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Journal Entry: Sun Jan 11, 2015, 2:24 AM
I'm having to draw my adventures through KwaZulu Natal to a close for the time being, as I prepare for another trip to Victoria, Australia, where I hope to look up my old pal Digger the Koala. I thought I'd finish this South African trip by presenting some of the other animals and birds that I encountered. Hopefully, having seen the cheetah, the hippos, the rhinos, the cranes and all the other shots, you will still find some interest in these.

Animals



The first of the set is this little fellow - a suni ==> en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suni. This is a tiny species of antelope (not more than 18 inches), quite rare and very shy, found more in well wooded areas rather than the open bush. We encountered this one and a couple of others at Phinda Vlei one evening. Despite the size and the "bambi" look these suni antelope are very territorial and defend their territories by fighting with those sharp horns. 

Sticking with aggressive behaviour, there is nothing quite like an alpha male baboon, the second shot below. Although we were a couple of hundred meters away, he was giving us a very pointed stare - "Get Offa My Cloud" - well, termite mound actually. The rest of his troupe were nowhere to be seen, and he was probably out on scouting patrol, checking the area was clear of predators.

Suni by Okavanga    Male Baboon by Okavanga


We need to have a bit of a cutie pie shot, so here is a young zebra. They are highly attractive animals, well able to look after themselves when fully grown. Each stripe pattern is unique, and as this zebra matures so further stripes will develop on the legs. Regarded by most Africans who live in the bush as a treacherous and very dangerous animal, the crocodile has a fearsome reputation. They can grow to 9 meters in length (30 feet), live for decades, and have no predators when fully grown. Hippos are know to kill crocodiles by stamping, and very young hatchlings are prey to herons, but otherwise animals do not knowingly go near them. This crocodile is sunbathing (they are cold-blooded) on  a sand bar, and the open mouth is a means of cooling down. When fully warmed up, they submerge in the water. This image is worth looking at in full view to appreciate the detail of the skin.

Young Zebra by Okavanga   Resting Crocodile by Okavanga


That suni was a very unusual find - not your usual photographic capture. Here is another unusual animal - a Berg Adder. We encountered this in the Kamberg while looking at Rock Art high in the peaks. It bit the guide's boot, and then disappeared into the rocks. Its venom is not that poisonous to humans, but they are best avoided.



Berg Adder by Okavanga


Birds



The birds of South Africa are worthy of a life time study. The first in this set is an African Fish Eagle, snapped at Makakatana. I am not claiming this as a brilliant shot, but it was extremely difficult to capture. The light was poor, I was on a rocking boat, there was a crowd of people jostling around trying to see the bird, and the eagle, which was about 150 meters distant, kept moving. I reckon I hit about 50 shots, and this was the best. The next shot is of a brown-hooded kingfisher, a woodland species of kingfisher. That beak is nothing short of spectacular!


Fish Eagle by Okavanga   Brown-Hooded Kingfisher by Okavanga


Known locally as the Jesus bird, because of its apparent ability to walk on water, the Jacana shown below has feet with extra long toes that allow it to stride and stand on lily leaves on ponds and lakes. This turned out to be another bird that was difficult to capture as it moved continuously and in jerky movements. Trying to get focus was a problem. The second image below is of a pair of white-breasted cormorants, along with their chick in the nest. Taken at Makakatana wetlands, the tree upon which these birds are nesting housed about 50 pairs of cormorants. The vigilant look of the pair is because there were raptors nearby - buzzards and eagles, quite capable of lifting that chick. As an eagle came near, the whole colony of cormorants rose up squawking and flying in all directions to confuse the predator - very effectively while we were there.



Jacana by Okavanga   White-Breasted Cormorants by Okavanga


I was going to devote a whole Journal to the masked weaver and its nest-building, but there is not enough time. The hanging nests seen below is built by the male weavers, and when lined with moss and grass the male then displays hoping to attract a female to the nest. Females appear to choose their mates by the quality of the nest. Different species of weavers have different shaped nests. The second shot shows a male having a well-earned rest


Masked Weaver and Nest by Okavanga    Masked Weaver by Okavanga

Finally, here is a capture of one of the commonest and greediest of South African birds - the bulbul - having a spot of breakfast.




Bulbul by Okavanga

Well, that's it for now from South Africa. I hope you have enjoyed the photographs and Journals. I'm soon off on further travels.

Cheers

David



Elephant, Phinda Vlei by Okavanga

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David
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Monochrome - Water Abstraction by Okavanga
Monochrome - Water Abstraction
The slowly moving water in the stream provides reflections and ripples that create an image verging on the abstract.

More images from use of Google's Nik Silver Efex Pro software to generate  monochrome pictures. Effects such as tinting (selenium and others) edge burning and vignetting have been used as felt necessary.

Monochrome - Seascape by OkavangaMonochrome - Geometry by OkavangaMonochrome - Reflections by OkavangaMonochrome - Skyscape by OkavangaMonochrome - Whisky Glass by Okavanga
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Monochrome - Seascape by Okavanga
Monochrome - Seascape
Hig flying spray at Ballito, Durban, South Africa. The detail in the rocks, sky, and spray brought out from an otherwise lacklustre monochrome image by balanced use of contrast controls.

More images from use of Google's Nik Silver Efex Pro software to generate  monochrome pictures. Effects such as tinting (selenium and others) edge burning and vignetting have been used as felt necessary.

Monochrome - Water Abstraction by OkavangaMonochrome - Geometry by OkavangaMonochrome - Reflections by OkavangaMonochrome - Skyscape by OkavangaMonochrome - Whisky Glass by Okavanga
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:iconscooby777:
Scooby777 Featured By Owner 21 hours ago  Hobbyist Photographer
Thx so much for your support, David!

Thank You by KmyGraphic
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:iconokavanga:
Okavanga Featured By Owner 9 hours ago
That's OK, Sheri. Many thanks to you too.

Cheers

David
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:iconplaci1:
Placi1 Featured By Owner 21 hours ago
Many thanks for adding my pictures to your collection!!
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:iconokavanga:
Okavanga Featured By Owner 9 hours ago
No probs, László.

David
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:iconharrietmjones:
HarrietmJones Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for the faves. :D
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:iconokavanga:
Okavanga Featured By Owner 2 days ago
My pleasure.

David
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martaraff Featured By Owner 3 days ago
Thank you, David! *:heart:*
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:iconokavanga:
Okavanga Featured By Owner 2 days ago
:iconthumbupplz:

David
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:iconplaci1:
Placi1 Featured By Owner 4 days ago
Thank you for the faves David!!

László
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Okavanga Featured By Owner 3 days ago
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