There’s been a murder…

Call Taggarrrt! Therrre’s been a murrrderrr.

Shortly after catching the murderer in the act and putting the phone call in to Maryhill Police Station, the murderer disappears into the deep, dark forest, taking the body with her.

Taggart arrived swiftly and expertly starts the investigation of the little evidence that is left behind on our lawn.

Taggart confirmed in a press conference this afternoon that a female pheasant, positively identified by its distinct down feathers, has been brutally murdered by a yet to be identified hungry female goshawk.

Loggerhead turtles

The wildlife highlight of our two week stay in kastellorizo was, without a doubt, the loggerhead turtles frequenting the harbour.

It was just wonderful watching the loggerhead turtles swim in the harbour, both during the day while wandering the quay, or at night while having dinner on the quay side. At one point we could see three heads coming up for air, so the locals are probably right that there are four loggerheads frequenting the harbour.

What is surprising is how territorial these turtles are. When another one comes anywhere near them when there is food involved, the speed with which they chase each other through the water is just unbelievable.

Great spotted woodpecker

A visit to my mum and dad’s alway provides great opportunities to shoot the great spotted woodpecker that frequents their garden. Two images of the woodpecker taken during a brief visit on a very dull Sunday morning, taken in-between catching up over a couple of coffees with cake and chatting to my mum, dad and sister. Shot at high iso, so very chuffed with the results.

Are you looking at me punk?

This is the second year in a row that we have baby robins in the garden. Inquisitive and less shy than their parents, the baby robins sit around long enough to let me go inside, grab my camera and go back out to take a few shots from different angles while he watched my from his perch, before he flew away, following his mum in search of more food rather than being deterred by my presence.

This year’s fledgling is aptly christened Wee ‘Rocky’ Robin in view of his attitude and wonderful expressions.

Pinnawala stampede

The elephant stampede through the little village of Pinnawala can be witnessed several times in a single day when the elephant orphans are moved from their grazing grounds to the river and back.

We arrived when the elephants were feeding on the higher ground. We admired the baby orphans being fed with a bottle and the larger elephants feeding on the greens laid out for them on the plains.

Then we headed to down to the river, sitting on the terrace overlooking the river with a fresh mango juice. It wasn’t long before the stampede through the village started and the herd of elephants trampled into the river for a cool down.

Watching the elephants visibly enjoying the paddle in the river and spraying themselves with water was just wonderful. And the couple of mischievous little ones trampling about was just fantastic. And it was nice to see that apart from just two of elephants, absolutely none of the big herd of orphans were chained.

When we go back to Sri Lanka, we will, without a doubt, return to the orphanage for a lunch overlooking the river, as it was the highlight of our holiday. Absolutely magical.

Elephant’s eye

Paddling baby elephant

This photo of a baby elephant paddling in the river is a taster of our visit to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage which was probably the highlight of our two weeks holiday in Sri Lanka. Watching the stampede of a herd of baby elephants running through the village to the Pinnawela River, and seeing the sheer joy of these orphans paddling mischievously in the river was just amazing to watch.

Fun in the mud

During our safari at Yala Nature Reserve in Sri Lanka, we encountered plety of water buffalos. May not the most exited spieces we encountered, but they made for some spectecular sights. This one enjoying a mud bath is my favourite without a doubt.

The majority of water buffalos we saw were, you guessed it, in the water somehow. Whether lying in a muddy pool, half submerged, or eating greens while wading through shallow waters, the water and the mud seems to form part of their enjoyment in life.

Water monitor

The second highlight of our river safari up the Balapitiya River in South West Sri Lanka was seeing the water monitor. We spotted it swimming towards the middle of the river, but as soon as our boat with the noisy outboard got anywhere near it, it headed back to the mangroves.

I felt sorry for the monitor, as our guide was literally chasing it back into the mangroves with the outboard at full throttle. A chased animal combined with the noise and diesel fumes of the outboard spoiled the otherwise magic encounter.

I will leave you in suspense with what the third highlights of this boat trip was.

Leopard sleeping in a tree

In this third and final part of my leopard trilogy, we see a different leopard sleeping in a tree. As some people never get to see a leopard on their Yala safari, we counted ourselves very lucky to see two leopards on ours.

We still ask ourselves the question whether this encounter was due to the sharp eyes of our tracker or his knowledge that this leopard sleeps in this very tree every afternoon. In either case, we appreciated seeing this wonderful creature hanging lazily on a branch halfway up the tree.

As you can see from the last image, the leopard was very far away from the track. The first two images are merely very small centre crops of similar images taken with my longest telephoto lens.

Leopard on a wander

In this second part of my leopard trilogy from Sri Lanka, the big male leopard sleekly wanders down from the undergrowth past a non-caring squacko heron before turning towards the water. However he decides to continue his turn and circles back to the undergrowth, likely disturbed by the jeeps gathering on the track with revving engines and tooting horns.

I am actually surprised he didn’t make a dash for it, but then again, he is probably used to the commotion of jeeps turning up daily.

Leopard emerging from the undergrowth

While on holiday in Sri Lanka we experienced our first ever safari at the Yala Nature Reserve. Although there were a few highlights our experience was very disappointing.

The safari consisted effectively of a two hour race in a jeep over rough tracks through the nature reserve, stopping just long enough on sight of some wildlife for a quick few shots before speeding off again. The question ‘did you get it?’ was followed by a swift acceleration when the answer was affirmative.

The safari felt like a race through the reserve, ensuring we captured every type of wildlife on camera. It was like going through a list of tick boxes, with the driver’s and tracker’s tip en par with how many species they could get to show us.

We were expecting a much more relaxed approach, driving to a location, staying there to soak up the atmosphere, being one with nature and seeing wildlife appear more naturally. But maybe we were expecting too much.

One of the highlight of the safari was seeing this big male leopard emerging from the undergrowth. It was heading for a drink at the pool of water, but decided to disappear back in the undergrowth, disturbed by a dozen’s of jeeps with engines roaring and tooting of horns, all vying for the best vantage point.

No wonder the leopard disappeared.