Half an hour in Helsinki airport, so thought I would upload a few pics from the trip with Jari Peltomaki where I met up with a couple of buzzers, both of whom keep their heads down on this site - David white (who anyone who came to the FB conference a couple of years ago will remember from his farm buzzer hide pics) & Phil Dennison. First Oulu, then Kuusamo for the Black Grouse Lek, but also some eagles. Bit chilly!
To Jari's home for some waxwings
Some rather dark red squirrels with the biggest ear tufts I've ever seen. Easier for the eagles to spot them.
Spring hasn't yet really sprung in Finland & we were too early for the bears to have woken up properly, so we have a couple of quite thin nights in the hides, which are quite comfortable (& heated).
Finally, out in the open, but it needed some patience!
Paying the man to sit in his shed watch the wildlife he has cultivated has been a bit controversial, but I am on my way back from Zimanga in South Africa where they have “super-hides” with one-way glass for birds, & mammals.
There are hides at water-level for waders.
Movable hides for the variable nesting-sites of bee-eaters.
These animals are all properly wild, & not habituated any more than any others, but very unfortunately, all the rhinos have recently been de-horned after poaching. We may be the last generation ever to have seen a rhino horn on a rhino.
There is an overnight hide with real beds & a backroom with kettle, fridge & microwave (even internet!) & LED lighting. There is an infrared motion detector if you need a nap.
There's always one won't get in line!
At Zimanga, there are also chipped predators – 4 lions, but just a single cheetah (the male died recently). This means the animals can always be found by telemetry - not always in a good place to see them, though. This pic on a fresh kill taken with 24mm on foot, so not so “wild”, but a real kill.
There is a pack of 18 dogs which are a highlight, two collared for telemetry. We spent a lot of time with them on foot / lying in the dirt within touching distance. They were oblivious to us & appeared to behave normally with lots of interaction, fights & rough & tumble.
We saw two kills, one after seeing the whole hunt, from start to sleeping it off.
I won’t post the more gruesome images!
There is a whiff of captivity here, but the reserve is about 15km across & well managed. The Mara, it ain’t, but if you can tolerate or want human habituation in your African predators, I can’t believe there is anywhere better. A very memorable week.
I've spent quite a few evenings watching this fox grow in the last couple of months. Usually frustratingly coming out just after it's too dark for pics, but still a joy to watch. We had two adults & three cubs, but Ive only seen one in the last month or so. Some pics in the evening sunshine.
This is the first non pay&display wildlife I have managed & it has been great fun, although also a great way to waste a lot of time! Comments & grits very gratefully received.
The boat trip was very worthwhile. Lots of visits, but could have been much better had there been more thought put into it for photographers. The fish could have been chucked downwind to have the bird coming towards us & with a better background. Martin is an affable guy, but a Yorkshireman!
Newer Posts »
Simon Roberts - sr at snjr.co.uk