Chyulu Hills 2015 (part two)

This is the second part and I decided to start it with the breath taking landscape.  My photos don’t do it justice.  This expansive flat landscape, surrounded by the hills, was absolutely stunning.

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The giraffe traveling across the plains really show how vast this landscape is.

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Back to elephants!

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If you look closely at this guy’s trunk you can see that the tip is gone.  He apparently lost it in a snare when he was still quite young.  As you can see, it hasn’t affected his health or growth.  He does have an interesting way to get water into his mouth.  He has a name but I didn’t remember it and I just couldn’t help but call him Stumpy.

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Another one of the big bulls.  There was only one other bull that ‘Stumpy’ would defer to.  Stumpy would gently push all the others out of his way at the water hole, but when the other guy came up to the group, he suddenly became very submissive.  So much fun to watch all this behavior.  And all of this is accomplished without a sound.

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Here’s a group drinking together and that smaller bull is once again sticking his trunk in to grab what he can.  DPP_9544

When Stumpy drinks he lifts his trunk, full of water, swings it out a bit and then into his mouth as if he needs the momentum to get the water to drain into his mouth.  I’m just guessing why….

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Somebody else walking by the hide.

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I recently learned that all the wrinkles in their skin help keep them cool.  They have few sweat glands so any moisture they get on their skin is held in the wrinkles, keeping them cool longer than it would have otherwise.

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More shifting and moving under the tree.  First Stumpy arrives to take the best spot.

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Then another smaller bull arrives.

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The smallest one, who was actually first under the tree, moves off to one of the water holes that has been vacated by the other bulls seeking shade.

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All these interactions were very subtle, noticeable only when you sit and watch for a long time.  All this observation is, of course, from the protection of the hide.

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Cooling off with more water…

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More giraffe on the horizon..

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This an African Harrier Hawk.  I have better photos from Tanzania.  They work very hard at getting into crevasses searching for for tasty morsels like lizards or rodents.  They are a beautiful bird and I was disappointed that this was the best I could do on this trip.

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I think this is some kind of shrike.  But all I have a southern african bird book so it’s just a guess.  Anyway, there were lots of them and quite charming.

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This is the european roller; not quite as striking as the lilac breasted roller but equally as beautiful, in my opinion, with the subtle differences in blues.  This terrible light has diminished the vibrancy of the blues.

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Two different bustards.. that much I know.  But what kind, again it escapes me. I’m going to guess that this first one is a white bellied bustard.DPP_9556

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And this one might be a black bellied bustard.  There are so many types of bustards.

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The always fascinating secretary bird.

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I thought this one was going to take off and I’d see it in flight.  And since it’s so big, I hoped that I might actually get a decent photograph of a bird in flight.  But this one really only moved to another spot in which to hunt.

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Probably the most photographed bird in Africa.  My goal is to get a decent shot of one in flight.  Their wings are such a bright iridescent blue that you don’t really see until the wings are spread.

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A yellow baboon that came with a family to have a drink.  I only managed to capture this one.  They are smaller than the olive and the very big chacma baboon of the southern part of the continent.

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A few reptiles..  This is the female agama lizard.  The males are very bright colors, most notably bright blue body and red/orange head.

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Well camouflaged I think.

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One of my nightly visitors… one of several geckos.

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Cokes Hartebeest… I think they have unusual faces with the way the horns emerge from the head.

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More oryx..

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I am not the least bit sure about my identification here but I think these are male and female red billed quelea.

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More landscapes and wildlife….

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In the distance you can see a house.   It’s where Sir Richard Bohnam lives with his family.  We were invited there for ‘sundowners’.  He was there along with several of his Big Life employees and some of the lodge employees.  They were all extremely friendly.  The house overlooks the vast landscape of Chyulu Hills.  Just after dark,  the black shadow of a lone bull elephant arrived to drink from the pool.  Every single person simultaneously stopped talking and just watched.  There were quite a few people there and yet you could have heard a pin drop.  All that could be heard was the sound of the elephant drinking.  It was pure magic.  Heaven, in my opinion!

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On our way to meet the plane, we found these two cheetah brothers.  Often brothers who manage to make it to adulthood, stick together and hunt since they can bring down bigger prey together.  The females remain alone.  You will notice that they have extremely full bellies and although they started to stalk a wildebeest, their hearts weren’t in it.

This was the plane that was on its way to pick us up.  Good thing it was a charter and he didn’t have to hurry off to another stop because we definitely kept him waiting!

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Just waking up from a long nap presumably to sleep off their overindulgence.

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You can see in this photo just how full these boys were…

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This is what they were stalking… sort of.  This wildebeest was a bit lame so if they had truly been hungry they may have been successful.

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The stalking began….

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They eased into a trot and then a loping gait…

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Then a gallop… I was hoping they would break in to their high speed chase which I’ve never seen.  But I doubt if they were actually physically capable of it.

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The wildebeest, even lame, was able to run fast enough to put more distance between them and the cheetahs quickly gave up.

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And with that, I say good bye until Samburu.

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3 thoughts on “Chyulu Hills 2015 (part two)

  1. Hi Nancy

    I read this 24 hours ago, the moment I opened my eyes in the morning but I never got a chance to comment. Wow you had some great moments with the elephants. I have 3 shots that jumped out at me instantly, 9531, 9532 and of course the finale 9519.
    I can imagine everyone being breathless in anticipation for the cheetahs to take to full speed but with those bellies, I doubt that would have been able to reach it. Obviously they have learnt well how to get catch their kill.
    Beautiful scenery, wonderful landscape, great birds. The only bird that I thought I might be able to help you on was what you thought was a Shrike. I had a look in my book of East African Birds and I think it is a Common Fiscal.

    Oh and by the way, I love the lines of giraffes, they make for beautiful photos.
    Amazing ellie photos Nancy. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for the bird i.d. fiscal was my next guess but I really couldn’t tell. Also I appreciate your input on the photos that stand out for you.

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