WINK GOES TO AFRICA (PART 2)

LEOPARD.jpg

This African Leopard (Panthera pardus) was taking the afternoon off and hanging out in riverine flats along the Sand River, which flows through the Sabi Sand Reserve. The Sabi Sand is the birthplace of sustainable wildlife tourism in Southern Africa, and is the oldest of all the private reserves in South Africa. It has only ever been a wilderness area and is home to a vast wildlife population, including The Big Five, and a number of endangered species.

Flanking the Kruger National Park, animals pass unhindered between the Kruger and all of Sabi Sand properties. This is definitely a bucket list destination if you want to see all things feathered and furred! This trip exceeded every one of my expectations. # InyatiGameLodge,‪#‎KrugerNationalPark‬‪#‎Leopard‬‪#‎BigFive‬‪#‎SabiSand‬ (info from Sabi Sand publications)

Wink Goes to Africa (Part 1)

I saw my first wild Crowned Crane feeding in wetlands along the Kapamba River in Zambia this past December. The East African Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum) is a most elegant and ancient bird species. These beautiful creatures are considered to be “living fossils”, having flourished in the Eocene period some 54 to 38 million years ago and surviving the ice age.

Crowned Cranes range from eastern sub-Saharan Africa and south to South Africa. Usually found in pairs, cranes have a lifespan of 22 years with mated pairs staying together 9 to 10 months to raise their chicks. Crowned Cranes are the only cranes to roost in trees, having a large rear toe and claw to help cling to branches. Loss of wetland habitat and lax enforcement of protective laws have pushed the species to "vulnerable" status.

THANKSGIVING THOUGHTS

It's snowing in Montana! Boy would I love to be in Yellowstone watching this male Bobcat (Lynx rufus) hunt Muskrat and Tundra Swan along the Madison River. Bobcats are not that easy to spot since they rely on stealth and quickness to surprise their prey. So while you're prepping for a grand Thanksgiving feast, give thanks for the wonders of Nature both feathered and furred.

2015 NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION WINNING IMAGE

Hanging out with Owletta has been good for me! I learned today that my image of a Great Horned Owl is the first place winner in the Birds Division for the 2015 National Wildlife Federation photo contest. She was also chosen a few months ago by Audubon and Nature's Best Photography Magazine as a Top 100 finisher in their annual photo contest. Not bad after just meeting this girl on a windy, snowy plain in Nebraska last March. What a beautiful Lady she is. My thanks to the National Wildlife Federation (www.nwf.org) and Audubon (www.audubon.org). Her photo can be found starting today in the December/January edition of NWF Magazine along with the other winning photos in each division or later this week on NWF Photozone (www.nwf.org/photozone). Owl right!!!