Portrait Sitting – Caracal

Spotting the movement of this caracal crossing a track between the bounding vegetation. I dropped immediately to the ground. Sheltered behind the grass, I started taking bursts of photos… Keeping as still as I could.

Caracal portrait sitting 500 f5.6E PF TC14 III Z7-8442

The cat could not work out just what was that had moved to its right. It sat staring at me, through me it seemed ….

Caracal portrait sitting crp 500 f5.6E PF TC14 III Z7-8479

…with the camera shutter already set to silent (my standard setting), I shot 74 frames before this beautiful cat stood up, and then walked off out of sight.

Caracal portrait sitting 500 f5.6E PF TC14 III Z7-8483

 

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Male Leopard

The blood stains on his jowls and whiskers reveal this large male leopard had fed recently. He was seeking out a safe spot to rest up in the summer heat. Close to the Shingwedzi River, Kruger National Park

Nikon D850, 400mm 2.8E FL Nikkor

male Leopard near Red Rocks 400 f2.8E FL-5355

 

male leopard posing 70-200 f2.8E Z7_00001_Z7D5149

male Leopard near Red Rocks 400 f2.8E FL-5368

 

 

 

 

 

A Tsessebe bull pauses in his grazing

Tsessebe Bull_KNP S48-3687
Within half an hour north of sighting a herd of Roan antelope along the S48 road, Kruger National Park, we met a herd of tsessebe, totalling at least 10 individuals.
The tsessebes are a species group of which I am especially fond; I spent many months of research revising the species complex to describe the Bangweulu Tsessebe, Damaliscus superstes 2003 – endemic to northeast Zambia. Its range is contained south and east of Chambeshi and Luombwa rivers, respectively; where this endemic species depends entirely on the seasonally flooded margins of the vast Bangweulu Swamps.

Alongside photographing representative individuals, I examined all available museum collections (N America. Europe and southern Africa. Several of these specimens wore the names of distinguished collectors, including F C Selous. No surprises the Mammal Collection I was curating back then, in The Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo had the largest series of Southern Tsessebe in any museum – comprising most of the grand total of 145 specimens (I could find). These had been collected since Burchell shot the holotype near Kuruman in the early 1820s. Fortunately, the specimens had been preserved for science and conservation. Many are from localities, where most large mammals were later extirpated. Tsessebe are extinct in Mozambique
Nikon Z7, 500 f5.6E PF Nikkor

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Jurassic Window…

A massive Crocodile submerges beneath the meniscus of its refuge – a deep, dark pool incised into Karoo sandstones

Tsendze river, Kruger National Park

Nikon Z7, 400mm f2.8E FL Nikkor + TC2E III

Jurassic Window crocodile toothy reflection Z7_00001_Z7D3760 crpd

This was one of two large Nile crocodiles basking motionless in the late afternoon sun, on the west bank of a dark, still pool in the Tsendze River.

The largest croc decided to return to its aquatic refuge, and submerged silently into the pool without a splash. The side lighting and blurred vegetation augments the atmosphere of the scene. The clawed foot, heavily armoured scutes, its massiveness, with reflecting teeth croc underscore the menacing presence of these remarkable predators – a fascinating evolutionary success story.

The first ancestors of modern crocodiles originated in the Mesozoic (Late Triassic – Jurassic), and they occurred across the southern continents then conjoined as Gondwanaland. The Tsendze river has incised Karoo sandstones (Stormberg Formation of Jurassic age) laid down in Gondwana times.