19 December 2014

Lappet-faced Vulture - Kgalagadi

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park can become a special place, if you allow it to get into your soul. I did not feel like that on my first visit last month, because the place is so hostile. It is almost as though it is conspiring to see how it can make life uncomfortable for you, but the heat, wind storms, dust storms and thunderstorms all become part of the experience and is what sets it apart from other parks.

Processing my photos after the trip is what has done it for me and I will have to start planning the next trip soon. It's not as though you can just decide to jump in your car and go there. You have to book your accommodation a year in advance - that tells you something about the place and its popularity.

One of the amazing features of the Park for me was the variety and number of raptors that one gets to see there. The Lappet-faced Vulture is just one of these - a magnificent bird, always ready to clean up after the predators.

26 November 2014


This was one of those moments in photography that you dream of.....getting this close to a Bateleur. We disturbed him while he was on the ground at Melkvlei in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and followed him to a tree where he had settled.

After taking a number of photos from various distances before  he was frightened off, we were eventually parked under the tree with him peering down at us through the sunroof.

These are truly magnificent birds.

20 November 2014

Skywatch Friday - Kgalagadi Sky

Springbok silhouetted against the early morning sky in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Visit Skywatch for more great pictures from around the world.

16 November 2014

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - an amazing wilderness

Suzie and I have just fulfilled a lifelong dream to visit the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. 

Nothing can prepare one for the experience of the place. It is a harsh and unforgiving part of the country, with little water a baking sun, strong winds and sand storms. But there is a sureal beauty to the place, with the red sand dunes and the dry river beds - the Aoub River apparently only flows every eleven years, and the Nossob River every fifty years.

Yet in spite of its harshness many animals thrive here. 

This gemsbok is walking along the Aoub River against the backdrop of one of the many red dunes.

25 October 2014

Airshow time again

Fly by at the Port Elizabeth airshow. A Mango Airlines Boeing 737 800 and the Silver Falcons team in their Pilatus PC-7 Turbo-Trainers 

23 October 2014

Skywatch Friday - Climax on a mountain

If you are not South African the title may have mislead you.................... 

Climax is the brand name of  a windmill, which is a common feature on the South African landscape and the name is often used as a synonym for windmill. It was also the inspiration for the name of the book my wife and I have just published, which has been promoted quite extensively in some of the earlier posts. 

This battered windmill, perched near the top of the Zuurberg Pass, in the Eastern Cape has the most spectacular panoramic views of the rolling countryside from Paterson to Port Elizabeth and beyond, with Algoa Bay as a backdrop. 

If you have never been to the top of the Zuurberg Pass, put it on your bucket list. The road is not the best, to put it mildly, but in Koos it was not a problem. The views in and from the mountains are breathtaking and worth the trip. On a misty day you may not see too much, but then just enjoy the atmosphere.

Visit the Skywatch site for more wonderful pictures from all over the world.

17 October 2014

Skywatch Friday - A gloomy day at Addo

Who in their right mind goes to a game reserve on a wet and gloomy morning, when the rain is falling?

Me for one, plus a whole lot of other wildlife enthusiasts - some even in an open game viewing vehicle. In an interaction with the field guide afterwards, I was told it was quite miserable being in an open vehicle in the rain and wind, but I am sure they all rewarded themselves with a hot shower afterwards.

One thing about a gloomy day though, is that it does give you atmospheric shots.

For more Skywatch pictures from around the world please visit the Skywatch site.

15 October 2014

The Climax Collection: Give-away

The climax of a dream come true.

Well the books arrived from the printers on Monday and I suppose we will not be eating at the dining room table until we have managed to sell a few. This is what a 1,000 books look like, when all neatly packaged.

The Climax Collection is a book of windmill photos, with captions reflecting our own wacky brand of humour. The pictures were gathered while travelling over thousands of miles around South Africa and there was much hilarity as Sue and I hit upon many of the captions, when we saw the opportunities.

According the Africa, this is why I live here Facebook page, it is "The most 'naughty but nice' truly South African keepsake book you could ever wish to find."

To promote the book we are giving away two copies this week, in two separate competitions:

Competition 1 on Africa, this is why I live here, ends tomorrow but if you are quick, there is still time to enter. All it requires is for you to 1. LIKE The Climax Collection's Facebook page.
2. LIKE the post on the Africa page and 3. SHARE the post.

Competition 2 on the The Climax Collection's Facebook page gives you the opportunity to join in the fun by adding your caption to the featured windmill photo. Pop over our site to enter.

11 October 2014

Red-necked Spurfowl

Since the birding specialists decided to harmonize the names of birds around the world, I along with many other mortals, have had to adapt to the new names. It's not that I resist change, but let's face it, the new names very often do not have a good ring to them.

Take this Red-necked Spurfowl for example - it used to be called the Red-necked Francolin and I still think of them as Francolin. My grandfather called them pheasants and so did I for many years, until I adapted to Francolin.

I suppose those massive spurs on its legs give credence to its new name and so I will just have to adapt.

10 October 2014

The Climax Collection: The secret life of windmills

What started off as a fun idea, while Sue and I were travelling and indulging in our passion for photography, has now become a fun book on windmills.  

The Climax Collection: The secret life of windmills is a unique book, part coffee-table photography, part colloquial South African humour and part travel. Once you have gone through it you will never look a windmill again without smiling.

The book is hot off the press and we are expecting it to arrive by Wednesday next week. We will  have updates on where and when copies can be bought on our Facebook page The Climax Collection: The secret life of windmills

The book can be ordered on line from our distributors Porcupine Press.

07 October 2014

Eating dirt

Zebra looking for minerals in the road as a boost to its diet.

26 September 2014

All puffed up - Cape Glossy Starling

A Cape Glossy Starling all puffed up and taking some time out from its busy schedule.

24 September 2014

An interlude in the rain

Today brought some very welcome rain to the Eastern Cape and while many of the animals at Addo did not appreciate the cold that accompanied it, this Cape Longclaw took full advantage of the situation by having a bath in a puddle, in the road.

18 September 2014

Skywatch Friday - Out on the plains

A pair of guineafowl foraging in the plains beneath a cloudy sky.

For more super pictures from around the world, pop in to the Skywatch site

14 September 2014

Cape Weaver

No trip to the Addo Elephant National Park is complete without a trip to Domkrag Dam, where the Cape Weavers are regular visitors. It is so easy to look out for the big game and lose out on the pleasure of seeing the small birds and animals

13 September 2014

Skywatch Friday - Grey skies and grey bodies

A family group of elephants at the Addo Elephant National Park.

Go to Skywatch for more pictures from round the world

The little grey birds

I have met many people over the years who come to Addo, or to Africa and just want to see the big five. They travel around the parks so intent on looking for the big animals that they miss the joy of seeing and experiencing the little creatures, like this Bar-throated Apalis.

They are usually referred to as LGBs - little grey birds, because they seem so nondescript when one catches a brief glimpse of them.

But if anyone misses seeing them they can be forgiven, because they are tiny and spend most of their time flitting through the dense bush, looking for prey - they seldom sit still long enough for you to take a photo.

This one popped out of the bushes at Jack's picnic spot and fortunately stopped long enough for me to focus the camera on him.

10 September 2014

Meet Roy...the undisputed king

Roy was born in the Park in 2007 and at the moment he is definitely the dominant male at Addo. His father was one of the Kalahari dark maned lions introduced to the Park many years ago, but he has since been relocated.

Roy was on the move when I took this shot and was walking directly towards the car. He passed so close by that I could have reached out and touched him, but there are some things you do not do where lions are concerned.

09 September 2014


These guys are so ugly they are beautiful

07 September 2014

Kudu time

Someone once said in a post that he never wasted his time photographing kudu cows, because the males were so magnificent. I beg to differ on that score - I will always photograph the cows, before the bulls, but then I am biased. If you want to know why click on the link to Thumpy - a kudu's tale.

Who can resist this face.......................?

For those who prefer the males with their magnificent horns, here is a pair of bulls in their prime.

05 September 2014

Meet Gina

Gina has become one of the iconic lionesses of the Addo Elephant National Park. Everyone loves to see her. I was hoping to get a glimpse of her cubs when I took this photo, but no luck there I am afraid, maybe next time.

04 September 2014

Skywatch Friday - Harvey's Tree

I don't know who Harvey was, or why one of the roads at the Addo Elephant National Park was named Harvey's Loop, but I do know that near the Southern entrance to the loop is a ficus tree that has its own Facebook page and followers.

Harvey's tree as it has come to be know was systematically demolished by the elephants that moved into the Southern part of the Park, soon after it was opened. There was a lot of debate over the future of the tree and we all believed that the elephants would eventually destroy it completely, so we started a Facebook page to appreciate its resilience and monitor its demise or survival.

So far Harvey's tree has survived.

The tree has been photographed with a wide range of animal species grazing there, or just appreciating the shade. To name a few, these include lions, elephants, zebras, warthogs, hartbees and ostriches. When I took this shot there was just one humble Hadeda Ibis scavenging through the grass.

This view is looking south towards Algoa Bay which has disappeared in the horizon.

Gina, one of the lionesses from the park was enjoying the shade here some month's back, She has three delightful cubs now and does not show them off too often and I am hoping to see them soon.

Looking northwards towards Harvey's tree from Vukani Loop on a gloomy day, with the Winterhoek Mountains in the background. Click on the photo for a better view.

Go to the Skywatch site to link to many more great photos from around the world.

15 August 2014

In a forest of legs

It never ceases to amaze me how caring and protective elephants are of the new born calves.

It seems like being in the herd could be a dangerous place for these little guys, but somehow those big feet miss them and the little ones are able to move inside the herd quite safely.

14 August 2014

Richmond Hill Sunrise

I do so love sunrises. It is a time of the day that so many people miss, but being an early riser means I get to see plenty of them. This one was taken from my front gate, as the cold front made its appearance.

For many wonderful pictures from around the world visit the Skywatch Friday site.

12 August 2014

World Elephant Day 2014

World Elephant Day has been going on for three years now and is a time when people come together to honor elephants, to spread awareness about the critical threats they are facing, and to support positive solutions that will help ensure their survival.

Click here to see the World Elephant Day Press Release.

Here are a few photos that show these magnificent animals in their natural environment.

Two elephant bulls greeting

The true kings of the bush

There are some things that are not shared.

Asserting his dominance at the waterhole

29 June 2014

Route 67 - New Artwork

This weekend Suzie and I went to the Donkin to check out the latest artwork, which turned out to be a very cheerful piece of work. I still need to find out the name of the artist and the name of the work.

Close-up of some of the panels, which I believe are made from the caps of medicine bottles.

Route 67, is an amazing project displaying street art from the Campanile near the harbour, to the Nelson Mandela Bay Art Museum at St Georges Park. It was named in honour of the 67 years that Nelson Mandela contributed to South African politics and the struggle to eradicate apartheid.

28 June 2014

Inner City Birds - Yellow-billed Egret

A Yellow-billed Egret captured at the Donkin Reserve today. It is not a bird I have seen in the inner city before, but it is number 25 in my collection.

26 June 2014

Skywatch Friday - Fireworks

Another week to go and the National Arts Festival gets underway in Grahamstown and the festinos will be treated in for 10 days of music, art, theatre, good food, wine and the many stalls offering a wide range of "stuff" that you need, don't need and want. It is a time when the City of Grahamstown bursts at the seams with people and there is a great buzz. I guess that it is all about creativity, inspiration and stimulating the senses. When you leave it will be with a sense of knowing that you'll be back..

These are a few of the many photos I took of the fireworks display last year, which Suzie and I followed up with a mouth watering meal at one of the many restaurants afterwards.

It is one of the times when I get out of my bush mode and enjoy the vibe.

For many wonderful pictures from around the world visit the Skywatch Friday site.

25 June 2014

Going Green Again

Another old faithful that reached the end of its life and left to decay in the bush at Glen Lyndon, near Bedford. These old cars always make interesting photo subjects.

24 June 2014

Birds of the Inner City - Common Fiscal

Juvenile and adult Common Fiscals surveying the scene

Juvenile pouncing on some unseen prey

23 June 2014

Cheetah Cubs #3

The cheetah cubs at the Kragga Kamma Game Park are growing up fast and the mamma is becoming more inclined to bring them out into the open, which is great, because they are always a delight to watch.

Always ready for a game........................................

Family affection............................

22 June 2014

Depth of field - take your pick

If you've ever tried photographing dragon flies you'll know that sitting still is not in their character. Now bring a 120-500mm lens on a tripod into the picture and try and sort out the depth of field for a particular shot.........

My result was slightly different with the two shots I succeeded in getting off...............so red or blue, take your pick.


.......or blue?

21 June 2014

Winter solstice - Richmond Hill.

Here is an example of the brilliance of the early twentieth century builders. On the 21 June every year, the rising sun is perfectly aligned between the hall at the St Phillips Church, the St Phillips Guesthouse and our front gate. And, to top it all legend has it that if a flock of crows flies over when you are watching the sunrise, you are going to have a really good year. Okay, so I made I up the second part, but no problem that's how legends are born.

20 June 2014

Reflections at the Port

Reflections tell their own story.............. these were taken on a calm day at Port St Francis.

19 June 2014

Skywatch Friday - Birds and Clouds

A smattering of clouds and a Kelp Gull are enough to make one look skyward with interest..........

......but sometimes the sky, with the help of a few clouds, just takes your breath away.

For many wonderful pictures from around the world visit the Skywatch Friday site.