johnweir

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About johnweir

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    Wildlife Photographer/Artist

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    Ettrickbridge, Scotland
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    Wildlife Photography & Wildlife Travel

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  1. THE ROCK HYRAX OF NORTHERN NAMIBIA - 1 The following images were taken in Ongava Game Reserve near Etosha N.P., in July 2017. Interestingly the Rock Hyrax found in this location have a white dorsal patch unlike the nominate form found further south which have a black patch, as seen on several images on this thread. I therefore believe they are of the sub-species Procavia capensis welwitschii, THE KAOKOVELD ROCK HYRAX. (sorry @pault, I know how keen you are on Hyrax taxonomy, couldn't resist).
  2. VERY BRIEF INCURSION INTO ETOSHA N.P. Whilst staying at Ongava the intention was to spend one of our full days in Etosha. This didn't quite work out despite an early start our guide and two other clients clearly had a different view and seemed quite happy to visit just a couple of waterholes and then return to Ongava. A good reason why I prefer a private vehicle if possible or at least to be grouped with travellers who have similar interests to ours, to spend the maximum amount of time viewing or at least trying to locate wildlife. So all we got was a quick stop at Ombika, 40 minutes at Okaukeujo and 40 minutes at Okondeka. Not really what we wanted but at least we got a taste for Etosha and Okondeka proved interesting. The main purpose of this brief addition to the above report is to try and insert some images into my text rather than grouping them all at the end. Resolving this problem, despite trying numerous methods which all failed have plagued my postings ever since I became a member. Black-backed Jackals hunting Cape Turtle Doves at Ombika. The following series of images below were taken at Okaukeujo Waterhole. General image of Okaukeujo indicating the diversity of species commonly seen. Springbok. Plain's Zebra. Blue Wildebeest. Black-faced Impala. After quite a heated discussion our guide reluctantly agreed to take us to the Okondeka Waterhole and it was here we enjoyed our most interesting sighting of note during this rather ill fated visit to Etosha, a mating pair of lions. General vista of Okondeka Waterhole. Whilst scanning the centre area of this fascinating scene with binoculars my attention was drawn to what initially appeared to be two rocks (not visible on the image above) when suddenly they appeared to move. The previous night's copious quantity of lager must have worn off by now surely!, closer inspection revealed a pair of lions, surrounded by game in which they showed no interest at all, obviously they had other things on their minds. The above image was taken from a considerable distance but does record the highlight of our brief introduction to Etosha, we certainly have some unfinished business here and will fully explore the park on our terms during our next visit to Namibia. @JohnR special thanks are due for sending me the information which was very easy to follow and has enabled me to resolve a long standing problem I have had with my postings. The above is really a test run and not about the images, but it appears to have worked well so far. Here goes, fingers crossed, submit!
  3. GOOD NEWS FROM MADAGASCAR. A recent trip report to Madagascar 2017 published on the 'Mammal Watching' forum, rekindled my interest to try and find out how the critically endangered population of The Greater Bamboo Lemur was doing in Ranomafana N.P. I was very surprised that my short article above had not solicited a response, so hence I had feared the worst. So it was with surprise that I learned from the recent trip report that the male and his daughter (see article above) were still alive and doing well as of July 2017. I decided to e-mail the ValBio Research Station in the park and see if any developments had taken place since my 2013 visit, I already knew that prior to my visit a relocation attempt had failed. I was therefore very surprised and pleased to get a reply from Dr. Patricia Wright. ( one of the world's leading primate / lemur experts and Ex.Dir. Centre ValBio Ranomafana N.P.). The current situation appears to be: 1. They have just received a grant to translocate some individuals from outside the park. 2. Lessons have been learned from the original translocation, which failed, mainly due to the incompatibility of the incomers with the resident group. The incomers slipped their collars and were lost. They are possibly still inside the park, but definitely not with the father and daughter that had left such an impression on me in 2013. 3. The funding will allow permits to be applied for from Madagascar National Parks to conduct the translocation before the breeding season starts in April 2018. 5. She stresses that it will not be an easy operation. Matchmaking is not an exact science, selection of specimens will need to be parasite free etc. 'But we will try again'. 6. All activity will abide by IUCN translocation rules. She has promised to keep me up to date with developments. What a woman! The Greater Bamboo Lemur is significantly at risk of extinction and it would be wonderful if a thriving group could be re- established in Ranomafana, where they will have at least a good chance of some degree of long term survival. The few remaining disjunct populations (small numbers) of this species are presently severely threatened by acute habitat loss and the bushmeat trade. I look forward to some good news from Madagascar in the not too distant future about this magnificent species that really is on the edge.
  4. @JohnR , Thank you very much for your informative and detailed answer to my question. Will have a go over the next few days when I make my next submission and report back. Wish you lived next door, regards.
  5. POSTING IMAGES INTO TEXT FROM PHOTOS USING AN IMAC. Could one of the technically minded IT members please explain in very basic language how I can import an image into text. I have tried a variety of methods suggested both on this site and others with no positive results. The capacity to do so would greatly enhance any future contributions I would wish to make. My images are stored in Photos on an iMac using OS Sierra 10.12.6 Any replies would be greatly appreciated, if you could bullet point as @AKR1has done above that would help.
  6. @offshorebirder, Yes he and his wife Anna apparently set up the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project in 2001, know very little about their work. Will need to do some investigation into their goals and how successful their work is proving to be. The book which is well worth having a look at is readily available on Amazon, good second hand copies are available for just a few dollars. The camera trap images are very interesting. It would be great to have a small population doing well in the northernmost part of their natural range after so many years without any sightings at all. It might just be that I spoke to the wrong people during our many visits to the Southwest but I detected a very negative attitude to wildcats generally, particularly amongst ranchers. I contacted Warner Glenn many years ago to see if he could get me in a position to shoot some mountain lion images was rather disappointed he never replied, ( I think his idea of shooting was very different to mine ) still haven't seen one yet despite numerous attempts, but fairly sure one has probably seen me. Fingers crossed for a female jaguar sighting soon and the establishment of a small population in the Southwest.
  7. @offshorebirder Thank you for drawing my attention to this unique footage, it is indeed great news. I first became aware of Jaguar sightings in southern Arizona in 1996 when Warner Glenn took some unique images of a large Jaguar in the Peloncillo Mountains, whilst out hunting for Mountain Lion. They were described at the time as the first images ever taken of a truly wild Jaguar taken in the U.S.A. He published a booklet (28 pages) 'Eyes of Fire' which contains the ten images taken during the sighting, and a narrative on his thoughts and experiences. I have spent quite a lot of time in that region over the years but never seen a cat of any shape or form unfortunately, I am however fully aware that Jaguar are occasionally seen in the region. Last visit was in 2011 picked up another interesting book ' Ambushed - on the Jaguar Trail, Hidden Cameras on the Mexican Border (Jack & Anna Childs) contains over 130 images of Southwestern wildlife, mainly taken by camera traps. Includes more recent Jaguar sightings, and even humans were caught in behaviour- and misbehaviour-characteristic of their species! Let's hope Trump isn't true to his word and starts to build his wall, which would stop the Jaguar's return to its' historic home, dead in the water. Thanks again, hope you have some success in May for your guest.
  8. Thank you to both @Peter Connan & @inyathi for taking the time to correct my identification of the Hornbill in posting #18, image 5. Have re-visited a couple of appropriate bird identification books and happy with the outcome. I will amend my records accordingly. @inyathi thank you also for considering the giraffe sub-species identification issue and your very detailed response. The giraffe I observed in the Palmwag Concession (DRC), would be free roaming and naturally occurring in that region, therefore G. g. angolensis, will assume that all the giraffe I saw in Namibia are of this sub-species. Did however have some concerns in the reserves, some just didn't appear to have the same markings and colouration as those I had seen in the desert. Certainly at Ongava our guide said they had been brought in but didn't know the exact location of their origin.
  9. A FEW MORE IMAGES FROM ONGAVA IMAGE 1: Everyone's favourite. IMAGE 2: Monteiro's Hornbill. IMAGE 3: Rock Hyrax, this is an interesting one, will post some more of these on 'Show Us Your Hyraxes' shortly. IMAGE 4: Purple Roller, never seen one before, taken from a considerable distance. IMAGE 5: Damara Red-billed Hornbill.(or is it a Southern?) Can @Peter Connan help? IMAGE 6: Greater Kudu. IMAGE 7: Male Ellipsen Waterbuck. IMAGE 8: Young Lion Brothers.
  10. @monalisa, What a shame. Could well be TB, looks far too young just to be the end of her natural life. Hope you enjoy many more wild cat sightings of a more positive nature.
  11. @monalisa The image was taken in July 2015, as mentioned in the basin of The Ngorongoro Crater at 08.15. I keep reasonably detailed sightings reports , so just checked what I had written on the day. '3 young male lions, probably brothers, sighted 1 mile north of the descent road asleep in open savanna, very exposed. No reaction to the significant amount of safari traffic building up around them. No adults around, very vulnerable to predation from unrelated males. 8-10 months old. Very poor condition, thin, ribs exposed. Guide had seen them with a pride 3 months ago, convinced they had been pushed out by their mother and are unable to feed. Long term future, bleak.' 2 further images attached. 1. As seen 2. Close up of one of the brothers. One of my saddest moments whilst in pursuit of wild cats.
  12. UPDATE ON POST #46 (22/12/2016). In light of a recently published paper (de Jong & Butynski 2017), I am fairly sure that my image titled Cavendish's Dik-dik is incorrectly identified. It is almost certainly of HINDE'S DIK-DIK, Madoqua hindei, previously (as with Cavendish's Dik-dik) considered a subspecies of M. kirkii. Apologies for any confusion caused.
  13. @monalisaThere is still beauty in death. A very poignant image which truly reflects the reality of the life of a lion. I saw three young male lions in The Ngorongoro Crater two years ago in very poor condition. (Image attached). Our guide was convinced they had been driven out of their pride too early and that they would be unable to hunt for themselves. I often wonder what became of them knowing full well the probable outcome. Lets hope she has left her genes behind in The Kruger, she doesn't appear to be that old, possibly 5-6 years? Have a real soft spot for wild cats, this lioness when well would have been a very impressive animal. Thanks for sharing.
  14. @Imonmm, Glad you enjoyed the report. Regarding de-horning I can only report what I was told by the StRT guys. Individual Rhino not resident in the vast study area do enter and leave at will and so will probably have escaped the de-horning process. Spoke to someone recently who like you saw Rhino with complete horns. Does make sense not to stress pregnant females and the young. @ForWildlife, With regard to the numbers of leopards in the area was told 35, on two occasions, agree it does seem high. 7 not 6 out of 13 surviving cheetah I agree is not a spectacular success story. Checked the reserve area, is given as 200 sq. km in their own literature. Like you I have significant concerns about the operation. I think it is pretty clear in my report that this is not the type of wildlife viewing experience that we enjoy, far from it. However it does cater well for families with young children, in a very safe environment. If only a small proportion develop a lifelong interest in wildlife the experience has to be deemed as having some sort of success. @Dave Williams, Thanks for the positive comments very much enjoy your contributions to this wonderful resource. Your images and knowledge of the avian world are to say the least impressive. This was our first visit to Namibia, so a number of the more common mammal species found in Namibia were going to be completely new to us. Two in particular impressed very much, both bovids. Our first Southern African Mammal seen in the wild was the Common Impala in Botswana in 2014, they still remain a firm favourite. We were therefore keen to see the closely related Black-faced Impala, which has recently been described as a separate species. We we were not disappointed they are virtually identical to the Common Impala with as suggested a black band down the middle of the face and a thinner black band partially down each cheek particularly towards the eye. Interestingly the further south we went the less pronounced the facial markings appeared to be. The other was the 'Oryx', The Kalahari Gemsbok, simply beautiful and very common found in just about every habitat. I have more Gemsbok images filed than of any other species, started the day we arrived and I was still busy as we neared the airport to go home. The following images were taken in Ongava Wildlife Reserve and are representative of the 19 mammal species recorded during our 3 night stay. Will appear in 2 parts and Oryx later. IMAGES 1-3, Black-faced Impala. 1, Males. 2, Females. 3, Female herd. Common in the reserve and Etosha N.P. 4-5, Southern Giraffe. Not sure if these historically were found in this area or have been introduced. Should they be Angolan? Didn't see any in Etosha, if we had would they have been Southern or Angolan? Relatively common in the reserve. 6-8, Southern African Lion. 6/7, Reflections. 8, 'Dirty Boy', all members of the 14 strong 'Tented Camp Pride'. Saw 9 out of the 14. Dominant male spent the first night in camp, very vocal, great experience. Several prides in the reserve, this probably is the largest. 9, Blue Wildebeest. Relatively common in the reserve and Etosha. 10, Red-billed Quelea early morning flock. 1000's around camp.
  15. ADDITIONAL RHINOCEROS IMAGES. When I started this thread it was primarily to report on a recent visit to Desert Rhino Camp, however it has become somewhat more expansive. The following images were taken earlier in the trip, before Okonjima. IMAGE 1: We spotted this Black Rhino in the bush whilst out on an afternoon/evening game drive, however it clearly was not as happy to see us as we were to see it. It became quite agitated so we left it in peace. Only got this very hurried image. The following day it charged a vehicle from our camp, without fortunately any damage to either party. Male circa 20 years old. IMAGE 2-5: Later, on the same drive 15 minutes before sunset we came across this female White Rhino with her calf. The female is 30 years old and the calf 4 years old. The female is, as can be seen from image 4 in calf again (great news) and will drive out her existing calf once she has given birth. Both were very calm and we approached to about 20 yards on foot and spent several minutes in their company before it got completely dark. IMAGE 6: The following day another female White Rhino was located again with a calf. She is approximately 25 years old and the calf 3 years old. We did not approach them on foot as both were not as comfortable with our presence as the 2 we had spent time with the previous evening. IMAGE 7: Later that day just before dinner, we couldn't believe it another White Rhino (different to the 2 previous sightings) female with a calf appeared at the waterhole in front of the dining area. I had no experience at all of taking images under such challenging circumstances. The camp quite rightly had a no flash rule. My first attempt was diabolical, a totally black image with a greyish blur in the middle. As luck would have it a professional photographer was staying in camp and was setting up to take some promotional nighttime images of the camp. "Help". "Up your ISO as far as it will go and set EV to - 0.7, and use my tripod" was the reply. I declined the tripod but at least got an image for my records. (Thank you, Olwen Evans). If anyone reading this has any tips on how I could respond in the future to such circumstances I would be pleased to hear from you. (For the technically minded ISO 25600, 158mm, EV -1, f/5, 1/30). IMAGE 8: On our final day in camp we decided to go for a bush walk, our guide quickly picked up the spoor of a large group of White Rhino after a long trek we located them resting under the cover of some bushes not far from a naturally occurring waterhole. There were 11 in number. Immediately they got our scent they were off at speed and believe me Rhino can certainly move quickly. As they fled I was just able to take this image which purely records the event. The crash consisted of males and females. They are aged between 5 and 8 years with one older male (14years) being dominant in the crash. This 'safety in numbers behaviour' apparently is an interim behaviour between calves leaving their mothers and going it alone. Our guide said it was a very unusual sighting to see so many, he had only seen such a large number together twice before. (Information regarding the sighting is recorded from pers. comm. with our guide).

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