Maasai Mara 2015 part three

Although a visit to the Mara tends to find more big cats than anything else, I’ll start this with a few of the other inhabitants of the area.  Wherever there are other predators, hyenas are never far away.  Although they are usually referred to as scavengers, they are also excellent hunters.  These are two that are meeting up.  Obviously, they are of the same clan.  Their greeting is quite elaborate and goes on for a while.

Photos are cut off on the right again.  I need to figure out why but I’m not going back and redoing this.  If you have the slightest interest in any particular photo, you can click on it to open the full photo.

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These are topi calves which I have never seen before.  Beautiful and lithe..

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Classic pose of the topi.  I have never seen any other antelope that stands on old termite mounds as consistently as the topi do.

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Looks like a mutant topi!

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Water tends to attract a variety of visitors so it’s always fun to watch.

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I never did figure out what the warthogs were digging for.

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Getting ready to hitch a ride.

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We didn’t see too many hippos or crocodiles this trip.  We stopped by the Mara river to watch the hippos for a while.  Didn’t take long to spot this tiny hippo calf tagging along behind mama.

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No big yawning displays of dominance or aggression, but lots of cute little hippo faces.

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The hippo pool in the river that runs through the camp had a couple of crocodiles, one rather small but the other was huge.. I mean really, really huge!  Unfortunately, it never got out of the water.

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These Egyptian (or Nile) geese were vigilant about keeping their little brood safe.  Whenever the crocodile would come near they would round them up and keep the chicks between them.

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I didn’t realize when I took the photos that there was a third.  Of course, it’s possible that these were in the other location.

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This is one of the starlings.  I know the starlings we have in the US are not particularly beautiful but there are many species of starlings in Africa and all of them have colors which are quite stunning.

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A female sunbird.  The males are, of course, the colorful ones.  They are the rest of the world’s hummingbirds which exist in North and South America only.  DPP_11291DPP_11293DPP_11295

I think this might be a village (spotted back) weaver, or a masked weaver.  Obviously, I don’t know!

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I spent a least an hour in camp waiting for this grey heron to take off so I could practice catching a bird in flight.  He never did until much later in the day.  All I got was two very tired arms.

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Black backed jackals.  They really are quite small.

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Vultures and hyenas, the recyclers of the savanahs.  Seems like most people don’t enjoy watching these guys because it’s a dirty bloody business.  But I find it fascinating and I truly do love hyenas and vultures.  Unfortunately, these were shot in jpeg again so I won’t put in very many because they are rubbish.

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These hyenas obviously have been bathing in muddy water.

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Most of the vultures here are white backed vultures and ruppell’s.  The smaller ones in front are hooded vultures.  The other common vulture usually found hanging around are the large and formidable lappet faced vulture.  But this is the end of clean up so the lappet faced are long gone. 

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Hooded vultures.  They are much smaller than the others.

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This may sound strange, given what they do, but I think their wings are elegant, and they are beautiful to watch in flight..

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Who doesn’t love a bunch of ostrich..

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As we were headed back to camp one evening it was getting quite dark and noticed what looked like a hyena den right next to the road.  So the next day we went looking for it.  I didn’t see any really little hyenas here.  Later we did find some that were younger than I’d seen before but still not the tiny black cubs.  They are not feline or canine and have their own family name.  But I read somewhere that their closest living relative is the mongoose!DPP_11456

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Young hyena seem to have longer scruffier fur than adults.

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We found this family of hyenas and the little ones were playing with a leg of something fairly big.

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Who could resist these sweet little faces!

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More giraffe with  quite a few youngsters.

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This is a different vulture gathering.  More meat here!

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There are always a few arguments..

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And here you can see the need for very long featherless necks.  I’m sure some of you will skip over this quickly.

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The lappet faced vulture is much bigger and has a stronger beak.  When a carcass is fresh and hasn’t been opened by predators, the other vultures rely on this one to begin the process of tearing open the carcass.

I’ll bet this is far more information than most of you wanted!

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Certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but I was pretty thrilled to see two lappet faced vultures nesting!

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Banded mongoose.  They often move so quickly, you can’t get them focused in your camera before they’ve disappeared.

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We were able to park in the midst of a herd of zebra and buffalo.  It was quite a thrill to be there and basically be ignored.

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As the days passed the sky began to cloud over.  We could see huge storms brewing in the distance are dark areas of rain but we were spared until the last day.  The ground is old lava beds and quite hard so water in a deluge tends to run off.  Doesn’t take long at all to have water rushing past you in an instant.  When the storms finally hit us, the lightening flashes were all less than a minute apart for a while. I love it; it’s nothing like home.

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I’m going to have to do one more because I still need to include a few more lions and a cheetah mom and her cubs.

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One thought on “Maasai Mara 2015 part three

  1. Just one, more couldn’t I have lots more.

    Once again so many great photos that I really can’t name them all.

    I did love your Hyena shots and also the vultures. 4 photos that did jump out at me, but by not matter are they the only ones.

    11573 the giraffe sitting down.
    11592 the Vultures
    12293 Lappet Faced Vulture nesting
    12483 Zebras
    Whoops I nearly forgot, 11291 the Sunbird.

    And yip I love the mutant Topi

    You should be very proud of yourself with the great photos you have taken.

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