Category Archives: Wildlife

Small and Beautiful

Summer is here! All you have to do is to go out into a park or deserted area and if you pause for a while and allow your eyes adjust to the space around you,  you will start noticing flies, insects, ants and a whole lot more moving around the place. But have you actually taken a good look at these “Creatures”?

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They are exquisitely created in form, colour and size; and are born with the will to survive. I do believe that they have been the source of inspiration for the “Aliens” that have been created in the sci-fi movies of the recent past.

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From the common house fly to the tiny butterflies,  from the bees that carry pollen from one flower to the other in search of honey, to the busy ants….they are all on a mission….they need to collect enough food for the day to grow, survive and later on pass their genes to the next generation.

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We do’nt always see the beauty in these tiny creatures for a couple of reasons….firstly, we consider ourselves superior and busy, and do not spare them a thought, – especially if it means we have to go out in the heat to look for them; and secondly, they are so small that unless you actually make the effort to find them, and inspect them closely, you never really get to see the great level of perfection and detail that each one of them possess.

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Although they are found almost all year round, probably the best time to find them is during the spring/summer months. Mornings are generally the best time, this is when activity is at its highest.

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Take a few minutes each time you pass by some flowers or tall grass, look for them……you will not be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

Africa…….at last!!

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After so many years of watching National Geography, it was finally a bit difficult to accept the fact that we were actually in the Masai Mara. Hundreds of different images kept flashing through our minds as our vehicle slowly made its way past the animals, most of them oblivious to the fact that we were there.

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We did get a few inquisitive stares from some of the inhabitants of the grasslands, but then that was to be expected. The Zebra’s, one of the most commonly sighted animals on the plains (we soon found that out) were definitely amused with us.

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This young giraffe also seemed to think the same. He actually stopped his feeding just to give us a stare which told us that we should move on and not keep watching him.IMG_0329a

Then came the Topi, but hey, we were getting better at watching the animals, and not showing too much excitement, because the warthogs that flanked the antelope showed little or no interest in us…they just continued feeding their faces.

“Caution…we are now getting close to the Hippo’s, they are very dangerous animals”  said our guide….this was the scene that met our eyes..

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These guys were in a state of bliss….looked like they could go on sleeping like that for another 2 days. There was no way we were going to disturb them!

But yes, there was one little guy who did not take to us at all…for some reason he was hell bent on chasing us away from there. He would take 3 steps forward, and 3 backward; just kept pretending to frighten us away…he  kept it up for a while and then just got tired of his little game.

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We cannot really begin to describe the emotions that went through us as we watched the animals, looked for new ones, understood their habits and behavioral patterns. Our eyes kept searching the horizons for more, and our fingers kept clicking.

But enough for now, join us later as we continue our drive through the Masai Mara….

Don’t Come Too Close

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Its been close to a year now, and we have gotten kind of “hooked” on wildlife.

Going to a wildlife sanctuary, and being part of a safari is extremely exciting; but to be able to spot an animal in the wild, also requires a bit of luck, and some blessings from above.

The whole experience is very exciting. You get up at 0430-0500 Hrs and start getting ready. The safari jeep arrives by 0545-0600 Hrs, and then by 0630 Hrs you are actually driving into the sanctuary. During the winter months, this part of the morning is extremely cold and misty. The jeeps travel fast, and that only adds to the cold! You start to feeling the cold beginning to really bite into you as you struggle to keep your ears warm, and your camera from falling from your fingers that are stiff with the cold. There is a feeling of unreality; – you are being bounced around in a small jeep, it is still a bit dark, there are shadows everywhere, and you see all sorts of shapes and movements in the large jungle. Not an easy job this, – holding your head gear in place for the cold, and your camera in the other, while trying to balance in the jeep and not fall off. There is only one thought in everyone’s mind – “TIGER” !!

Time passes, we see the pug marks of the tiger, and try to track it. We suddenly hear the animal cry’s…something is nearby. We cut the engines of the jeep and wait….and wait…and wait !  No luck today…nothing happens.

Disappointed, spirits low, we start making our way back. We were so close; but then with wildlife sighting, this is something you need to get used to..sometimes you hit the jackpot, quite often you see nothing.

We are almost out of the jungle when suddenly the guide tells us there is a leopard moving up ahead. Our moods shift gear immediately, all eyes are searching the thick undergrowth and trees for signs of movement. And then suddenly, there she was!! It was almost as if she was sunbathing; with not a care in the world.

We took some really good pictures and then moved on, careful not  to disturb her peaceful morning.

The day did turn out well in the end !

 

A Strange Encounter

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This is positively one of the oddest ducks that we have seen in our lives. We were out at the park, and they had a small area where a few ducks were being kept. We went closer only to realize that they were different from any other ducks that we had seen before. One of them in particular had found a feather on the ground (actually it looked like it was his own), and he kept moving around all over the place carrying this feather in his beak.

Every time we tried to get a little closer to him he would move away, so finally we decided to just sit around and watch them move around the place. We had been sitting there for close to half an hour when we noticed that this particular duck was coming closer and closer to us, and finally he stationed himself about 4 feet away from us. He never came closer, but that was good enough for us to get as many photographs as we needed.

Lesson learnt, – when interacting with birds and animals, let them come to you. Be patient, let them know that you are not there to harm them; once they realize this, they lose their fear, and will come closer than you expect them to.

 

Family Meal

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 Meal time is family time…take some quality time off from your busy schedule and spend it sharing a meal with your loved ones. It helps build relationships and makes you feel a whole lot better for having taken the time to do so.

This was taken in Al Ain Zoo earlier this year. The other animals were just roaming about aimlessly (at least that was how it seemed to us), but all the giraffe’s got together, and decided to have their afternoon meal. It was quite interesting to see how just one of them would pick up some of the grass, and suddenly there would be 3-4 heads converging on the one that had collected the grass, and they would all pick small shares literally from the others mouth. What was more surprising was that the one that had collected the grass in the first place did not seem to mind at all that the others were taking the grass literally out of its mouth. Fortunately, different giraffe’s kept picking up the grass,while the others helped themselves to a mouthful.

We took a few pictures and then moved on. What we found interesting about the giraffe’s were that they did not seem to mind sharing the food at all; something quite contrary to what we understand about the wild..that its all about the survival of the fittest.

We found the photography interesting for a few reasons…firstly, the calm temperament of the animals, secondly, their color made a nice contrast against the sky, and thirdly, because of their height, it helped to eliminate the clutter/distraction on the ground and leave a clear background to frame the image in.