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Can one have too much time in the Masai Mara! A resounding NO! Safari Sept 2016


janzin

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jeremie
24 minutes ago, janzin said:

By the way, I am noticing that the new forum layout is compressing/reducing my photos, so they do not appear as sharp as they should. (it is obvious by looking at the caption text, which is blurry.)  To see the photos at their best, please click on the first one and view as a slideshow, if you like! When viewed that way, they are at full quality.

 

This is exactly the reason why I prefer uploading my pictures of flickr and then just copy the links on ST. 

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monalisa

The first pic in post #47 is amazing!! The size of the bite that lioness has is crazy!!

 

And yes, Fig sure is a stunner. Her gaze is intense

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janzin
7 hours ago, jeremie said:

 

This is exactly the reason why I prefer uploading my pictures of flickr and then just copy the links on ST. 

 

But actually most of my images aren't uploaded here--they are linked to my website. ST still will reduce them to fit, I think the maximum width is 1000 px wide, mine with the frames are slightly over that number.

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janzin

Just to finish up Porini Lion, here are a few more assorted bird photos from the area.

 

coqui_francolin_9274a.jpg

 

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These Secretary Birds seemed to be on a nest, but we didn't see a chick.

 

secretary_bird_0623a.jpg

 

water_thicknee_8759a.jpg

 

yellow_throated_longclaw_9193a.jpg

 

 

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janzin

After our last lunch at Porini Lion Camp, Ping arrived to pick us up in The Wild Source's specially configured Land Cruiser. As I mentioned at the beginning of the report, Ping was to be our private guide for the remainder of the trip.

 

Here is Ping with our vehicle, at one of our breakfast stops.

 

landcruiser_2953.jpg.18a33269abf45f64eb50bdf7455e63f0.jpg.

 

Wild Source's modified Land Cruisers have extra-high canopies, tons of outlets for charging, the antenna moved to the rear so it doesn't interfere with photos, and on one side, a platform to hold bean bags.  They also provided lots of bean bags of all sizes so I didn't really need the one I had brought, although it was helpful at Porini (they also had small bean bags, but I liked my molar-shaped one.)

 

The bean bag table..

 

beanbag.jpg

 

So off we went to our next camp, four nights at Encounter Mara in the Naboisho Conservancy. Wild Source has an arrangement with the Asilia camps (of which Encounter Mara is one) which permits them to bring in their own guide and vehicle...I am not sure if they have similar arrangements with other camps in Kenya. It doesn't hurt that just about everyone in the Mara knows Ping--he and his family are from a local village and he has guided for several camps in the area in the past, before venturing into this freelance arrangement with Wild Source. I believe his last gig before going freelance as as senior guide at Mara Plains Camp. Everywhere we went, he knew everybody--which came in very handy later. Needless to say, he is a fantastic guide, personable, and fun to be with.

 

I won't say too much about the Encounter Mara camp itself, as again, I forgot to take photos, and there are reviews elsewhere. I'll just note that it is a lovely camp, comfortable tents, with great food! Very varied and lots of selections, with a buffet at lunch and set service at a communal table at dinner. All of the staff and the managers were super nice, always helpful and open to suggestions. (My only suggestion was to add a writing table to the tent, as there was no place to download my photos easily.) Our tent, which I think was #11, really had no view--it looked out into a large field but there never seemed to be anything in it. Didn't really matter as we were so rarely in the tent. During mid-day break, with hubby napping as usual ;) I was either at the bird hide, or in the wi-fi tent, which was situated a ways from any other tents so as not to disturb others. The wi-fi actually worked fairly well.

 

The camp is situated in dense woods, along the river, which meant that it was quite birdy. In fact they have a nice bird hide set up along the river, and nearer the buildings, there is a water bath set up for birds. 

 

Here are a few birds that I photographed in the camp.

 

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 yellow_bishop_1817a.jpg

 

Red-faced Crombec was a lifer for us..

red_faced_crombec_1733a.jpg

 

Since we were of course mostly in camp at mid-day, birding from the hide was a bit slow. But this African Pygmy Kingfisher was always around.

 

african_pygmy_kingfisher_0939a.jpg

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Game Warden

@janzin I edited your lion photo from a later post into post #1 so as it will show up on something special I am working on... hope that's okay and stay tuned for an update re. the something special...

 

Matt

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janzin

ha @Game Warden I see what you did ;)  Very cool.

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Atdahl
On 6/27/2017 at 9:33 PM, janzin said:

By the way, I am noticing that the new forum layout is compressing/reducing my photos, so they do not appear as sharp as they should. (it is obvious by looking at the caption text, which is blurry.)  To see the photos at their best, please click on the first one and view as a slideshow, if you like! When viewed that way, they are at full quality.

 

@Janzin - your pictures looked great to begin with.  But, you are right they are much sharper when you click on them.  So, I am now even MORE impressed by them if that was even possible :D.  Thanks for the workflow tip on your framing.  I am sure I can do the same in Elements (I'm too cheap to buy full Photoshop), so I will have to take a look.

 

Alan

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Marks

The lappet-faced vulture in flight is stunning! It makes such an unlikely shape suspended in the air in that position. Love it.

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Kitsafari

@janzin didn't have time to read your TR when you first started but I'm glad I caught a bunch of posts in one gulp. what awesome photos and portrayal of the bountiful Mara. I love those pictures of the elephants in Porini  - the light and the frame made the scene so intimate emphasising the family-oriented jumbos very well. 

 

the lappet-faced vulture photo was a standout for me - those powerful magnificent wings!

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janzin

Getting right into the good stuff in Naboisho.... one late afternoon we came upon this beautiful leopardess, Osirata. (Apparently now she has cubs!) She was just resting but allowed for some lovely portraits.

 

leopard_osirata_JZ5_1338a.jpg

 

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However, her rest was soon disturbed by a lion nearby. She became very wary...

 

JZ5_1533.jpg.ba0b317b52c2a19a872381da227021fb.jpg

 

As the lions approached, she scrambled up a tree. The light was really fading so photography was problematic.

 

leopard_osirata_JZ5_1546bw.jpg

 

The lions--there were actually three of them--came around and plopped themselves right by the tree. (No photos as it was almost dark by now.)  We left her up there and I was actually a bit concerned for her welfare. But she was seen again the next morning (not by us); apparently unscathed.

 

So that's leopard #4....

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janzin

As I mentioned, we had quite a bit more rain than we expected on this trip, although it didn't really interfere with our daytime game drives. There was only one day in the Triangle where it really rained hard during a daytime drive; most often it was quite overcast in the early morning, and several days we had rain at night. At Encounter Mara, we attempted two night drives; one it rained so hard that we barely got out of camp before deciding to turn back.

 

Here's one of the few nice sunrises we did manage to see.

 

mara_sunrise_0216a.jpg

 

And a little later...

 

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There were plenty of wildebeest on the plains in this area as well.

 

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And beasts small...

 

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and large...

 

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Some had seen better days...

 

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During one evening drive, the rain had just abated, and we came upon this rather bedraggled Verreaux's Eagle Owl sitting right out in the open on top of a bush. It was a bit unusual to see one not buried in the branches of the tree!

 

verreauxs_eagle_owl_0964a.jpg

 

Due to the unsettled weather, we did get this dramatic sunset one evening as we were having our sundowners.

 

mara_sunset_0199b.jpg

 

And a few moments later...the sky and clouds turned an amazing shade.

 

mara_sunset_0209b.jpg

 

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michael-ibk

Awesome sunsets - and I love the Dikdik.

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Marks

That next-to-last sunset shot is enough to make someone book a safari on the spot. Just beautiful!

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Atravelynn

Nice grab of the jackal pup.  Mating leopards!! Who cares if it was the day before last the previous night after.  Quite a site.  Your bat shot is tremendous.  Who needs a game drive when the bats are hanging on your tent?

I count 11 nights in the Mara.  Did you post the dates?

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Atravelynn

With all your exceptional sightings and all the J-sounding names--Gerard, Josephat, Jackson, I can see how you got confused.  The lion kill did not evade you, just the initial stage.

 

You have made the whiz reflection shot into art.

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janzin
7 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

Nice grab of the jackal pup.  Mating leopards!! Who cares if it was the day before last the previous night after.  Quite a site.  Your bat shot is tremendous.  Who needs a game drive when the bats are hanging on your tent?

I count 11 nights in the Mara.  Did you post the dates?

 

@atravelynn the leopards weren't mating, at least I'm pretty sure not, as they were father and son! At least that's what we were told.

 

Sorry I didn't post the dates, good point! The trip was September 14-September 26, 2016.

 

Thanks for your comments!

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janzin

Since @Atravelynn mentioned mating...

 

One of my "wish list" items was to see mating lions. Well it wasn't long before that wish was granted! Lions seem to be everywhere in the Mara, especially in the conservancies;  and there wasn't a day we didn't see several. In fact it seemed, some days, there wasn't more than a couple of hours between lion sightings. 

 

So one morning we happened upon two that were definitely "in the mood."

 

lion_JZ_1047a.jpg

 

lion_JCZ_0253b.jpg

 

JCZ_0257cfx.jpg.806d19215fc58650148d73e6d15a0b63.jpg

 

 

Wow, what an amazing encounter...as anyone who has experienced this knows, lions can go on...and on...and on...with just a short break between "quickies." And accompanied by much snarling and growling.  We stayed with the happy couple quite awhile.

 

Well that was exhausting...

 

JCZ_0259cfx.jpg.94332d085e705109ebd8b0a455985bed.jpg

 

Looking quite pleased with himself...

 

lion_JZ5_1054a.jpg

 

Who wouldn't want to have a love-tussle with this gorgeous face?

 

lion_JZ5_1019a.jpg

 

But they weren't done yet...

 

lion_JZ5_1086a.jpg

 

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madaboutcheetah
On 23 June 2017 at 8:59 AM, Geoff said:

 

@janzin Really?, I was told by a guide that a lion that I was photographing in the main reserve was Lolparpit and we were a long way from OMC. 

 

 

Loving the report with the stunning photography - thanks for the report @janzin

 

I do believe this is indeed Lolparpit ........ I too saw him in the OMC in September 2014.  So glad he's doing well ......... Magnificent!!!

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madaboutcheetah
6 minutes ago, madaboutcheetah said:

 

 

Loving the report with the stunning photography - thanks for the report @janzin

 

I do believe this is indeed Lolparpit ........ I too saw him in the OMC in October 2014.  So glad he's doing well ......... Magnificent!!!

 

The Mara is always brilliant ....... never too much of a good thing!

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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janzin
4 minutes ago, madaboutcheetah said:

 

The Mara is always brilliant ....... never too much of a good thing!

 

Yes I certainly know that now! I am eagerly awaiting new non-stop flights from NYC, which look like they may happen next year...then it will be relatively easy to return again (and again...) Even though I have a Zambia trip planned I am still dreaming about the Mara...it gets under your skin!

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Geoff

@janzin Lovely dik-dik image.

 

And... you're getting slack :) Why no border around the 2 images of mating lions.

Edited by Geoff
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janzin
5 hours ago, Geoff said:

@janzin Lovely dik-dik image.

 

And... you're getting slack :) Why no border around the 2 images of mating lions.

 

Ah you caught me! The framed images are taken directly from my website, where I use the frames. The images without frames are "extras" that I processed just for this report, and they won't go on my web site; so I didn't both with the frames. Pure laziness ;)

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Atravelynn
10 hours ago, janzin said:

 

@atravelynn the leopards weren't mating, at least I'm pretty sure not, as they were father and son! At least that's what we were told.

 

Sorry I didn't post the dates, good point! The trip was September 14-September 26, 2016.

 

Thanks for your comments!

Time to put on the glasses and look again! 

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Atravelynn
8 hours ago, Geoff said:

@janzin Lovely dik-dik image.

 

And... you're getting slack :) Why no border around the 2 images of mating lions.

At least these guys were mating, unlike the leopards, and with much drama.  Excellent photos!

Edited by Atravelynn
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