Los Barriles to Loreto

Los Barriles to Loreto

We had a rest day in the resort at Los Barriles, it was great to sit back and recharge the batteries.  I tried my hand a SUP (Stand up paddle boarding).  I didn’t fall off which disappointed Andy but it’s a little boring by yourself.  They have a great little pizza/hamburger window by the pool.  The burgers were great and a welcome change.  I spied a workers cleaning up the palm fronds around the pool so that made for some interesting photos.  Other than a couple of quick snaps of the resort I didn’t take photos today.

Back on the Road.  A lovely cool start to the day as we head north on our return back to Los Angeles  Once again into the mountains, it then warmed up in the desert a little later.

The views coming down the mountain in Loreto were stunning as were the twisties or curves in the road. We arrived in Loreto just early enough for me to head to the marina, my aim was to capture the Magnificant Birds which have been flying around, unfortunately it was not to be.  I had to be content with the Brown Pelicans and the feeding behaviour.  Unlike our Australian Pelican who dip their bill in the water to catch fish, the Brown Pelican will dive for their meal.  Interesting to watch.

 

Palmas Hotel

Palm tree pruning at our hotel

Palmas Hotel

View to the Sea of Cortez and Loreto Golf Course

Winding mountain road

Brown Pelican

Los Barriles to Loreto

Brown Pelican Fishing

Day 6 Loreto to La Paz

Day 6 on the Bikes.  

Lovely drive through the mountains and along the coast, the Sea of Cortez to be precise, for a while today.  Temperature unusual, really cold and then really warm a minute later, didn’t matter if we were in the sun or the shade or right on the water it could be hot or cold.  Next up we had about 50km of thick fog to ride through, we could see it in the distance but didn’t realise at first what it was.  From the fog and beyond it was desert so we did’t miss seeing any sights.

Overnight at La Paz, now the capital of Baja (previously Loreto) is a busy industrial hub. Silver mining, agriculture, fishing and pearls.  We stayed the night in a hotel a few km out of town opposite the marina and had a lovely evening watching the cruisers go by.

Early morning light as we leave Loreto

Another day another mountain pass

Golf course at La Paz

A sky full of Magnificent Frigatebirds

 

 

Day 7 La Paz to Cabo San Lucas

Day 7 on the Bikes

We took a wrong turn this morning but I was happy as we had passed by an area with lots of cactus and the Turkey Vultures were drying their wings so Andy slowed down for me on the way back so I could capture a shot.  Quite atmospheric with the low cloud around.

Morning tea rest stop was at a little town called El Triunfo.  They had a great character coffee shop down Harley Davidson Drive  and a music museum.

Lunch saw us in the artist community of Todos Santos, which has a number of art galleries and lots of souvenir shopping.  Silver is a big thing here so there is a number of shops selling everything silver.  We ate lunch at the Hotel California.  I believe that the band The Eagles have filed a lawsuit against the hotel for leading people to believe that they inspired the bands biggest hit.  They have a huge souvenir shop which gets a lot of sales.

Spent the night at Bahia Hotel Beach Club a block back from the beach and a room overlooking the pool. The beach front is full of resorts or restaurant which each have an exclusive bit of beach.  Trying to upload a photo of this below but current wi-fi is not letting me.  Lots of people down here for sunset, drinking games etc.  Dinner at La Dolce Italian Restaurant which served up the most beautiful food and we were looked after by the owner (a friend of our van driver).


Turkey Vultures on the cactus

The restrooms at Hotel California Todos Santos were quirky

The Mission at El Triunfo

Lots of little eateries on the side of the road, lots closed down also

 

Black-Cockatoos Visit my Backyard

Black-Cockatoos

We have a dead tree in our backyard which Andy has threatened a number of times to cut down “it’s jarrah, good firewood” he says, but I won’t let him.  “It’s the Cockie tree” I say to him.  Sometimes we have the odd Galah land there and a couple of other species but it’s by far utilised the most by the Forest Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos.  They sit there and shriek, preen and mate (as I witnessed for the first time yesterday).  They also roost for many months of the year in the Red Gums just beyond our fence line.  Our area is full of Red Gums or Marri trees which grow these big nuts, we call them honky nuts, anyway, the Black Cockatoos love them.  As do the Red Capped Parrots and the Ringneck Parrots (28’s).  

The birds discard the nuts after eating the large seed from inside, by discard I mean throw on the ground for us to trip and slip on.  We’ve even had one put a hole through one of our front windows when Andy was mowing.  At the moment it must be peak honky nut season as our driveway is just a layer of honky nuts.  

Forest Red-Tailed Black-Cockatoos

I believe that the subspecies that can be found here are listed as vulnerable.  This is due to destruction of woodlands and forests and also competition for nesting hollows.  These birds spend a lot of time in our neck of the woods.  A good supply of food and nesting hollows in the old trees keep them coming back year after year.  For more information on these birds head on over to the WA Museum website.

Black-Cockatoos visit my Backyard

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-tailed Black-CockatoosRed-tailed Black-Cockatoos

 

 

White-tailed Black-Cockatoos

Baudin’s Black-Cockatoos AKA Long-billed Black-Cockatoos

These beautiful birds have started to visit our backyard over the last week or two.  The way I see it, that means there’s good news and bad news.  The good news is that I get to see them daily.  Then the bad news.  They must have lost more of their habitat/food source and they have to venture further afield.  More info here.

 

Boudin's Black-Cockatoo

Female

Boudin's Black-Cockatoo

Male

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

White-tailed Black-Cockatoos

Baudin’s Black-Cockatoos AKA Long-billed Black-Cockatoos
Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos AKA Short-billed Black-Cockatoo

While the Carnaby’s are so very similar to the Baudin’s their beaks are the decider.  The Carnaby’s is wider and shorter tipped.  They also are listed as Endangered.   I usually find it hard to tell them apart unless they are in flocks together.  There’s  some images and more info at this link.  I’ve only just realised that I don’t yet have a photo of a Carnaby, I’ll have to rectify that very soon.

 

Honky nuts on a Red Gum Tree

 

Thanks for stopping by, if you’d like to see more of my bird images please click here.

 

 

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Desert Elephants Damaraland

Desert Elephants

The Desert Elephants Damaraland were amazing to see.  They are African Bush Elephants that have adapted to survive in the desert, in this case in Namibia.  They are often seen with short damaged tusks as a result of mineral deficient soil and the need to dig up sand and rocks in search for food and water.  I hope you like elephants as this post it I will be sharing my elephant images with you.  The elephants in these photos are feeding on the Camelthorn Acacia (Acacia erioloba) which is a very common tree in these parts and also extremely thorny.  Thorns are between 3-5cm long.

Elephants are very destructive to the environment and will often push over large trees just to get to the new shoots.  As we discovered this also helps the smaller animals that don’t have the same reach so it’s not all bad I guess.

Many elephants in Africa live within reserves but the elephants in the Namib are free to roam and often travel distances up to 60km per day between their favourite feeding grounds and water holes during the dry season.  They can survive without eating as much as other elephants in food-abundant parts of Africa.  They can go without drinking water for up to three days if they need to.  

More info on Desert Elephants here.

Desert Elephants Damaraland

Camel Thorn Tree

Desert Elephants Damaraland

Protective custody

Desert Elephants Damaraland

Mother and calf

Desert Elephants Damaraland

breakfast

Desert Elephants Damaraland

The destruction

Back to the Coast

Back to the Coast

After visiting the sand dunes of Sossusvlei we headed back to the coast and the town of Swakopmund.  This is where the dunes meet the sea at Sandwich Harbour.  The flight in was spectacular as we took the scenic route up the coast and flew over two shipwrecks in the sand dunes and the incredible shapes and patterns of the dunes and ocean (more pics to follow another day).  I went for a walk around town when we first arrived in Swakopmund, bought some bangles from some tribal women that had a little stall set up, walked around the ornate and colourful buildings of German influence.  Our DMC (our Namibian Travel Agent) took our tour group out to dinner to a really popular seafood restaurant called The Tug.  Fabulous food, decor, architecture (just like a tugboat) and service.

4 Wheel Driving

The next morning a few of us went on a 4WD tour to Sandwich Harbour.  We stopped at the salt lakes then drove through the dunes for a while before heading along the beach to our destination.  On the way we stopped by a helicopter that had parked up on the beach.  They were setting up sets for the filming of Transformers 5. We also saw lots of baby seals who had been abandoned by their mothers as they were weak.  Evidently this is a very common occurrence, but as we noticed when we flew in the day before, the number of seals along this part of the coast is massive, so I guess the percentage that are abandoned is relatively small.  We saw lots of birdlife including two types of Flamingos and some migratory waders we see during the summer at home.

 

Black-backed Jackel Walvis Bay

Black-backed Jackal

baby seal Walvis Bay

Baby Seal

Pelican Egret Walvis Bay

Great White Pelican and Little Egret

day-12-swakopmund-to-damaraland-8427

Greater Flamingo

Back to the Coast Salt Lake Walvis Bay

Salt Lake

Back to the Coast Salt Lake Walvis Bay

Salt Lake

The Wonderful Namibian Birds

Namibian Birds – Well how do I start.

Those of you who know me well know that I love to photograph birds.  I didn’t realise that birding would play such an important part in my trip to Namibia, but I was wrong coming home with more than just a handful of species.

There are about 600 birds species native to Namibia.  I think I managed to capture about 10% of these.  Most are just record shots but others I’m very happy with.  You could easily make birding your primary reason for a trip to this Namibia.

I should mention that 90% of these images were taken with a full frame camera and a 70-200mm f2.8 lens with a 1.4x converter attached.  I was resting my camera on the vehicle for most of the photos.  Because I can’t hold the camera steady with much over a 200mm focal length I really need to use a tripod when ever I can.

Bird

Great White Pelican

day-13-damaraland-9049

Ostrich



 

Aka Flying Banana

Yellow-billed Hornbill Aka Flying Banana

Namibian Birds

Kori Bustard

Namibian Birds

Greater Flamingo

 

Sossusvlei – Valley of Dunes

Sossusvlei – Valley of Dunes

Dunes

Sossusvlei would have to be one of the highlights of this trip for me due to the amazing sand dunes (another was Etosha).   The Namib-Naukluft National Park covers an area of nearly 50,000 square kms.  It is one of the largest nature reserves on our planet.  Sossusvlei is located in its southern reaches and is where mountainous sand dunes cloak the Namib Desert.  These are known as star dunes because they are formed by equally strong winds from different directions.   The Sossusvlei dunes are considered to be the world’s highest.

Sossus Dune Lodge

We spent three nights at the Sossus Dune Loge in huts spread out around the base of a mountain, joined by a boardwalk with quite a long walk to reach our rooms.  Our first day here in 46 degree heat wasn’t the most comfortable.  Our rooms although nicely appointed didn’t have air-conditioning,

 Thankfully the next couple of days the temperature dropped to mid to high 30s.  As well as trips to the dunes, we had options of helicopter flights and ballooning.  I did both and will bring you pics in a future post.

Sossusvlei - Valley of Dunes

Dune 44

Sossusvlei - Valley of Dunes

Sossusvlei - Valley of Dunes

Mrs & Mr Ostrich at sunset

Sossus Dune Lodge

Aerial view of our accommodation – Sossus Dune Lodge

Namibia – Leopard Lodge

Well I’ve made it home safe and sound from 3 weeks in Namibia.  I was hoping to update my blog regular while I was away but time restraints and slow/unreliable internet access put a stop to that right at the start.

Leopard Lodge

My first stop was at Leopard Lodge, ran by a friend of a friend.  It’s a hunting lodge just an hour from Windhoek the capital of Namibia.  Lots of wildlife including wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, oryx, kudu hyena, steenbok, baboon, leopard.  This caracal is a “Pet” that the kids handle regularly but is kept in a large pen.  Not the friendliest pet I’ve ever seen so took photos but didn’t go in a pat.

Lynx Cat

Caracal

 

Waterbuck Leopard Lodge Namibia

These Waterbuck came to drink at the waterhole while I was sitting up a small hill in a hide.

 

Giraffe Leopard Lodge Namibia

Giraffe

 

Crocodile Leopard Lodge Namibia

Female Crocodile – a long time resident at the waterhole with the hide

 

Cheetah Leopard Lodge Namibia

Cheetah – there were 2 of these beautiful animals on the property.