Shadow Shot Sunday: Sunset Giraffes in the Masai Mara

How could I resist adding a giraffe photo or two today? My friends on Facebook are all having a go at a riddle, which if you get wrong, you have to change your FB profile to that of a giraffe to three days. Now I don’t see an issue with that, given giraffes are pretty handsome creatures!

© Pauleen Cass 2013

© Pauleen Cass 2013

So going along with the theme, here is today’s post: not my favourite photo of giraffes on our recent trip, but an appropriate end-of-day photo. These two guys were snapped as the sun set over the hills. They may look like they’re feeling rather amorous but in fact they’d been engaging in a protracted bout of necking. Unlike the 1960s human version, this is actually a way of ascertaining dominance of one male over another. Our guide said these fellows were not very old (teenagers maybe?) and were really practicing rather than taking it seriously.

© Pauleen Cass 2013

© Pauleen Cass 2013

In a serious bout, which this had looked to me, there’s a lot of bashing of necks going on. If the fight was severe enough it would be entirely possible to break the other guy’s neck.

So, an initially serene scene with a hidden tension.

It’s Shadow Shot Sunday so why not pop over and see what others have written and photographed.

Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday Samburu and Kudu

Today is once again Shadow Shot Sunday and I thought I’d start the photos from my recent trip to Africa – Kenya, Uganda and Zanzibar in Tanzania.Shadow Shot Sunday

We were very fortunate to do a few of safaris while in Kenya, the first in the Masai Mara National Reserve, one to Lake Nakuru where we saw flamingos, and one at Samburu National Park further north. What was great was to be able to see different species of animals, and ones that differed between the parks. The scenery varied quite a lot so we were so pleased to have the time and opportunity to take more than one safari.

A male Greater Kudu in Samburu. © Pauleen Cass 2013

A male Greater Kudu in Samburu -the shadows dapple his striped coat. © Pauleen Cass 2013

We were impressed to note that our pilots on the flight to Oryx airstrip at Samburu National Park were both young Kenyan women. One of our guides, Anthony, was there waiting for us in the ubiquitous open-sided Landcruiser and we set forth on mini-safari en route to Elephant Bedroom Camp.

A female Greater Kudu with her pretty face, and striped coat snacks on the tree.  © Pauleen Cass 2013

A female Greater Kudu with her pretty face, and striped coat snacks on the tree. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Anthony was a Samburu man and I think that their multi-generational knowledge brings so much interest to each drive. His keen eyesight soon picked out a few Greater Kudu grazing among the shadows.  Initially we didn’t realise this was such an important sighting as we’d seen a wide variety of antelopes already. However it’s fairly unusual to see a Kudu as they are quite shy and generally stay in more mountainous areas.

They have beautiful markings and the males have quite impressive horns. The multiple twists of his horn suggest that he’s quite old but with his young ladies around he certainly wasn’t solitary as our animal book indicates.

In the midday heat they were enjoying snacking in the shade of the trees – can you blame them?

Breaking from the shadows the male shows  the "war paint" across his nose. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Breaking from the shadows the male shows the “war paint” across his nose. © Pauleen Cass 2013

Shadow Shot Sunday: Circularity in Red

This week’s shadow shot is from a lovely garden owned by a local artist, Jasmine Jan (check out her amazing paintings).

Seat circles varn_edited-1

I love the vivid red contrasting with the shadows and the sharp lines of the leaves.

red chair dreaming

Shadow Shot Sunday

Do have a look at the other wonderful images posted under Shadow Shot Sunday.

On the Road: Triple Road Trains

Lined up at Camooweal, these big guys are best seen stationary. They’re scary critters, with their 176ft length, 115 tonnes and triple trailers. It takes a bit of getting used to passing them at 130kph (our legal speed limit) and you want to make sure you have plenty of clear distance and good visibility. Fortunately the drivers are generally very courteous and will sometimes indicate when it’s safe to pass, but still and all, make your own judgements.

Camooweal road training
Here are some official tips to pass them.

Clipped wings

Driving the Stuart Highway often introduces some unusual sights. On our drive to Brisbane back in June we came across this sight at the Daly Waters Hi Way Inn, where they have a light aircraft on display full time. However it’s not often you’ll see a military aircraft with its wings clipped, travelling on the back of a road train.

Why, you ask, was this happening? Well this old fighter jet is going to be part of the displays at Darwin’s Aviation Museum sometime in the future. It will be fun to see it again, with its wings restored. Conversations in Longreach revealed it had been languishing near the QANTAS Museum on its long drive. In its heyday this aircraft would have gobbled up the air miles, now it was reduced to covering the 3300 kms from Amberley Air Force Base in a slow and not-so-stately way.

Blow me down, by sheer coincidence, the Museum officially received the logbooks for the F111 on Saturday. You can read the story here.

An F111 on the road to Darwin.

An F111 on the road to Darwin.

Definitely one for aircraft junkies.

F11 on the move_edited-1

Shadow Shot Sunday: Tropical shadows

Yesterday we visited our final Open Garden of the year. The weather is turning and what we call the Dry (elsewhere it’s winter) is steadily running out of puff with the temperatures and humidity kicking in. However this weekend’s Mosaic Garden would be a perfect spot regardless of the weather with tropical shadows and shady nooks.

Open Garden, Mosaic House, Parap, Northern Territory

Open Garden, Mosaic House, Parap, Northern Territory

Tropical shadows

Glimpses of green

Cooling breezes

Draw me in.

Shadow Shot Sunday

See other Shadow Shot Sunday posts here.

Shadow Shot Sunday: Trembling in the light

After a frenetic burst of activity through April with the A to Z challenge this poor blog has been languishing in the shadows itself. Time to bring it back into the light.

Trembling in the light

Brazen flowering plants

Compete with the sun

Tropical light trembles

Reveals the cooler shadows.

Shadow Shot Sunday

Check out the other amazing photos in Shadow Shot Sunday.

Passport to April

My friend Crissouli wanted to know where she could get her passport stamped after completing our Top End tour in the A to Z challenge. So I thought I’d put together a collage of some of the month’s pictures.


Once again a HUGE thank you to the many people who visited during April and supported me in this challenge…it’s your encouraging comments that helped keep me going. I do hope you also enjoyed yourselves along the way. Good on ya, mate!

And if you really want a passport stamp this might suffice.

A to Z supporter_edited-1

Swimming at Deka Deka

I’ve been rather neglectful of this blog over the past few weeks. Firstly I had a week away in Brisbane with a defunct laptop, then I returned home to find that our much loved tabby cat had disappeared. Three weeks later we’re none the wiser as to what happened to him and exploring every option has taken a fair bit of time, not to mention coming to terms with the absence of his little furry self.

However here I am again, gearing up for the April A to Z challenge, with at least some of the posts ready to go.

Deka Deka, Milne Bay © Pauleen Cass 2012

Deka Deka, Milne Bay © Pauleen Cass 2012

Today I want to post what may be the last of my Papua New Guinea photos. This time it’s a brief glimpse of our outing to a small island off Samarai in Milne Bay. My husband used to visit Deka Deka when he was a small boy so he was particularly pleased to be able to dive into its crystal clear waters. A member of our small group went snorkelling and reported that the coral had been damaged by storms etc, but it certainly didn’t spoil our enjoyment of a brief excursion.

Fancy a swim? © Pauleen Cass 2012

Fancy a swim? © Pauleen Cass 2012

Visiting Samarai: the old school and houses

This photo shows the old primary school at Samarai which has particular significance to my husband’s family: his mother taught in the small, low-level classroom to the left of the two storey building.

The old primary school at Samarai, now out of use.

The old primary school at Samarai, now out of use.

Also in the background are the old houses which used to accommodate the senior staff of Burns Philp and Steamships Trading Company, both businesses of some significance in times past.

Steamies and BPs housing and the concrete remains of the Samarai Club.

Steamies and BPs housing and the concrete remains of the Samarai Club.

The concrete stumps are all that remains of the old Samarai Club and the billiard table. 

Below: the old headmaster’s house.

The old primary school headmaster's house, Samarai.

The old primary school headmaster’s house, Samarai.