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In the desert of the Kalahari where the arid region bakes for much of the year, the rain is scarce and a miracle maker. Flowers and insects all flourish post the rain for a short period when the life cycle of most species needs to complete in short order. The colours and smells are intense and so is the need to feed and reproduce in Tswalu reserve during dusk.
Armoured Ground Cricket – Acanthoplus discoidalis
The Armoured Ground Cricket is a wide-bodied, flightless species that typically grows to a body length of about 5 cm. The pronotum bears several sharp, conical spines. The mandibles, or main biting jaws, are powerful; they can inflict a painful nip and they permit the insect to feed on material such as tough herbage or carrion. Another defense against predators is reflex bleeding (also called "autohaemorrhaging") in which the insects squirt haemolymph from pores in their exoskeleton, achieving a range of a few centimetres. Especially when their diet is deficient in protein and salt, members of the species commonly become cannibalistic, so much so that when their populations peak in autumn and some of them stray across roads and are crushed by traffic, cannibalistic conspecifics congregate around the casualties and feed until they, in turn, are killed.
Nikon D300, DX format, AF-Nikkor 105mm f 2.8 Macro lens, 1/80th sec @ f11, ISO 800
Photograph by Andrew Woodburn
Later afternoon in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, this Leopard climbed a very tall dead tree and chose a comfortable branch on which to lay and survey the panoramic view before him. While he lay there the moon was seen to slowly rise and peer out from behind the some misty clouds.
Leopard -Panthera pardus
Leopards embody feline beauty with stealth, infinite patience and power. A Leopard will get to within 5 m of its quarry before pouncing, taking it completely by surprise. Tremendously strong, these cats can carry a 70 kg Impala to a feeding position up a tree.
Nikon D5, 20 megapixel resolution with Nikkor VR80 – 400mm f4.5 – 5.6G lens with Nikon 1.4 x Teleconverter, effective focal length 135mm, 1/800 sec @ f16, Auto ISO 2800
Photograph by Trevor Woodburn
“Back-off, Big Boy!”
With evening rapidly approaching on the Chobe River, this plucky little Africa Jacana was sitting on eggs in its net which had been built on the floating vegetation. An old male Buffalo waded into the water towards the nest and threatened to destroy the nest and its precious eggs. The Jacana reared up with its wings spread out and it bellowed loudly in an effort to chase away the approaching buffalo who then retreated and waded off in a different direction.
African Jacana – Actophilornis africanus
This bird has a distinctive rich chestnut body, white neck, yellow upper breast, black and white head with a blue frontal shield. The Female Jacana mates with many different males who then incubate, hatch and raise the chicks.
African or Cape Buffalo - Syncerus caffer.Massive build with short, powerful limbs and cow’s tail. Broad head with wide mouth, moist nostrils and drooping, fringed ears. The size and shape of the horns reflect sex and age.
Nikon D5 with Nikkor VR80-400mm f4.5-5.6G lens with Nikon 1.4 x Teleconverter, effective focal length 390mm, 1/3200 sec @ f16, Auto ISO 22800
From Heaven to Earth
On the river banks of the Sabie river after a 44o Celsius day the thunder clouds of Cumulo Nibus storms were seen to be windblown towards the north. This vantage point allowed us to see the lightning flashing and reflecting of the rivers surface lighting up the sand and islands.
Lightning is a sudden electrostatic discharge that occurs during a thunderstorm. This discharge occurs between electrically charged regions of a cloud (called intra-cloud lightning or IC), between two clouds (CC lightning), or between a cloud and the ground (CG lightning).
The charged regions in the atmosphere temporarily equalize themselves through this discharge referred to as a strike if it hits an object on the ground, and a flash, if it occurs within a cloud. Lightning causes light in the form of plasma, and sound in the form of thunder. Lightning may be seen and not heard when it occurs at a distance too great for the sound to carry as far as the light from the strike or flash.
Nikon D300, DX format, AF-S VR-Nikkor10-200mm f 3.5-5.6 lens, Manual at 32mm, 30 sec @ f9, ISO 100