The Paradise Pride, Scar, Morani

These are images of two of the four Paradise pride males who are known in the Masai Mara as the Musketeers,scar being the most famous.However there are four in this pride,Msikio,and Hunter who were on the other side of the Mara river.

Since 2011 when the Musketeers kicked out Claude,and Romeo from the Marsh Pride, they have been a dominant force in the Mara and hold several prides.They vacated the Marsh and settled mainly in the Triangle side of the Mara but occasionally are seen on the Paradise side of the Mara river.

The Musketeers abandoned the the Marsh because Masai herdsman were illegally grazing cattle leading to the eventual pointless deaths of Sienna,Bebe,and Ron by poisoning.I feel that they felt safer in the Triangle as there would be less encroachment by humans.

Kit- Canon 7d mark2 ,100-400 Canon is usm tele photo lens

Taken at various focal lengths,spot metered,f.5.6,various iso parameters below 1000.

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Lipstick And Blackie , Madomo Pride males

In my opinion the most impressive black mained males in the Mara at the moment.

How long they hold their territory for we will wait and see as they are 12yr old plus,old for pride males.I hope they are still there next year as over the years i have grown to love these charismatic and powerful lions.

My images were taken with a Canon 7d mk 2, 400mm  is,usm Canon lens with standand grad filter.Various iso parameters trying to keep it below 2000,less graining.With the sun set so high during the heat of day photography can be tricky.

I hope i have done these boys justice with these images.

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The Marsh Pride Males 2017

These are a series of images of Jambo and Karibu the new Marsh males,taken in the heart of their territory,the Musiara Marsh, Masai Mara.

This year i had the privilege to photograph three Mara prides,the first of which the most famous of them all;the Marsh Pride.

2016 had been a disastrous year for the pride with the loss of two iconic lionesses Bebe and Sienna,Poisoned by Masai herdsmen illegally grazing cattle on the national park.After an international outcry the two men were caught and sent to prison.

The pride had splintered for a while,with the Musketeers,four males leaving the Marsh to cross the river to expand territory the Marsh Pride needed to regroup, and that they have with these two young strong males.

My photographic kit consisted of a Canon 7d mk2 camera, 400mm i.s.usm Canon lens with standard polarizing filter.iso 1000,spot metered,various focal lengths with great light.

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Musiara Marsh sunrise

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The Heron

These images were taken on a visit to a nature reserve in Pembrokeshire Wales called Westfield pill.

I was given a tip off from a local man that there had been regular sightings of otters by dog walkers,so i went to check it out but to no avail.On the way back to the car i noticed a Heron stalking the bank and quickly shot these images.Take note one of the images taken i thought was this Heron snatching a frog but on closer inspection realised that this was part of a plastic bag.Discarding plastic causes high numbers of fatalities in all aspects of wildlife.So when i see discarded poo bags from dog walkers it makes my blood boil,we have all got a responsibility to take care of our wildlife.

I used my old camera set up which consisted of a Canon 7d with a Sigma 120-500mm lens.My focal length was set at 450mm due to the distance of the Heron.ISO-1250. Spot metered.

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The Great Grey Owl

The Great Grey Owl can be found in North America as far east as Quebec to the Pacific coast and Alaska.The species in North America has been classified endangered under the Californian endangered species act.In Europe the Great Grey can be seen in Norway,Sweden,Finland,Estonia,also Russia.

This owl feeds on small rodents such as mice and squirrels and has a wingspan up to 60 inches.The Great Grey territory are usually coniferous forests and open glades where it prefers to hunt and nest.They often nest in abandoned hawk and eagle nests or on tree stumps.Breeding pairs in North America successfully fledge 70 to 80% of their young.

I am sure you agree this is a beautiful bird which i had great pleasure in photographing.

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The Elk

These images were taken at the Bison Center near Mere,Wiltshire,U.K.

The Bison Center is a wildlife park that concentrates on native American species which include Elk which is very similar to our native Red deer found here in the U.K.

Yellowstone Park is on my bucket list,but for now being able to photograph these impressive mammels in a spacious natural surrounding was a treat.

Wapiti is the native American word for Elk which means light coloured deer.Their lifespan in the wild is 8-12 years and a bull can grow to 500kg

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The Canadian Goose (Branta Canadensis)

These images were taken back in the spring at my local wetland reserve using an old Canon 7d accompanied with a 500mm  Sigma telephoto lens,a basic package.

The Canadian goose is a native species to the Artic and temperate regions of North America.These geese are migratory and often reach us here in the U.K.

They are well known to be seen in wetland and park areas and large in numbers,but that does not distract it from being an impressive large bird with plenty of attitude.

There are people who consider them pests with issues such as crop deprivation and noise levels,and in North America Canadian geese are the most commonly hunted waterfowl.

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Rescued Hedgehogs

These two Hedgehogs were rescued and cared for by the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital.They were rescued from a garden during the daylight hours,and were underweight.They would have not survived the hibernation period.Since these images were taken they are both doing well.

Myself and my partner do voluntary work in our spare time for the Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital based in Newton Toney near Amesbury.

Mike and Marilyn run the hospital with a host of volunteers,and give all their time rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured wild mammals and birds.This time of year is particularly busy with underweight Hedgehogs as its hibernation time and only the strongest will survive.

The Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital has well over 100 sick and injured  Hedgehogs at the moment,in which Mike and Marilyn work all hours keeping them fed,medicated and sheltered over the long British winter before the spring.

With very little funding,relying on mostly donations from the general public Mike and Marilyn are true heroes in which i have the utmost admiration and respect for.Without them and others the world would be a worse place for all wildlife.

According to the people’s trust for endangered species P.T.E.S. hedgehog numbers have declined this century by nearly 40% in towns and cities and nearly as much in the countryside due to loss of habitat,pestisides reducing earthworm numbers,also slug pellets,rat poisons used in our gardens without thought.Rule of thumb,if you have hedgehogs in your garden do not use them.Give nature a chance,otherwise in the years to come our hedgehogs will only feature in a child’s bedtime story.

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Wild Wales

These images were taken at two different locations in Wales.

The Buzzard was taken near Dale Pembrokeshire,and the Red Kites were taken in the Black mountains.

I shall begin with the Buzzard images in which we had just pulled into a car park close to an estuary off the main Dale road when i spotted a Buzzard sat upon an old brick ruin about 70 metres away.

Notoriously difficult to get close to i grabbed my Canon 7d which had an i.s 400mm lens attached and quietly as i could dodging traffic on the road approached this ruin.

I got to within 40 metres of the bird when it took flight resulting in a few rapid frames from my camera.

As the background was dark i had to use a fairly high ISO,and that is why the images were slightly graining.Also against me was the distance i was shooting,a great challenge though.

The Red Kites were taken at a feeding station in the Black mountains,a quite beautiful place even though overcast and showery,again had to use a fairly high ISO setting but that is what i love about wildlife photography,never easy always a challenge.

Just to see these magnificent birds in the wild was a real treat,and now in particular the Buzzard are a common sight in the skies over the U.K.

The Red Kites are becoming a success story as they once were persecuted by mankind to the point of extinction.But now they have made an incredible comeback due to the hard work and dedication of conservationists.

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