Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cheetah Cubs Playing! Canaries!

Okay, it's official, I ~really~ like Phinda!  After that wonderful welcome last night we got great sleep and we were ready to hit the road this morning.  So was this guy!  

Crested Guineafowl 
 We headed out with Sam and Musie, who were excellent guides for us during our stay at Phinda.  Sam was the Old Man of the area, he knew all of the animals and the land very well.  We were lucky to be in his car!  It was just us on this drive, a rare treat! Right away we headed towards where he was hoping some cheetahs were hanging out.  On the way these spoonbills gave us a nice fly-by.

African Spoonbills

 Cheetahs!  A mother with 3 young ones.  And they were not hungry - that is one accomplished mother!  The cubs are weaned and eating meat now, but not hunting for themselves yet.
Cheetah Youngsters
 They are practicing though!  It was such a joy to watch them run and play with each other.

Cheetah Youngsters
Here I am, calmly ignoring the mother cheetah and taking pictures of the youngsters.  You can't tell but I am pretty happy!  I cannot fully explain what is happening with my hair.
Human and Cheetah

Cheetah Youngsters
This cheetah cub wants to play with an impala.
Cheetah Youngster
Whew!  All worn out.
Cheetah Youngster
 Time to go!
Cheetah Youngsters
 The family takes off.  I love how affectionate they are with each other!
Cheetah Youngsters and Mother
 Once we left the cheetahs Sam asked us if we wanted to walk.  Yes, we do - we really really do!  So we got out and started off into the bush, towards all of these guys, plus a bunch of wildebeest to the right of this photo.  It was great!  We were downwind and behind a bush so they didn't notice us at first.  We moved off before they got agitated.
Rhino, Zebra
 This gorgeous longclaw came by distracting me from the big animals.  Look how yellow!
Yellow-throated Longclaw
 As it's leaving you can sort of see the long claw that it's named for.
Yellow-throated Longclaw
 We walked a ways through the bush and over to the road.  It felt so great to walk!  Our trip has been mostly driving, with just very short walks to and from the main/dining area.  I needed to relace my boots, that's how little walking we had been doing before......... Jack spotted this little frog.  So funny!
Mystery Frog
 A mystery raptor (I think a yellow-billed kite but I don't remember and the pictures are far from clear) with a snack.
Mystery Raptor
 Look at that eagle!  They have such a funny silhouette with their tail and feet sort of blending.
 Canaries!  We ended up seeing lots of canaries in the marsh area, but they are so little and fast that I think this is the only time I got pictures.  I loved to watch them fly, they fly in these long slowish bounces.  Hilarious!
Yellow-fronted Canary
 Poor Sam tried for ages to show me this guy, it took me so long to see it!  Then eventually I did, and got a picture.  Barely!
Chinspot Batis
 At our coffee stop this guy gave us a nice fly-by.
Fan-tailed Widow
 And that wasn't the only fly-by we had there!
Sacred Ibis

Yellow-Billed Storks
 It was super-windy, so this whydah was just barely hanging onto that top branch.  It was pretty impressive.
Pin-tailed Whydah
 On the way back we saw this male nyala displaying, there was another male on the left behind the trees.  They displayed at each other and then passed each other, I guess things were fine.
 And a few geese before heading back to camp.  What a great intro drive!  :-)
Spur-winged Geese

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