Impala, Wildebeest, a pair of Crowned Plovers I so wanted to photograph, and cut across the short grass where everyone was gathering: a pair of Cheetah basking below a tree. We pulled up, took a few photos and moved back quickly. Props to the guides for not staying long enough to put the animals under stress. CHEETAH!
stood in the road (2) and called back in return. They were soon reunited and continued on.
hopped around looking for prey. cool! Numerous Buffy Pipits were bouncing in the road ahead of the van as we continued on. Charles was following his buddy in the jeep ahead of us, and speaking several times in Swahili, never telling us what the destination was. But we were heading in the same direction that a very large Ruppels Vulture was headed. A kill!
Hooded and African White-backed Vultures from the remains of a very large Cape Bufflalo carcass. As we pulled up and photographed her in the open, we started counting two more, and more, and more, until we counted 10 Lions! They were resting under the nearby trees while we took turns photographing the vultures and the Lionness. At one point a very old, beat-up Lionness walked right alongside the van and looked up at us. She hard a deep cut over a glazed-over eye indicating a fresh battle scar and blindness. Soon the rest of the pride got up and followed her back out to the road. One Lion remained behind sleeping. I took so many photos of the pride that I put them into a slide show (click on the image below).
|Click on image to start Slideshow|
Crowned Plover on a large rock. This was soon followed by a pair of African Darters, a pair of Grey-backed Fiscals, Ruppels Starling, an African Grey Hornbill, and a Lilac-breasted Roller. We then spotted a Zebra Migration in progress. Hundreds approached us from a grassy hill and marched across the road to join hundreds more Zebras and Wildebeest. Watching these animals walking through golden grass in long formation was almost a religious experience. In some ways it was more memorable than the lion experience.
Hippotomus. Vervet Monkeys greeted us on the exterior of the lodge while Ruppel's Long-tailed Starlings greeted us inside the grounds. A canopy boardwalk took us several hundred yards into the forest and pond area where we counted 6-8 Hippos, a Wattled Plover, a pair of Yellow-billed Storks, Speckled Mousebirds, Lesser-streaked Swallows, and a Spot-flanked Barbet. On the way out I spotted an African Grey Flycatcher that looks much like our Warbling Vireos.
|Bare-faced Go-away Bird|
family of Elephants 100 yds away was the highlight of the mammal sightings. We spent a few minutes photographing them from a distance, then headed back to the lodge.
Vervet Monkeys that continued to hang around the courtyard to the lodge.
met by a large cattle herd being driven by some of Thomas' siblings. Things started on a tense note. We were stopped as we past the game warden's compound by an armed and agitated soldier. Charles explained that he wanted to see all of our entrance tickets to the park. Luckily we had them. We were able to proceed.
Spotted Hyena!" We fired away at it as it padded its way toward us, then toward the now-alert Cheetah, all the time sniffing the air for scent of a nearby kill. It finally ran between ours and the other van before heading off into the plains. A second hyena was spotted far out in the plains of Wildebeest. Nothing happened, though.
Mara Sopa Lodge, Masai Mara NR
Emerald Ground Dove
African White-backed Vulture
Ruppel's Long-tailed Starling
Great Blue-eared Starling
Lesser Streaked Swallow
African Grey Flycatcher
Bare-faced Go-away Bird
Northern White-crowned Shrike
African Grey Hornbill