Amboseli 2015

The bright harsh light that was most days was not the best for photographers.  But I need to remind myself that I do this to create a record of where I’ve been and what I’ve seen… not a contest for the perfect photograph.  Besides, it was a warm welcome to those of us that live above certain latitude lines!

So, on our way to the camp in the conservancy where we were staying we stopped along the way to see…. elephants!  and their diligent companions, the cattle egrets.

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On our arrival at the camp, we were blessed with the big herd of elephant bulls at the water hole below the dining area.

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We rose very early, hitting the road before the sun was up  and since Kilimanjaro was gloriously visible, we had to stop for photos.  Last time I was in the area, we saw the top third of the mountain one morning only.  I was pretty happy with that so this was beyond any expectations I had.  In fact, we pretty much saw the mountain every day that we were in the area.  So here’s a collection… how do I choose the best of what I managed to get?

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Then we encountered wildlife strategically placed with the mountain in the background.  Unfortunately, the light was pretty harsh by then and it was difficult to get exposure right for the wildlife and the mountain.  Obviously, I didn’t get it right.

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Elephants as far as you could see… can’t get much better than that.  This area has landscape that couldn’t possibly be more varied. Some of it is dry as a bone with dust devils popping up everywhere.  But look in the other direction and there are swampy areas filled with lush green plant life.. and elephants.

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All kinds of wildlife enjoy the swamps.

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reed buck

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and not so wild…. maasai cattle (they are allowed to graze and water their cattle during certain parts of the year)

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immature goliath heron.. you can’t tell here but it is really a very large heron!

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crowned cranes

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and the famous secretary bird,, a snake hunter although I’ve never seen one actually catch anything.

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I can’t quite figure out what’s with that big tail feather… I thought it was just trashed but it’s so thick I thought perhaps it’s recently grown out and is still in its sheath.  Even when I enlarged it I couldn’t really tell.

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more elephants and their avian companions..

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a lioness just hanging out… she clearly isn’t in need of a meal.

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February is the month that many of the herd species give birth… all in a matter of a few weeks.  It actually ensures the survival of the next generation.  Single calves are much easier for predators to see and hunt.  With so many, plenty survive into adulthood.

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Do you know the reason for the differences in color between the male and female ostrich?  It isn’t for sexual attraction as it is with many other birds.  While they are incubating the eggs, the male, which is black, sits on the nest at night and the female, who is brown, does it during the day.  But during breeding season the male’s neck gets very red!

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All birds love their dust bath, regardless of size!

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Can’t resist giraffe….  they are so uniquely african!

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Fascinating to watch the contortions just to get an itch.  It’s hard to believe that they have the same number of vertebrae in their neck that we do.  These are maasai giraffe.

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At first I thought there might be a stand off between this approaching bull and the fellow already in the swamp.  But after a bit of trunks in the air, and slow approach, both seemed comfortable sharing the swamp.

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This is a lesser kudu.  It’s smaller than the larger greater kudu and far more difficult to encounter.  I find kudu, greater or lesser, to be a beautiful antelope.

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The boys are back at the local watering hole.

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First of several meals in the bush.  It’s sooooo much fun!

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white backed vultures

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lappet faced vultures… these are the big guys!

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Along with the antelope species dropping their calves, zebra also give birth to their foals during this time of the year.

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more wildebeest…

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golden jackal… only the second time I’ve seen them.

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The next set of photos document a fascinating interaction between a predator and prey.  Would have been good to video tape it to really get what the zebra were doing.  The lioness, who really didn’t look too hungry, was doing a half assed job of stalking a lone wildebeest.  The zebra herd caught sight of her and followed her every step of the way.  Eventually, the wildebeest noticed the zebra and their hyper alert activity and moved away.  They followed her until she laid down in the road, thwarted twice in her quest.

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They followed her, never letting her out of their sight.

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More elephants walking across the landscape…

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This pair of crowned cranes had chicks with them.  You have to look carefully to see them in the grass.

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elephant and buffalo… they look small compared to these big bulls

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malachite kingfisher… it’s a very small bird

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grey heron… pretty much like our great blue heron

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another goliath heron

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I love pelicans!  hoped to see flamingos this time but no such luck.

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more elephants and their avian companions…

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This fellow was having a grand time splashing water with his feet.

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These are from a structure on top of a hill that gives you a 360 degree view of the plains of Amboseli.  It’s quite a hike, short but steep.

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Of course, I have to end this with more elephants.  You gotta like elephants to like this post.

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All done!  See you later…..

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4 thoughts on “Amboseli 2015

  1. Love it all and wish I had been there with you. Amboseli in my experience would have to be the park with a more varied landscape than any other and all so close together. Beautiful photos of Kili, a very difficult beauty to photograph especially with wildlife in the foreground. You were fortunate to get such a clear day but I do love the photos with the cloud half way down the mountain.
    I can never tire of seeing elephants but it is wonderful you captured some of the other critters in the area. Fantastic giraffe shots and of course the young zebra foal. Who doesn’t love a baby.
    A good find seeing the Crowned cranes with their young.
    I loved the two elephant trunks detecting something in the air in the shot DPP8795. Some people might not notice that while others would.
    Great entry and I am already longing for more. I will have to go back a number of times before I get my full and am able to absorb it all.

  2. thanks for your response. I always appreciate your comments. Interesting you should mention the photo with the two trunks up. I put that in just because I liked the twin trunks!

  3. Gorgeous photos of Amboseli. Did you meet any of the researchers while you were there? The book “Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family” by Cynthia Moss continues to be one of my favorite books about African Elephants.

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