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Butterfly
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Day Brook Pond, yesterday. Redding up nicely. That little cold pocket were the stream comes into the pond is always among the first areas to show fall color. It is always hard to know how to display a sweep panorama...especially a vertical one. Sony RX10iv in Sweep Panorama Mode. +1.7 EV. Processed in Polarr.
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African bird of the day: Marabou Stork. Somehow I don’t think that whole storks-delivering-babies thing would have caught on where Marabou Storks are the dominant species. Indeed the Marabou is sometimes called the “undertaker bird” and the second shot is the Marabou doing its undertaker pose. This is one ugly bird...ugly! But with a certain severe grace of its own. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
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10/7/18
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Wild Turkey
There are more Wild Turkeys in Southern Maine this fall than I have seen in many years. I have seen at least 4 different flocks of 20 or more along the back roads as I ride my eBike. Maybe there are always that many, and they just stay more hidden, but it seems like a lot. These were in the Senior Housing Condos behind Rt. 1 near the Wells line. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
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African bird of the day: Fish Eagle. We saw Fish Eagles wherever there was water in Kenya, but our best views were from the boat on Lake Naivasha in the Rift Valley. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
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10/6/18
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More of Amboseli’s Elephants on the move...
On our first afternoon drive at Amboseli National Park in Kenya, it was obvious that our driver was on a mission. He did not tell us what the mission was, but you tell that he was more or less killing time until something happened, and that he needed to be in right place at the right time for us to see it. As the sun started to set, the CB radio came alive with excited chatter and the final race was on. It is evidently a matter of some pride among the drivers to get their clients as close to the spot where the elephants choose to cross the road on that particular afternoon on their way to the slightly higher ground in the north section of the park to spend the night. There are several trails. As a guide, you can’t afford to guess wrong and have your clients miss the whole thing…and you can’t come late or they will be at the very back of the press of safari vans with not much of a view, and you can’t come early since your vehicle in the path might turn the herd to another trail. Timing is everything. You need among the first to arrive after the herd is committed to a trail. We were one van length from the trail they used that day. A bit crazy perhaps. I had to wonder would happen if one of those huge creatures decided to come through us instead of through the gap…but they all thundered through 20 feet from us. The first shot is of one of the “pioneer” elephants who was already across the road when we arrived, but within the next 10 minutes the heard joined him and they moved off to the north.
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10/7/18
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Another of my favorite ponds in any season. Along Rt. 9 in Kennebunk. From a few days ago before the rains came. In-camera HDR. Sony RX10iv at 24mm. Processed in Polarr.
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Red Elephants of Tsavo East
Tsavo East National Park in Kenya is famous for its "red elephants" and big tuskers. The elephants are not red of course, but the soil is full of red clay, and when the elephants are freshly "dusted", and in the right light, they certainly look red. Elephants dust or mud themselves to protect their skin from the sun and insects. All elephants do it. It is just that the soil of Tsavo East turns them red when they do. The big tusks of Tsavo East are more of a mystery. Elephants with big tusks are increasingly rare in other areas of Kenya and Tanzania, but many remain at Tsavo East. No one knows exactly why. Sony RX10iv at 90mm, 350mm and 600mm. Program mode. Processed in Polarr. Note the corrugated tongue on the close-up. :)

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10/5/18
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African bird of the day: Crowned Lapwing. The Crowned Lapwing was by far the most common grassland bird we saw in Kenya, and it was present in every park and reserve we visited, from Tsavo East in the east, to Lake Nakuru in the north, and Masai Mara in the west (or west of Nairobi at least). An elegant and attractive bird, large for a plover, and evidently very prolific. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
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Masai Giraffe
For the first several days of our safari, through Tsavo East and West, and Amboseli, the one animal we did not have close encounters with was the Giraffe. This is as close as we got: a Masai Giraffe (the most common in East Africa), at Tsavo East. (Some spell it “Maasai Giraffe” though I have not seen Masai spelled that way except in the name of this Giraffe.) You can tell it is a Masai by the irregular shapes of the patches. It is a male, and even if you could not see the obvious, the horns have no feathering. We did get closer (much closer) to Masai Giraffes on Crescent Island on Lake Naivasha, but, though living wild now, they were introduced there for the filming of “Out of Africa.” And we saw Rothschild’s Giraffes, also introduced, at Lake Nakuru, where the rarest of the African Giraffes maintains a healthy herd. Most authorities still consider the three varieties of Giraffes in Africa as sub-species or even “varieties” of the same species, through some have proposed full species status for each of them. They do freely hybridize where their ranges overlap. As to the interesting question of why the Giraffe has such a long neck...most, including Darwin, theorized that it developed due to a competitive advantage in reaching the highest foliage. That makes sense. However more recent thinking is that the longer necks and heavier heads of the biggest males provide a much more direct advantage to males who have them...in that “necking” (see a previous post of two Giraffes at Hell’s Gate doing that) is their only form of combat...and more successful males get more opportunities to mate. Of course, it could just be that the creator needed a big tall browser to keep the acacia trimmed to those classic African umbrella shapes across the African savannas...as this fellow is busy doing. Sony RX10iv at 200 and 600mm equivalents. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
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10/1/18
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