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Martial vs Monitor

Selous Martial eagle Rock Monitor

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#1 Bush dog

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 05:18 PM

This took place in November last year, when we were at Siwandu, in the Selous game reserve.  In the late morning,  we were slowly on our way back to the camp, when we came on it.

 

_K4E2748.jpg

 

The road was running through wooded glades, when we spotted on the right, at about 20/25 meters, on the ground, the martial eagle and its prey, a big rock monitor.  The capture probably occured not long before we arrived, the lizard was of course still alive.  A part of its tail was missing but that was the result of another battle for life, I guess ?

 

The martial eagle was not on familiar ground, and as a consequence, worried.  We decided not to go closer, so as not to add more to its stress, manifested by regular squeals and anxious looks in all directions, a similar behavior a cheetah can have when having caught a prey, or a leopard in the same situation when there are no trees or thick bushes around.  The problem, for the martial eagle, was not to find a place to go with its prey, there were some suitable trees around, but first to weaken its prey and then to fly away with it.  That was perhaps a bit too ambitious, the weight of a full grown rock monitor is about 8 to 9 kilos ?

 

 

When we arrived on the sighting, I said to Allen, my guide, that I wanted to stay until the end.  As we were, my wife and myself, the only guests on the car, it was very easy for him to agree.

 

 

While we were there, another car arrived.  Fortunately they stayed at an acceptable distance and were gone after several minutes. 

To weaken its prey, the eagle tried to blind it.

 

_K4E2749.jpg

 

A quick look at us.

 

_K4E2751.jpg

 

I was surprised by this move.  First attempt of the eagle to fly away with its prey.

 

_K4E2755.jpg

 

It’s a failure, back on the ground

 

_K4E2758.jpg

 

Another look to us.

 

_K4E2760.jpg

 

New attempt to blind its prey

 

_K4E2765.jpg

 

Third look at us

 

_K4E2768.jpg

 

One more attempt to blind its prey, in the other eye this time.

 

_K4E2773.jpg

 

No look at us anymore, we are now part of the scenery.

 

_K4E2780.jpg

 

New attempt of the eagle to fly away with its prey.

 

_K4E2786.jpg

 

It’s a failure once again, back on the ground.

 

_K4E2788.jpg

 

Now, it’s moving to change its grip on the lizard.  The talons are really impressive !

 

_K4E2799.jpg _K4E2804.jpg _K4E2808.jpg _K4E2810.jpg

 

Two more attempts to fly away resulting in two more failures

 

_K4E2812.jpg _K4E2815.jpg _K4E2824.jpg _K4E2829.jpg

 

A last attempt to blind the lizard.

 

_K4E2843.jpg

 

Obviously, after a succession of failed attempts to take off with its prey, the eagle decided to drag it towards  a tree.

 

_K4E2849.jpg _K4E2854.jpg _K4E2863.jpg

 

Finally, it gave up to it and went on the tree where it kept a close eye on the weakened monitor.

 

_K4E2883.jpg

 

In normal conditions, the monitor is fast.  There, its strength had dramatically declined, it had lost one eye and a small part of its internal organs was out through a hole made by the eagle’s claw (visible on the third picture).  After a short moment of wavering, it decided to go in the road’s direction.  It was moving like it was in slow motion.  The martial eagle tried a last attempt to catch it in flight like fish eagles do with a fish, but it failed, and went on a tree on the other side of the road.  When the monitor reached the road, it disappeared behind a tree that was alongside.  It did not reappear on the other side.  So, we moved to discover that there was a big hole in the trunk, about three meters from the ground. 

 

_K4E2887.jpg _K4E2897.jpg _K4E2912.jpg

 

End of the story, that lasted 30 minutes, back to the camp.

 


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#2 Safaridude

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 05:44 PM

@Bush dog

 

A great sequence!  Martial eagles love to prey on monitor lizards, and it is surely spectacular when it happens.  I once saw the aftermath (eagle in a tree with the lizard kill) in Tsavo, Kenya.


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#3 Game Warden

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 05:49 PM

Awesome sighting and photo series @Bush dog - thanks for starting this new topic.

 

Matt.


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"Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you." - African proverb.

 

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#4 AKR1

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 06:05 PM

Fantastic series of exceptional shots Mike. Thanks for posting this.
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#5 marg

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 06:16 PM

fascinating sighting and fabulous photos!


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#6 Safari Cal

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Posted 05 January 2015 - 07:31 PM

Fantastic sequence of photos @Bush dog, thanks for sharing them.


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Cal Kerr

 

“We all have our alloted portions of black and white paint; how we lay it on is a question of temperament.” 
― Ewart GroganFrom the Cape to Cairo: The First Traverse of Africa from South to North


#7 egilio

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 01:01 AM

Wow! What a sighting!


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#8 Bush dog

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 04:01 PM

@Safaridude@Game Warden@AKR1@marg@Safari Cal@egilio

 

Thanks a lot for your comments!



#9 Geoff

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 12:37 AM

Another Fabulous series Mike.


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Geoff.

#10 PHALANX

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 10:38 AM

This took place in November last year, when we were at Siwandu, in the Selous game reserve.  In the late morning,  we were slowly on our way back to the camp, when we came on it.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2748.jpg

 

The road was running through wooded glades, when we spotted on the right, at about 20/25 meters, on the ground, the martial eagle and its prey, a big rock monitor.  The capture probably occured not long before we arrived, the lizard was of course still alive.  A part of its tail was missing but that was the result of another battle for life, I guess ?

 

The martial eagle was not on familiar ground, and as a consequence, worried.  We decided not to go closer, so as not to add more to its stress, manifested by regular squeals and anxious looks in all directions, a similar behavior a cheetah can have when having caught a prey, or a leopard in the same situation when there are no trees or thick bushes around.  The problem, for the martial eagle, was not to find a place to go with its prey, there were some suitable trees around, but first to weaken its prey and then to fly away with it.  That was perhaps a bit too ambitious, the weight of a full grown rock monitor is about 8 to 9 kilos ?

 

 

When we arrived on the sighting, I said to Allen, my guide, that I wanted to stay until the end.  As we were, my wife and myself, the only guests on the car, it was very easy for him to agree.

 

 

While we were there, another car arrived.  Fortunately they stayed at an acceptable distance and were gone after several minutes. 

To weaken its prey, the eagle tried to blind it.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2749.jpg

 

A quick look at us.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2751.jpg

 

I was surprised by this move.  First attempt of the eagle to fly away with its prey.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2755.jpg

 

It’s a failure, back on the ground

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2758.jpg

 

Another look to us.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2760.jpg

 

New attempt to blind its prey

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2765.jpg

 

Third look at us

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2768.jpg

 

One more attempt to blind its prey, in the other eye this time.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2773.jpg

 

No look at us anymore, we are now part of the scenery.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2780.jpg

 

New attempt of the eagle to fly away with its prey.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2786.jpg

 

It’s a failure once again, back on the ground.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2788.jpg

 

Now, it’s moving to change its grip on the lizard.  The talons are really impressive !

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2799.jpgattachicon.gif_K4E2804.jpgattachicon.gif_K4E2808.jpgattachicon.gif_K4E2810.jpg

 

Two more attempts to fly away resulting in two more failures

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2812.jpgattachicon.gif_K4E2815.jpgattachicon.gif_K4E2824.jpgattachicon.gif_K4E2829.jpg

 

A last attempt to blind the lizard.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2843.jpg

 

Obviously, after a succession of failed attempts to take off with its prey, the eagle decided to drag it towards  a tree.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2849.jpgattachicon.gif_K4E2854.jpgattachicon.gif_K4E2863.jpg

 

Finally, it gave up to it and went on the tree where it kept a close eye on the weakened monitor.

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2883.jpg

 

In normal conditions, the monitor is fast.  There, its strength had dramatically declined, it had lost one eye and a small part of its internal organs was out through a hole made by the eagle’s claw (visible on the third picture).  After a short moment of wavering, it decided to go in the road’s direction.  It was moving like it was in slow motion.  The martial eagle tried a last attempt to catch it in flight like fish eagles do with a fish, but it failed, and went on a tree on the other side of the road.  When the monitor reached the road, it disappeared behind a tree that was alongside.  It did not reappear on the other side.  So, we moved to discover that there was a big hole in the trunk, about three meters from the ground. 

 

attachicon.gif_K4E2887.jpgattachicon.gif_K4E2897.jpgattachicon.gif_K4E2912.jpg

 

End of the story, that lasted 30 minutes, back to the camp.

 

Amazing! what a great 30 mins. Superb photos. AJ


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Both man and bird and beast".

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#11 cheetah80

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 10:56 AM

What a stunning series of photos, and some great action to witness.  Good for you!


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#12 Bush dog

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 07:47 AM

@Geoff@PHALANX@cheetah80

 

Thanks a lot for your comments!



#13 PeterHG

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 08:09 PM

Incredible series of photos! What a sight to witness!
Kind regards,
Peter
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#14 ellenhighwater

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 08:50 PM

I saw a martial vs monitor battle once in the delta.  Sadly my photos don't hold a candle to these.  Nice one!


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#15 Game Warden

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 09:06 PM

@ellenhighwater Upload them anyway. You recorded something special and those photos document it...


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"Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you." - African proverb.

 

How to create your gallery album and upload images.

 

How to post images in the text.

Want to tag another member in a post? Use @ before their display name, eg @game warden


#16 Bush dog

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 09:22 PM

@ellenhighwater Upload them anyway. You recorded something special and those photos document it...

 

+1


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#17 optig

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 12:42 PM

I can't believe that I didn't take a look at these photos until now. This is just an awesome series of photos. Your'e a genuinely talented photographer.


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#18 Bush dog

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Posted 06 November 2016 - 03:02 PM

@optig

 

Thank you so much for your kind comments!



#19 elefromoz

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 07:40 AM

@Bush dog, incredible, that Monitors worst nightmare.
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