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Tsavo West, Amboseli, Meru & Samburu — January, 2015


Tom Kellie

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Peter Connan

Tom, among all your beautiful photos, the following stand out to me:

 

I love the photo "upwards and outwards".

 

I also love your photos of the white-bellied go-away birds, so much prettier than our grey ones.

 

And your Superb Starling is just that.

 

Your waterbuck portrait is everything a waterbuck portrait should be.

 

But the swallow takes the cake. Despite these super-tele lenses being the best tool there is for bringing things closer, there is nothing better than just getting close.

 

Thanks again!

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Tdgraves

 

attachicon.gifDelonix elata with a Nest.JPG

Delonix elata with a Nest

~ As much as anything, the morning game drive will be remembered as the occasion where I first saw and fell in live with Delonix elata, White Poinciana. Another of a long chain of species which were entirely new to me, I asked Anthony for time to enjoy and photograph it. Yet it's beauty was heightened by an arrival.

attachicon.gifLamprotornis superbus on a flowering branch of Delonix elata.JPG

Lamprotornis superbus on a flowering branch of Delonix elata

We hadn't seen any Lamprotornis superbus, Superb Starling, for two hours and were in a remote dry area when this single bird flew up and perched on a flowering branch of Delonix elata. The intense yet subtle beauty of the juxtaposition of bird and blooms struck a powerful chord within me. As politely as I could manage, despite inner excitement, I asked Anthony to “please back, back, back up...there!” He hadn't seen, but when I pointed it out he took out his camera to join me in photograph the improbably lovely moment in remote Tsavo West National Park.

attachicon.gifSafari Nirvana.jpg

Safari Nirvana

Surely the most refined photographic composition my lens saw during the entire visit in Tsavo West National Park. It expresses an East African safari counterpart to the classical brush paintings of nature made in ancient China and Japan.

• This image is dedicated to the ladies of Safaritalk who've been so gracious, encouraging, helpful, humorous and kindhearted during my first 3+ weeks as a Safaritalk member. The beauty of endemic Delonix elata flowers and Lamprotornis elata plumage is especially for @@twaffle, @@wilddog, @@kittykat23uk, @@Atravelynn, @@graceland, @@Sangeeta, @@Patty, @@ld1, @@SafariChick, @@Kitsafari, @@Tdgraves and @@wenchy. Asante sana and merci beaucoup to each of you.

attachicon.gifUnexpected Delicacy.JPG

Unexpected Delicacy

After drove for a few more minutes I requested another stop to photograph these acacia blooms. Their spare simplicity contrasted well with the dark hillside behind them. Anthony is such a patient guide to put up with such requests.

attachicon.gifBlooms on Stark Branches.JPG

Blooms on Stark Branches

We later saw these acacia blooms near the track. Anthony stopped without anything being said, taking out his own camera to record the plain beauty.

You old smoothy, you - a blatant attempt to court fans ;)

 

There is no need to flatter, your genuine enthusiasm and great photos are just what we need on ST. Everyone has their own style (mine is more "a photo tells a thousand words") but it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy reading the TRs of those who are more into writing than I....

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Tom Kellie

Great photographs and writing @@Tom Kellie! I really love the "Safari Nirvana" image - the Superb starling on the branch, it does look like a Japanese painting, indeed. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the report.

 

~ @FlyTraveler:

 

Thank you so much!

The most remarkable factor in making this image was that the bird remained there long enough for Anthony to stop, back up, and for me to get ready and press the shutter.

It could so easily have flitted on, but didn't.

Karmic photography, anyone?

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

Tom, among all your beautiful photos, the following stand out to me:

 

I love the photo "upwards and outwards".

 

I also love your photos of the white-bellied go-away birds, so much prettier than our grey ones.

 

And your Superb Starling is just that.

 

Your waterbuck portrait is everything a waterbuck portrait should be.

 

But the swallow takes the cake. Despite these super-tele lenses being the best tool there is for bringing things closer, there is nothing better than just getting close.

 

Thanks again!

 

~ @@Peter Connan:

 

Thank you!

In the case of the swallow photo, squeezing backward in the Mzima Springs tank may have qualified as ‘too close for comfort’.

I've never seen any other Go-away-bird species...yet.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

 

 

attachicon.gifDelonix elata with a Nest.JPG

Delonix elata with a Nest

~ As much as anything, the morning game drive will be remembered as the occasion where I first saw and fell in live with Delonix elata, White Poinciana. Another of a long chain of species which were entirely new to me, I asked Anthony for time to enjoy and photograph it. Yet it's beauty was heightened by an arrival.

attachicon.gifLamprotornis superbus on a flowering branch of Delonix elata.JPG

Lamprotornis superbus on a flowering branch of Delonix elata

We hadn't seen any Lamprotornis superbus, Superb Starling, for two hours and were in a remote dry area when this single bird flew up and perched on a flowering branch of Delonix elata. The intense yet subtle beauty of the juxtaposition of bird and blooms struck a powerful chord within me. As politely as I could manage, despite inner excitement, I asked Anthony to “please back, back, back up...there!” He hadn't seen, but when I pointed it out he took out his camera to join me in photograph the improbably lovely moment in remote Tsavo West National Park.

attachicon.gifSafari Nirvana.jpg

Safari Nirvana

Surely the most refined photographic composition my lens saw during the entire visit in Tsavo West National Park. It expresses an East African safari counterpart to the classical brush paintings of nature made in ancient China and Japan.

• This image is dedicated to the ladies of Safaritalk who've been so gracious, encouraging, helpful, humorous and kindhearted during my first 3+ weeks as a Safaritalk member. The beauty of endemic Delonix elata flowers and Lamprotornis elata plumage is especially for @@twaffle, @@wilddog, @@kittykat23uk, @@Atravelynn, @@graceland, @@Sangeeta, @@Patty, @@ld1, @@SafariChick, @@Kitsafari, @@Tdgraves and @@wenchy. Asante sana and merci beaucoup to each of you.

attachicon.gifUnexpected Delicacy.JPG

Unexpected Delicacy

After drove for a few more minutes I requested another stop to photograph these acacia blooms. Their spare simplicity contrasted well with the dark hillside behind them. Anthony is such a patient guide to put up with such requests.

attachicon.gifBlooms on Stark Branches.JPG

Blooms on Stark Branches

We later saw these acacia blooms near the track. Anthony stopped without anything being said, taking out his own camera to record the plain beauty.

You old smoothy, you - a blatant attempt to court fans ;)

 

There is no need to flatter, your genuine enthusiasm and great photos are just what we need on ST. Everyone has their own style (mine is more "a photo tells a thousand words") but it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy reading the TRs of those who are more into writing than I....

 

 

~ @Tdgraves:

 

Thank you! That's a great comment.

You made me smile and laugh, which is needed after getting up, preparing to take the subway across town to teach Saturday morning classes on a distant campus.

Courting all of the Safaritalk ladies would be quite a task, even for a concatenation of leopards, rhinos, lions, hippos, cheetahs and giraffes!

For me, the most difficult aspect of thinking about writing for Safaritalk, then doing so, has been finding the right balance between imagery and commentary.

I took nearly two weeks to read through a variety of trip reports to determine what the ‘house standard’ might be.

They ranged from extensive commentary with no photos to a clutch of photos with scarcely a word.

In nearly every case each style worked.

Throughout my working life, it's been emphasized that establishing context enhanced illustrations.

To what degree is that the case in Safaritalk? I haven't been certain.

It seemed to me that adding emotional, personalized comments, which I wouldn't do in professional writing, might be best, thus that's been what I've done thus far, with a smattering of facts, as needed.

Yet the all photo, no comments approach is appealing, not least as it would reduce the time for preparing a trip report.

I'll think more about the balance during the subway ride.

In any case, I appreciate your comment which sets a nice mood as I log off and head out the door.

Tom K.

Edited by Tom Kellie
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Atravelynn

Thanks for the bouquet!

 

I must say you win the prize for the best photo of clothing and maps. And there is no competition for your "camel needs" shot.

 

If you had not labeled your photo Dragonfly, Bridge, Plants, Fish, I would have missed the dragonfly.

 

Regarding the giraffe tongue, I was told by a guide in the Kalahari that the lifespan of the Angolan Giraffe that lives there is 5-10 years less than other species because the diet is solely acacia. The acacia nettles sting the tongues of the giraffe, causing swelling, which means over time they cannot eat adequately and do not live as long.

 

Your friend will never forget that first lion. I bet you recall yours. I know I recall my first lion sighting.

 

Why did you choose January for your trip?

 

Looking forward to pages 2--end.

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Tom Kellie

~ @Tdgraves:

 

I just returned after the morning teaching.

For unforeseen technical reasons, the lesson was delayed for about 15 minutes.

To make use of the waiting time, I tossed out a question which was triggered by what you wrote about standalone photos vs those with commentary.

As it was lighthearted and the students fairly lively — I primarily work with graduate students but these were ‘honors’ life science and clinical medicine undergraduates — their answers ranged from the snarky, to the sarcastic to the ‘all over the place’.

I'd asked: “Which generally works best for you with nature photos? Photo alone. Photo with extensive contextual commentary. Or, photo with a few words.

One response, from a bright, animal-loving young lady was especially interesting.

“When my boyfriend gives me a hug and a kiss, that's definitely wonderful. But if he hugs and kisses me and then says ‘I love you’ with feeling, that's more than wonderful!”

Changing China and the power of the right words, carefully chosen.

I'm going to look for ways to let the photos do the talking, as much as possible, as long as it seems that most viewers might understand the context based on the image alone.

Again, many thanks for starting my day out with a smile.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

Thanks for the bouquet!

 

I must say you win the prize for the best photo of clothing and maps. And there is no competition for your "camel needs" shot.

 

If you had not labeled your photo Dragonfly, Bridge, Plants, Fish, I would have missed the dragonfly.

 

Regarding the giraffe tongue, I was told by a guide in the Kalahari that the lifespan of the Angolan Giraffe that lives there is 5-10 years less than other species because the diet is solely acacia. The acacia nettles sting the tongues of the giraffe, causing swelling, which means over time they cannot eat adequately and do not live as long.

 

Your friend will never forget that first lion. I bet you recall yours. I know I recall my first lion sighting.

 

Why did you choose January for your trip?

 

Looking forward to pages 2--end.

 

~ @Atravelynn:

 

I'm glad that you liked the camel vendor's display.

Many times the label is there to nudge students who might visit the posting, as they often overlook less prominent visual features.

That's fascinating about the Angolan giraffe tongue. Diet itself is the cause of early demise. After watching giraffes tuck into the spiniest imaginable acacia branches, what you've explained makes sense.

They must have one tough tongue to be able to handle acacias, sliding vegetation off without being injured.

Yes, I do. It was a lion family in Masai Mara, late one afternoon in early August, 2011. Looking back, it was also one of the finest lion sightings I've ever had, although there was no basis for comparison at the time.

I visited in January because the autumn academic semester in China had just ended, yet I'd be able to return home to Beijing before the Chinese Lunar New Year began.

I'd visited Kenya in January, 2012 and enjoyed the butterflies and flowers blooming, thus was eager to do so again.

I've already planned safaris for next month and early August. It's likely that I'll return in January, 2016.

Thank you for your kind support and for the explanation about the giraffe tongue.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-94866600-1428734011_thumb.jpg



Water Surface View from Within the Viewing Tank



~ This was photographed from within the same tank in Mzima Springs as the Hirundo smithii photo was made.



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Roselyn and Ni



Her bolt action rifle was slightly out of the frame. I liked her easygoing, matter-of-fact approach. She also had a keen eye for spotting elusive animals.



post-49296-0-08474900-1428734384_thumb.jpg



Botanical Shoal



There are two dragonflies resting on the far left of the log and an egg cluster under the fungi on the right.



post-49296-0-45233500-1428734528_thumb.jpg



Flower = Restaurant



The flower is Ipomea kituensis.


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pault

@@Tom Kellie. Your observations of nature and little odes to its wonder range from the ho-hum to the beautiful but I wouldn't wish you to change your style. Ther is such love in here - and love I share.

 

It would be difficult to read your whole report (when finished) at a single sitting but short of getting you a professional editor I would prefer you continue like this, just so I don't miss any of the gems to come. Unless you can guarantee to skip only the ho-hum bits (and I think that would be difficult as clearly different bits are resonating with differnt people) please withdraw your threat to limit yourself to photos immediately!

 

I stayed where you stayed and remember a lot of the spots in your photos. I can tell you if you had followed that path up the lava flow hill you may well have found a beautiful Klipspringer or two. Back in 2008 we saw one half way up that path and another two around the top of hill on another occasion.

 

I suppose the hippo who kept time is gone from the waterhole below the lodge now? He used to return to the waterhole at almost exactly the same time every day. His return meant it was time to start preparing for the evening drive.

 

Your posts of the park itself, and the details of its vegetation are a highlight for me.

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Tom Kellie

A group of Cercopithecus mitis, Blue Monkey, was living


in the forest canopy around Mzima Springs



post-49296-0-13481000-1428734920_thumb.jpg



Enter the Jester



post-49296-0-21063400-1428735001_thumb.jpg



Cercopithecus mitis After Playing in Mzima Springs



post-49296-0-50294400-1428735069_thumb.jpg



Grooming Fur



post-49296-0-32518500-1428735114_thumb.jpg



Nonplussed



post-49296-0-85839300-1428735206_thumb.jpg



Faraway Look



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Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie. Your observations of nature and little odes to its wonder range from the ho-hum to the beautiful but I wouldn't wish you to change your style. Ther is such love in here - and love I share.

 

It would be difficult to read your whole report (when finished) at a single sitting but short of getting you a professional editor I would prefer you continue like this, just so I don't miss any of the gems to come. Unless you can guarantee to skip only the ho-hum bits (and I think that would be difficult as clearly different bits are resonating with differnt people) please withdraw your threat to limit yourself to photos immediately!

 

I stayed where you stayed and remember a lot of the spots in your photos. I can tell you if you had followed that path up the lava flow hill you may well have found a beautiful Klipspringer or two. Back in 2008 we saw one half way up that path and another two around the top of hill on another occasion.

 

I suppose the hippo who kept time is gone from the waterhole below the lodge now? He used to return to the waterhole at almost exactly the same time every day. His return meant it was time to start preparing for the evening drive.

 

Your posts of the park itself, and the details of its vegetation are a highlight for me.

 

~ @pault:

 

Thank you so much for the very kind comments and information.

Having decades of life as a university professor, it's been an ongoing challenge to satisfy the interests and tastes of all.

Oscillating between minimalism and the baroque, one lives like an echo-sounding bat, continuously pinging to assess the feelings of others, hoping to sustain a reasonable equilibrium point.

As to the ho-hum parts, mea culpa.

Were a baseball player capable of hitting the ‘sweet spot’ inning after inning, game after game, we'd wonder what enhancing substance was in their locker.

I fret about what to include and what not to include. There's no shortage of material. There is, however, a shortage of experience at writing in social media. I've stumbled here and there, but may be gradually developing an intuition of what might be appropriate.

I'm out-of-practice at writing for a general audience, thus hit clankers, which are unintended gaffes. That may be the price paid for experimenting in what for me is a new medium.

It's the tolerant encouragement of Safaritalk members which motivates me to continue, in between grading homework and planning lessons, not to mention gearing up for another safari in less than three weeks hence.

Klipspringers? Wow! That's a species I've yet to see anywhere. All the more reason to return to Tsavo West in the near future.

No hippo was observed in the waterhole below Rhino Valley Lodge.

I'm delighted that the vegetation and park images please you. I've wondered whether they were of interest to others.

They're included to establish the mise-en-scène of the safari in Tsavo West.

The mention of Klipspringers is resonating in my thoughts about future safaris in Tsavo West.

With Much Appreciation,

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-94967200-1428737485_thumb.jpg



Hippos in Mzima Springs



The hippos in Mzima Springs remained submerged. They were quiet during our visit. Their path to head out for nightly foraging was unmistakable. When we arrived, a reedbuck stood on the hippo path, swiftly trotting off after spotting our arrival.



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Anhinga rufa on a Log with Fungi



Somehow, until visiting Mzima Springs, I'd never knowingly photographed Anhinga rufa, African Darter. The oily-black wing pinions and tail feathers provided a clear focus target for the lens. As it happened, the sole Crocodylus niloticus, Nile Crocodile, we saw during the 11-day safari is in this image, at the top, behind a blurry tree.




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Tdgraves

~ @Tdgraves:

 

 

 

I just returned after the morning teaching.

For unforeseen technical reasons, the lesson was delayed for about 15 minutes.

To make use of the waiting time, I tossed out a question which was triggered by what you wrote about standalone photos vs those with commentary.

As it was lighthearted and the students fairly lively I primarily work with graduate students but these were honors life science and clinical medicine undergraduates their answers ranged from the snarky, to the sarcastic to the all over the place.

I'd asked: Which generally works best for you with nature photos? Photo alone. Photo with extensive contextual commentary. Or, photo with a few words.

One response, from a bright, animal-loving young lady was especially interesting.

When my boyfriend gives me a hug and a kiss, that's definitely wonderful. But if he hugs and kisses me and then says I love you with feeling, that's more than wonderful!

Changing China and the power of the right words, carefully chosen.

I'm going to look for ways to let the photos do the talking, as much as possible, as long as it seems that most viewers might understand the context based on the image alone.

Again, many thanks for starting my day out with a smile.

Tom K.

@@Tom Kellie Please don't take my comment as a request to write less, this was not my intention Edited by Tdgraves
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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-50432600-1428738511_thumb.jpg



Guess Who Shows Up?



~ The unexpected — about 7 or 8 Heterohyrax brucei, Yellow-spotted Bush Hyrax, appeared out of the undergrowth beside the path, running towards us. There was no apparent aggression or curiosity. Rather we were in their intended line of march.



post-49296-0-48154100-1428738899_thumb.jpg



I itch, so I scratch, so what?



– Ma Kettle



Although in recent decades I haven't watched any sort of media, as a child I enjoyed black and white films, especially comedies. There was a series of films based on a family called the Kettles, set on a chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. My family had a second home beside the Straits of Juan de Fuca, thus the story and setting especially resonated with me, emphasizing as it did down-to-earth, homespun values. Based on novels by Betty McDonald, the stories mocked pretension, which tickled my funny bone. The lead character, Ma Kettle, played by Marjorie Main, once said: “I itch, so I scratch, so what?”, which expressed a basic truth about life, or so I felt as a kid.



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Heterohyrax brucei Pair



The coat color, the rounded toenails, the yellowish spot on the back, the facial expressions — it's easy to understand why Joy Adamson kept a hyrax for a pet. They have a jovial appearance without any threatening overtones. They're the hobbits of the animal world.



post-49296-0-85701300-1428739833_thumb.jpg



Heterohyrax brucei on a Lava Boulder



With a facial expression like that, anthropomorphic comparisons cartwheel into mind with abandon! I happen to like grey on charcoal, thus the look of this composition pleased me.



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Elephants' Distant Relative



This hyrax came so near that I was unable to focus on its eyes. After methodically examining the image after returning home to Beijing, I asked myself how it might be similar to elephants.





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Tom Kellie
@@Tom Kellie Please don't take my comment as a request to write less, this was not my intention

 

 

~ @Tdgraves:

 

Thank you for helping me to better understand. It's so nice of you to clarify my muddled comprehension.

Most misunderstandings are due to my own poor judgment. I've lived in a non-English-speaking environment for so long that I often fail to catch the nuances of comments from visiting Canadian, British or American students.

Nonetheless, I'm being a bit more cautious, wanting to avoid too many ‘Ho-hum’ comments.

With your patience and that of others, in due time I may better grasp how to write a lively trip report.

I joined Safaritalk on 17 March, thus this is my first month of social media use.

Truly it's the support and encouragement which you and many others give which overcomes my hesitation.

BTW: The many birds I've been showing are not the only wildlife that I photographed during the safari. Rather, that was Tsavo West. In other locations the mix changed. However, there is yet a surprise to be shown which was photographed in Tsavo West.

I feel glad to have the pleasure of interacting with you and @@pault this afternoon. This is a new experience which is so unlike life in Beijing.

With Happiness and Appreciation,

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-56111400-1428741761_thumb.jpg



Mzima Springs Belenois aurota



~ There were numerous fluttering butterflies in the low-lying shrubbery and vines beside the path in Mzima Springs. What I needed was a reliable macro lens. What I had was a super-telephoto. This image of Belenois aurota, Pioneer White, shows the characteristic pale yellow upper edge on one wing.



post-49296-0-08331000-1428742052_thumb.jpg



Belenois creona Detail



Also visiting the same wildflower species was Belenois creona, African Common White. It's pale orange color confused me, as I wasn't aware that despite it's English common name, Belenois creona does have such a pale orange morph. I'd wanted to observe more African butterflies than on previous safaris. That wish was to be granted more than I might have hoped.

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pault

No aggression or curiosity in the hyrax? Haha.... they aren't the most aggressive animals are they? Lovely shots of them!

 

Klipspringers are a highlight any time. Unfortunately they are elusive and often if you look for them you'll find nothing but a couple of lizards, as they seem to dwell where other other creatures don't. People have good luck with them in the Kopjes of the northern Serengeti if you get there before you return to Tsavo West.

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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-58324100-1428742593_thumb.jpg



Male Tockus deckeni



~ What color! The vine-like branch pointing up towards the upper left is especially satisfying, as the Tockus deckeni had been handling it with his bill. Near its claws are tightly coiled tendrils used by vines to obtain a purchase on the surfaces which they climb. All my life I've liked such tendrils, which epitomize natural selection's virtuosity.



post-49296-0-54250100-1428742856_thumb.jpg



Like No Other



When this male Tockus deckeni flew over to the bush next to the safari van, all three of our camera shutters started clicking. One isn't certain about avian motivation, yet this hornbill seemed to regard us with greater-than-usual curiosity.




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Tom Kellie

No aggression or curiosity in the hyrax? Haha.... they aren't the most aggressive animals are they? Lovely shots of them!

 

Klipspringers are a highlight any time. Unfortunately they are elusive and often if you look for them you'll find nothing but a couple of lizards, as they seem to dwell where other other creatures don't. People have good luck with them in the Kopjes of the northern Serengeti if you get there before you return to Tsavo West.

 

~ @pault:

 

I've had the persistent impression that during several game drives I was probably in Klipspringer territory.

Everything I've read about Klipspringers in field guides, in Safaritalk, and seen in maps purporting to show their range, persuaded me that they were likely near, maybe even maintaining surveillance over our movement.

Someday, someday!

Thank you for telling me about the Kopjes. That's new to me. I much appreciate the suggestion.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-67685700-1428745176_thumb.jpg



Oryx beisa callotis in Tsavo West



~ One of the pleasures of safaris is the occasional encounter with that which was once no more than a photo and a description in a field guide. I've never observed any of the genuinely rare or highly endangered species which are endemic to Kenya. However there are a number of species I've yet to see, e.g. Klipspringer, Bush Pig, or Elephant Shrew. I'd read about Oryx beisa callotis, but when Anthony quietly said: “See that Fringe-eared Oryx?”, it was a welcome surprise.



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Oryx beisa callotis with Oxpecker



The Oryx beisa callotis was walking away, nearly obstructed by foreground shrubbery. Had Anthony's keen eyes not seen it, we would have driven past without realized that it was so near us.


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graceland

please withdraw your threat to limit yourself to photos immediately!

 

PLEASE PLEASE, continue with the story; I like as well as others the story line along with your photos. Slipping in personal notes and observations adds to the report; it personalizes it and connects you to the reader. A series of just photos ~could be a field guide as far as I am concerned. I like to know where you are headed, what you are feeling, and why you chose to select a particular snap! If we did not know where you where, how could we ever get there???

 

A month on Safaritalk? I feel you've been here all along; your report is fitting right in; do not fret about rules. There are none. Except be nice. No bullying and advise everyone of the upcoming safari plans as you go move further along :D

 

A hug is a hug but words make it special.

Edited by graceland
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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-73933600-1428753134_thumb.jpg



Typical Hillside Growth in Tsavo West



~ Much of the terrain through which we passed consisted of hillsides with trees, bushes, grasses and small herbs growing outcroppings of the underlying rock. Part of me yearned to go out there to look under rocks, though goodness know what I might find well-hidden from daylight's glare.



post-49296-0-08070600-1428753328_thumb.jpg



Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi Walking



We were taken off-guard when this male Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi vigorously shook its head. Its attendant oxpeckers briefly flew off then returned to continue their work. When a giraffe photo works, it's so satisfying.



post-49296-0-02732500-1428753557_thumb.jpg



Male Eupodotis gindiana



Eupodotis gindiana, Buff-crested Bustard, has masterfully subtle cryptic coloring. The flecks of cream and russet tones in the feathers blend in well with the thin grass stalks. The light-hued eye is striking, as is the contrast with the red soil.



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Coracias caudata in Tsavo West



After sighting several dozen Coracias garrulus, European Roller, a single Cocacias caudata, Lilac-breasted Roller, Kenya's National Bird. I'd wondered if the two species inhabited the same area. Through this sighting I knew the answer and was able to photograph a favorite species.



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Elanus caeruleus



I let out an unthinking whoop within the safari van when I chanced to spot Elanus caeruleus, Black-shouldered Kite. The moderately-sized bird was perched on a dead snag about 50 meters away from us.



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Black-shouldered Kite



That's as handsome of a raptor's face as I've ever seen. The intensity of the eyes contrasts strikingly with the surrounding plumage. The hapless locusts or mice caught by Elanus caeruleus must see it differently.



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Safaridude

@@Tom Kellie

 

Hope you saw more oryx. Their population has been reduced by about 90% in Tsavo in the last 40 years or so. If you had gone west or north from Mzima, you would have seen more… ?

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Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie

 

Hope you saw more oryx. Their population has been reduced by about 90% in Tsavo in the last 40 years or so. If you had gone west or north from Mzima, you would have seen more… ?

 

~ @Safaridude:

 

That was the only one. It was a bit bedraggled.

We asked around the lodge and at the Mtito Andei Entrance, and were told that the number of fringe-eared oryx has plummeted to negligibility.

My guide, Anthony, gets around southern Kenya a lot and said that fringe-eared oryx are now a rare sighting.

I felt fortunate for such a brief glimpse.

We should have explored more, post-Mzima.

I'm already moving Tsavo West up as a priority destination for one of the next safaris.

Tom K.

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