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This Week At Angama #171

Once again, Adam is reminded that even when sticking to the main roads within the Mara, and going out without a big fancy lens, you can still have some wonderful sightings and capture some magnificent scenes
A relaxed family of hyenas

I am happy to say that this week, unlike the last, I didn’t get stuck. The rains have increased over the last few nights and I decided to take a slightly more cautious approach by sticking mostly to the main roads. The adventurer in me struggled with this, but fortunately there is still so much happening on the main roads that it more than made up for it.

This week, I decided to only take images of animals on the road. Of course, there are a few images below of animals slightly off the path, but I can assure you that they are only just slightly off the main road. Most of them are very obviously on the track. So no big lenses needed this week.

At the moment, there is a delightful family of hyenas denning in a culvert pipe directly under the escarpment road. If you sit with them long enough, they relax and a seemingly endless collection of youngsters, varying in size, come out to investigate, play and then to nurse.

Two youngsters nursing f 4.0, 1/640, ISO 1000, -1.33
An inquisitive hyena pup f 4.0, 1/800, ISO 1000, -0.67
A ring-necked dove chasing a young hyena across the road f 3.5, 1/800, ISO 400, +0.67

Giraffes continue to thrive in the sanctuary of the Mara Triangle. I am always amazed at just how successful they are here. Such wonderful, delicate, handsome and silent creatures. I have always struggled to photograph them as their height and odd body proportions always seem to confuse the framing and composition

Two young males in a friendly battle f 5.0, 1/1000, ISO 400, +0.67
A family of southern ground hornbills having a meeting with a few giraffes f 5.6, 1/2000, ISO 400, +0.33
Ever inquisitive f 3.5, 1/2500, ISO 400, +1.0
Trying to frame one through the other f 3.5, 1/2500, ISO 400, +0.67

Birds are in the spotlight this week as we marked the eBird Global Birding Big Day, in which the full Angama guiding team participated. I believe they finished just shy of 200 bird species in the Triangle – an excellent effort.

A huge flock of open-billed storks flying over the Mara River f 4.0, 1/8000, ISO 250, -1.0
Lilac-breasted roller poses in a small twig f 4.0, 1/4000, ISO 400
Both Hildebrand’s (front) and superb (rear) starlings featured here in the same frame f 13.0, 1/125, ISO 1000, -0.67
A Verreaux’s eagle owl hiding in the shade of a tree f 4.0, 1/500, ISO 400, +0.33

Elephants are often found on the roads – they enjoy walking down the sandy tracks, often sleeping in the verges. There has been a little baby boom in the area and there are lots of little ones running around in the grasses. Sometimes they are so small that you can see only their backs as they move through the vegetation; allowing a proper view only when they run across the track in front of you.

A delightful sighting of a new born baby elephant f 4.0, 1/250, ISO 1000, -1.33

The areas that were burnt by the Mara Conservancy over the last few weeks are bursting with life. Short verdant green nutritious grasses are shooting up and the plains game species are congregating on these grazing pastures.

Eland enjoying the short grass f 4.0, 1/250, ISO 320, +0.33

Midweek we found a very large, and very dead hippo, just off the road. When I first found it, he was being fed on by Doa, one of the Bila Shaka males. I am assuming that the hippo died in battle with another hippo as there is no way a single male lion could have taken on a hippo of this size. What is for sure is that this carcass will provide meals for an array of animals: lions, hyenas, jackals and vultures.

Male lion known as Doa keeping an ever watchful eye f 4.0, 1/800, ISO 200, -1.0

Meanwhile, I spent some time with another one of the Bila Shaka males, Kibogoyo, as he walked down the road for almost an hour. It is clear that he has been involved in a number of fights as his face continues to be marred by scars. Of the lions we see regularly in the Triangle, it is Kibogoyo and his battle-marked face, which shows just how brutal the life of a male lion can be.

Male lion on the lookout f 2.8, 1/800, ISO 1000, +0.33
Kibogoyo shows off his battle scars f 2.8, 1/2000, ISO 1250

Now I know that these next photographs are not taken on a road, but they are just too wonderful to leave out. In fact, they were taken off the deck of North Camp. So again, no big lens needed. The much-loved hyrax family have had babies…lots of babies. Just yesterday I counted 10 and one of the females is still very obviously pregnant. Could there be anything more heart-warming than sitting quietly on the deck and watching these little ones nestling up to their mother, or playing with one another?

Angama Mara's resident hyrax family f 6.3, 1/320, ISO 800, -0.33
A cuddle puddle of hyrax babies f 4.0, 1/1000, ISO 800, -0.33

This Week Two Years Ago

Fighting elephant bulls, converted to black and white f 7.1, 1/500, ISO 500, +0.33

Elephant numbers seem to swell during the wetter seasons. I assume the elephant herds come down into the marshy parts of the Mara to feed. Two years ago I had front row seats to watch an epic battle between two elephants.

This Week Three Years Ago

Angama Mara's resident hyrax

I found it amusing to see how this blog, three years ago, also featured our resident, and much-adored, hyrax family.

Filed under: This Week at Angama

Tagged with:

Kenya , Lion , Maasai Mara , Mara Triangle , Photography , Safari , Travel , Wildlife

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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