Late August, 10 Years Ago Part II
So, a little tired, and a lot excited from the morning shoot, the driver and I headed off to our lodging for brunch and a little rest. We arrived about the same time as the group who went ballooning.
About 2 or 3 PM, we all piled into the SUV's and headed out for the afternoon shoot. What could top the morning ... nothing, I thought.
We drove along the Southern rim of the Mara River for a ways and stopped when we saw this next image. The large number of wildebeest about a 1/3 from the bottom of the image are standing on the cliffs of the Eastern bank of the Mara river. Between us was the river and its large banks. They want to get to the other side! We stopped, waited, and watched ...
Go ahead ... Let the Photo Gods make my already great day into a fabulous one! Why not have a river crossing ... hey, why not two? And so it was.
On some unknown signal, one; then two animals started down the embankment. It was if the flood gates had been opened. The whole group started down the steep bank to the river's edge and plunged into the water:
For the next five or ten minutes, wildebeest after wildebeest poured over the edge and down the bank:
A close up showing all the dust that many hooves caused:
Frequently, for no apparent reason, a wildebeest would leap rather than enter the water on all fours:
I'm not sure when this shot was taken... perhaps after fording the river on the other side. See the white marks on the backs of several of the animals in this photo? Particular types of birds use the backs of these wildebeest as perches. Yes, they get a free ride and to add insult, poop!
We saw two large river crossings that afternoon. All of the above images were from them. My favorite shots, though, came from a crossing that happened the very next day. We managed to see three river crossings in total during a two day period. The Photo Gods favored us!
This image was taken the next day. I discovered it as I rumaged through the collection looking for shots I had missed ten years ago. It's becoming one of my favorites from the trip:
And, this is a remake of my most favorite shot. Also taken the next day. Here, the herd abruptly decided that the entry point into the water wasn't safe and they made a left turn; wondered down the river for about 20 yards and entered there:
So that was my "National Geographic" day in the Masai Mara staring the most numerous and comical looking of animal on its Great Migration. It was, of course, totally unplanned ... and the spontaneity is a large part of the reward of watching nature!
Thanks, as always, for taking the time to look and respond.
Bye for now,
P.S. Did you remember to click on any of those horizontal images? They look so much better larger.
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