Friday, July 20, 2018

Cape Fur Seal

The Cape fur seal (A. p. pusillus), also known as the South African fur seal, is one of two subspecies of the brown fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus). The other subspecies is the Australian fur seal (A. p. doriferus). 
Cape fur seals at the Cape of Good Hope. There are at least four to the left and one to the right. 
The Cape fur seal is found from Cape Cross in Namibia, down around the Cape of Good Hope, then to Black Rocks near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on the east side of South Africa.
A mother and pup rest at the wharf in Kalk Bay, South Africa.
The brown fur seal is the largest fur seal and the Cape fur seal is the largest of the two subspecies. Adult males are dark gray to brown with a mane that is darker, which consists of coarse hairs, and a lighter belly. Adult females are gray to light brown with a lighter throat and darker back and belly. The foreflippers are dark brown to black. Pups are born black and molt to gray with a pale throat within three to five months. 
Mother and pup from a different angle. 
We saw them at the Cape of Good Hope, quite a ways away, sunning on the rocks next to the surf. 
The big male is nearby. I assume the visible fur is part of the mane. 
The male has dried out a bit and the fur is showing more brown. 
Note the black flippers and hairy body.
Later we saw them at Kalk Bay when we stopped to eat at a fish and chips restaurant just off the ocean, right next to where stalls of local fishermen were selling fish. Judy encouraged me to get near a large meal for a picture and against my better judgement I did. It whirled around and was inches away from biting me and pushing me into the water. It was really stupid on my part and I was lucky not to get hurt. 
I assume this is mother and pup taking a dip. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Egyptian Goose

I've previously done a post on the Egyptian Goose. We saw them in multiple places in Africa, but we got such good photos in South Africa at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens outside Cape Town that I'm just using them. We were there in the late afternoon with light that enhanced the beautiful colors. 
We saw a group of them skirmishing which was a lot of fun to watch. 

I thought this was a female until reading that the sexes look the same. 
Their eyes are haunting. 
To look at the photos you would think that males are a different color than females, but that's not the case. There is a fair amount of variation in plumage tone and some birds are more gray and some are more brown, but it has nothing to do with sex or age. 
This goose was in a tree making a racket. It took us a while to pinpoint it. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Natal Spurfowl

The natal spurfowl, or natal francolin, is the brown form of the virtually identical bird I saw at Kirstenbosch Botanical Center outside Cape Town. Unlike the Cape spurfowl that is limited to the southwestern Cape, the natal spurfowl is found in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Swaziland. 
Natal spurfowl. 
Aside from brown and white plumage, instead of grey and white plumage, the natal looks like the Cape spurfowl. The legs and bill are more orange than red and the bill appears to have more extensive color on it than the Cape spurfowl. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cape Spurfowl

I noted with interest as I looked up "cape spurfowl" on Wikipedia that the photo of the cape spurfowl they have was taken at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Center outside Cape Town in South Africa. That is where my photos come from. 
Cape Spurfowl near Cape Town, South Africa.
The morning we arrived in Cape Town we rented a car and visited Cheetah Outreach, then went to Kirstenbosch and spent several hours walking the beautiful grounds. 
As I looked at my pictures of spurfowl, I noted that I had two colors of spurfowl that otherwise looked virtually identical. One was brown and the other was black or grey. It took me awhile, but I eventually determined that the black or grey one was the Cape spurfowl, also known as the Cape francolin and the other was a different species altogether. 
Description: It has legs and feet of dull red; a cere (upper bill) of dull yellow, an upper mandible (beak) that is dark and a lower mandible that is dull orange; its plumage is finely vermiculated (marked with sinuous or wavy lines) in grey and white. It is endemic (unique) to the southwestern cape of South Africa.   

Monday, July 16, 2018

South African Ostrich

The South African ostrich is a subspecies of the common ostrich, and is also known as the black-necked ostrich and southern ostrich. It is found in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I've previously blogged on the Masai ostrich, also known as the East African ostrich or pink-necked ostrich. 
Our best view of an ostrich was near the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. We were driving along just a few miles from the end of the Cape when I spotted ostriches off the side of the road near the ocean. I asked the guide to stop and, with his permission, I walked over a little hill to view them, as they'd gone beyond our view. I got some wonderful photos with the ostriches and the backdrop of the ocean. 

Our first late afternoon in Etosha NP in Nambia we drove out to Okondeka waterhole on the edge of the huge pan. There we saw several ostriches, from quite a distance, along with some vultures, a zebra, a giraffe and some jackals.
An ostrich on the pan in Etosha NP. 
In Hwange NP in Zimbabwe we also saw a group of ostriches from quite a distance.
Ostrich in Hwange NP.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Southern Ground Hornbill

The southern ground hornbill is the largest species of hornbill and one of two species of ground hornbill. It is found from northern South Africa and southern Zimbabwe to Burundi and Kenya, as well as northern Namibia and Angola. 
This picture of a southern ground hornbill is from Wikipedia. 
It is now rated as a vulnerable species by the IUCN

I saw one as we were driving though Hwange NP to where we were staying at The Hide. I asked the guide to stop and it took him a second and we had to back up. He commented that he had not seen one in a long while and that they were rarely seen. Unfortunately, by the time we were able to take pictures he'd moved back from the road and kept going further away. 
Here is my best photo among other even worse photos that I got. 
When we were driving from Hwange NP to the airport in Victoria Falls (still in Hwange), Judy saw another one along the side of the road (which I didn't see). 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Grey-Footed Chacma Baboon

The chacma baboon is one of five species of baboon and the grey-footed chacma is one of three subspecies of the chacma baboon. It is found from northern South Africa to southern Zambia, including the Okavanga Delta in northern Botswana and Hwange NP in western Zimbabwe where we saw them. 
This is my favorite picture. Two big males sitting in a tree in Hwange. I love their red eyes, the whitish football black markings under their eyes and their pyramidal hair.  
This male just has it.
The grey-footed chacma is a little smaller and lighter in color and build than the Cape chacma I just blogged on and it has grey feet. 
This big guy is swaying out among the leaves and limbs of a large tree. 
A good view of the elongated snout. 
A smaller baboon on a large tree trunk.
Red eyes and less extensive white marking under the eyes. 
We really had some fun baboon sightings on this trip. In the Okavanga Delta we found a large troop dispersed among several very large trees with little ones scampering up the side of the trees and out into the limbs and leaves. 
This little guy had no problem going up the side of this large tree. 
It was even better in Hwange NP where we came upon them one evening as they were just getting ready to go into the trees for the night. One particular big male put up with a little one as it crawled around and over him. Another day as we went on our walking safari we saw a group of about 50 or so at the waterhole at The Hide where we were staying. 
These photos are not as good, but I love this grouping with the big male involved in family life. Here he holds a little one in his lap. 
You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. Note that the big one is still involved with the little one. 
Big yawn - dealing with youngsters can be tiring. 
They are very entertaining to watch. 
A nice flash-shot of a baboon bum. 
Part of the troop near the waterhole at The Hide.