Enjoying Local Nature in Lockdown
‘Sitting on a jeep at sunrise, watching a giraffe reach into a tree to munch on leaves.’ My usual answer to the question, ‘What have you missed the most this year?’ ‘Oh yes, and seeing the sea.’ Of course, I miss friends and family too, but at least I can see them on Zoom.
Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the lemurs of Madagascar, the Big Five in the Masai Mara, those amazing polar bears and other wildlife wonders. 2020 was to be no different, with a trip to Sri Lanka booked. But along came COVID-19, and everything changed. Continue reading
A morning drive in the Maasai Mara. Hard to beat. Yet more wonderful sightings of animals enjoying life in the wild. For most of our time in the Mara we’d been pretty much on our own; just us 4 friends in a jeep with an excellent spotter and guide. Finding us regular sightings. Sometimes even on request. Another leopard, please. No problem.
This day there were a few more jeeps about. Some were rushing along at speed, all going in the same direction. Probably to see a kill. That sense of excitement. Check camera settings ready for action. Continue reading
People sometimes ask me where they should go to view wildlife. That rather depends on what they want to see! Most of us think of the Big 5 and that’s certainly a great place to start. Many different destinations in Africa tick that box. But what next? In the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to see orangutans in Borneo, lemurs in Madagascar, bears in Canada and those truly amazing polar bears (and walruses) up in the Arctic. So, how would a trip to the Brazilian Pantanal stack up? Would we see jaguars? Continue reading
We stood on the deck scanning the horizon. The long lens on my camera was heavy but I didn’t mind. I peered across the ice, willing it to come into view. Then I spotted it. A yellow blob. Yes, there! It was one of those moments I’ll never forget. I said to myself, ‘I’m actually here. In the Arctic. And I’ve just seen a polar bear.’ Continue reading
I hadn’t noticed the smog until the taxi driver mentioned it. We were on our way from Kuala Lumpur airport to the city for a night’s stay before continuing on to Borneo. One of my travelling companions asked if we would be passing any major sights, if so, would he point them out. The driver’s reply was alarming. It would be hard to see anything from a distance. The whole city was covered in a smoke haze. It had been like it for weeks.
He explained more. The haze happens every year. It drifts across from Indonesia; from Sumatra and the Kalimantan province of Borneo. It’s caused by ‘slashing and burning’ – a cheap way to clear land. Some farmers might adopt the technique but the finger of blame mainly points to the palm oil producers creating space for yet more plantations. Continue reading