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This phalanx of storks was getting ready to roost, enjoying the last rays of the African sun in the famous Kruger Park in February. They have migrated south and therefore are not nesting but will forage for frogs, fish, insects, earthworms, small birds and mammals daily before heading north for the European summer. They created this iconic African sunset image, adding their unique silhouettes to the setting summer sun during a sunset game drive.
Yellow-billed Stork - Mycteria ibis
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks dwell in many regions and tend to live in drier habitats. Storks tend to use soaring, gliding flight, which conserves energy. Storks are heavy, with wide wingspans, and their nests are often very large and may be used for many years. Storks were once thought to be monogamous, but this is only partially true. They may change mates after migrations, and may migrate without a mate. Storks’ size, serial monogamy, and faithfulness to an established nesting site contribute to their prominence in mythology and culture. Nikon D7000, DX format, Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 APO DG OS lens @ 500mm, 1/640 sec @ f7.1, ISO 100, -0.3EV. Taken near Olifants Rest Camp, Kruger Park, South Africa.
Photograph by Andrew Woodburn
In Raggie Cave, a natural rock overhang with a depth of 18m, ragged tooth sharks rest while swimming in holding patterns or float together while pumping water through their gills. They are fairly tolerant of divers during daylight since they tend to hunt during the night. This allows divers who don’t threaten them to sometimes remain among them whilst the sharks swim overhead. This shark swam right over my head and the camera, allowing for an upward view into its mouth, showing the impressive array of teeth. The added element is the little fish staying out of harm’s way below the shark’s belly.Spotted ragged-tooth shark / Sand tiger shark - Carcharias taurusThis shark has many different names including sand tiger shark, grey nurse shark, spotted ragged-tooth shark, and is a species of shark that inhabits subtropical and temperate waters worldwide. They dwell in the waters of Japan, Australia, South Africa, the Mediterranean and the east coasts of North and South America. Despite its fearsome appearance and strong swimming ability, it is a relatively placid and slow-moving shark with no confirmed human fatalities. It is the most widely-kept large shark in public aquariums owing to its tolerance for captivity.
Nikon D300, Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye lens F2.8, F9 @ 1/50th sec, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS350 strobes on ¼ power. Taken on scuba at 18m at Aliwal Shoal, South Africa
Around midday in the Masai Mara National Park, this East African Rainbow Lizard suddenly appeared from a crack in the rocks to pause for a few minutes in the sun, showing off his brilliant range of colours. A small piece of grass protruded from his mouth giving the impression of him taking a smoke break.
East African Rainbow Lizard – (Kenyan Rock Agama) - Agama lionotus-
One of the most versatile lizards in Kenya, this species is of the family Agamidae. These lizards are best known for the shockingly bright colours sometimes adopted by the dominant males. Most of the time agama lizards are pretty inconspicuous creatures that are brown or grey in colour. However, when mating season rolls, around, the males turn brilliant shades of red and blue to catch the attention of their female counterparts. This unique quality has earned them many nicknames from “Rainbow Lizards” to “Spiderman Lizards”. They are relatively small, averaging about 12-18 inches in length, and because of their distinct colouration, they are sought after and kept as pets around the globe.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 –5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550 mm, 1/800 sec @ f13, ISO 500
Photograph by Trevor Woodburn
When diving, it’s quite easy to find Nemo, when you pass over a coral reef they will find you if you come too close to their home. You will know as the largest of the pair, the female, may actually charge you and even take a small bite at you, quite a surprise if you aren’t ready for this diminutive ball of energy, far smaller than a human. These two share their anemone home and can be seen taking protection among the stinging tentacles and getting ready to charge my camera dome port.
Twobar Anemonefish / Clownfish - Amphiprioninae -
Clownfish or anemonefish in the wild, form symbiotic mutualisms with sea anemones and are unaffected by the stinging tentacles of the host anemone. The sea anemone protects the clownfish from predators, as well as providing food through the scraps left from the anemone’s meals and occasional dead anemone tentacles. In return, the clownfish defends the anemone from its predators and parasites. Clownfish are small-sized, 10–18cm, and depending on species, they are overall yellow, orange, or a reddish or blackish color, and many show white bars or patches. Clownfish are found in warmer waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans and in the Red Sea in sheltered reefs or shallow lagoons.
Nikon D300 Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens, 1/30th sec @ f18, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS250,Taken at 18m on scuba at Sodwana Bay, South Africa
Late afternoon in the Grumeti region of the Serengeti National Park, a troop of Colobus monkeys were found foraging in a very large tree. Suddenly this magnificent specimen took to the air and leaped across to a further branch.
Black and white Colobus - Colobus guereza
Large, shaggy black and white monkey with a grim expression. Sturdy, pot-bellied frame, hind legs longer and stronger than forelegs, with large feet, hands with a stub for a thumb. Their mantle hair and tails are believed to act as a parachute during long leaps. They live in troops of 8 to 15 individuals and can live to 20 years in the wild. They have been reported to eat concrete as well as unripe fruits, flowers, bark and soil. They have an incredible four-chambered stomach, allowing them to process foods that would make other primates sick. Babies are born with an all-white fur coat. They are still hunted for bush meat and their incredible fur.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 –5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC – 14 E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550mm, 1/1600 sec @ f13, ISO 1800
Photograph by Trevor Woodburn
Mid-morning in the Masai Mara National Park, this Zebra plunged into the Mara River together with other Zebras and Wildebeest as part of the annual migration river crossings. As the Zebra plunged into the river the resulting splash almost completely enveloped the Zebra.
Plains Zebras - Equus Quagga
African version of the horse. Portly built, weighing around 250kg. Striping varies geographically and individually. Horse-like angulates built for speed and endurance.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 –5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC – 14 E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550mm, 1/2500 sec @ f18, ISO 3600
Big eyes move around underwater almost like a cloud of interested youngsters, swirling with little energy as can be seen in the background whilst those with more courage come up in a group to get a good look. They were quite accommodating, allowing me to join the school provided I didn’t make sudden moves or exhale vast amounts of noisy bubbles. I love photographing these fish, when you first see them they look like a school of black and silver fish, but when the strobe lights them up the black turns out to be vivid red, a perennial crowd pleaser contrasting with the cool blues of the water. When beginner divers see the photos they ask where the bright red fish were since they only saw black and silver ones.
Crescent-tail Bigeye - Priacanthus hamrur
Priacanthus hamrur is a reef-associated species, living in tropical marine waters on outer reef slopes, rocky areas and in lagoons at depths of 8-250m. The body of the Crescent-tail Bigeye is relatively deep, strongly compressed laterally. The eyes are very large and red (even in case of silver livery). The body of these fishes go through various phases of color, and may vary from orange to entirely red or silver, or silver with broad six red bands.
Nikon D300 Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens, 1/400th sec @ f11, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS250 strobes on ¼ power. Taken on scuba at 25m at manta reef, Tofo, Mozambique
This stingray was found free-swimming across the reef surface in deep water and its natural curiosity brought it over to my camera. It was quite calm and resembled a magic carpet as it gracefully glided in towards me with undulations of its disk. They are gentle creatures and will often approach divers in order to satisfy their curiosity. The eye is quite visible in the photo as it gives me the once over, investigating this strange scuba creature blowing bubbles and certainly not exhibiting the grace of a creature perfectly designed for life in the ocean.
Smalleye Stingray - Megatrygon microps
TThe Smalleye Stingray measures up to 2.2m across. Rare but widely distributed, it is found in the Indo-Pacific from Mozambique to India, and to northern Australia. This species may be semi-pelagic in nature, inhabiting both deeper waters and shallow coastal reefs and estuaries. It is characterised by a diamond-shaped pectoral fin disc much wider than long, a tail that is broad and flattened in front of the spine but whip-like behind, and large white spots over its back. The very wide shape of the Smalleye Stingray differs from that of most other members of its family, and may reflect a mode of swimming from bottom dwelling to mid water journeys.
Nikon D300 Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 Fisheye lens, 1/50 sec @ f10, ISO 200, Sea & Sea Housing and Two Sea & Sea YS250 strobes on ¼ power. Taken on scuba at 25m off Tofo, Mozambique
Very early morning in the Ngorogoro Crater, Tanzania, a flock of East African crowned cranes flew past. The straw-yellow crowned feathers were neatly blown back by the wind creating an unusual perspective.
TEast African Crowned Crane / Grey – Crowned Crane - Balearica regulorum
TThe East African Crowned Crane is a slate grey colour with an elongated neck and body. The primary and secondary feathers are dark grey with chestnut markings. The cheek patches are bare, with white at the bottom and a small red patch on top. A distinctive crane with long golden crown feathers.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 – f5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4xeffective focal length 320 mm, 1/1600 sec @ f11, ISO 400
Late afternoon in the Grumeti region of the Serengeti National Park, this Lioness was found moving her cubs from their den to a new more secure one situated within a thick clump of bushes.
Lion - Panthera leo
Call of the African Wild, King of African Carnivores. Lionesses are low slung but large and powerful, weighing around 125kg. When prey is plentiful, Lions spend 20 hours out of 24 conserving energy, becoming active in late afternoon; hunt most actively early and late at night and for a couple of hours after daybreak. Lions can become active at any time, day or night, hungry or gorged, so that when easy opportunities to catch prey present themselves, they react immediately and take advantage. Lions kill and often eat all other carnivores, including Leopards and Cheetahs, but rarely Hyenas. Lion cubs tend to be woolly with greyish, spotted coats when born, changing to an adult coat by three months of age.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 – 5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550 mm, 1/1250 sec @ f14, ISO 2800
Early evening on Mnemba Island, Zanzibar, this baby turtle hatchling successfully managed to emerge from the sand nest amongst over one hundred other siblings to navigate its way down to the beach to finally reach the sea, despite toppling over several times.
Green Sea Turtle - Chelonia mydas
The green turtle is a large, weighty sea turtle with a wide, smooth carapace, or shell. It is named not for the colour of its shell, which is normally brown or olive depending on its habitat, but for the greenish colour of its skin. Green turtles, like other sea turtles, undertake lengthy migrations from feeding sites to nesting grounds. To nest, females leave the sea and choose an area, often on the same beach used by their mothers, to lay their eggs. They dig a pit in the sand with their flippers, fill it with a clutch of 100 to 200 eggs, cover the pit and return to the sea, leaving the eggs to hatch after about two months. The most dangerous time of a green turtle’s life is when it makes the journey from nest to sea. Multiple predators, including crabs and flocks of gulls, voraciously prey on hatchlings during this short scamper.
Nikon D4S with AF Nikon 24 – 120mm, 1.4 G ED lens at 120mm 1/320 sec @ f6.3, +0.3 EV, ISO 10000
Very early morning in the Ngorogoro Crater, as the dawn broke, a ray of light reflected off the wings and bodies of a large number of beautiful pink Lesser Flamingos.
Lesser Flamingo - Phoeniconaias minor
The Lesser Flamingo has a white and crimson plumage with a dark red bill and long stilt-like legs. These beautiful birds are common and make a distinctive “honk-honk” sound. They live nomadic lives across shallow freshwater lakes, salt pans and estuaries.
Nikon D5 with Nikon VR 80-400mm, f4.5 – 5.6 G ED lens with Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III 1.4x, effective focal length 550 mm, 1/2000 sec @ f13, ISO 2200
Mid-afternoon on a river bank in the Grumeti region of the Serengeti National Park, this magnificent Nile Crocodile was found displaying its large powerful body and ferocious teeth while at the same time showing off its exquisite and beautiful scales on its body and legs./p>
TNile Crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus
The Nile Crocodile is common in many parts of Africa. Like all crocodiles, the Nile Crocodile is a quadruped with four short, splayed legs, a long, powerful tail, a scaly hide with rows of ossified scutes running down its back and tail, and powerful jaws. The nostrils, eyes, ears are situated on the top of the head, so the rest of the body can remain concealed underwater. The Nile Crocodile is the largest crocodilian in Africa, the male crocodile usually measures 3.5 to 5m long, but very old mature ones can grow to 5.5m or more. Typical Nile Crocodile weight is from 225 to 500kg, though large males can range up to 750kg in mass. Their mouths are filled with a total of 64 to 68 cone-shaped teeth.
Nikon D500 with Sigma 150-600mm, f5 – 6.3 DG lens with Sigma Teleconverter 1.4x TC – 1401 for Nikon, effective focal length 700 mm, 1/3200 sec @ f11, ISO 22800