Wood Mouse; (Apodemus sylvaticus)

As I said in my last post we do get Wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus)   in the garden sometimes and today he/she made an appearance. Also know as a Field mouse, because they live in the woods and the fields. 

It might have been better to call them the country mouse as opposed to the town mouse. These little chaps are not the ones you get in the house. These live outside, they have bigger eyes and bigger ears and they are delightful.

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Vole….. Bank?

We get several rodents visiting our garden to pick up food from the bird feeder. Rats occasionally, Squirrels quite often but also mice and voles. The mice are Wood mice, very attractive with big eyes and large ears.

This is a vole, blunt nose, little eyes and little ears. There are two voles you might see in your garden, a Bank vole and Field vole. I think this is a Bank Vole. They tend to be more brown colour and have a neater appearance whereas Field voles are more grey and scruffier.

Any experts out there want to offer an opinion? Here are two more photos, it obviously prefers the sun flower seeds.

Muntjac deer in Forest of Dean.

I saw these two Muntjacs (Muntiacus reevesi) on a slippery walk near Brierley. I think they are two different individuals, although they  were both in roughly the same vicinity. However one was at the beginning of my walk and the other was at the end. I think the second one has slightly bigger antlers and the preorbital scent gland is more pronounced.

When I lived in Norfolk I can’t ever remember photographing these little chaps, they were so common, but here in the Forest of Dean I hardly ever see them so they got the benefit of me snapping away.

 

You can clearly see the preorbital glands here, they look like two massive tears. They are used to mark the territory and give information about the owner. Studies have shown that the chemical composition of these secretions would permit muntjacs to identify an individual’s age, sex and population of origin. Both males and females have these glands.

Springbok.

We are now on the last leg of our Southern African tour and tonight we are staying in a small town called Springbok which is in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.  We drove up from Cape Town this morning, which is about a 5 hour trip but we stopped for lunch and several photo opportunities, so t was a bit longer.

You pass through some incredible scenery including the Namaqua desert.

On the way I was constantly on the lookout for wild life and birds, however despite the remoteness and lack of human habitation there was not much on show.

About twenty miles before our destination of Springbok  I did spot some wild life in the distance,  Guess what I saw…..

 

Yes you are right it was Springbok.

 

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This was in Kruger a few days ago, we had not seen a huge variety of game but there were lots of Elephants about. Our final encounter was on the main tarmacked road leading out towards what is known as Crocodile bridge.

There was a large group  of Elephants crossing the road, impossible to say how many because they quickly merge into the bush but whilst we were there about 10 or so crossed the road. Quite a few cars gathered and people took photos and eventually when the opportunity arose moved on through and continued their journey. 

After a while I was at the front and next to the Elephants. At this moment a very small baby tried to cross the road, it was with a young female, probably not its mother. It had chosen to cross quite close to where we were parked, then being quite close to my car it began to panic a bit.  So a large ish male that had just crossed the road came back to protect it and between him and the young female they calmed it down..

My car, (well Felix’s car, but I was driving) was only a few yards from the male. At one point he turned to face me and ears flapped and his foot was starting to stamp the ground. We closed the windows, for all the good that would have done and I looked to see if I could back up….. No the car behind me was tucked up close to get a good view and the one behind him and so on.   So we sat and hoped and eventually they shepherded the baby to the side and disappeared into the bush.

Photos taken with a 100-400mm lens at 100mm, f13 and 1/500th second. I was too close to get the group without loosing some of its back and feet, ie the photo has not been cropped.

Hippos…. another close encounter

Photo taken from a boat on the Choke river in Botswana.

There were about 8 of them but you are never sure as they can stay under water for some time…. The most with their snouts above water at any one time was eight.  We were about 15 meters away and the boat was not so small, so I think we were relatively safe…. unlike the  Elephant close experience that we had in Kruger.