Sunday, July 27, 2008

Just can't quite reach that one spot.....

Can you scratch just a....little...bit....lower????

This has to be one of the funniest grooming potions I have ever seen! There baboons were part of a very large troop--around 70-100--that we saw near sunset one night in Chobe National Park in Botswana along the Chobe river. There were several male-female pairs grooming but This guy bending head over heals to get that right spot is my favorite.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The most dangerous animal in africa

Believe it or not, this guy is considered the most dangerous animal in all of Africa! Much of their problem is their temper. The males are out on their own (not part of the heard) and as they get older they get more and more irascible. They will charge pretty much anything and don't do mock charges like elephants. If they come running they mean business. And that horn, or boss, on the top of their heads?!? I goes all the way across the skull and can stop a bullet! Wowzers. Needless to say I wasn't petting one of these!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why did the elephant cross the road....

...because he could! At a couple of tons you don't argue! Actually, I think it was just so that she could show off her baby to the tourists and look really cute. Baby elephants really are charming and we had the opportunity to see several on our travels. Most cute!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Beautiful Baptism

Over the 4th of July weekend Courtney and I had the chance to head on up to Greenville, TN to visit with her cousin and be there for the baptism of their son, Wallace Wyatt. The visit was a lot of fun and Wallace is a cutie./ His dad, Brian, is actually the minister for Timber Ridge Presbyterian so he got to baptize his own son--cool! I caught this image after the service amidst a flurry of other photo taking. I took many of the traditional photos and you see them on my Flickr account here. The image I posted here though particularly stuck me and I think is one of the better baptism shots I have taken. I really like the combination of the baby with the cross on his father's vestments. It just says baptism and faith, and God, and love all in one!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Too Cute Not to Post

Back to the lion walk in Victoria Falls and a few more that are just too darned cute!

I'm Ready for my Closeup:

Greco Roman Lion Wrestling:

Ummm...Tourists are Tasty!

I'm Cute and I Know It!

Monday, July 7, 2008

See the Birdie

Giant Kingfisher:
African Darter:
Here are a couple of pictures taken of birds in flight that I was impressed with. Once again, yea for the new camera that can focus on the fly :) The first, the Giant Kingfisher is larger than some of his other kindred like the Pied Kingfisher but this is still a smaller bird--say a little larger than a large robin. The second picture is of an African Darter. They have the most incredible necks that look for all the world like minnows. In fact, here is another picture so you can see the neck:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ceratotherium simum simum

WOW!!!!! A (Southern)White Rhino. One of the big 5 that I knew I would like to see but just didn't expect to. It is the more common of they types of rhino, but there are still only ~10,000 estimated left in the world.
On June 11 we were heading out to visit a local school and village just outside of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. About 10-15 minutes out of camp a call came over the radio in the jeep that a white rhino had been spotted just outside of camp and was wandering around in a large field. Our driver told us to hold on tight and we took off across the rough dirt tracks of the bush at ridiculous speed. (Actually, the drive was a lot of fun--very like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland!) We got back to camp in a few minutes and lo and behold, there in the distance was rhino number 25! Hwange had LOTS of problems with poaching and they didn't have the security to protect the rhinos so they shipped them all over to a smaller park where they could protect them and work on a breeding program. Well, it seems the program worked as they have so many that the smaller park had too many and they have started re-introducing them into Hwange (where they have better security now). They will not say how many they have re-introduced to protect them (a few have been poached--mostly to use their horns for knife handles) but this guy was number 25 (as determined by his ear notches--The code is here).
We stopped a good way away form him and though he saw us (and the 2 other trucks) he really didn't seem to care that we were there and just keep grazing his way across the field. He actually ended up coming within about 20 meters of our truck, passing just behind us. Needless to say I took quite a few pictures. Here are just a couple of my favorites.
Every wonder why they are called White and Black rhinos? Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

A popular theory of the origins of the name White Rhinoceros is a mistranslation from Dutch into Afrikaans and English. The Afrikaans word "wit", meaning "white" in English is said to have been derived by mistranslation of the Dutch word "wijd", which means "wide" in English and is spelt "wyd" in Afrikaans. The word "wide" refers to the width of the Rhinoceros mouth. So early European settlers in South Africa misinterpreted the "wyd" for "white" and the rhino with the wide mouth ended up being called the White Rhino and the other one, with the narrow pointed mouth, was called the Black Rhinoceros. A review of Dutch and Afrikaans literature about the rhinoceros has also failed to produce any evidence that the word wyd was ever used to describe the rhino.[2] Other popular theories suggest the name comes from its wide appearance throughout Africa, its colour due to wallowing in calcerous soil or bird droppings or because of the lighter colour of its horn. An alternative common name for the white rhinoceros, more accurate but rarely used, is the square-lipped rhinoceros. The White Rhinoceros' generic name, Ceratotherium, given by the zoologist John Edward Gray in 1868,[3] is derived from the Greek terms keras "horn" and therion "beast". Simum, is derived from the Greek term simus, meaning "flat nosed".