It’s Monday 28th December 2009 and the photo awards

I am on leave and spending time at our lovely home in the Luangwa – something we rarely do. Normally we are either working or away. So it is great to chill at home. But I have popped in to write It’s Monday, the last of the year. And as promised I am announcing the winner of the 2009 Photographic Competition. This year we had less entries than usual but those that did enter did so with great enthusiasm. I loaded the photos onto the website last week so do take a look. Here are a few including the winner and some of the highly recommended.

Debbie and Nigel PicknellDebbie and Nigel Picknell

Debbie and Nigel Picknell entered a number of photos but these two I thought were interesting and unusual. The leopard walking towards a hippo’s rear end really gives you a perspective on the difference of size, bulk and grace between these animals! And Robert, the warthog who was hand reared and then later released, had a habit of running up to vehicles and nuzzling the guides feet. He wanted a good scratch and some human attention. The first time this happened to Robin he thought it must be a “mad” warthog due to disease and was trying to subtly shove it away with his feet. Of course Robin being seen to “kick” a wild animal was not in the spirit of things. Only on his return to camp did he hear that this must have been Robert and it was normal behaviour. Sadly, Robert was taken by a lion a while back and is no more!

Alex Paul - highly commendedBill North

Alex Paul has been visiting Zambia for many many years. He joined us on a Liuwa Plain safari in the early 90’s and then again in May this year. I love this photo of a group of white pelicans out in the middle of the plain, with display behaviour and horizontal lines of delicate colours. The Norths are also regulars and Bill brought a group of 16 of his family this year (see Its Monday and The North Family take over camp). Bill entered this lovely shot of affection between a lion and a lioness.

Paul Otten - highly commendedPaul Otten - highly commended

Paul Otten first came to the South Luangwa on our 2007 David Rogers Photographic Workshop. That year his superb photo of an egret won the “birds category” of the 2007 competition. He joined David R again this year, with his son Sander and together, with their long lenses, they took some fabulous shots.

Sander Otten - highly commendedSander Otten

Kathy and David Richardson signed up for the March Photographic Workshop…..David with a video camera and Kathy taking stills. Kathy took pictures of everything that happened….meals, boating, the camp as well as the wildlife. Her camera was always in her hands. And the results are spectacular. Her composition is excellent, including this one of Robert and David! The winning shot came down to the kingfishers and the zebras. And the zebras have won! Well done Kathy.

Kathy RichardsonKathy Richardson

Kathy Richardson - runner up photoKathy Richardson - the winning shot

We will be running a photo competition again in 2010 so for those of you coming to visit us – do enter!

As you know, I have Robin back after his month in the Liuwa. Wonderful to have him home. I asked him about the highlights…and in note form…..

Return from the Liuwa Pains.

Our safaris to the Liuwa ended mid December and we were able to convoy out across the seasonally flooded “Zambezi floodplain” from Kalabo to Mongu with some excitement in places. The track had been badly rutted by heavy duty vehicles and was not altogether for the faint hearted. In a number of particularly bad places we came upon a boom across the track. The local people had (very cleverly I thought) done repairs to the track but required a certain toll for passing through these “repaired sections” . We were relieved to use these in places, whilst in others it did appear we were having our legs pulled and diverted around.

carpets of flowers at Liuwa Plainrhombic night adder

The highlights of these three weeks on the plain for me have been….the visit by the president, the fields of flowers, the presence of the three Liuwa lions, (fifth mating now and by both males since June – no cubs yet). On one occasion we sighted one of the male lions with a necklace of porcupine quills imbedded . His mane must have protected him to some extent as later we saw him sitting proudly clean of quills. Good sightings of side striped jackal, selous mongoose and a couple of elusive cheetah who had killed a yearling wildebeest. Increasing amounts of birdlife throughout the weeks which included the cape shoveller and a pair of curlews which was a first for me. The two wild dog packs have had individuals collared which will allow some interesting distribution patterns to emerge. Increasing numbers of hyena moving onto the plains with all the wildebeest about. Another snake which I have had to get help in identifying. This 18 inch very light coloured snake with black striping was sighted in some leaf litter. When approached it flattened itself (as opposed to being flattened!) obviously to make itself more leaf like. Tony Phelps with Adderwatch in Cape Town was kind enough to identify it from a photo as a rhombic night adder.

All our staff are now happily back home with stories to tell of birds and scents of flowers on the wind, of wide open places.
The very best to you all for the New Year.

Ok….that was a bit long but I indulged myself – the last newsletter of the year. Everyone at RPS wishes you a wonderful 2010!!

Paul Waldron

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