Category Archives: Wildlife

Travel Theme: Soft

Ailsa at Wheres my backpack has chosen ‘Soft’ for her travel theme this week. This is a Victoria Crowned Pigeon and  I took the photo at Kuala Lumpur bird park, the worlds largest free flight aviary. I’m sure its feathers and beautiful crest would feel very soft. They are ground dwellers, quite large and they originate from New Guinea. They are named after Queen Victoria. Victoria Crowned Pigeon

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

I knew exactly what I would share with you when I saw the theme this morning. This solitary black swan has been around the river for a year or so,  and Fifi as she is known, hit the local newspaper this week because she is lonely. There are lots of mute swans on the Exe and the canal, but of course black swans are native to Australia, not Britain. When I saw her last year, I assumed she had made her way up river from Dawlish, where there has been a colony for decades. Apparently not though, she is not ringed and it’s thought that she may have escaped from a private garden. She has been nest building but has no mate, the local birds have attacked her and she is probably feeling terribly rejected. The Dawlish swan herd says that she should be taken there, but that it would be costly to capture and move her and so far no one has offered to pay. I hope the newspaper article prompts a donation from a wealthy bird lover! Here she is. There are lots more interpretations of solitary over at The Daily Post

Friday Fictioneers, On the Nose

Madison’s  challenge has this photo today http://madisonwoods.wordpress.com/flash-fiction/pathways/ joining in is fun, lots of great flash fiction to read. Here is mine.

woods

On the Nose

‘She has the scent already,’ the sow pulled Emil sharply right, nearly pulling him over.

‘Ouch, why can’t you stay on the path in the light?’Jean-Francois followed laughing, as the pig thrust her snout into the leaf mould, her tail corkscrewing frantically.

‘I can’t smell a thing, but I can see something black down there.’  The boys rummaged in beside her and didn’t hear the footsteps back on the path, but a resounding snort registered. They turned and faced the biggest wild boar ever.

‘It’s old Napoleon, he thinks these are his truffles . . . run for your life.’

January Small Stones # 29

Nesting

Canopies of trees have burst their buds.

testing, is it time to blossom?

to herald the coming green?

listen . . . no barren avenues today

the air orchestrated with birdsong.

blackbirds call from the horse chestnut roof

wives chime replies from birch spires.

a lilting debate about whether it’s time.

whether it’s the weather yet

or the risk of a frozen February mist.

begin early, there may be three nest-full’s

hatching this year. three full nests?

that’s an awful lot of work

 but a full of bounty of worm, who can resist?

My lovely friend Isadora, a talented poet http://insidethemindofisadora.wordpress.com/

suggested that I submit this poem here http://gooseberrygoespoetic.blogspot.com/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Breakfast

Mine would make a very dull photo so here is someone else’s! Taken at Sepilok, if you would like to learn more take a peep at my earlier post

http://wp.me/p1zqCM-n

Is this how you do a pingback?

http://2011onthebench.wordpress.com/tag/weekly-photo-challenge-breakfast/

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Faces

I’ve decided to post some animals I’ve met in various places for this weeks photo challenge, hope you like them!

She was the ‘beauty queen’ at a camel sanctuary.

Closer to home, in the New Forest, Hampshire UK.

A baby at Kuala Gandah orphanage.

Mole national park, funky beastie!

I’ll never like them but I suppose they’ve earned their place on this planet, Paga, where they are seen as sacred.

If you want your children’s children to be able to see me please don’t destroy any more of my habitat.

 

On foot with elephants

I missed the elephant in the swimming pool by one week – in Mole national park, northern Ghana. It had strolled up the hill for a chlorinated swim by way of a change. But it was okay because I got closer to them than I was comfortable with, in a jeep, with my friend and two rangers. One of these guys was smaller than we were, and I am sure that an angry elephant would have been no more frightened of him, than of one of the baboons that were as populous as sparrows in my garden. The second warden came complete with a safari suit and a rifle. Or maybe a replica rifle. I don’t think I’ve ever been very close to a real gun, but it didn’t look like it could shoot a bullet big enough to even graze the hide of these healthy, well fed  pachyderms. I could only hope that the plan would be to scare them away with a little bang.

We were bullied, no ahem, persuaded into exiting the jeep, which was tied together with string anyway, to take photos of each other with three of the giants in the background.

‘We need to drive around that way, a bit closer’ said small warden without safari suit.

‘Closer, why closer?’ ‘I don’t want to get any closer thanks’. We were perhaps thirty feet away.

‘Please, speak in whispers and if they smell us they may charge, we have to be behind the wind’ he said. Now, I hadn’t felt any wind, it was as hot as well …Africa, as still as a graveyard before a thunderstorm, and my adrenaline was telling me to run back to the jeep pdq. These guys are probably used to re-assuring wussy travellers who like the idea of a gentle stroll, to see some cute wildlife just like Attenborough, but then turn chicken in the end.

‘Don’t you want to show your friends how close you were to elephants?’

No actually I want to throw up but I suppose that would be too noisy.

‘Okay, I guess I probably should do this.’ They led us closer and I snapped the two of them with my friend. Then I realised that I had to turn MY back on them, no more than twenty feet away. Needless to say my face tells all in that photo. I’m glad I did it; I still love elephants – from a distance!

We only stayed in Mole for two nights. It was a brilliant experience, a lot more rugged than a safari I did in Botswana a few years earlier, where the lodge was the height of luxury. In Mole, the water and electricity in our chalet was only on for a couple of hours a day and there were creepy crawly things that I’d rather forget. The atmosphere was great though and the view was about as good as it gets. Just before sunset herds of elephants of all sizes come to bathe in the waterhole down below the veranda. A much more relaxed way to see them!