Welcome to my blog!

I will share my photography activities and experiences, and why not, provide advice regarding wildlife photography. I hope it will be lively and interactive to get as much feedback as possible.

Croc photos

March 25, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Here are just some photos of Nile crocodiles!

The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is the second largest extant reptile in the world, after the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).

The Nile crocodile is quite widespread throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and lives in different types of aquatic environments such as larger rivers, lakes, estuaries and marshes. Isolated populations also exist in Madagascar.

On average, the adult male Nile crocodile is between 3 and 5 m (10 ft and 16.5 ft) in length and weighs 200 to 725 kg (440 to 1,600 lb). However, specimens exceeding 6 m (20 ft) in length have been recorded.

The Nile crocodile is an ambush predator that can wait for hours and even days for the suitable moment to attack. Their diet consists mostly of different species of fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. 

The Nile crocodile is one of the most dangerous species of crocodile and is responsible for hundreds of human deaths every year.


0516A43-10516A43-1Nile crocodiles - Crocodylus niloticus

0491A03-10491A03-1Nile crocodile tails - Crocodylus niloticus

0516A47-30516A47-3Nile crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus

0516A36-30516A36-3Nile crocodiles - Crocodylus niloticus


0516A41-20516A41-2Nile crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus

0516A25-10516A25-1Nile crocodile - Crocodylus niloticus

0491A34-40491A34-4Nile crocodile teeth - Crocodylus niloticus


0491A31-30491A31-3Nile crocodile skin - Crocodylus niloticus


 


The great white shark

December 15, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

The great white shark

8 km off the coast of Gansbaai, “Dyer Island” and “Geyser Rock” are two tiny islands sheltering thousands of Cape fur seals, which are among the favourite meal of the white shark! Attracted by this meat safe, the sharks proliferate in these waters. An estimated population of 200 of these specimens is reckoned to live in the region. Obviously, it is not always the same individual since the white sharks are very nomadic. Recently, it has been proved, by the help of an electronic marking (a satellite positioning device), that a white shark can effectuate a round trip between South Africa and Australia in 6 months, which represents more than 22’000 km!

Because of its strength and its considerable size (on average between 3 and 4 metres, and a maximum of 6 metres), the white shark can be potentially dangerous for Man. However, in reality, we are much more harmful for it. Millions of sharks are slaughtered each year around the globe, mainly for their fins that are reputed to have aphrodisiac properties or simply hunted down for the prestige. The film “Jaws” has harmed the protection of this species, seen as a bloody beast when in fact, the white shark brings about lesser fatal accidents for the humans. We can try as much to warn that the risk of being attacked is extremely rare, that sharks kill Man less than bees, and to add that most victims have on their own endangered themselves; this will not be enough to forget the traumatizing images of the film. In most cases, the white shark bites a human by mistake. If it attacks a swimmer or a surfer, it is often because it has mistaken them for one of its habitual preys. This is the case for surfers who lie on their boards and who, seen from below, resemble a sea lion that white sharks are mad about.

In 1991, South Africa becomes the first country to declare the great white shark as a protected species. Unfortunately, after millions of years of indisputable supremacy, they are now fighting for their survival. This should have the force to convince us that when the white shark meets Man, it is generally the shark, which is in more danger!


A face-to-face encounter with the great white shark

We embark a ship in the direction of Dyer Island. Having reached the famous “Shark Alley”, the ship is anchored and the cage takes a plunge. A long waiting moment has started and can last for hours. We are impatient, pacing up and down the embarkation trying to locate the tiniest signs that herald the presence of a shark, our eyes riveted on the water. A shout tears finally the silence: "a fin on the left!". Some metres away, a dorsal fin appears on the surface of the ocean. The animal slides through the water with an unbelievable grace and seems to swim further away. The fugitive silhouette plays on our nerves. It prowls around the ship and the cage, which confines four wide-eyed divers, bathing in waters of 14 degrees. A big deception: the visibility does not go beyond one metre in these much-agitated waters; it is practically impossible to observe the king of the ocean. Highly frustrated, we decide to focus our observation from the deck of the ship, dry and warm, which turns out to be not a so-bad idea since our visitors do not hesitate to come to the surface, their jaws wide-opened and menacing. Even though the white sharks are present all year round, the best period to observe them stretches from May to October since they are many in numbers. However, we will learn much later that the best season is the month of June, during this period, the visibility is good and allows us to admire them easily in clear waters. 

On the surface, a tuna head linked to a float is used to lure the shark. At times, the shark hesitates, prowls around the bait, cautious and suspicious, inspecting and then finally, deciding to catch it with calm and tact, it is quite amazing! We are far from the barbarity of “Jaws”… At other times, it does not hesitate at all; surfacing violently, it snaps up the fish and shakes it in frenzy. It all seems unreal, as the strength, which is coming from the shark, is impressive. The bait ends up in pieces under the stare of the few braves who have remained in the cage.

We can ask the well founded question of the tourist excursions where the shark has turned into a circus animal and provides a significant livelihood for the many operators who share among themselves this lucrative market. However, if these excursions are organized while respecting the animal and its environment, then it will become an educational tool. It is finally the only way to observe this fabulous animal, which cannot live in captivity. We should stop dreading this animal and start instead its protection, as the white shark is much less dangerous than its reputation.

Either way, we will keep the image of the king of the ocean, which certainly does not deserve to be slaughtered and have his fins swimming in a bowl of soup!


0251A09-30251A09-3Great white shark - Carcharodon carcharias
 

0251A18-30251A18-3Great white shark - Carcharodon carcharias
 

0248B54-30248B54-3Great white shark - Carcharodon carcharias
 

0242A09-30242A09-3Great white shark - Carcharodon carcharias
 

0248B26-30248B26-3Great white shark - Carcharodon carcharias
 

0248B06-30248B06-3Great white shark - Carcharodon carcharias
 

0248B19-30248B19-3Great white shark - Carcharodon carcharias
 

0242A14-3-DM0242A14-3-DMGreat white shark - Carcharodon carcharias [Digitally manipulated]


 


Why gorillas have a Human look?

October 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Do you know why this gorilla has a Human look?

Maybe because this gorilla has some white in its eyes!

The white around our pupils is called the sclera. Years ago, it was believed that we were the only primates with white sclera. Astonishingly some gorillas have white in their eyes too. That’s quite rare, but just like us, they have no pigmentation in their eyes.

30% of gorillas have dark sclera, 60% have some degree of white in their eyes and only 10% have all white, human-like sclera.

White sclera may be found in other apes too (bonobos, orangutans and chimpanzees).


0498A80-30498A80-3Western lowland gorilla - Gorilla gorilla


0498A16-50498A16-5Western lowland gorilla - Gorilla gorilla


0498A77-50498A77-5Western lowland gorilla - Gorilla gorilla

 

Hermanus and the southern right whales

August 09, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

The region of Cape Town is is an excellent starting point to observe the southern right whales that winter very close to the coasts during the months of June to October. The small town of Hermanus, a seaside resort located 120 km from Cape Town, provides shelter to the marine sanctuary “Walker Bay”. It is most probably one of the best places in the world to observe the southern right whales.

This whale is the most common one found in Hermanus; it can measure up to 16 metres and is easily recognizable by its callus-covered head. It leaves the waters of Antarctica at the beginning of the southern winter. During this season, Antarctica plunges into the intense polar night and freezing cold. Numerous species desert this region, which become too inhospitable.  The right whale will travel through more than 8’000 kilometres to give birth and reproduce in the waters of South Africa.

The sanctuary of Walker Bay prevents all navigation, but the outskirts of the reserves are nevertheless accessible and are rich in marine mammals. To observe them more closely, it is advised to get hold of a small rapid boat or to be enrolled in the numerous excursions organized by the local operators… but with the risk of being crammed together with tens of tourists on a ship specially designed for this! Another solution is the helicopter, not an ecological means: I grant you that, but a fabulous opportunity to observe the whales from above. 

The whales are quite demonstrative during the mating season. It is quite common to observe, in the distance, superb flips executed by males soliciting the favours of a female. Among the entire spectacle that the animal kingdom can offer, it is without any doubt one of the most extraordinary.  Imagine these whales breaching out of the water to fall back again on their sides in a deafening crash, stirring up an extraordinary volume of water in an immense shower of foam.

We look in all directions, playing the game of who will be the first to locate a floating body, a tail or a whale breaching. Suddenly, a dark mass emerges, just like a submarine, breathing out of its blowholes, its long body moving slowly on surface. Then, it dives again, delighting us with a magnificent tail flip in by way of goodbye…



0247A12-40247A12-4Southern right whale - Eubalaena australis
0251C11-30251C11-3Southern right whale - Eubalaena australis
0247A67-30247A67-3Southern right whales - Eubalaena australis
0250A17-40250A17-4Southern right whale - Eubalaena australis
0251C41-30251C41-3Southern right whale - Eubalaena australis
0251C07-30251C07-3Southern right whale - Eubalaena australis

 
 
More photos of whales? Have a look here: http://www.fabricebettex.photography/whale-photos​

The village weaver: noisy and unfaithful!

June 13, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

The village weaver (Ploceus cucullatus) is also known as the spotted-backed weaver or black-headed weaver.

Originally from Sub-Saharan Africa the Village Weaver has been introduced to Mauritius and Reunion Island. 

Male builds woven nest made of grass and leaf strips with a downward facing entrance which is suspended from a branch in a tree. The Village weaver forms large noisy colonies with up to 100 nests in a single tree. These colonies are frequently seen near human habitation. 

Male is very active in breeding season. When nest is built, the male carries out a courtship display to attract female. It hangs beneath his nest, and with fluttering wings, while it is calling to attract a mate. After inspecting a number of nests, the female breeds with the owner of the nest that meets her approval. After the first nest is built and first female incubates, male builds another nest and tries to attract another female.

Female lays 2 to 3 eggs, incubates the eggs and rears the young alone. The eggs hatch after about 14 days. The nestlings will stay within the nest for 17-21 days before leaving.

Village Weaver forages on the ground, it feeds principally on seeds and insects. It feeds on rice and fruit when available.

 

0335A17-30335A17-3Village weaver (male) - Ploceus cucullatus

 

0272A14-40272A14-4Village weaver (male) - Ploceus cucullatus

 

0334A02-30334A02-3Village weavers (male) - Ploceus cucullatus

 

0328A03-40328A03-4Village weaver (male) - Ploceus cucullatus

 

0328A08-40328A08-4Village weaver (male) - Ploceus cucullatus

 

0326A01-30326A01-3Village weavers (male & female) - Ploceus cucullatus

 

0334A24-40334A24-4Village weaver (female) - Ploceus cucullatus

 

0412A12-20412A12-2Village weaver (male) - Ploceus cucullatus

 

0334A11-40334A11-4Village weaver - Ploceus cucullatus

 

0331A11-20331A11-2Village weavers - Ploceus cucullatus

 
 

More photos of Village Weaver? Have a look here: http://www.fabricebettex.photography/weaver-photos
 

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