mandag 28. mars 2022

LIONS TAKING DOWN A FULL GROWN MALE BUFFALO



Lions of Maasai Mara specialise on taking down buffalos. A medium sized lion pride will in average kill one buffalo every third - fourth night. Eventhough its a fairly common drama, you rarely see it in full daylight.

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/320, ISO 100

Maasai Mara NP, Kenya, March 8th, 2022 :

My good friend Big John Siololo, Mr Maasai Mara himself, respected guide and skilful driver in MM over decades and co-owner of Oltepesi Camp having spent his entire life in the Mara ... told me that he had only ONCE before in his lifetime seen lions take down a buffalo in full daylight. It has been my wet dream for years. However I've been 40 times in eastern & southern Africa to photograph wildlife ... and NEVER had such a sighting. It was clearly too much to hope for  ... but still this "unrealistic dream" has been haunting my mind ! On March 6th we came across a female buffalo giving birth, beeing bullied by a hyena and running straight into the jaws of 4 adult lions. It was hard light that day, but still a "once in a lifetime experience". See my previous post from March 18th.

The "even wilder thing" is that 2 days later, on March 8th, we ran into another lion - buffalo battle in full daylight !! The second lion- buffalo drama within 3 days !! Simply unbelievable ! This time a big buffalo bull was surrounded by the 7 lionesses of the Topi Pride of Northern Maasai Mara. It was late afternoon with nice, soft light, but a bit difficult to get in position for the drama. I was able to use different lenses and as always (!) my longest lens with a bit of distance to the drama comes out the best ... in my opinion. What a relief it was to see that the pics were ok and that I didn't fuck up & waste a chance like this. 

A male buffalo weighs up to 900 kg and is a big and risky prey for the lions. It took the 7 lionesses more than 1 hour of constant battling to take down the buffalo bull. The killing process is of course extremely unsentimental and its difficult to witness this without feeling empathy for the buffalo. On the other hand 7 lionesses, 2 males and 14 cubs had a necessary meal and they had finished the entire carcass within the next morning. Nothing wasted !!

A big, warm thanks to Big John Siololo & Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp.     


Once a lionesse has spotted a possible prey .... her focus is total !!

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/4,0, 1/1250, ISO 400

7 lionesses has isolated & encircled a big male buffalo and the long and risky process of taking down the prey has begun

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/7,1, 1/1250, ISO 1250


Nikkor 460 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 900

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 1000


Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 800


Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 1000


Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 900

Nikkor 70-200 2,8, f/5,0, 1/1250, ISO 1250


Nikkor 70-200 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 1250


Once the buffalo is down and exhausted the lioness tries to bite over mouth & nostrils to block the breathing. However the bull is still alive & kicking, so the bite is so far"incomplete" only covering the upper lip

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 1100

Finally the lioness manages to bite over mouth & nostrils ... and the buffalo dies after 1 hour of constant battling

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/1250, ISO 1100

7 lionesses, 2 males and 14 cubs can fill their empty stomachs.


Nikkor 400 2,8, f/5,6, 1/1000, ISO 6400


Some minor disagreements over the food !

Nikkor 600 4,0, f/5,6, 1/1600, ISO 1000

A family dinner

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/3,5, 1/640, ISO 4000


Next morning at sunrise the buffalo is almost gone, only bones left for hyenas & vultures

Nikkor 70-200 2,8, f/3,5, 1/320, ISO 320


 No leftovers !

Nikkor 400 2,8, f/2,8, 1/200, ISO 4500

tirsdag 15. mars 2022

BUFFALO - HYENA BATTLE : NO 1

The pregnant female buffalo had already started giving birth 

600 mm 4,0, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 200

Its a strong emotional experience to see someone getting born ... to see new individual life come true ... but its also a strong emotional experience to see someone exit this world ! Life on the savannah is extremely unsentimental and new life along with merciless exits is a daily affair !! As a humble visitor to this ecosystem you have to be mentally prepared for this ... because it will affect you emotionally ... no matter is you're hard nail or a sentimental wimp. 

The story along with these pictures goes as follows : It`s Sunday March 6 at noon with blue skies and hard light. The pregnant female buffalo was a part of a big buffalo herd, but was delayed by the ongoing birth, was left behind and thus without the collective defence performed by the herd. The birth had started as the head of the calf already could be seen sticking out of her "behind". A spotted hyena comes along, takes advantage of her vulnerable situation and tries to drag the calf out of her. At first the buffalo tries to confront the hyena to defend her half born calf, but then, as she understands that the hyena will not give in, she tries to escape. The hyena follows easily still trying to grab the head of the calf sticking out. As the buffalo desperately tries to escape her violator she unfortunately (for her and her offspring) runs straight into the jaws of of 4 adult lions hiding in the high, green grass. The situation is in other words upgraded from a "buffalo-hyena incident" to a "buffalo-lion battle".

It takes a long time for lions to take down big prey like a full grown buffalo and the battle splashes into a wet ditch. After 1 hour 20 minutes of continuous battling (!) she is tired, taken down and the lions can finally kill her by biting over her mouth & nostrils to block her breathing. 

The buffalo`s screams of fear will never leave my ears !

Maasai Mara, Kenya. Thanks to Oltepesi Tented Safari Camp.   


The buffalo confronts the hyena to defend her half born calf

600 mm 4,0, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 200

The buffalo then tries to escape the hyena with the half born calf sticking out of her "behind"

600 mm 4,0, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 200


The hyena follows easily
600 mm 4,0, f/4,0, 1/1000, ISO 250

The poor buffalo runs straight into the jaws of 4 adult lions hiding in the high green grass

400 mm 2,8, f2,8, 1/2500, ISO 220

400 mm 2,8, f/2,8, 1/2500, ISO 320

The battle splashes into a wet ditch

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f8,0, 1/1000, ISO 1100

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f8,0, 1/1000, ISO 1100

The lions tries to block the buffaloes mouth & nostrils, but they are not successful

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 220

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 280

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 250

400 mm 2,8, f2,8, 1/2500, ISO 250

400 mm 2,8, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 280

The buffalo is dead after 1 hour 20 minutes of continuous battling and 2 lionesses tries to pull the prey on dry land

70-200 / 200 mm 2,8, f4,0, 1/1000, ISO 250

torsdag 3. februar 2022

GREY SEAL & BIG CODFISH


The seal has just brought the big cod to the surface ... alive
D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,0, 1/320, ISO 3600

I had this extraordinary experience on the morning of February 1st. My house located in the dead end of the Oslo Fiord, "Bundefjorden", and is only 5 m from the sea. As I got out ... in the snow ... with slippers ... tho feed "my" seagulls (I feed them every morning through the entire winter, I spend a fortune on dogfood for them !) ... there was this subadult grey seal (havert) battling around very close to the shore ... with a decent sized codfish !! The fish was so big that it actually took the seal a bit of struggle to kill it. When the fish finally gave up the struggle and past to "the other side", the seal could start the meal, and I was not surprised to see that the preferred part was first the soft intestines. However I was surprised to see that the next choice was the skin, and to access the skin the seal efficiently & experienced skinned the prey. I assume this is  because of higher consentration of fat / protein in intestines & skin.
 
Seals are not seen every day in "my fiord" ... so seeing this on such a close range and beeing able to shoot the pictures "full frame" like this ... was very special to me.

Struggling with the fish

D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,5, 1/640, ISO 4500

Battling on the surface

D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,0, 1/320, ISO 3200

D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,0, 1/640, ISO 12800

The fish is dead .... and seal is having a short break

cod has D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,0, 1/640, ISO 7200

Enjoying the soft parts first

D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,0, 1/640, ISO 7200

Yummi, yummi

D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,5, 1/640, ISO 5000

After enjoying the soft parts, the skin seemed to be preferred next 

D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,5, 1/640, ISO 4500

D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,5, 1/640, ISO 3200

D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,5, 1/640, ISO 4500


The fish now appears totally skinned 
D5, 600 mm 4,0, f/4,5, 1/640, ISO 5000

onsdag 29. desember 2021

COCKROACH !!!

German Cockroach (Blattella germanica) 

Sigma 180 mm /2,8, f/5,6, 1/125, ISO 9000

"Of various reasons" I spent some time at Gran Canaria, Spain, in Nov / Dec 2021. A lazy life with great climate ... but also boring. I needed a project, but beeing in the dezert-zone of central Sahara there is little wildlife at Gran Canaria ! However I did see some cockroaches from time to time, and as I started to upgrade my knowledge on them my fascination for these dreaded insects took off !! Cockroaches are social animals that thrive in the filthiest of all filthy corners, especially in sewage systems with optimal temperature and humidity conditions ... and they often move from "unclean zones" into "clean zones". They carry bacteria and microbes on the body that unfortunately can cause diseases among humans, and their mere droppings can cause both allergies & asthma. They can eat intoxicated food and they can regrow lost limbs. They have excellent eyesight with more than 2000 lenses and almost 360 degrees vision ... and see / operate easily in total darkness. Their long antennas are advanced scent organs. Females can reproduce without the presence of males (will then only give birth to females) and one single female can produce 2 mill eggs per year. The female carry her clutch of eggs on the body and even if you stomp on her, the eggs can still develop into new generations of roaches ! 

"My roaches" were of the species German Cockroach (Blattella germanica), but there are approx 4000 different species of cockroaches worldwide and the order has been almost unchanged for 300 mill years! That's a successful species !!  

As a photo project this was one of the more difficult ones. Cockroaches are strictly nocturnal, they are VERY shy and they are super fast ... as the beetle can do 5 km/h on top speed and change direction several times within a sec. Some of my pics show roaches in situ, but most of them have had a short stay in the fridge to slow down. Some (1 pic) were found in the street half dead by pesticides. All pictures are shot at night with the light from a headlamp (an older one with a bit warmer light than the modern ones) and an additional small flashlight.  Thanks to my wife for helping with the lights.

When mankind has exterminated "everything" on the planet including themselves .... there will still be cockroaches around.,



Sigma 180 mm /2,8, f/11,0 , 1/160, ISO 1600


Sigma 180 mm /2,8, f/13,0 , 1/125, ISO 8000


Sigma 180 mm /2,8, f/11,0 , 1/160, ISO 3200


Cockroaches have strong jaws, they will not bite if picked up, but they can chew "everything". They can even eat non organic food.

Sigma 180 mm /2,8, f/11,0 , 1/160, ISO 5600


If you get up at night to go to the toilet and turn on the light ... you can often see big beetles speeding away on the floor ... or even kitchen bench ... to find cover. 

Sigma 180 mm /2,8, f/5,6 , 1/125, ISO 1100


A group of 3 roaches and a common housefly ... not really sure what happened here

Sigma 180 mm /2,8, f/8,0 , 1/160, ISO 5600


Cockroaches are athletic insects with long spiny legs. 

Sigma 180 mm /2,8, f/10,0 , 1/160, ISO 4500


A poor roach half dead by pesticides crawling around in the street 

Nikon 105 mm /2,8, f/22,0 , 1/80, ISO 1400


Sigma 105 mm /2,8, f/22,0 , 1/160, ISO 1600


Bait for roaches : A "must" for any ambitious cockroach photographer !!  (iPhone)


My favourite "cockroach hunting grounds" in the old city of Puerto de Mogan (iPhone)


 First killed by potent pesticides .. and then food for other species ....  (iPhone)