"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The 2020 African Journals

Chapter Twenty
A Great Day for Birding

 NOTE:   The photos will look best if you open them by clicking on one.   A film strip will appear at the bottom and you can scroll through them by opening each one.   I suggest you read the story then go back and click on the first photo.

It’s pitch dark when tea and biscuits are delivered to my tent at Entim Camp in the Maasai Mara.   That is a nice wakeup call.

I’m waving the house-provided flashlight out the front tent flap shortly thereafter, all dressed and ready for the morning safari drive.   A night guard armed with a long knife appears to escort me to the common area.  Entim is not a fenced camp and thus the caution as there are often animals in the camp.

Today, the Infirm Photographers Group abides by the Rules to Shoot By and moves to a different vehicle.   We also rotate seats, but it will prove to be the last time.  Mary moves to the front, I move to the middle-without-a-left-seat, and the Third One moves to the rear. 

When I sit, I notice three pillows on the floor for me to kneel on.   After I am situated with my camera gear ready, I see that there are only two pillows.   Third One has taken the third to cushion her side against the vehicle sidewall.

These Rules to Shoot By are not a bunch of things that David Lloyd arbitrarily wrote.   They are intended to make his safaris run smoothly after many years of trial and testing.  There are, of course, some problems because there are no one-size-fits-all situations.

We leave camp in the early morning dimness and soon we are in the company of elephants.  

The hot air balloons launch in the distance at first light.   The air is cooler and heavier then; the balloons cannot fly in the heat of the day.

Trunks are for scratching ears

It is difficult to not put the camera down and just enjoy their company, especially when a young one appears who feels the need to keep in physical contact with mom at all moments.

Look at all the photographers behaving and shooting out the left.

I am finding the middle row to be ideal for me.   True, I have to kneel, but I have a throw pillow for that purpose.   The problem arises when I need to get back in my seat.  My injured knee does not like that maneuver and it takes me a clumsy few moments to accomplish it.

After sprawling on the floor a couple times, I ask our guide to make sure I’m seated before he moves the vehicle.

Today turns out to be a great day for birding:

Red-billed oxpecker on a Cape buffalo.

An ostrich has only two toes and only one has a nail.   But that nail can easily gut an opponent because the bird can kick forward.   It can also run up to 38 mph.

Ah, the gray crowned cranes.

And this, consensus says, is a Montagu's harrier hawk.


A hamerkop looking for frogs in a puddle.

 And there I go, breaking the rule by shooting out the right side instead of the left.   But!   It's a bird!

A tawny eagle, in fact.


 This is a widowbird.    What variety is in question.

Perhaps a fan-tailed widowbird.

This striking bird is a black-chested snake eagle.

Well, it's an eagle or an African Harrier-hawk.   I'll get back to you on this one.

Lappet-faced vulture

Lappet-faced vultures

Lappet-faced vultures.   The bald head of these vultures keeps feathers from being coated with blood and other fluids.

The always beautiful lilac-breasted roller, the national bird of Kenya.

 Oh, we saw a few animals, too.

Grant's gazelle

A topi.   Look at the hair design in the ears.

Thompson's gazelle in the foreground with topis in the rear.

Thompson's gazelle, or Tommies for short.

And, we had breakfast under the warm sun of the Maasai Mara.

Preparing the selections.

Enjoying the day.

The guides wait until we have served ourselves before eating.

Then, it's back to camp for our mid-day break.

This one is still a mystery.   It is a very large starling and there are several possibilities.


  1. Very nice, Jeanne. You have come a long way with your photography.

  2. Chapter Twenty - A Great Day For Birding.

    How about Chapter Twenty - A Great Day For Birding and Hot Air Balloons and Elephants and Beautiful Gazelles. Too cute the young elephant (photos 9 - 13 ) who really wants to be in constant contact with Mom. Some absolutely stunning photos, birds and otherwise. Thank You So Much .. Cap and Patti

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