© 2012 admin nightcat

Serara Lodge…Part 3

So now on to the animals. Well specifically a night drive to look for leopards. We left the lodge after dark in 2 vehicles which were equipped with yellow headlights. Each vehicle had a spotter on the roof, just like we used in Amboseli. But this time, the spotter had a red spotlight. The intent was to find the animals without damaging its night vision so my using a flash on the camera was pretty much out. That makes for a bit of a challenge when you end up with red leopard photos and want to create an image that looks good.

Now finding a leopard in heavy vegetation is not an easy thing. Doing it at night is even harder. And not only are the animals hard to find, the muddy spots in the trail can be difficult to see too. So when we got a call on the radio from the other vehicle, it was not because they found animals we should come see, it was so we could rescue them from the mud they were stuck in by the river. (This was the first of several times in Derek’s car would get stuck in the mud on this trip) After pulling them out, we went back to looking for animals. After driving around for awhile looking for glowing eyes looking back at us from the center of a red spotlight, we put the predator call in a low tree and drove away. Back to driving through the brush for awhile and then back to the area of the predator call only to find we had attracted hyenas, not leopards. There were 4 spotted hyenas looking for an injured goat. They were disappointed, but then so were we for awhile. Leopards will not go near hyenas which can take down a leopard. So we recovered the predator call and went back to driving around looking for leopards. We found a new place to put the call away from the hyenas and set it up again.

Success! We called a leopard. We flanked it with both vehicles and started watching. Tom kept turning off the predator call when the leopard got close so it couldn’t figure out where it was. When the leopard got bored and started to leave, he would turn on the call just long enough to get it to turn around and look again. After about 30 minutes, we let it go without calling it back.

So what do you do with red leopard pictures? Changing them to black and white seems to work.

 

One Comment

  1. Jeannie Totta
    Posted January 19, 2012 at 10:41 am | #

    you have a GREAT eye, thank you for sharing

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