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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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janzin
36 minutes ago, Atravelynn said:

Time to put on the glasses and look again! 

 

Believe me, I WISH they had been a mating pair! Mating leopards would be something rare and awesome to see!

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The next morning we were up and out before dawn to try and catch the sunrise and those iconic sunrise sillhouette shots. We followed the photography group to a spot where the guides of course knew wou

Well that should have been a question mark in the title, but there's no way to change it   oh well!   As I've done in prior trip reports, I'll be posting highlights and impressions and a few

Thanks @Zubbie15 @AKR1 @Gilgamesh and everyone else who has commented. Greatly appreciate your appreciation!   Now, what happened next after the mating lions has already been recounted by me

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Zubbie15

The great images continue @janzin.  I particularly like the wet eagle owl,a very unique look at a cool bird.

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Gilgamesh

Superb photographs!, enjoyed the trip report immensely....thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us.

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AKR1

@Janzin

i finally had time to go over your full report- really enjoyed your  magnificent photography and felt nostalgic about the Mara. We too had Ping as our guide who then worked for GPC at Mara Plains/ Toto. He was an exceptional guide and I'm glad he has teamed up with Bill Givens. 

Looking forward to more of Ping and details on TWS camp in the triangle. Thanks for sharing your report. 

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janzin

Thanks @Zubbie15 @AKR1 @Gilgamesh and everyone else who has commented. Greatly appreciate your appreciation!

 

Now, what happened next after the mating lions has already been recounted by me in an earlier topic, but I will repeat it here for those that missed it, and to keep the continuity somewhat ;) If you saw this before you can skip over this post--or enjoy it again lol.

 

After we watched these lions mating, the male started to wander away.  We weren't really following him but we started to travel in the same general direction, and at one point we stopped as I was photographing an overall scene of some vultures on the ground, so at that moment I had the shorter 70-200 lens on the D500. Suddenly Ping got super excited and was saying "look, look" and before we knew it we saw this happening:

 

lion_fight%5B1%5D.jpg

 

Well it seems that lion #1 had stolen the female he was mating with from another male who he then happened upon, and this fight ensued! It all happened so fast and as luck would have it, I had the wrong lens on! No time to change lenses, or even pick up my other camera which I think had the 200-500 on at that moment, but I just had to start shooting away or miss the action...   So these were taken at quite a distance and highly cropped.

Meantime Ping was gunning the car to follow while I was trying to keep my camera and bean bag from flying out of the vehicle! (Later Ping said that this was only the 2nd time he'd witnessed this fierce of a fight over a female in all his 20+ guiding years.) Not sure if he was exaggerating, but he was as thrilled as we were!

 

Stay away from my woman!

 

lion_fight%5B2%5D.jpg

 

I really mean it!

 

lion_fight%5B3%5D.jpg

 

Here you can see the female high-tailing it away!

 

lion_fight%5B4%5D.jpg

 

Down for the count!

 

lion_fight%5B5%5D.jpg

 

Ouch! (they then rolled behind that tree, making photos even more difficult.)

 

lion_fight%5B6%5D.jpg

 

I hope you got the message, stay away!

 

lion_fight%5B7%5D.jpg

 

 

If you look at the EXIF information, from the first frame here to the last, was a total of 7 seconds. Seven seconds! No wonder I didn't have time to change lenses...or even pick up the other camera. Just my luck, imagine the great shots if I had on the "correct" lens for the situation. Oh well...we were so excited just to see it....

 

Amazingly, the fight ended with neither of these very powerful lions seriously injured. The "loser" walked away with only his injured pride. Shortly thereafter the victor was back to mating with his lady.

 

Here is the "loser" not too much worse for wear, thankfully. They are just so powerful and that thick mane really protects their neck.

 

JZ5_1152a.jpg

 

Lions mating, lions fighting...the Mara was really getting under our skin! What an incredible morning that was!

 

 

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AKR1

Stunning lion fight sequence. I wonder what we would have seen if you had a longer lens on. Thinking we might have seen a lion eyeball to rival the wildebeests death stare:o amazing presence of mind and steady hand to get those 7 sequential shots in 7 seconds. Holding down the shutter button, the D500 likely shot  around 70 images. 

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janzin
3 hours ago, AKR1 said:

Stunning lion fight sequence. I wonder what we would have seen if you had a longer lens on. Thinking we might have seen a lion eyeball to rival the wildebeests death stare:o amazing presence of mind and steady hand to get those 7 sequential shots in 7 seconds. Holding down the shutter button, the D500 likely shot  around 70 images. 

 

Oddly I checked and I only took about 30 shots. I think because we were on the move I wasn't even continuously shooting. It's all a blur! (Thankfully not the shots!)

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michael-ibk

A fantastic sequence, great to see!

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Marks

Excellent job capturing the lion tussle. What a sight!

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janzin

Just a bit more from Encounter Mara.

 

We did see a couple of cheetahs, but neither was doing anything except looking pretty.

 

cheetah_JZ5_1724a.jpg

 

These actually may be the same cheetah, I'm not 100% sure. There was one that was hanging around near the camp and we saw it a few times, but always just sleeping or under a bush!

 

cheetah_JZ5_1201a.jpg

 

He really didn't want much to do with us.

 

cheetah_JCZ_0344a.jpg

 

And we saw the start--and finish--of an unsuccessful lion hunt. This lioness was stalking a long line of zebras filing past...but she just couldn't get the timing right!

 

lion_JZ5_0972a.jpg

 

And of course, there were plenty of birds.

 

This area seemed especially good for raptors.

 

black_chested_snake_eagle_0677a.jpg

 

martial_eagle_1581a.jpg

 

Ping was very good at positioning the vehicle by a perched raptor, so that we could get that "taking flight" shot. Of course, at least half the time I missed it, but a few worked!

martial_eagle_1591b.jpg

 

black_chested_snake_eagle_0686a.jpg

 

This Lizard Buzzard was a life bird for us!

 

lizard_buzzard_0824a.jpg

 

As was this Grey Kestrel--unfortunately not in very good light.

 

grey_kestrel_1291a.jpg

 

On one drive we came upon a small area that was wetter than most and held some real trees and a good variety of birds. All of these birds were within a very small stretch of road.

 

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And a few more miscellaneous...for the birders...

 

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silverbird_1280a.jpg

 

So, needless to say we were not at all disappointed in the bounty of the Naboisho Conservency! But it was time to move on, to the Triangle and Wild Source's Enaidura Mobile Camp.

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Bush dog

Beautiful bird shots!

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Geoff

Yep, fabulous bird images. The 4th BC snake-eagle image is a beauty.

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janzin

thanks @Bush dog and @Geoff  It was really fun attempting for those taking-off flight shots, I have to say that sometimes I lost patience before Ping did...his patience paid off!

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offshorebirder

Outstanding bird photos @janzin!

 

The Martial Eagle is superb!    And I love Silverbirds - such understated beauty.

 

And as people have said - you did well with the Lion fight that appeared suddenly.

 

What is it about Grey Kestrels insisting on posing in bad light?

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pault

Really lovely photos! So weird recognising individual lions (like all! of them and places in Olare Motorogi having just sorted through my own photos. Thankfully I ahven't got any photos identifcal to yours or that section of my trip report would be really dull after this. You have that lion with a sort of Barry Manilow blow-dry look, while I have him with a kind of David Coverdale post-headbanging sweep over, for example. :D 

 

Ironically, when we were there last week Fig was hanging right next to Porini Lion so we had to drive 45 minutes to find her. She is so inconsiderate!

 

Loving the birds too - really nicely done.

 

@Geoff I don't know if you have a shot of that lion to compare (he's super-distinctive with the droopy mouth, big lips and 70s rock star mane) and I am not much for names, but I bleieve the two males currently dominant in Olare Motorogi actually look after multiple prides at the moment as the huge pride that was dominant in Olare Motorogi and beyond has now split into multiple smaller (but still large prides). These boys control tmost or all of these splinter groups and others. Real empire builders!! So I guess it is possible (if less likely) that you could have seen the same lion quite some distance away from OMC - although not sure how far you are talking.

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janzin

Thanks @pault I look forward to seeing your report soon :)

 

Did you see Fig's cubs? I saw on FB that she has two cubs now!!

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janzin

We set out with packed breakfast and lunch for our full-day drive to get to the Enaidura mobile camp on the Mara River. Before leaving the Encounter Mara area, we stopped to say hello to this lazing Cheetah; I believe the same one we saw the day before, as it was hanging around the same area. From this photo I'd say it was a female :)  Anyway, she gave us a sort of goodbye...

 

cheetah_JZ5_1858a.jpg

 

Finally she took a stroll.

 

cheetah_JZ5_1904a.jpg

 

But we had a long ride ahead, and couldn't really follow her.

 

A few more sightings in the early morning...

 

There gets to be a point a few days into a safari where you realize you haven't gotten any nice Impala shots! But these posed in some nice light.

 

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And there was a nice young 'un...

 

impala_fawn_2091a.jpg

 

 

More birds...

 

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Great looks at a White-headed Vulture, the least commonly seen of the vultures in the area...and listed as critically endangered.

 

white_headed_vulture_1941a.jpg

 

We stopped at a bush with a Lilac-breasted Roller, and patiently (or impatiently :) awaited the "take-off" shot.  So far this trip I hadn't been successful, but this time was the winner!

 

lilac_breasted_roller_1969a.jpg

 

lilac_breasted_roller_1978a.jpg

 

lilac_breasted_roller_1980a.jpg

 

I was happy with those!!

 

 

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janzin

It wasn't long after this that we ran into a little bit of a problem. Somehow...and I have no idea how, because the road was dry as a bone...we got stuck. We had stopped to look at something...don't recall what...and when we tried to get started again, the back wheels just spun and spun. We were stuck with a rock jammed up against some part of the undercarriage!

 

Ping valiantly tried to free us, using other rocks, a small plank, but the car just wouldn't budge. In this photo it really doesn't seem like it was bad, but it wouldn't move! It was soon determined that we would need to be pulled out.

 

 

stuck_2941.jpg.7f52b0500e1b9753354168ce6b7cda65.jpg

 

Now, here we are in what WE think is the wilderness...but for Ping, its his backyard. We actually could see some other vehicles in the distance but no way to contact them directly. And his home village wasn't far.  And amazingly cell phones work ;) So he did what any self-respecting man does in this sort of situation--he called his brother!  His brother I think couldn't come, but he was able to connect with some other nearby vehicles to get us some assistance.

 

So shortly thereafter help arrived in the form of some happy volunteers from another camp. They had guests with them, but its all par for the course on safari. Everyone was happy to help.

 

rescue_2943.jpg.66a123a1fb1e65ddab0e0e119c3e8ffc.jpg

 

Once we were hooked up, the tow took only 30 seconds and we were released :)

 

All the guides were old friends, and happy. Our saviours (Ping in the middle.)

 

rescue2_2946.thumb.jpg.ab89a08f724393bb9561701b66788f20.jpg

 

While all this was going on, hubby and I occupied ourselves by shooting some colorful Rock Agamas by the road. It was actually a rare opportunity to be out of the vehicle!

 

agama_2119a.jpg

 

agama_2122b.jpg

 

Soon we were on our way again, with not much time lost, and a story to tell!

 

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jeremie
On 6 de julio de 2017 at 1:16 AM, janzin said:

Just a bit more from Encounter Mara.

 

We did see a couple of cheetahs, but neither was doing anything except looking pretty.

 

cheetah_JZ5_1724a.jpg

 

These actually may be the same cheetah, I'm not 100% sure. There was one that was hanging around near the camp and we saw it a few times, but always just sleeping or under a bush!

 

cheetah_JZ5_1201a.jpg

 

 

 

If you look carefully to the spots especially on the front you can find some small differences. I would say you have seen different cheetahs, which is absolutely remarkable in this small area.

Edited by jeremie
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janzin

@jeremie actually I just checked the GPS coordinates and now I remember they were definitely two different cheetahs. One was at the far eastern edge of the conservancy, near an airstrip.  The 2nd was close to the camp.

 

So I'm pretty sure we saw three in this general area, since the one on the last morning was definitely a female. I think ;)

Edited by janzin
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Kitsafari

@janzin Love, Sex, lust, violence, war - you had it all in the Lion country! i enjoyed your series of mating and fight, even if you had on the wrong lenses. 

 

awesome sunrise and sunsets at the Mara landscapes! Mara just has some amazing and beautiful landscapes. 

 

Wow that martial eagle is stunning. 

 

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Galana

Just happening by and tuned in from the start. Some lovely and professional pictures as usual and a few tails to tell into the bargain..

Another JanZin special.

My memory is probably/possibly worse than yours but here is what I liked (I think).

The early sunrise when you got out and lay down on the job. It always works.

One of the sunsets was particularly striking with those purple tones and thunderheads.

Special mammals were the Jackal pup. Can a male person use the word 'adorable'? I hope so cos it was.

Fig down at the river. Worth the wait.

The Cat fight.

Birds too. Good to see you get some lifers. Great Wattle-eye. Lucky to see Usumbiro Barbet in Kenya. It hardly scrapes over the border.

Now for that Cisticola. I did not like "Zitting" on first glance and shared the opinion that it may be "Pectoral patch" but looked harder.

That red and faintly streaked crown hints it may be a "Rattling". The tail colours fit to.

 

Never seen a River Crossing and have no great wish to.

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janzin

@Galana I think you may be right re: the Cisticola.  The Zitting should be buffier on the flanks.

 

zitting_cisticola_7068a.jpg

 

Now what about this one? I also have it as Zitting.

 

zitting_cisticola_0743a.jpg

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pault
On 7/7/2017 at 8:45 PM, janzin said:

Thanks @pault I look forward to seeing your report soon :)

 

Did you see Fig's cubs? I saw on FB that she has two cubs now!!

 

Yes, briefly. She "debuted' them properly the day after we left but we got an"obscured view" sneak preview.

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janzin

Speaking of leopards...still en-route to Enaidura, shortly after our lunch break, we came upon leopard #5 of the trip. A truly magnificent cat, he was lying down resting in a cool stream gully, so we were viewing him from above.

 

We spent a long time watching him, hoping he'd get up. He didn't do much, but he was so beautiful we didn't mind just gazing at his magnificence :)  I hope you don't mind a little leopard overload.

 

At first he was just resting...

leopard_edited.jpg

 

Did a little washing....

 

leopard_JZ5_2173cfx.jpg

 

ah, sort of alert! Maybe he'll get up!

 

leopard_JZ5_2147cfx.jpg

 

Nah...

 

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more grooming?

 

leopard_JZ5_2227b.jpg

 

a bit of a scratch...

 

leopard_JZ5_2302a.jpg

 

Finally! He got up!

 

leopard_JZ5_2207a.jpg

 

...and then proceeded to lie down in that dark overhang--much worse for photographs. So we continued on...although he wouldn't be the last leopard we saw that day!

 

I wish I knew which leopard this was...Ping didn't know...and we were the only vehicle at this sighting! @Lyss any chance you know?  Here is where we saw him:

 

Capture.JPG.e7553a4641a7b2a264fd74458c5a3281.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

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