Friday, February 15, 2019

Kenya Day 12 - Porini Lion

Our morning game drive today starting out with a nice sunrise that even the Topi enjoyed:
Topi Sunrise

As a matter of fact, we found a couple that were doing some play fighting in the early morning light:
Topi Battle

Next, we came upon a pair of Bat-eared Foxes.  One shot into a nearby hole immediately, the but the other stayed above ground and posed for a few photos:
Bat-eared Fox Sunbathing

As we were watching the fox, we noticed that a hyena was ambling our way:
Hyena Approaches

The fox took notice as well:
Fox on Alert

We thought that there might be some sort of altercation, but the hyena just continue to walk on by as the fox watched it go:
Hyena Passes By

We were near to the hyena den so we decided to go take a look.  On the way, we encountered this Egyptian goose with three little "Ryans" (You know, Goslings...)
Egyptian Goose and little

There wasn't much action at the hyena den but one pup did manage to say hello before moving away:
Hyena Pup

As we continued with the morning drive, we found a pride of about 12 lions.  They were all lounging around and, if their full bellies were any indication, they were relaxing after a big meal:
Sleeping Lions with full bellies

Too full to even roll over

Part of The Pride

Speaking of meals, we decided to stop for a bush breakfast shortly after seeing the lions.  As I mentioned before, the daily bush breakfasts were really nice because it allowed us to stay out during prime wildlife watching time.  Here is a look at the standard breakfast goodies:
A Typical Bush Breakfast

Notice that there was one banana for each of us and Four for Karen.  That was just about the right ratio for her.

Our breakfast today was in another lovely spot:
Masai Guide Scanning

After breakfast, the drive continued with a nice Waterbuck:

The best encounter of the drive was definitely what we saw next.  It was a tiny giraffe with its mother:
Tiny Baby Giraffe

Look how small it is:
Big size difference

It could almost walk under its mother without ducking:
Almost doesn't have to duck

We were fairly far away and the guides asked if we wanted to get closer but we decided not to stress out this beautiful pair at all so we continued on our way.  What a treat to see such a little giraffe though.

During the mid-day break I wandered around camp again but the bird life was pretty low.  There were some baboons close by but they didn't pose for any pictures and I made sure not to get too close to them.  I did notice that the clouds were forming again though...

We left for our afternoon drive at around 4PM.  It looked and felt like rain was coming but that didn't deter us at all.  It also didn't deter this pair of dik diks that held still just long enough for a photo or two.  Would this be a Dik Dik Dik Dik?
Dik Dik Dik Dik

There was a young one with them but it would not stay still for pictures and as we were moving the vehicle around to get a better look someone spotted a Slender Mongoose.  So, the dik diks were quickly forgotten as we tried to photography the mongoose.  It didn't run away but was really playing hard to get.  I only managed to get one keeper photo:
Slender Mongoose

As I mentioned yesterday, no one had seen Fig in a while so we decided to go see if we could find her since it would be nice to see a leopard one last time.  As the weather got more and more ominous, we drove around her territory hoping to spot her.  But, unless a leopard wants to be seen it really is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

We could see the rain coming now so our driver stopped the vehicle to pull down the side flaps.  Just as Julius was climbing along the side of the car he exclaimed "There she is!" and pointed.

We all turned to see Figs head pop up and look around:
Fig Magically Appears

She must have been in the small ravine/river bed that runs through this part of the conservancy and picked that moment to come out right next to our vehicle.  How lucky was that!?

She came up out of the ravine and posed beautifully for us:
Fig Posing Nicely

We were the only vehicle at this sighting for a little bit until the two other Porini vehicles showed up.  As we were watching the leopard, our guide and driver put down the left flap and angled the vehicle so the left side was facing the storm and the right side was open and facing towards Fig.

None of the other vehicles did this little maneuver which is too bad because right after we did it the skies opened up and it poured down rain.  We could see all the people in the other vehicles scramble to put on ponchos and as the guides got out to pull the sides down.  It was actually kind of funny to witness all the scrambling so we all had a nice laugh at our good luck and we thanked our guides profusely.

Meanwhile, Fig also moved to find shelter from the rain:
Looking For a Dry Spot

She picked a spot that provided some shelter but also good visibility since it appeared that she was trying to hunt:
Taking refuge from the rain

So, this is where we had sun downers (rain downers?) today.  Out in the plains of Africa, in the rain, watching a leopard.  I am not sure I have tasted a better gin and tonic...

Once the rain let up a little bit, she moved out into the grass slowly with her eyes on a nearby gazelle:
Hunting for Gazelle

But, any thoughts of a hunt were dashed by a wandering hyena.  Fig didn't want anything to do with this hyena so she got as low as she could to avoid detection.  In the below photo, she is right above the hyena looking our way right at it:
Where's the Leopard?

The hyena eventually wandered off but the light got really low so we weren't able to see what Fig ended up doing.  I did get one last Africa sunset shot:
Another Beautiful Sunset

After dinner, we had our final night drive planned.  We left at around 9:15PM for the hour drive.  Our guide immediately found some eye shine in a tree.  It turned out to be a Senegal Galago (or Lesser Bushbay).  It looks like a little gremlin but didn't want to come out for picture so a red tinted obstruction filled picture is the best evidence I have:
Senegal Galago (Red Spotlight)

Very close by we found a Greater Galago:
Greater Galago (Red Spotlight)

And then we found another Senegal Galago.  But, as we tried to get closer to this 2nd one it did something that astounded all of us.  It jumped down from the tree it was in, hit the ground and jumped high in the air, hit the ground again, jumped high in the air again and landed towards the top of another tree some 30 meters away.  Holy crap!  It was like we encountered some bionic gremlin.  We had no idea they could jump that high and far.  It was amazing to see.

We ended up having a really good night drive since we saw a bat-eared fox, 3 spring hares, 1 scrub hares, a couple wandering hippos, 1 lion, 2 white-tailed mongoose, and a really newborn gazelle.  Here are some red tinted photos of the latter two encounters:

White-tailed Mongoose

Newborn Gazelle (Red Spotlight)

And that ended our last full day in the African bush.  No cubs today, but it was still a really nice day filled with some excellent encounters.  Luckily, we had one game drive left tomorrow morning before we had to leave so we weren't quite finished with Africa yet.

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