Day Nine — Wild Dogs at Sundown

August 25

The Savute channel didn't start running this year until late. Thus, the flooding that creates the marsh is relatively recent to our arrival. That has a number of impacts. First, suddenly animals can't get from where they were to where they used to go. Remember that line of buffalo in yesterday's aerial shot? If it floods much more, they won't be able to easily make that cross. 

But beyond cutting the area in half, all that water is attracting animals, too. If you've got several hundred buffalo all together, lions can't be far behind. And sure enough, in the morning we had 3 male lion on a kill and two female lion, as well. But first we had some Rhone to deal with, and yes, more elephants. There are fish eagles everywhere, including one that needs the most grooming attention I've ever seen:

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Just for a change of pace, I'm going to apply the byThom Dirty Africa filter to an image we took this morning:

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Let's see what some of the others came up with while crisscrossing the Savute today:

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All in all a very productive day. 

But the real fun didn't happen until we were almost back at camp for sunset. 

Wild dog. Need I say more?

Earlier in the day, one of our driver/guides, Stanley, said he thought that he knew where a dog den was. Generally when one of the driver/guides say something like that, they aren't bluffing. The question, of course, is whether or not the animals are at or near the den when you visit. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't. 

Before the rest of us had started heading back to camp, apparently Stanley decided to go take a quick look around the area, and sure enough, not only had he found them, but he found them very near the last little stretch of road to camp. When our vehicles first started pulling up, the cubs and mom were mostly hiding under a tree. It was tough to get a usable shot, but every now and again a snout would poke out. 


Eventually the two adults moved out into the last of the setting sun, and the four pups moved away from the tree and more into the open. Shutters started blazing away as the action slowly picked up:

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Of course, the sun was finally set, we were in pretty low light, and it we were pretty much at the the time where we finally needed to get into camp. I decided to take a final stab with a slow shutter speed of the dogs:

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This brings up the age old tale (pardon the pun): it's really difficult to be in the position where animals are facing you. When they run, they rarely run towards you, but often angled away, as in this shot. The same shot with the heads angled at me instead of the tails would have been far better. If you're going to go for action photos you want to get around to at least parallel with moving animals. Unfortunately, we couldn't position our vehicles that way, so we had to make do with what we got. 

Still, everyone was smiling at dinner.

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