Sunday, January 31, 2016

Serengeti New Year's Eve

December 31: Our tented camp in the Serengeti was amazingly comfortable and luxurious, but the staff really outdid themselves for New Year's Eve, both brunch and dinner. Even the sunrise was celebratory.









More Serengeti Animals

December 31: I've posted pictures of these animals — bat-eared fox, elands, and wildebeests — before, but each picture shows some additional aspects of the animal and the scene. The last two pictures feature the amazing golden late-afternoon Serengeti light.






Saturday, January 30, 2016

More Serengeti Birds

December 31: One would probably have to go to several zoos to see these birds in the United States, if you could find them at all. In the Serengeti they're just hanging out.

Ostriches - three females leading a male

Steppe eagle


Buff-crested bustard


Pygmy falcon


Lions and a Cheetah in the Serengeti

December 31, 2015: The last day of the year was a good one for viewing two of the big carnivores. The lions were easy to find, since they were hanging out in a cluster of kopjes, small rocky hills. The golden light in the early morning worked beautifully with the colors of the rocks and the lions' coats.








The cheetah required some serious searching—it was hiding in a bush—but we were eventually successful. I was able to get a close-up as well as left and right profiles!






Friday, January 29, 2016

Serengeti Skies

December 30. The skies over the Serengeti are frequently as beautiful and striking as the animals: often at sunset, and sometimes in the "golden hours" of morning and afternoon.




Serengeti Creatures Large and Small

December 30: Examples of the great diversity of life on the Serengeti. Some are majestic, others not so much.

Elands, the largest African antelopes

Giraffes

Bat-eared fox

Dung beetles. The dung ball is about 1.5 inches in diameter.






Birds of the Serengeti

December 30, 2015: Serengeti is not just the charismatic carnivores and their herbivore prey. There are lots of interesting birds, which largely subsist on small prey and leftovers from the big kills. These are ones we saw today that stood still for decent pictures.

Tawny eagle

Lappet-faced vultures flanking tawny eagle

RĂ¼pell's vultures picking over the remains of a carcass, 
with a Maribou stork looking on from the left

Tawny eagle, with lighter color

Lappet-faced vulture


European roller


Secretary bird, which eats poisonous snakes



Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hyenas

December 30: Hyenas are the most common carnivores in the Serengeti, though lions are dominant when they make the effort. Here we see some family interactions,



vultures waiting for the leftovers at a wildebeest kill (probably made by lions), 








and an old hyena totally blind with cataracts, probably not long for this world.


Wildebeests beginning the Great Migration

December 29 and 30: In the Serengeti at the beginning of the rainy (grass-growing) season, we began to see the concentrations of wildebeests that make this place and time so remarkable.




With a Thomson's gazelle in the foreground

Acacia trees are a striking feature of the landscape.

Evening migration near our tented camp

 The next morning


Every few minutes they begin to run, for no obvious reason.