grey heron, and maribou storks.

DPP_17304

DPP_17305

The elephants that are on the islands in the river, cross the river in the late afternoon.  They look amazing with their dark wet skin and the sunlight glistening off their bodies.

DPP_17336

DPP_17337

DPP_17341

DPP_17344

DPP_17345

DPP_17346

DPP_17348DPP_17350DPP_17351

Grant suggested that a good time to see their eyes was after they emerged from water.  It washes away the dirt and dust in their long eyelashes (which protects their eyes).

DPP_17354

DPP_17355

We’re getting the once over as he emerged from the water.

DPP_17356

DPP_17358

DPP_17359

DPP_17360

DPP_17362

DPP_17364

DPP_17352

I think these are my favorite.

DPP_17365

DPP_17367

DPP_17368

DPP_17376

DPP_17377

DPP_17379

DPP_17381

DPP_17382

DPP_17383

DPP_17384

DPP_17385

DPP_17387DPP_17388DPP_17389

DPP_17390

DPP_17391

DPP_17392

DPP_17403

DPP_17405

DPP_17406DPP_17407DPP_17408

DPP_17410

DPP_17412

DPP_17414DPP_17415

DPP_17421

Love how crazy their ears get when they shake their heads.

DPP_17423

DPP_17424

DPP_17426DPP_17427

DPP_17428

DPP_17429

I like the extremes in perspectives… an elephant within an elephant.

DPP_17430DPP_17433DPP_17434DPP_17435DPP_17436

DPP_17439DPP_17440

DPP_17441

DPP_17442

DPP_17443

DPP_17444

DPP_17446DPP_17451DPP_17452

Another family coming for a drink.

DPP_17718

DPP_17720

DPP_17721

DPP_17723

DPP_17724

DPP_17725

DPP_17726

DPP_17727

DPP_17728

DPP_17729

DPP_17730

DPP_17731

DPP_17732

DPP_17733

DPP_17734

DPP_17735

DPP_17746

DPP_17747

DPP_17748DPP_17750

More elephants crossing for the night.

DPP_17785

DPP_17786

The boats are really not as close as it appears.  They don’t seem to mind anyway.

DPP_17787DPP_17788DPP_17789DPP_17790DPP_17791DPP_17792

And another group crossing the river.

DPP_17796DPP_17797DPP_17798DPP_17799DPP_17800DPP_17801DPP_17802DPP_17803DPP_17804DPP_17805DPP_17806DPP_17809

Love all snorkels up!

DPP_17811DPP_17812DPP_17813DPP_17814DPP_17815DPP_17816DPP_17818DPP_17819DPP_17820DPP_17821DPP_17822DPP_17823DPP_17824DPP_17826DPP_17827DPP_17828DPP_17829DPP_17830DPP_17831DPP_17832

And that’s the end of elephants!

Botswana elephants 2015

Still got plenty of photos from my safari with Grant Atkinson.  I don’t know how I’m going to choose elephants since I have so many photos of them.

This was the very first evening.  Nice way to start.

DPP_15531

DPP_15532

DPP_15535DPP_15536

Love it when these big guys step into the road and block your way.  It’s only a reminder who’s really in charge.

DPP_15603

First morning we spent quite a long time sitting with this guy and a few birds.  It’s such an incredible feeling of peace and relaxation.  Perfect way to start a day.

DPP_15690

DPP_15691

DPP_15693

DPP_15694

DPP_15696

DPP_15699

DPP_15700

DPP_15704

DPP_15705

DPP_15707

DPP_15710

DPP_15713

DPP_15715

DPP_15717

DPP_15718

DPP_15719

DPP_15720

Some youngsters of a herd becoming more and more curious about their visitors.

DPP_16302

DPP_16305

DPP_16306

DPP_16307

DPP_16309

DPP_16312

DPP_16314

DPP_16315DPP_16316DPP_16318

There were so many herds on the banks of the water.

DPP_16393

DPP_16395

DPP_16397

DPP_16400

DPP_16403

DPP_16404

DPP_16406

DPP_16411

DPP_16412

DPP_16413

DPP_16415

DPP_16418

DPP_16422

DPP_16423

DPP_16424

DPP_16426

DPP_16431

DPP_16433

DPP_16434

DPP_16435

a couple of young boys ‘practicing’ being big boys..

DPP_16439

a little reminder regarding who’s in charge.

DPP_16440DPP_16441

Elephants truly love water.  They are comfortable swimming and playing in the water.

DPP_16442

DPP_16443

DPP_16444

DPP_16446

DPP_16447

DPP_16448

DPP_16449

DPP_16452

DPP_16456

Towards the end of the afternoon, the elephants leave the plains, climb the banks and disappear into the woodlands.

DPP_16460

DPP_16461

DPP_16464

DPP_16467

DPP_16468

DPP_16473

DPP_16476

DPP_16478

Did I mention that elephants love to play with water??

DPP_16507

DPP_16509

DPP_16510

DPP_16513

DPP_16514

DPP_16523

DPP_16527

DPP_16529

DPP_16530

DPP_16533

DPP_16534

DPP_16536

There are four calves in this herd, all about the same age.  The youngsters are hard to resist..  feels like I have a million photos of calves.

DPP_16537

DPP_16539

DPP_16540

DPP_16541

DPP_16543

DPP_16544

DPP_16545

DPP_16546

DPP_16547

DPP_16548

DPP_16550

DPP_16552DPP_16695DPP_16697

DPP_16699

DPP_16701

DPP_16702

DPP_16704

DPP_16705

DPP_16706

DPP_16708

DPP_16709

DPP_16710

DPP_16711

DPP_16712

DPP_16713

DPP_16714DPP_16716DPP_16863DPP_16864

DPP_16866

DPP_16867

DPP_16868DPP_16869

In the interest of people’s time, I going to do the elephants on the Chobe River separately.  There’s plenty here and so many more on the Chobe.

More Botswana with Grant Atkinson

There are several reasons I wanted to do a photo safari.  I knew that we would be spending as much time as we wanted with each sighting and that I could learn from Grant since his explanations for questions I’ve had over the last couple of years are always in a way that I actually can understand.  What I experienced was better than I ever expected.  I was probably the least experienced person on this trip but I managed.  This post will be just birds.

BIRDS

I know most people don’t appreciate vultures very much nor do they find them pleasant to look at.  Vultures do play a critical role in keeping the ecosystems in balance and while not considered critically endangered (although a few species are), they are rapidly declining at alarming rates due to habitat reduction and sadly, rampant poisoning.  I actually love vultures… I wonder what that says about me!   This is a hooded vulture.  They are quite small compared to many of the others and I was surprised to find that in the days we visited this elephant carcass (died of natural causes) they were the only species that was there.  Usually there are several species of vultures at a carcass, including the enormous lappet faced vulture who is often necessary to open a carcass if they are feeding on an animal that has not been previously fed on by other animals.

DPP_16482

DPP_16485DPP_16488

DPP_16486

DPP_16492

DPP_16493

DPP_16495

DPP_16816

DPP_16856

DPP_16857

DPP_16859

DPP_16861

DPP_16862

This is a verreaux’s eagle owl.  They are extremely large for an owl and probably rival that of our great horned owl.  Maybe bigger.  These are not very good photos but I almost never have seen the bigger owls during the day, much less flying.

DPP_14404

DPP_14405

DPP_14406

DPP_14407DPP_14408

The bird I was so excited to see, southern carmine bee eater.  They are so beautiful and it’s fascinating to watch bee eaters ‘hunt’ for insects.

DPP_16328

DPP_14412

 

DPP_16325DPP_14413DPP_14414

DPP_14415

DPP_14416

DPP_14417

DPP_14418

DPP_14419

DPP_14420

DPP_16332DPP_14421

White fronted bee eater.. these are common.  I’ve seen these just about every where I’ve been in Africa.

DPP_14426

DPP_14427

DPP_14430

DPP_14431

DPP_14433

DPP_14434

DPP_14435DPP_14436

A tawny eagle.. their color varies considerably and this one was quite pale in comparison.  They are easily seen pretty much every where that I’ve been.

DPP_14422

DPP_14423

DPP_14424

DPP_16384

DPP_16389

 

Red billed hornbills.  Although many of the hornbills have similar bodies, their beaks vary widely in color and shape.

DPP_14428DPP_14429

The beautiful and graceful goliath heron.  And they are goliath!

DPP_14437

But not always so graceful….

DPP_14438

DPP_14439

DPP_14451

DPP_14452

DPP_14453DPP_14454

African fish eagle.  I pretty much see them every where.  But I’ve never seen one actually fishing.

DPP_14444

DPP_14445

DPP_14446

DPP_14447

DPP_14448

Nice rotting carcass, probably a catfish.

DPP_14449

These are african skimmers.  If you look carefully you can see that the bottom half of the beak is longer than the top.  They literally skim across the water and that beak is so sensitive they know immediately where the fish is.

DPP_14455

DPP_17142

DPP_17143

DPP_17144

DPP_17146

DPP_17147

DPP_17148

DPP_17154DPP_17155

DPP_14457DPP_14458

This is what they do when ‘fishing’.  This one is grabbing a drink.

DPP_14456

Ground hornbill.  I love this bird.  It’s big and walks quite proudly.  I wish these were closer so you could see their lovely long black eyelashes.  They have a booming call that I have only heard once.. on my very first trip to Africa.  You wouldn’t recognize it as a bird’s call if you didn’t have someone to tell you!

DPP_15585DPP_15587

A juvenile with this adult.

DPP_15590DPP_15591DPP_15593

Little bee eater.  Many of them look quite similar and this guy, though colored much the same as others is a bit smaller.

DPP_16266DPP_16269

DPP_16271

DPP_16275DPP_16278

The beautiful, graceful wattled crane.  They have red eyes which are hard to see in their red face unless you are close.

DPP_16106

DPP_16107DPP_16108

African hoopoe… a beautiful bird.  I have yet to manage a decent photo.

DPP_16279

I’m pretty sure this is a brown snake eagle.

DPP_16320

DPP_16322

DPP_16323

white faced or whistling ducks

DPP_16358

DPP_16359

A tawny eagle having a meal.

DPP_16997

DPP_16998

African darter.  pretty much the same as the anhinga.

DPP_17001

DPP_17002

DPP_17003

DPP_17005

DPP_17006

DPP_17009

DPP_17011

DPP_17012DPP_17015

can’t resist this bird!

DPP_17701

DPP_17702

DPP_17703

DPP_17711

DPP_17712

DPP_17713

DPP_17715DPP_17716

White stork.  We visited a nesting site for the white stork and cormorants.  We arrived before dawn and watched them wake up.  Spectacular!

DPP_16956

DPP_16959DPP_16960DPP_16961DPP_16962

Great white egret

DPP_17030

grey heron.. very much like our great blue heron

DPP_17229

another tawny eagle.. this one is darker.

DPP_17231

DPP_17232

DPP_17250

DPP_17251

DPP_17253

DPP_17254

african spoonbill

DPP_17257

DPP_17259

DPP_17261

DPP_17262

DPP_17263

DPP_17264

DPP_17267

While this heron and the hippo seem to quite content, another hippo arrived and seemed quite annoyed with the bird on the back of this hippo.  Eventually, the bird left the back of this hippo and landed on the back of the other without further issues on the part of the intruder.

DPP_17268

DPP_17287

DPP_17289

DPP_17298

DPP_17301DPP_17303DPP_17323DPP_17328

This is the malachite kingfisher.  It is quite small and it took us several tries to get fairly close without it flying away.  As it was, this isn’t very close.

DPP_17561

DPP_17563

DPP_17564

DPP_17568

DPP_17571

DPP_17572

DPP_17575

These trees were filled with cormorants and storks, adults and juveniles.  This is before dawn so ISO was high.  Lots of noise in the photo.

DPP_17467

DPP_17473

DPP_17481

DPP_17486

DPP_17487

DPP_17650

DPP_17493DPP_17638DPP_17631DPP_17639DPP_17640DPP_17495DPP_17498

DPP_17499

DPP_17671

Landing isn’t easy when you’re a young stork.

DPP_17514

DPP_17657

DPP_17665

DPP_17515

DPP_17517

DPP_17664

DPP_17670DPP_17629

african darter soaking up the first rays of the sun.

DPP_17523

Time to leave the roost.

DPP_17594

DPP_17595

here comes the sun..

DPP_17604

DPP_17609

DPP_17614

DPP_17615DPP_17617

DPP_17618

DPP_17619

DPP_17621

DPP_17624

DPP_17626

DPP_17627

DPP_17632

DPP_17633

DPP_17634

DPP_17635

DPP_17636

I could go on…. and on, and on.  I won’t.

WILD DOGS (Botswana with Grant Atkinson)

First cats so seems natural to follow with dogs.

This pack was quite a distance from us and the photos aren’t good but what was interesting about them is that several birds landed in their vicinity.  There may have been some leftovers which would explain the appearance of the tawny and fish eagle but hardly the arrival of the saddle billed stork.

DPP_15558DPP_15562DPP_15569DPP_15570DPP_15572

Oops!  Eagle and stork wanting to land in the same place.

DPP_15575DPP_15577DPP_15579

This pack was getting ready to move on.  I watched this dog move down the road and passed us as if we weren’t there.

DPP_15756DPP_15765

DPP_15767DPP_15768DPP_15771

This is the pack trying to build up the courage to cross this small body of water.  Finally, one of the females took the lead and the rest followed.

DPP_15775DPP_15777

DPP_15780

DPP_15781

DPP_15784

DPP_15785

DPP_15786

DPP_15788

DPP_15789

DPP_15790

DPP_15792

DPP_15793

DPP_15795

DPP_15796

DPP_15799DPP_15801DPP_15803DPP_15804DPP_15805

DPP_15806

DPP_15807

Finally, she takes off and the rest follow!

DPP_15809

DPP_15810

DPP_15811DPP_15812DPP_15813

A lot of dogs got their feet cut off in my photos.  It was all happening very quickly and I just couldn’t make adjustments quick enough.

DPP_15814DPP_15815DPP_15816DPP_15817DPP_15818DPP_15819DPP_15820

DPP_15821

DPP_15822DPP_15823DPP_15824DPP_15825

After walking a short distance, they discovered a herd of waterbuck.  Their interest was half hearted and the waterbuck seemed to know that.  They left but not in a huge hurry to put distance between them.

DPP_15833DPP_15834DPP_15835

DPP_15836

DPP_15837

DPP_15839

DPP_15840

DPP_15845

DPP_15846

DPP_15847

DPP_15848DPP_15849

Just to give us a feel for being at ground level with our subjects Grant had us get out of the vehicle on the side not facing the dogs. Once we were on the ground, they pulled slowly forward until we could see them.  They could have cared less.  After a couple of minutes they slipped backwards to where we were and we climbed back in.

DPP_15851DPP_15853DPP_15854

Although we tend to yawn when we are sleepy, seems like the dogs and cats seem to do most of their yawning when they are getting up.

DPP_15983DPP_15984DPP_15985

DPP_15988

DPP_15990DPP_15991

DPP_15995

It’s difficult to get the exposure right so that the eyes don’t get lost in the their dark faces.  I’m not particularly successful.

DPP_15996

DPP_15998

DPP_16000DPP_16001DPP_16004DPP_16007

DPP_16008

The playing never stops!

DPP_16009DPP_16011

DPP_16012DPP_16013DPP_16015DPP_16016DPP_16017DPP_16018

DPP_16019

DPP_16020DPP_16021DPP_16023

DPP_16027

DPP_16028

DPP_16031

DPP_16032DPP_16034DPP_16035

DPP_16036

DPP_16038DPP_16039DPP_16040DPP_16041DPP_16042DPP_16043DPP_16044DPP_16045DPP_16047DPP_16050DPP_16052

DPP_16053

DPP_16054

DPP_16055

DPP_16057

DPP_16058

DPP_16059

DPP_16060

DPP_16065

More water crossings….

DPP_16066DPP_16071DPP_16072

DPP_16073

DPP_16075

DPP_16076

DPP_16077

DPP_16079

And there they go!  This pack was obviously much further away from us than the other crossing we witnessed.  The good thing is that it was much easier to photograph them crossing.

DPP_16080DPP_16081DPP_16082DPP_16083

DPP_16084

DPP_16085DPP_16086DPP_16087

DPP_16088

DPP_16089

DPP_16090

DPP_16091DPP_16092DPP_16093

DPP_16094DPP_16095DPP_16096DPP_16097

This sighting was totally unexpected!  We were on the Chobe River watching elephants, birds, crocodiles.. all the things you expect to see in and around the rivers.  Our boat driver started heading towards the shore.  When asked why we were headed there, he pointed and said in his very soft spoken way that there were dogs on the shore.  These guides always have incredible eye sight.

DPP_17062DPP_17064

DPP_17069

DPP_17074

DPP_17076

DPP_17079

DPP_17081

DPP_17086DPP_17088

That’s the end of the dogs.  After years of not seeing them, I’ve been privileged to see them on both of my trips this summer.  Makes me very happy!

Botswana 2015 with Atkinson Photography and Safaris

This was a trip I planned a year ago.  I wasn’t expecting to go to Africa with only a month in between.  I’ll never do that again.. I was pretty sick when I got home.  I don’t know if it was a very bad case of jet lag or if I brought something home with me.  Nevertheless, it was worth it!

One place sort of bleeds into another for me except for the Chobe River.  We spent the entire three days on a boat.  So except for the Chobe I think I am going to put them in categories starting with the big cats.

CATS

We didn’t see very many lions or cheetah, but had some great leopard sightings including cubs.  There are far too many here but they are so photogenic!

This was the first evening… I didn’t get exposure right with the darkness descending.  You  can see a cub here… from the back side.

DPP_15538DPP_15539DPP_15541DPP_15542DPP_15544DPP_15545DPP_15546DPP_15547

DPP_15548DPP_15549

This was a great sighting.  She was out in the open for quite a while.

DPP_15857

DPP_15859

DPP_15860

DPP_15862DPP_15863DPP_15864DPP_15865

DPP_15866

DPP_15871DPP_15873

DPP_15874DPP_15875

DPP_15880

DPP_15883

DPP_15887

DPP_15888DPP_15890

DPP_15902DPP_15904

DPP_15908

DPP_15911DPP_15912DPP_15918DPP_15920DPP_15922DPP_15923

DPP_15924DPP_15929

DPP_15934

DPP_15942DPP_15946

 

DPP_15948DPP_15949DPP_15952DPP_15956DPP_15958DPP_15959DPP_15961DPP_15962DPP_15965

Since she was down for the count, we went off to find her cub.  Our guides pretty much knew where she’d left it.  We left shortly since we didn’t want to disturb him/her and cause the cub to leave the tree and go elsewhere.

DPP_15970DPP_15971DPP_15976DPP_15977DPP_15978DPP_15980DPP_15981

This was a different cub who remained well hidden.

DPP_16136

DPP_16137

DPP_16138DPP_16139

Same cubs as before but at a different time.

DPP_16726

DPP_16727DPP_16728DPP_16729DPP_16730

DPP_16731

DPP_16732

DPP_16733

DPP_16734

DPP_16737

DPP_16738DPP_16739DPP_16742DPP_16744

DPP_16745DPP_16746DPP_16747DPP_16749

DPP_16750

DPP_16751

DPP_16752

I forget what was under the log, probably a squirrel, but the cub of course was obsessed with it.

DPP_16753

DPP_16754

DPP_16756

DPP_16757DPP_16758DPP_16759

DPP_16760

DPP_16761

Time for a scratch.

DPP_16762

DPP_16763

DPP_16764

DPP_16765

DPP_16767

DPP_16769

DPP_16770

I’m afraid I can’t remember which leopard this was anymore.  Probably the mother of the cub in the tree.

DPP_16771

DPP_16774

DPP_16782

DPP_16783

DPP_16786

DPP_16788

DPP_16789

Everybody loves a good yawn.

DPP_16792

DPP_16793

DPP_16794

DPP_16795

DPP_16796

DPP_16797

DPP_16798

DPP_16799

DPP_16800

DPP_16801

DPP_16802

DPP_16803

DPP_16804

We saw lions on two occasions.  The first group of boys were resting but provided excellent entertainment!  I love how the light, when the sun is low and shining on them, warms the color of their fur.DPP_15634DPP_15638

DPP_15639

DPP_15640

DPP_15641

DPP_15642

DPP_15643

DPP_15644

DPP_15645

DPP_15646

DPP_15657

DPP_15659

Here come more yawns.  I don’t think any other yawn measures up to that of a lion.  They were right below us and very nearly too close for the lens on the camera.  Hard to focus if you’re too close!

DPP_15660

DPP_15661

DPP_15662

DPP_15665

DPP_15666DPP_15667

DPP_15668

DPP_15669

DPP_15670

DPP_15671

DPP_15672

DPP_15674

DPP_15675

DPP_15676

DPP_15677

DPP_15678

DPP_15679

DPP_15680

DPP_15684

DPP_15685

DPP_15686

DPP_15687DPP_15688

This lion had discovered the elephant carcass a while ago.  It’s obvious from his very full stomach and his bloody face.  It had died of natural causes and after a couple of days it definitely began to smell.  I was surprised that there were not more scavengers around.  Anyway, this single lion found it.  Any time any of the other scavengers showed up, he’d get up and chase them off.DPP_16972

DPP_16976

DPP_16979DPP_16980

DPP_16983

It’s hard work keeping your stomach full and chasing off competitors…

DPP_16985

DPP_16986

DPP_16987

DPP_16988

DPP_16989

DPP_16991

DPP_16992

DPP_16993

DPP_16994

DPP_16996

No cheetahs this time.  But with three different sightings of wild dogs, I’m definitely okay with that.

Nxai Pan

This is definitely desert.  Actually, the entire area that includes the Okavango is ‘desert’.  But due to plate tectonics a large part sank and that allowed water to move in.  The area is still covered by hundreds of meters of sand.

There’s a water hole in front of the camp.  Almost all the elephants that came were bulls.  At one point I counted 19 bulls at the water hole at one time.  When they leave, sometimes one at a time, other maybe two or three, and they just seem to disappear.  I never saw more than a couple when we were out in the vehicle.

DPP_15280

There are usually a few other visitors along with the elephants.

DPP_15283DPP_15367

DPP_15285

DPP_15286

DPP_15287

DPP_15288

DPP_15289

DPP_15290

DPP_15291

DPP_15293

DPP_15294

It’s hard to get decent photos in the bright harsh light of the desert sun.  At least for me it is. 

DPP_15297DPP_15298

kori bustard, heaviest flying bird in the world

DPP_15303

DPP_15304

DPP_15305DPP_15306

DPP_15386

a few impala; springbok are the most common in this type of landscape in the rainy season

DPP_15307

giraffe do well in arid environments

DPP_15354DPP_15357

DPP_15358

DPP_15359

DPP_15360

DPP_15361

a few wildebeests

DPP_15363

A secretive little antelope.. steenbok.

DPP_15365DPP_15366

DPP_15432DPP_15430

The wildlife was not nearly has plentiful here in the desert.  We did find this lioness and her two cubs.

DPP_15308

DPP_15309

DPP_15310

DPP_15311

DPP_15312

DPP_15314

DPP_15315

DPP_15316

arghh… cut off by this template..  but if you click on it you see all of it.

DPP_15317

DPP_15318

DPP_15319

DPP_15320

DPP_15321DPP_15322

DPP_15385

DPP_15344

DPP_15345

DPP_15346

DPP_15369

DPP_15370

DPP_15371

DPP_15372

DPP_15373

DPP_15374

dusting is important.. helps keep insects away and help protect their skin

DPP_15375

DPP_15376

DPP_15377

DPP_15378DPP_15381DPP_15382

black backed jackal.. I was surprised by how small they were the first time I saw them.

DPP_15384

We didn’t see very many oryx on this trip.  They survive well in the desert since they don’t require much water at all.

DPP_15437

DPP_15438

southern pale chanting goshawk

DPP_15412

DPP_15414

DPP_15415

yellow billed horn bill… I love the hornbills.

DPP_15416DPP_15418DPP_15419

DPP_15422

DPP_15423

Just a few photos of more wildlife.  There were  others that we saw but didn’t make for good photos: honey badgers, bat eared fox, and even a brown hyena so far away that it was only a dark spot crossing the landscape.

southern pale chanting goshawk

DPP_15425

DPP_15426

lilac breasted roller, of course

DPP_15427

Male and female ostrich

DPP_15433

DPP_15436

This is the actual pan.  The pans are perfectly flat and very empty.  During the rainy season they fill with water but it is quite shallow and the ground is porous so the water doesn’t last long.  It is apparently amazing for watching the wildlife congregate when filled with water but you have to time your trip just right.

DPP_15397

DPP_15455DPP_15456

These are the famous Baine’s baobobs, named after the man that ‘discovered’ them.  Of course, they had been an important part of the culture of the local people for centuries.

There are far more photos of these baobobs than anyone probably wants to look at.  I loved the patterns they form.  I wish I knew how to edit them well to black and white.  I think they would look amazing.

DPP_15399DPP_15401DPP_15404

DPP_15405

DPP_15407DPP_15440

just to give you a size comparison…

DPP_15441DPP_15442DPP_15443DPP_15445

DPP_15446

DPP_15448DPP_15449DPP_15450DPP_15451DPP_15452DPP_15453DPP_15454DPP_15457DPP_15458DPP_15459DPP_15460DPP_15461DPP_15464DPP_15466DPP_15475DPP_15478

This is the fruit from the baobob.  You have to break it open and pull the seeds (I think) out and eat them.  Not too bad.

DPP_15479

Nothing is more peaceful than elephants at sunset.

DPP_15388

DPP_15389

DPP_15392

DPP_15394

More Okavango Delta..

Not everything was about cats and dogs although that did seem to take up most of our time.  These are wattled cranes and are an endangered species.  I do wish we had been able to get closer.

DPP_14791

DPP_14793

DPP_14795

DPP_14796

DPP_14797DPP_14799

Sable antelope.  Not very good photos but it was quite a treat to see this small herd together.

DPP_14802

DPP_14803

DPP_14805

DPP_14808

DPP_14809

DPP_14810

DPP_14811DPP_14814

lilac breasted roller… probably the most photographed bird in Africa.  It’s hard to resist with such beautiful colors.

DPP_14815DPP_14817

another attempt at getting this roller in flight.. still not quite there.

DPP_15219

DPP_15220

DPP_15171

saddle billed stork

DPP_14822

DPP_14824

DPP_14825DPP_14826DPP_14827

DPP_14828

DPP_14830

red lechwe.. well suited for marshes.  Their feet are much wider than antelope generally have.

DPP_14831

DPP_14832

DPP_14833

DPP_14834

DPP_14835

tessebee… southern African version of the east African topi.

DPP_15042DPP_15044DPP_15045

DPP_15048

DPP_15050DPP_15053

I love wart hogs and it’s often difficult to get decent photos because they usually run away and all you get is warthog butts and little tails sticking straight up.

DPP_15205

DPP_15206

DPP_15207

DPP_15209

DPP_15211

DPP_15213

pied kingfisher

DPP_15214

DPP_15215

always enjoy seeing wildebeest..

DPP_15221

little tree squirrels that hung out on this old snag in front of my tent.

DPP_15234

DPP_15235

DPP_15237

sunset over a marsh…

DPP_14996

Wild dogs in the Okavango Delta

We found the dogs in the morning after they had big morning meal.  They had full bellies and bloody faces.  As much as I was anticipating and hoping for good luck to see them this time, I was still blown away when we actually found them.  One of the guides found them after driving in the direction he observed several giraffes staring in one direction.  There are far too many photos in this entry but when you don’t know if you’ll ever see them again, how can you resist??

DPP_12724DPP_12725

DPP_12726

DPP_12727

DPP_12730

This puppy is the only one they have at this time.  The former alpha female lost her position when the alpha male was lost.  A new pair took that position and the female had three pups.  This is the only one that has survived.  It’s a plucky little thing so hopefully it will continue to do well.

DPP_14033

DPP_14034

DPP_14036

DPP_14037

DPP_14038

DPP_14039

DPP_14842

DPP_14843

DPP_14845

DPP_14846

DPP_14848

DPP_14849

DPP_14851

DPP_14852

DPP_14854

DPP_14855

DPP_14857

DPP_14858

DPP_14859

DPP_14860

DPP_14861

This photo shows the puppy’s grandmother, the former alpha female.  You can see how light she is.

DPP_14862

DPP_14863DPP_14864

DPP_14866

DPP_14869

DPP_14871

DPP_14873

Even when they are resting, they are still messing around.  Some are always playing, others get up and move to another place.  It’s never completely still with a pack of wild dogs.

DPP_14874

DPP_14875

DPP_14877

DPP_14878

DPP_14880

DPP_14882

DPP_14883

DPP_14885

DPP_14887

DPP_14888

DPP_14896

DPP_14897

DPP_14900

DPP_14903

DPP_14905

DPP_14906DPP_14907

DPP_14911

DPP_14914

DPP_14915

DPP_14916

DPP_14931

DPP_14932

DPP_14938DPP_14999

DPP_15000

DPP_15002

DPP_15004

DPP_15005

DPP_15007

DPP_15009

DPP_15010

DPP_15011

DPP_15012

DPP_15013

DPP_15014

DPP_15015

DPP_15016

DPP_15017

DPP_15018

DPP_15020

DPP_15022

DPP_15024

DPP_15025

DPP_15027

DPP_15028

DPP_15029

DPP_15031

DPP_15032

DPP_15034

DPP_15035

DPP_15036

DPP_15037

DPP_15038

DPP_15039DPP_15040

We left them, some of us reluctantly, but were able to track them down again just before evening.  It wasn’t long before they finally started moving on.  Even though they are supposedly looking for their next meal, they continue to play.  And some of that play involves hassling animals much larger… way out of their range of prey.

DPP_15239DPP_15240DPP_15241DPP_15243

DPP_15244

DPP_15245

DPP_15246

DPP_15247

DPP_15248

DPP_15249

DPP_15250DPP_15251DPP_15252

DPP_15254

DPP_15256DPP_15257

DPP_15258

DPP_15259

It also included harassing every single guinea fowl in the little dust bowl until they were all gone.  It was time to roost anyway.

DPP_15260

DPP_15261

DPP_15262

DPP_15263

DPP_15266

DPP_15267

DPP_15268

And finally, they even hassled the elephants.

DPP_15270DPP_15271

DPP_15272

DPP_15273

DPP_15274

 

Even the puppy wanted in on the action.  You can barely see him in the bottom of the photo.

DPP_15275

They pretty much disappeared into some thick brush and suddenly an impala  came bursting out of the bush followed by the dogs.  Bad photos though; it was getting dark and I wasn’t prepared.  They gave a good chase, but the impala went for a pond and escaped to live another day.  They weren’t too interested actually and gave up quickly.  Probably still full from the morning’s meal.  Awesome end to a spectacular day.

DPP_15276  DPP_15277