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offshorebirder last won the day on February 3 2016

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About offshorebirder

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  1. By 'isolated incident' I meant @AmyT's guide during her stay. Maybe I'm misunderstanding things, but didn't the Porini owner just explain that their guides regularly use WhatsApp on their smart phones INSTEAD of noisy radios out of consideration of the wildlife? And that they would take greater pains going forward to explain this smartphone-checking to guests to reduce the chances of guests developing misconceptions about what they were doing on their smart phones? It seems unfair of people to continue trying to extract more 'pounds of flesh' over what now sounds like in large part a misunderstanding. Are you really out to hurt the business of a linchpin of the Mara Conservancies (and the one responsible for the entire notion of Mara Conservancies)? How would y'all feel if it ended up affecting conservation by undermining the viability of a conservancy? Or removing one of the most affordable options for people who cannot afford some of the more expensive camps? I don't have any problem with deserved "poor reviews" - I just worry that in this case, they're not fully deserved...
  2. I'm glad to hear the Porini guides' use of smart phones on game drives is judicious and intended to reduce the effect of loud radios on wildlife. So that concern seems to be a non-issue. Something else to keep in mind is that sometimes guides "shush" people in vehicles to prevent disturbing sensitive wildlife or guests in other nearby vehicles. As a guest, I have shushed people in other vehicles when they are being too loud. Silence is golden on safari! And even if one guide went "off the reservation" a bit (at a just-opened camp) with his shooting videos, etc. before being corrected by management - Porini camps have had a great reputation over a long period. People have made their point about the isolated incident. I think it's time to stop flaying Porini over and over regarding the same thing - that Management has already said they addressed sternly. It pains me to see a conservation stalwart like @JakeGC being sniped at and having to keep prostrating himself in response to such.
  3. Thanks for the info @Tdgraves. For what it is worth, I am not very impressed with the naked 100-400 IS II for birds in flight. So you have confirmed my suspicions regarding whether a 1.4x TC would be worthwhile to pursue. I will wait to buy one until I get a 400 f/4 IS II lens and 5DmkIV body.
  4. Question for you @Tdgraves - how do you like the 1.4 extender in combination with the 7dmkII and 100-400 mkII ? Is it usable hand-held or do you need a beanbag or tripod?
  5. Thanks @Antee for this informative trip report so far. Now I am definitely planning a visit to Marrick (and Makola NP) when I am in South Africa. Kimberly will make a nice stop when flying from Cape Town to the Kruger NP area.
  6. Wow @Geoff - thanks for the Albatross smorgasbord!
  7. Wow @Dave Williams - what extreme bill curvature on that Sunbird!
  8. @Geoff - I am writhing with jealousy! What a great bird to see. Amazing capture that shows the diverse color and pattern of the bill.
  9. Catching back up with this report - excellent stuff @AmyT. Too many good photos to comment upon individually but the winking Jackal is choice. I also like the group photos - waiting for the balloon to take off and the champagne breakfast. Like a true wildlife photography buff, @AmyT is a "gunslinger" that packs at the dining table. I learned that lesson the hard way once when a bushbaby jumped onto a serving table to pilfer fruit.
  10. Corncrake!!! Wow @TonyQ. That is probably my #1 most-wanted bird on the planet. And you got a photo of this incredibly shy and retiring bird. Kudos indeed.
  11. Here are a few sandpipers I had a close encounter with day before yesterday. They were at a sod farm (turf farm) feeding in puddles and flooded areas after heavy rains. Sadly the Hudsonian Godwit that was found the day before was no longer present. Here is a Least Sandpiper - it has not yet fully molted out of its breeding plumage: Here is a Semipalmated Sandpiper - devilishly similar to Little Stints in nonbreeding (basic) plumage:
  12. Thanks @JohnR - not your fault it's so non-intuitive.
  13. @plambers - Encounter Mara is a great camp but they do not have pop-top vehicles if that is a requirement. Here is a photo of their vehicle style: But I would not let vehicle configurations sway you from staying in a Mara conservancy and towards a camp in the main reserve. Offbeat Mara camp has pop-top vehicles and they compare well to Encounter Mara. They also have open sides. Offbeat vehicles have individual pop-tops that completely open to the sky, over each row of seats. This even allows you to sit on the roof in the right circumstances and also to see the sky, a Leopard in a tree above, etc. Here is a photo of my favorite Offbeat Mara vehicle (note the open roof hatches):
  14. @JohnR or another admin - how the heck do I access my gallery and photos in the member's gallery under this new setup? I have looked high and low and don't see how to do it.
  15. I always use a camera and binoculars together. - would not dream of doing without one. I wear a Blackrapid strap and then a binocular harness on top of it. I don't believe in neck straps - they are non-ergonomic and cause strain and fatigue. * Be careful of Blackrapid straps and heavy lenses! I had one drop a Canon 7D and 300mm f/4 lens when the strap was a couple of years old. The locking carabiner-like attachment fell off the mount that's attached to the strap! The little head pulled through the ring. And I heard of a birder on a pelagic trip who lost his camera and big lens overboard due to a BlackRapid strap giving way. Plus other tales of caution. You can always lengthen the Canon-provided strap and wear it around your neck, resting on the opposite shoulder from where the camera will dangle. To solve @janzin's issue with the beanbag, on small and medium sized lenses you can screw the connector into the bottom of the camera rather than the lens.

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