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offshorebirder

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offshorebirder last won the day on February 3 2016

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About offshorebirder

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    Wildlife Photographer/Artist
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    Conservationist/Naturalist

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    Charleston, South Carolina

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  1. Great informative post @inyathi - thanks so much for spending the time to post it. For anyone interested in the subject, Tony Fitzjohn's biography "Born Wild" is a wonderful read.
  2. Great photos of the Springhare on the previous page @Bush dog! Rare to capture them so well and seeing their color is very nice.
  3. Sounds like yet another African development project financed by Chinese loans (and benefiting the Chinese steel and concrete industries) that the African country will have trouble repaying...
  4. According to Johnathan Scott and his observations (in Mara North Conservancy) of Leopards like Half-tail, her daughter Shadow, and granddaughter Safi - the answer is "yes".
  5. Neat - thanks @Soukous. I would be in heaven there I am sure.
  6. Some very nice photos @Soukous. Question for you: do they have Razorbills in the Farne Islands, or just Guillemots and Puffins?
  7. @Tom Kellie - a non-invasive way more and more predators are being studied is via collecting and archiving scat samples. Such samples allow for genetic analysis of individuals and detailed fact-gathering about diet, which can potentially yield other insights. Scat can also reveal toxins in a species' diet that may be affecting individuals or populations. And presumably the presence/absence of certain diseases. Gathering hair samples is also useful for genetic analysis and determining things like the animals' home range size in various habitats. Like bears, I would imagine it's possible to collect Leopard hair samples from rubbing posts / "message trees". Simply gathering lots of scat and hair samples, recording exact location, and archiving them for later can yield future insights that may not be considered at the time of the research project / field effort. Here is an example of how collecting things like scat samples can pay off in the future in unpredictable ways: Barn Owl pellets are regurgitated wads that contain the undigested bones (and hair) of prey. These bones can usually be identified to species. One of my mentors (Will Post) partnered in a study that examined Barn Owl pellets from the southern fringe of the range of Meadow Voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) on the Atlantic coast of the USA. By examining lots of Barn Owl pellets, they were able to precisely determine which barrier islands had extant Meadow Vole populations and which did not - thus exactly nailing down the precise southern limits of the vole species' current range. Here is a brief paper Will and his collaborator published on the subject: http://www.fosbirds.org/sites/default/files/FFNs/FFNv40n4p117-122.pdf As @douglaswise pointed out, financing is always a hurdle for research projects and it is wasteful when 'frivolous' projects deplete grant money, budgets, or volunteer resources that more worthwhile projects could use. The good thing is that collecting scat, hair, etc. is a low-cost endeavor that can be done in the course of other duties or regular activities.
  8. Lovely image @KaingU Lodge.
  9. @Tom Kellie - There is a neat story behind Mkomazi's restoration. Tony Fitzjohn moved to Mkomazi to rehabilitate it, turn back the tide of elephant and bushmeat poaching, and reintroduce Black Rhino and Wild Dogs after things fell apart in Kora after George Adamson's tragic death. From what I gather, he has done an amazing job.
  10. @jeremie - thanks for sharing those links. Like you, I wanted to look at their protocol / methodology for the two latest census efforts. Because as you say, if they changed methods between the 2014 and 2017 census then the supposed increase is somewhat suspect. I also wondered if the drought in 2017 might have caused more elephants to be in Tsavo NP versus areas outside the census effort's boundaries...
  11. This seems like good news: "The elephant population in Tsavo-Mkomazi Ecosystem has increased by 14.7 per cent over the last three years, the latest survey has shown. KWS director general Kitili Mbathi said on Wednesday that the increase represents a 4.9 per cent annual rise. He was speaking during the release of findings at the KWS headquarters at Langata. Mbathi said a total of 12,866 elephants were counted; 12,843 in Tsavo Ecosystem and 23 in Mkomazi National Park during the census. Jointly, Tsavo-Mkomazi Ecosystem forms the largest conservation area in Kenya, covering an area of over 49,611.4 square kilometres. The 2017 dry season aerial census was carried out between February 12 and 21." http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/06/21/elephant-population-in-tsavo-up-by-147-over-three-years_c1584164
  12. @monalisa - the Potoo would make the entire trip for me! And the Giant Anteater too! You are doing really well on rare sightings - Giant Otters wow. No doubt about it, the Pantanal in general and BA in particular are in my future.
  13. @Tulips - Very good photos you posted! The first Buffalo photo in your first post is EXCELLENT! Shining coat, shining horns, neat composition. Looking forward to reading more.
  14. Good for you @AmyT! I hope you have a great remainder of your Safari. Looking forward to reading your TR after your return.
  15. Wow @janzin - some superb shots in the latest batch. The Wattle-eye in particular is grand - they are tough to photograph well! And the Yellow-winged Bat is choice too - I love the effect of the sunlight shining through its ears. You might be right about the last bird being a Zitting Cisticola. I was about to say maybe Pectoral-patch Cisticola? Zitting has a brown tail with dark band near the tip and whitish band at the very end - your bird doesn't show that (although feather wear might be responsible). But then again - Pec Patches have darker bills than your bird shows. So you're probably right.

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