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The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

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The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Safariman on Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:55 am

As the snow is coming down steadily and there is no chance of going anywhere I thought I would post a few photos of my encounter with the Marsh Pride lions on my recent trip to Kenya.
I only left the Mara North Conservancy once and that was a morning game drive into the Mara National Reserve to have a look around the Musiara Marsh in the hope of seeing some of the migrant birds that should have been visiting. However unlike my previous visit in June, when we tried unsuccessfully to get into the Marsh but due to the heavy rains the roads were impassable, this time the Marsh was almost completely dry, due to lack of rain, and there were hardly any birds around.
We did however encounter various members of the Marsh Pride. Our first sighting was of a group of lions spread out and relaxing in the grass with very full bellies after gorging themselves on a nearby carcass. There were three adult females, a large male and numerous cubs. I am not sure exactly how many cubs there were as some were sleeping and hidden by the long grass but I think there were 7 or 8.Two of the females were recognisable as Charm and Sienna but I do not know about the third. Again I am not sure which of the 4 Musketeers the male was, except it was definitely not Scarface. Perhaps someone can help me out on the identity.


















After stopping for a very enjoyable breakfast on the banks of the Mara River watching a hippo and her new born calf as well as several huge overfed Nile Crocodiles we soon came across 2 more members of the Marsh Pride. Two females who were lying in wait on the edge of a swampy area in the hope of enticing a passing zebra to visit them!!



Deciding that the 2 lions were probably in for a long wait and as the sun was starting to beat down rather relentlessly we moved on and started to make our way back to the Conservancy only to find 2 more lions relaxing in the shade of a convenient tree. This time a male and a female both looking rather exhausted!! Driving closer, it was obvious that the male was Scarface with his latest girlfriend. His facial disfigurement no detraction from his pulling power!!







It turned out to be one of those typical game drives where you set out in the hope of seeing one thing, in this case birds, and end up constantly bumping into lions!! Game drives are never boring.
Since the takeover of the Marsh Pride by the 4 Musketeers things seem to have settled down again with numerous new cubs and probably a lot more on the way.

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Doogs on Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:41 pm

Yeah the Marsh Pride
More great / lovely photos Safariman, especially loving the light in the second shot, the lioness sitting at the back is particualrly stunning Very Happy It's great to see the Marsh Pride really thriving now that there are four males to mate with the females, if this doesn't do good for the lion population then nothing will !

How lovely to see a new born Hippo - little but also incredibly big ! Laughing

Scarface's face has been bad like that for a long time now. Sometimes it seems to get better then it gets worse again. Will certainly agree with you, doesn't seem to detract from his pulling power Wink

I'm sure you didn't mind spending all that time with the lions instead of the birds you were initially looking for Cool

Thanks so much for posting the photos and of course your story Very Happy

I would say your male lion is Morani . Posted this previously but this is what I use to identify the 4 M's:

Scarface: Needs no descrption.
Hunter: Has a roundish face and a very dark coat, can't miss it.
Morani: Always, unless it rains, has the most unruly hairdo, it sticks up everywhere!
Sikio: Has a clip off the top of his right ear and a scar acoss the top of his nose just below his eyes. The scar may fade in time.

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  littlewid on Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:42 pm

WOW what a game drive that was safariman, ok no birds which is a shame but bumping into the Marsh Pride like that must have made your heart beat a little faster, what an encounter! Wonderful to see so many cubs and that they all looks so healthy and well fed, it's fantastic. It is also really nice to hear tat things have settled down since the takeover as that was all rather dramatic and sad really but at least they are thriving and growing as a Pride.
Doogs is always good at spotting which of the Muskateers it is, she should be employed as a spotter Very Happy
A baby Hippo is also so exciting, I imagine that was a real joy to see, I m a Hippo fan!
What is nice about all of those photos is that they all look so relaxed as well which is lovely.
Thanks safariman, on a very cold and snowy day that has added a lot of cheer cheers

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Laikipia on Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:52 pm

Great photos and story, thanks for sharing them with us. I will always have a soft spot for the Marsh Pride, so it's lovely to see them all and to know life in the pride is settling down now.

Doogs - gold Like a Star @ heaven for being our ace spotter and thanks for the reminder of who is who amongst the 4 Ms.

It's always the way when you want to see something that you see something else, but that is the joy of a safari - I love the fact that you just happen to come across animals/birds and never know what you will next bump into.

Thanks again Safariman - definitely a good use of your time on a snowy day.

Lai Very Happy
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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Safariman on Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:52 am

Thanks for the ID Doogs. I always find it difficult to work out which lion is which as particularly the males are always fighting either over food or females and pick up new scars and ear nicks all the time. The experts always say you should look at the whisker pattern which is unique to an individual but unless you have a guide to work from this is of no use. I know the Mara Predator Project website has a list of most of the Mara lions with their distinguishing marks and whisker pattern but it is not up to date and does not include the 4 Musketeers. It is easier to recognise leopards as their spot markings above their whiskers are again unique and easier to see.

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  whitestarling on Sat Jan 19, 2013 5:04 pm

How fantastic to see the Marsh Pride Safariman. That's an I wish for me. The Pride really do seem to have settled down now, and thats great news with so many new Cubs coming along increasing the gene pool of Lions from new, and different Males. I should think that the Pride will be settled for a long time now with four strong Males as protectors. The only ones that could endanger that, is a something like the Notch Boys if they returned to the marsh, but I cant see that. Which reminds me there does'nt seem to have been much news about Notch, and his sons lately. Well done Doogs you deserve a WAA spotting award You the man . A question with Leopards is the necklace individual as well as the spots above the whiskers ?

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  gregrowlerson on Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:07 pm

You the man Safariman! Great stories and pictures once again cheers

I would have loved to have seen the baby hippo, as like LW I'm quite a fan Very Happy

I laughed a lot at Scarface's appearance not detracting from his pulling power Laughing

Wonderful that the pride has many growing cubs. They seem to have a good future ahead.
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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Safariman on Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:21 am

WS I am not sure about the necklace on leopards. Part of the problem is that you do not always see the necklace, particularly if the leopard is lying down whereas as long as you can see the head you can usually see the whisker spots. Quite often you will find that a leopard has 3 spots on one side and only 2 or 1and a half on the other which makes identification fairly easy as long as you have a guide to work from.
With cheetahs for a definite id. you need to check the the order and size of the black and white tail rings which is not very easy as you very rarely see all the tail and if you do it is never still!
I have posted the photo of the hippo and her new baby for LW and GR.




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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  whitestarling on Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:12 am

Thanks Safariman I know from Big Cat Diarys that its usualy the whisker spots that are used for identification, as you say it's not easy to see the necklace, it's just something I wondered about. I did,nt know you identified Cheetahs by the tail rings, and that must be difficult as their tails are not visable completely, or they are traveling at 60mph Very Happy . Cracking shot of the baby Hippo, and Mum
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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  gregrowlerson on Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:28 pm

Thankyou for the pic of baby hippo. It made me :) even though it's a little bigger than I expected!
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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Doogs on Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:19 pm

that's what I said about Hippo's GR - they maybe baby's but they are still BIG !!!

Safariman, I hope you don't mind but I'm beginning to doubt myself that your male might be Morani so I'm going to post it on FB for some 'experts' to clarify. I'm going to put the photo on with my name attached to it so just to let you know I'm doing this purely to get a proper ID. I'll confirm exactly who it is when I find out.

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Laikipia on Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:26 pm

Good idea Doogs - just spotted your post. It looks like I'm stalking you, as I'm just a few minutes behind you!

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Doogs on Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:28 pm

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Safariman on Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:31 pm

No problem Doogs, I will await the "definitive" ID. It will also help my own records. Many thanks.

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  littlewid on Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:11 pm

You the man Safariman, I wasn't sure if you would post the picture so that has really been a great surprise this evening and I love it. I adore adult Hippos but the little ones are just so gorgeous, even though they are big babies! he looks quite worn out there doesn't he but he is a beauty, there really is something about those little ears and eyes and although they are not everyones cup of tea I do think they have such cute faces and for some reason I always think there is a lot going on in a Hippos mind even though they do often look as though they are wallowing around.
Cheers for that Safariman cheers

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  gregrowlerson on Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:37 am

Lai, you're a leopard in Tree so no surprises that you are a queen of stalkery as well as albino ing!

A lot going on in a hippo's mind hey LW! Something to ponder, and you may be right Very Happy
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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Laikipia on Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:51 am

You the man Giraffey Boy lol!

Mrs Kipia queen albino
aka leopard in Tree
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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Doogs on Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:27 pm

Safariman - One of the 'experts' has said the following about your picture :

Hi Lynn..Nearly certain this is Sikio. It's a great photo, but the whisker pattern is not that easy to see. The top line of Sikio's whisker pattern is also pretty non descript, basically just a relitively straight line. Morani has an extra 2 spots above his top row.

But..The way I was able to tell for almost certainty was the black dots on his nose and where exactly they are..lol..I know that sounds crazy and I would never use this alone to try and ID a lion, but they are exactly in the same location as the pics of Sikio I have..If you could get a higher resolution, we could probably say for 100%..


Just as well I checked !!! Embarassed I think this may mean I've got your other ones round the wrong way that you posted previously - 'cause I looked at the nose markings and that's why I said it was Morani

I've posted the same photo but a close-up of it to see if that helps for a 100% ID

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Doogs on Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:39 pm

It's Sikio !

"For sure it is Sikio Lynn..I can now in your pic see that one top dot a little better too..Feel pretty confident in saying your boy is Sikio".
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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Safariman on Wed Jan 23, 2013 2:57 pm

Thanks for the detective work Doogs, its great to know that he is "Sikio".
I have posted another pic. of him, the highlights are slightly blown out due to over exposure but the whisker pattern is easier to see.



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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Laikipia on Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:59 pm

Doogs - good work, a regular Miss Marple lol!

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  gregrowlerson on Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:06 pm

Thanks heaps for the You the man Mrs Kipia Group Hug

And that is incredible detective work Doogsy. You're a regular Veronica Mars.

It's going to be big odds on anyone having heard of her Razz
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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Laikipia on Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:43 am

So I googled it Giraffe albino

The series is set in the fictional town of Neptune, California, and stars Kristen Bell as the title character, a student who progresses from high school to college while moonlighting as a private investigator under the tutelage of her detective father. In each episode, Veronica solves a different stand-alone case while working to solve a more complex mystery. The first two seasons of the series each had a season-long mystery arc, introduced in the first episode of the season and solved in the season finale. The third season took a different format, focusing on smaller mystery arcs that would last the course of several episodes.

I would have loved that, I watch all the detective thingys.

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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  gregrowlerson on Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:13 am

WOW You are really getting into my good books now queen albino Very Happy

It was such a terrific show, and in fact just the other day I was getting a craving to get these DVD's back out and watch them again! I have watched all the episodes at least twice. It's got a great mix of cleverness and cool. It's really a show that targeted a young female audience (WS is really going to worry about me now Laughing ), but I totally got into it. The lead actress Kristen Bell is outstanding as Veronica, though I have seen her in a couple of other things and was rather underwhelmed...

It was such a shame when this show disappeared after three seasons because it had so much potential in its future, with Veronica now finishing her studies and off to the FBI (if I remember correctly). There has long been talk of a movie also, but that never eventuated.

I don't watch all the detective thingys, but am very obsessed with three. As well as VM, there is The X-Files and Inspector Morse (plus follow up Lewis) of which I have all the DVD's and have watched the eps multiple times. I can definitely get obsessed about particular thingys!

Like this forum Laughing
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Re: The Marsh Pride, Dec.2012, Masai Mara Kenya

Post  Laikipia on Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:46 am

PP. Lewis is on at the moment, a new series and I love it. I used to watch the X Files, where did that go? Some of our detective thingys are not so good but I always give them a go. Midsomer Murders is almost funny as at least 3 or 4 people get murdered but I still love it, that's also on at the moment so I am happy!

I will have to see if VM is on somewhere amongst the hundreds of channels cheers there are so many repeats being constantly repeated, it's like Groundhog Day!

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