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This Week At Angama #157

As the weather begins to warm up, the Mara continues to enthral in new ways. Adam Bannister writes how with no two days ever being the same there is always the possibility that today could be the day for that special shot
Adam's sighting of the week, a male southern ground hornbill catches a feast

Dare I say it, but is seems as if the rain has abated. Well, for the moment at least. Daily temperatures are rising, the skies are clearing, and the grass is quickly transforming before our very eyes - from verdant green into a gorgeous gold. 

Dawn breaks in the Maasai Mara f 4.0, 1/6400, ISO 250
A lone giraffe bull strides across the clearing in search of his next meal f 5.0, 1/3200, ISO 320, -0.67

The longer grass forces oneself to think out of the box. As I wrote in a blog story earlier this week, this is a time of year when the Mara landscape literally glistens with beauty.

Catching a little shut eye, having been out patrolling and marauding all night f 4.0, 1/2000, ISO 640, -0.67
Ten points if you can guess which species this is? (You'll find the answer below in the Editor's Note) f 4.0, 1/1600, ISO 640

It also forces guides to drive a little slower, to look a little more carefully, and in doing so we often find ourselves appreciating the smaller animals and the subtle stories taking place within the reserve. 

Birds of all shapes and sizes continue to thrive in the Mara ecosystem

I frequently write about what is required to photograph an ecosystem week in and week out, to use local knowledge and experience to predict animal movements and behaviour, but to constantly use fresh eyes in the process. I strive to do justice to the Mara in my imagery and use each of these blogs as a blank canvas to convey new stories and fresh insights. 

This week brought an abundance of animal sightings in the Mara Triangle

Topi are at the height of excitement right now. The males are busily establishing short-lived territories, attempting to gather females together into a harem. Soon, it will be time to mate so come late October the females all give birth en masse.  At camp we have a small group of zebra that have become permanent residents. We call them ‘non-paying guests’ and we love them dearly. Above, one poses for me at the entrance to the swimming pool.

Hyena continue to torment the buffalo population in the Mara f 4.0, 1/5000, ISO 640

I watched a clan of 15 hyenas continually harass this specific group of buffalo. They were attempting to separate the various new born calves from their protective mothers. We believe that as much as 95% of all hyena meals come from their own hunts, and not from scavenging, as is often erroneously believed. 

The Egyptian Pride rest at Egyptian Dam f 10.0, 1/400, ISO 200

The Egyptian Pride continue to ‘camp-out’ at Egyptian Dam. The seven cubs are growing up fast and we are all excited at the mouth-watering prospects for this family of lions. 

The Elephants in the Mara are not only abundant, but incredibly relaxed too

One of the jewels of the Mara Triangle is its elephant population. Not only are there elephants just about everywhere you look, but they are generally very relaxed, allowing for peaceful, gentle viewing. 

A quick stretch and a show of unity amongst sisters f 4.5, 1/640, ISO 400, -0.67
A serval cat silently stalks a rodent in the long grass f 3.5, 1/4000, ISO 400, -0.67

The Mara beats to its own rhythm. We are merely spectators, but dig a little bit deeper, invest the hours, and you will be richly rewarded.

A male Southern ground hornbill with a range of treats for his mate and fledgling nesting nearby

The sighting of the week, for me, was of this male southern ground hornbill, walking alongside the road. In his bill he had not just one, but two, small puff adders, a rat and a grasshopper! We know that his nest is located in a large tree not too far away, and inside that nest is his flightless mate, and his nearly fledged single chick. What a remarkable father. We can't wait to see more from this lovely little family.

This Week Two Years Ago

Impala jumping in the early morning light f 4.0, 1/400, ISO 250

Two years ago, dancing impala took centre stage of the weekly blog. The morning light at the moment is sheer photographic gold. The rather late sunrise allows you to be quite far into the reserve by the time it starts getting light. It is during these moments that things regularly fall into place.
 

Note from the Editor

If you spotted the birding question, the answer is ... Helmeted guineafowl chicks. Ten points are yours and a very happy weekend to all.

Filed under: This Week At Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Mara , angama wildlife , Photographic Safari , Safari Photography , The Angama Photographic Studio , This Week At Angama

About: Adam Bannister

A South African-trained biologist, safari guide, author, filmmaker and photographer, Adam is, above all else, a gifted storyteller. After spending the past 10 years working in some of the world’s most beautiful wild places – the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa, Rajasthan in India, Brazil’s Pantanal, and the rainforests of Manu National Park in Peru – he is delighted to share his stories of one of the loveliest game reserves of them all, the Maasai Mara.

Browse all articles by Adam Bannister Meet the angama team

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