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Tom Kellie

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Tom Kellie last won the day on June 16

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About Tom Kellie

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    Order of the Pith

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    Tourist (regular visitor)
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    Central CHINA
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    ~ Learning from the experiences of the Safaritalk members who have such a wealth of knowledge of Africa, of bird, mammal, reptile, insect and plant species, and whose wildlife photography is superb.

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  1. ~ @Geoff and @inyathi and @Soukous Against all odds: Dicrurus leucophaeus, Ashy Drongo. The city bus headed north to the mountain campus came to a complete halt two kilometers outside of a village. Intense police roadblock stopped kilometers of long-haul trucks, tankers, buses, and automobiles. The bus driver ordered everyone out, which was stressful as elderly, infirm ladies were aboard. Yours truly hiked approximately six kilometers, in dress shirt and necktie, up the foothills through hamlets, attracting ample gapes. Made it to the first final examination with minutes to spare, my daily exercise quota more than met. At the close of the day walked downhill to catch the city bus home, this time from the university gate. On the back lane a light grey bird with a strikingly forked tail was on an electrical line, swooped down to catch a bug on the concrete and returned upward. It's flight was somewhat like a bee-eater making a circuit to capture then eat. No camera with me today, but a clear sighting. After returning home, less than one hour ago, have sought double verification from local birders. Confirmed! I never even knew that such a species from Southeast Asia and India ever appeared here. It seems that they're summer breeders, then return south in early autumn. Your astute post this morning really touched me. It seems that the angels decided to make good on my comment. BTW: That's the only drongo I've ever observed outside of Africa. Tom K.
  2. ~ @Geoff I'm about to head out the door to the ‘mountain campus’ to proctor three consecutive final examinations. That's a lovely location with a remarkable variety of seldom seen bird species flitting around campus bushes and trees. Your post is the finest pre-workweek send-off I've had in years. I'll confess that I'm deeply moved by what you've written. You get it. For your thoughtful understanding of the chasm separating th free world from elsewhere, many heartfelt thanks. Who knows? I may spot a bird of interest today. If so, it's for you! Tom K.
  3. ~ @Geoff It's great that it's useful for you in Australia. The authorities here are wary and uncomfortable with regard to anything they perceive to be “foreign” and especially any digital application which utilizes mapping or GPS data. Therefore they, in effect, deactivate GPS devices on cameras sold here, block international mapping applications of all sorts and don't provide anything domestic which might tend to reveal anything about movement within this nation's borders. Birds might seem to be a fairly harmless, innocuous subject, but the view of authorities here tends to be sweeping and blunt, without such fine discrimination. Hence the eBird site is accessible here, which is how it was possible to post the link yesterday, but it doesn't work the way it was intended. That's somewhat comparable to Safaritalk being accessible here, but no videos posted on Safaritalk have ever been accessible or viewable during the two years that I've been a member. Is it any wonder that birding here largely consists of retired men carrying small cages with wild birds, which they hang up outside while seated with cronies, playing cards or kibbitzing all day? Tom K.
  4. A long journey on a hot day, Mostly spent snoozing in cool shade, Too young to hunt, too old to play, Calm, confident and unafraid. Everyone Gets in the Act Lean Little Lion Just Passing Through Within the Pride Graceful Dynamics Undeterred Slouching Towards Sunset Double Whorl Footfall Gilded Dusk Sincerity Becomes a Lion Moving Right Along
  5. ~ From the U.K. Guardian: “Anti-Poaching Drive Brings Siberia's Tigers Back from Brink”
  6. ~ This June, 2017 article from The Hindu compares the presence of leopards in two widely separated, crowded urban areas — Mumbai, India and Nairobi, Kenya. Leopards in and around Mumbai's Sanjay Gandhi National Park are contrasted with those in and around Nairobi National Park.
  7. ~ This June, 2017 research article published in Nature presents findings of a study largely based on ancient DNA analysis of “geographically and temporally widespread archaeological cat remains.” The commensal relationship between cats and humans for thousands of years preceded human-mediated cat dispersal.
  8. ~ @Elsa Hoffmann You've brought life to this research article with this terrific on-the-scene images! The explanation which you've so kindly offered puts it all in perspective. The photos are ideal, taking a fairly dry subject and adding interest through bringing out the sense of the site. This is so compelling that I'll show it in classes tomorrow. It's the final week of instruction here. I'm teaching for six hours tomorrow, students who'd benefit from seeing how patience and care yield results. You're burnishing South Africa's luster, Elsa. Many, many thanks! Tom K.
  9. ~ @Elsa Hoffmann Wow! You were on-site where these ongoing fossil dig is occurring. That's cool! The research article and the explanatory articles noted that large ungulates were also found. Apparently it's an exceptionally well-preserved fossil trove — another of South Africa's under-appreciated treasures. I trust that no one was snacking on “pofadder” while you were visiting the site! Tom K.
  10. ~ This June, 2017 article from the American Bird Conservancy explains how the eBird Web site from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers a flexible format for “understanding the fluid nature of bird movement and migration.” The real-time nature of eBird facilitates greater depth of understanding avian dynamics over wide ranges. Another benefit of eBird is understanding bird population shifts so as to better direct conservation resources.
  11. ~ This September, 2016 research article published in the South African Journal of Science presents findings of a study of fossil frog species, including analysis of the history of winter rainfall in the arid west coast of South Africa.
  12. ~ @The_Norwegian That's easily the most out-of-the-ordinary giraffe image that I've ever seen. Everything about the photo is striking. If one didn't see the ossicones in the reflection, what might it be? Great photography! Tom K.
  13. ~ @Elsa Hoffmann Thank you for providing the helpful link. After reading I was amazed to read that “pofadders” are described as being “the size of a man's forearm”. It seems that I'd better arrive fasting on my next visit to South Africa, in order to have room for a few dainty nibbles of delectable “pofadder”! Tom K.
  14. ~ “poffadders” ?!?!?!
  15. ~ @Elsa Hoffmann Ah, your photo tells all. Thank you for the explanation and the vivid illustration. Your reluctance to have a nibble is entirely understandable. If I ever enjoy the privilege of a fourth visit to South Africa, I hope that my friend @Peter Connan isn't inspired by this at an evening braai. Tom K.

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