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Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

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Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Fri Oct 30, 2015 3:47 pm

I will post on this safari in a similar manor to previously, adding photos and videos as and when I manage to edit them. This trip I managed 1400 photos and 400 video clips. The videos will probably take a while to edit and put together so it might take some time!!

This trip followed very much the same pattern as my previous safaris, staying at Offbeat's Camp in the Mara North Conservancy. However this time I did meet up with fellow WAA member Laikipia and her friend Ali. We did not spend a great deal of time together apart from meal times as I tended to be off and out early at sunrise rather than enjoying a lie in!!!!!! It will be interesting to see Lai's photos of the same area but taken from a different standpoint.

It was fascinating to see the change in the landscape since my last visit in June, as then everything was lush and green with waist high grass but now it was dry and parched with bone hard earth, little grass and dust everywhere. Kenya has two wet periods, the long rains in April/May and the short rains in Nov. In between times it is very dry with only the occasional shower. I was amused in watching the BBC programme about Saba Douglas-Hamilton and Elephant Watch Camp just before my trip by its' reference to the normal dry season as a disastrous drought. This so called drought happens every year and the animals are well prepared for it. If the rains fail then there can be problems but generally everything survives, perhaps normal doesn't make good tv!! After watching the series, Elephant Watch Camp, is definitely on my list of places to avoid as it it seemed to exist in a state of disorganised chaos!!

Because of the dry conditions the game was well spread out keeping to the areas with water and the remaining grass. Offbeat is lucky in being on a small river the Olare Orok and has plenty of surrounding grass and trees if a little dry. This meant there was always plenty to see in the Offbeat valley and around camp. In the evenings a large herd of buffalo liked to wander through camp to attack the remaining grass. They were accompanied by a very large bull elephant who we christened "Sleepless" as he kept a lot of the guests including me awake at night with his nocturnal wanderings and munching adjacent to the tents. He also had the habit of passing wind quite frequently and the sound of a 4/5 tonne elephant passing wind at 2am in the morning when you are in a tent is guaranteed to wake even the heaviest of sleepers!! During the day he would retreat to an area of acacia trees behind the camp to continue his feeding and take a well deserved nap.

The Offbeat Pride continues to thrive and now has 14 cubs ranging in age from 4 to 9 months. The cubs appear healthy apart from one who is unfortunately showing the tell tale signs of mange. Napono the matriarch of the pride who everyone thought was infertile is heavily pregnant and about to give birth at any time and will hopefully add to the numbers. It was good to see the pride thriving as they have not been too successful in the past in raising cubs so fingers crossed for the future.

A big old male leopard had also taken up residence close to the camp and I was lucky enough to see him on several occasions. He is about 10/12 years old with a huge range and had not been seen in the area for sometime.

A first sighting for me in the Mara area was of a black rhino; there are very few of these magnificent creatures left in the Mara and this young bull had wandered into the Mara North Conservancy from the Mara Triangle area and we were fortunate to see him before the rangers marshalled him back across the Mara River into the Triangle.

These are a few miscellaneous photos that I have so far managed to sort and edit.



A lucky and rare sighting of a black rhino



Napono, the matriarch of the Offbeat Pride, licking her lips after a snack!!



A lilac-breasted roller in the early morning sun



"Sleepless" the bull elephant, taking a well earned rest after keeping me awake the previous night!!



Frank, one of the two Offbeat males.



Martial eagle



A cat on a mission,the male leopard



One of the 14 Offbeat cubs



An unexpected lunch-time guest, a velvet green night adder. (They can give you a nasty but not fatal bite!!)



A Mara North sunset



Mrs. Warthog and her brand new piglets!!



One of the Offbeat Pride females deciding what to have for dinner!!



The Offbeat "Famous Five", Masai guides, Kapeen, Kumani, Josephat, David and Joseph having a well deserved sundowner at the end of the day!

SM
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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Laikipia on Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:55 pm

http://i73.servimg.c  Safariman, and I love your tact  but Ali and I did get up earlier once we got to Ol Pejeta, we felt we had fully recovered from work and had relaxed at Offbeat!

Wow that' some video clips  I only did 15 and have deleted all but 9 I think.  Photos ended up at 980 although I do delete some at the end of each day.  I'm now at 650 and still sorting.

I can't wait to see both our photos - it will be great.  I love your Martial Eagle and you won't be surprised to know I also have that and of course Frank (and Jessie)?   We missed seeing the snake at camp but only by a few seconds, it may have been another one of course!

A lovely start to your photos, especially seeing all the guides together.

Thanks for sharing.

Lai
aka Camilla (or Milly as Ali calls me) Very Happy
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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:41 pm

Thanks Lai, like you I am still sorting and haven't even started on the video clips yet.
Pleased to hear you were an early riser at Ol Pejeta!!

These are some more miscellaneous pics.



A different mMartial eagle, this time wearing its' dark glasses!!



An Acacia Pride female trying to chomp through a particularly hairy wildebeest.



A newly born impala fawn trying to look inconspicuous.



Female ostrich sitting on her clutch of eggs. They take about 42 days to hatch.



Same nest but this time the male has taken over incubating duties. They alternate throughout the day.



Water monitor lizard



An elephant attacking an Acacia tree. There were signs of damage everywhere to the Acacias.



Black-backed jackal and white-backed vultures squabbling over leftover scraps from  a lion kill!!



Male leopard "The Runner" at Leopard Gorge. He is very difficult to get close to hence his name. He is also the offspring of the old male leopard shown in my previous post.



Zebra drinking at the Mara River



Verreaux's eagle owl



A family of elephant. After a brief discussion, the matriarch decided to lead them towards the rain falling on the distant horizon in the hope of better grazing and water!!



A freckled nightjar, showing its incredible camouflage as it blends in to the surroundings.

Back to the editing!!

SM

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Laikipia on Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:45 am

Good morning Safariman

I love your selection of misc photos, and am chuckling about the ostrich on the eggs, we photographed her from the other side!  Quite amazing how she blended in and I really wish we had been there long enough to see the chicks Very Happy   Also we saw the Monitor Lizard, it can certainly move when it wants to!  The jackal and the vultures is a great photo and really gives a flavour of how life is out in Kenya.  As for the Nightjar cheers  lovely to see it and the camouflage is incredible.

I have sorted my photos to 466 but now need to pick out a selection for WAA

ps I am jealous of your leopard sightings and can only blame ourselves for enjoying lie ins and breakfast in camp

Thanks for sharing - great to see birds as well, I really enjoy Africa's birds.

Lai
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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  whitestarling on Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:34 am

Thanks SM, wonderful photos as always wouldn't like to pick a favourite from that great selection. Although I really love the Lilac Breasted Roller, the impala fawn, the Geo, and WOW that is one big male Leopard , Oh, and that is a great shot of Napono. Glad you all met up with each other, nice to put a name to the face. Looking forward to more pics, and your vids as, and when you sort them, and now I'm back on I will hopefully be able to keep up to date.

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:58 am

Thanks Lai and WS.

A slightly different post this time!!!

During my stay at the Offbeat Mara Camp I was privileged to be allowed to watch and film training sessions of The Offbeat Mara Lion Cub Team practicing their river jumping skills and the Offbeat Baboon Team honing their pole sliding techniques !!!
The hope of both teams is to be picked for next year's Wildlife Olympics in Rio!!!

This is a short video of their efforts although I think their chances of making Rio are not very high!!




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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Laikipia on Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:03 am

Great video clip Safariman, and I remember you showing me the baboon clip in camp Very Happy   The lions are so funny, you'd think they'd walk through a little stream and enjoy cooling off.  

I love the idea of both the lions and the baboons at the Rio Olympics  a great idea Safariman lol!

Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Sun Nov 08, 2015 11:48 am

Thanks Lai.

Some more random photos.



Acacia Pride female enjoying an early morning drink.



A brown snake-eagle with its' very distinctive orange/yellow eye



Female eland posing for the camera.



The male cheetah that Lai also saw and photographed



Just another idyllic spot that David and Kapeen found for our picnic breakfast!!



A Secretary bird



A herd of buffalo illuminated in the golden glow of the early morning sun.



The old male leopard giving us the evil eye!!



A yellow-billed stork kindly poses with a pair of zebra.



A small herd of female impala showing their distinctive M as they advertise for MacDonald's!!! (A tasty snack for a lion)



Double trouble!! Frank (on the left) and Jesse the rulers of the Offbeat Pride



Unusual sighting of a giraffe taking a rest.



A hartebeest standing guard on a termite mound.



A guttural (common) toad. Another lunchtime visitor at camp.



A long crested eagle



A pair of zebra drinking.


I really must get back to the video editing which I keep putting off!!

SM
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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Laikipia on Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:17 pm

http://i73.servimg.c  Safariman, another lovely collection of photos.

I have almost the very same shot of the male cheetah, we were probably a few hours behind you!  I love your breakfast spot Very Happy  although as I woman I do like the odd bush or two Embarassed  !!   I am really enjoying seeing not only the big wildlife but the birds and the toad Frog  not one I've met before.  the Impala are so beautiful with their little black socks and their big M on their bottoms and in flight they are truly graceful.  I like the way you lead on to Frank and Jesse the magnificent Offbeat males.

Another great selection Safariman cheers

I've been distracted by messing around with videos just for the practice really as it's fun adding music and editing bits and pieces.  Sadly I haven't done any more photos but I will this week.

Thanks for sharing and enjoy the rest of Sunday. Oh and I meant to say I really enjoyed seeing your two albums at Offbeat Mara Laughing lovely for the guests to see.

Lai
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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:57 am

Thanks Lai.

I appreciate what you say about breakfast sites as the one I show in my photo could be a little awkward for female scent marking!! When I was in Zambia on the Busanga Plains with not a bush or tree in sight, it was a case of gentlemen to the front of the vehicle and ladies to the rear!!

Video editing can be fun but also very frustrating as quite often having finished a film and uploaded it to Youtube for sharing I suddenly realise I should have done this or changed that and I don't want to have to go through the whole process again of having to re-upload it.
I also find that as I have over 400 short clips, trying to decide which ones to use and in what order and then edit it to the same length as the music I have chosen can be a little irksome. However I will persevere.

SM

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  whitestarling on Mon Nov 09, 2015 12:33 pm

WOW SM that video, and the slow mo editing is brilliant. I will share that with the WildEarth TV chatters they will absolutely love it Love the old Leopard shot, and the two Zebras faces drinking. I think you said somewhere that Jessie was the dominant Male, but I notice Frank has the darker mane, that goes against the theory that they are more attractive, and stronger . Thanks for the other wonderful photos, and descriptions, also love the Rio Olympics connection

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Laikipia on Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:43 pm

lol! Safariman - yes happily a vehicle has 2 ends! Wow that's whole host of video clips but you'll do it and we'll surely enjoy it

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Wed Nov 11, 2015 12:19 pm

Thanks WS pleased you enjoyed the video and shared it with Wildearth.

It was great fun watching the cubs playing just like small children especially when they stood on the bank and seemed to encourage their siblings to jump over and join them like a game of chicken!!!

I have added some more details about Frank and Jesse on Lais thread.

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  whitestarling on Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:16 am

Your welcome, seen the info thanks

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:18 pm

Some leopard photos this time.

This was the old male we were lucky enough to see several times who had taken up residence quite close to camp.



This was our first sighting of him. Not a very good photo as he was well hidden amongst the rocks on a hillside close to the river.



We then saw him the following day on the river bank close to the area where he had made a kill and dragged it up a tree.



There is no better sight than to see a leopard in the open and on the move.



The next morning we found him high in a tree on the river bank enjoying breakfast of young zebra. He had left his kill untouched for a good 24 hours presumably to allow it to nicely mature before eating!!



Red meat for breakfast!!





Having eaten his fill and after a good wash he paused momentarily on a branch as he descended the tree. You can see on his chest an old wound probably from an encounter with an antelope horn.



He was very relaxed and took no notice of our vehicle being quite happy to pose for a photo.





He casually walked right by our vehicle totally ignoring us.



Our last sight of him as he made his way down the river bank to drink and then presumably to go back to his lair and chill out on the nearby hillside.

Thanks to the incredible tracking and spotting skills of my guides David and Kapeen I was able to get the chance to watch and photograph this magnificent animal going about his daily routine over a couple of days. It doesn't get any better than this!!

SM
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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Laikipia on Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:39 pm

WOW Safariman. My favourite big cat for sure. Lovely photos and storyline. Now I wish I had got out of bed early, we did search for him but never found him! He's a very handsome leopard even with his wound and he looks very powerful. It never ceases to amaze me how a leopard can blend into the surroundings so well, they really are just magnificent big cats.

Doesn't it look dry? Oh and red meat Shocked that's reality but I am thinking too much for breakfast What a Face

Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  littlewid on Fri Nov 13, 2015 8:47 pm

WOW WOW WOW Safariman, such brilliant photo's, so, so many to comment on, you really do have so many that I love and always brilliant to see the buff boys, I could rave about so many but the one that hit me in the heart was the one of Frank....those eyes look so gentle and loving, they don't seem right that they belong to such an incredible predator, they look so warm, it's truely an amazing shot and if you look closely at the cub, he seems to have the same eyes but Franks are exceptional.

I loved hearing about Sleepless, what a star he is.....not sure I'd want to be near that rear end!!!!!! Love the picture of him sleeping......how typical he keeps you awake most of the night and then he's caught napping.

I think the Lions and Baboons stand a real chance in the Wildlife Olympics in Rio.......I can't do what they do.....really loved the video.

I do like the way you tell the stories of your Safaris Safariman, they really do set the scene and you can really imagine what it was like being there and im looking forward to seeing more wonderful photo's and videos......the ones I've seen tonight have really warmed a chilly night.

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Mon Nov 16, 2015 2:20 pm

Thank you Lai and LW.

Yes to see a leopard is very special even if you have to get up early!!!

You are right LW Frank does appear to have a gentle expression on his face but I would definitely not wish to mess with him. As I mentioned on Lai's thread he seems to be subservient to his partner in crime Jesse so perhaps he has developed a pathetic look to make people feel sorry for him.

Time to do more video editing and then try and upload to Youtube.

SM
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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  littlewid on Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:37 pm

Ah yes.....perhaps he has learnt that look Safariman and yes Lions are Lions so no I wouldn't want to mess with him either but you know me......animals do have different personalities and maybe he is subservient to Jesse because he does have a softer side and that's what comes through in those eyes of his....maybe he was the playful cub always hanging around mum and Jesse was the more boisterous one ready to go get them......who knows but those eyes of Franks sure do melt my heart........from a distance that is Very Happy

Looking forward to more of your videos bounce

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:58 am

I think of all the big cats and probably all the wildlife I have encountered, lions have the most expressive faces. I don't know if it is because they are social animals living in prides and therefore need to communicate with their fellow members or whether it just humans giving them a recognisable human trait!!
Below is a photo of a sub-adult from the Marsh Pride that seems to be smiling directly for the camera.

I have also posted the first part of my safari video. There will be 3 parts when I can get round to uploading them to Youtube. The problem is it takes so long to upload, this one took over 2 hours and if I leave the computer and it goes to sleep the upload either stops or goes to a crawl, so it could be sometime to get them all posted!!



"Smile nicely for the camera please!!"



part 1 of my safari video


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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  littlewid on Wed Nov 18, 2015 8:40 pm

They certainly are extremely expressive Safariman and I'm going with both your analogies....they are social within the pride and I don't believe all their communication is done by roars and gruffs....body language is a big part of their socialisation and expression is part of body language...the two naturally go together....even if you don't move your facial muscles your eyes always tell the truth and it seems Lions are just like humans in that respect.......if it's just us putting human traits on them because thats what we want to believe, I see that as a good thing.....especially in helping to conserve nature. By that I mean if it's because someone sees them as being cute and cuddly or strong and proud or vulnerable it creates a bond, a love or passion and the urge to protect them becomes strong and in some cases an undenying urge to protect and save them and if this creates a love of wildlife and a feeling that they need you then seeing them as cute and cuddly, strong and proud or vulnerable is going to benefit them as you become part of the throng with a desire to protect them.....protection doesnt always come out of staunch conservation or its the right thing to do it can come out of what a particular animal evokes in us and for whatever reason we are doing our bit.....all those bits benefit the animals......so for me cutesy, fluffy or gawky interpretations are good.......if all that makes sense!

That Lioness really does appear to be smiling doesn't she.....whether she is or isnt my take is she is.....its a gorgeous photo and would certainly inspire people to protect them.

Loving the video...a really great watch and apart from all the amazing animals......and my lovely wildie boys.....that African night sky with the eles walking on the Savannah is spectacular.......thank you for spending the time putting it together and uploading it.....I really do appreciate it.

Thanks so much Safariman and look forward to part 2 and part 3

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Laikipia on Fri Nov 20, 2015 12:18 pm

http://i73.servimg.c Safariman, a lovely clip. Wow that's some time to upload, mine don't take that long you must have snail broadband!

A great selection of wildlife and wonderful to see. Thanks for taking the time to upload and share.

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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Sun Nov 22, 2015 11:03 am

Thanks LW and Lai.
I have now managed to upload part 2 of my safari video to Youtube and have posted it below.




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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Laikipia on Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:45 pm

http://i73.servimg.c  Safariman, I'm glad you persevered with uploading to YouTube!  A lovely video with all your clips put together with a great selection of beautiful wildlife. When you look back you remember just how much you have seen and I think video is great and wish I had done more you can capture so much more with it and when it's all put together it gives a really great reminder of a safari and an amazing idea of what it is like to be there.

Thanks for sharing some really wonderful moments.

Lai

ps I have just done a short slideshow which is uploading to Dropbox as I type and then probably to YouTube!
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Re: Mara North Safari Oct. 2015

Post  Safariman on Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:33 am

Thanks Lai.

I think the problem I have with uploading to Youtube is that my videos are in HD and I am not sure how to reduce their size to make it easier to upload them for the internet.

You are right about video as it can give instant playback to what you experienced when you were there. Although I still prefer still as a final image. Fortunately with the modern digital cameras you can just switch from still to video by pushing a button so I now always try to do both at a sighting as it doesn't take much longer.

What I also do now with my finished videos to put them onto a dvd so that I can then watch them on a television rather than a computer screen and then impose them on to friends and relatives. When i go back to Offbeat I always take a couple of the dvds to give to the guides so that they can see what their hard work results in. I know David loves them and shows them to his children.

The final part of the video is yet to be uploaded to Youtube so will be a little while before I can post it here.

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