While I love this blog, I now pretty much only write on my other two blogs: BirdingBlogs.com and 10,000 Birds - I would love to see you there!

Monday, 31 August 2009

Digiscoping Wild Tigers... in Africa!

There are no wild tigers in Africa. There never have been.

But there are, you see. Barbara and I had the incredible opportunity to visit a reserve in central South Africa that is working on a breeding programme to produce WILD, free-living tigers in a well-protected environment. Recent stories from India suggest that the tiger reserves there are fast loosing their tigers: the famous tiger reserve, the Panna National Park, has no more tigers.

A 300kg (660lb) big male tiger named Seatao

The fact that John Varty and co have successfully been able to establish a population of free-living and hunting tigers in the South African Karoo (of all places) really attests to the adaptability and resilience of this incredible species.

Tiger Boy, a young male, posing for the camera. He was about 40m away at this stage.

Leopards and Jaguars may be THE greatest beings ever ;-) but the experience of being with these tigers was well up there with the greatest things I have experienced in my life. These are hauntingly beautiful creatures. Their sheer size dwarfs that of the other big cats I am used to, but it is their magical power that affected me the most.

I was humbled by their presence.
I hardly spoke.
...As I just soaked in their power.

Shadow currently has three 7 months old cubs. Her colour is much richer than the other tigers we saw.

That night, I dreamed tigers. Everywhere I looked there were tiger faces. In my dreams, in daydreams, and in those precious few moments between being asleep and awake.

Shine, a 7 month old white tigress. She is going to be stunning as an adult, and will probably be the only wild living white tiger in the world.

These are no ordinary animals, they are magical beings with a power and presence well beyond my meager ability to understand or comprehend.

Please tell your friends about this tiger blog post, about JV's official Tiger Canyons website, and about what can be done for the tigers.

Dale Forbes

Friday, 28 August 2009

DIgiscoping Lions

Sticking with the whole "big cat" theme, here are some lions.

A youngster up on a rock surveying the Sabie River. We spotted this guy well hidden and quite a long way off the road in the late morning sun - hence the heat haze blur.

Intense eyes. no messing with this woman!

Lazy male.

there is a lot in a cat's eyes
All digiscoped using a Swarovski STM80HD scope, 25-50x Wide eyepiece, a Swarovski UCA digiscoping adapter, and a Canon EOS 1000D DSLR.

I think my next post will bring some real surprises...

Happy digiscoping,
Dale Forbes

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Digiscoping Cheetahs

These are some of my favorite shots of cheetah, digiscoped recently at a game reserve in the central Free State, South Africa.

looking serious

surveying the landscape. is that a springbok I see?

cheetah have a very unique look to their eyes. there is an intensity. but also a weariness. leopards have a power that says: "i own you. i own this land. and i will disappear in to it in a heartbeat."

the cheetah's eyes say: "i am powerful. but i am not afraid to run away. i run to fight another day. because you will never catch me."

Happy digiscoping
Dale Forbes

Friday, 21 August 2009

Birds of Kruger National Park

The Afrikaans call this the Spookvoel (Ghost bird) because of its eerie call. Its a Greyheaded Bush Shrike. and uncharacteristically confiding.

Parrots are the greatest group of all birds in the entire universe. ever! this is a brownhooded parrot feeding on green Erythrina lysistemon seeds (I may have spelled that correctly)

African Scops Owl playing hard to see. Always in Afsaal picnic site.

The ubiquitous Yellowbilled Hornbills. crazy birds. charismatic.

Purplebanded Sunbird showing off his stunning metalic sheen. We had four sunbird species in the tree above this bird. He is, incidentally in a Tecomaria capensis shrub - a great garden plant for sunbirds and other nectarivores.

Happy birding!
Dale Forbes

Digiscoping leopards - part II

Remember that leopard photo in my last leopard blog post? the big male near Berg-en-Dal camp? Well, this is how far it was:

So far, digiscoping has been dominated by birders taking photos of pretty little birdies, but I really really believe that digiscoping is something incredible for general nature / wildlife photography. All three of the leopard photos in my last blog post were taken at considerable distance - so great in fact that they are hard to make out on a normal camera.

Digiscoping is the bomb!

The camera you see there in the photo came compliments of Whysalls:

Happy digiscoping
Dale Forbes

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


Kruger national park presented us with some of the most incredible leopard experiences of my life. there is nothing as breathtaking as a leopard seen up close. well, maybe a jaguar comes close. or a snow leopard. but now i am just getting distracted.

A beautiful female (?) that spent a good 15-20 minutes showing off for just my father-in-law and I. i could not talk (or breathe) for at least that period of time. Just west of Satara camp.

A huge male. 3km south of Berg-en-Dal camp.

A youngster playing with his breakfast. the food ended up on the floor. it seems leopard children share some similarities with their human counterparts.

Happy digiscoping,
Dale Forbes

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Kruger wildlife. the joys of digiscoping

Gotta love them baby hippos

Up close and personal. the joys of digiscoping.

baby chacma baboon drinking at sunset

just a few more minutes in the sun and I'll have the perfect tan!

sunset grazing

All digiscoped with a Swarovski ATS80HD straight scope and Canon EOS1000D
The camera came compliments of Whysalls

Monday, 10 August 2009

SA Photographs & Kruger

well, the highlight of last week was meeting up with Joan of SAPhotographs. People like that should not be allowed in to cities at all - they have too much to share. Joan, get back to the bush! that is an order!

This week lets me drag my austrian inlaws about the african bush. hard life.

Here is a young Martial Eagle (Kampfadler)

African Hawk Eagle flyby

Hyaena spotted deep in the bush at sunset