Whos keeping an eye on me....

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Venezuela - Part 3 The Llanos (Raptors and Mammals)

My last post was getting too big so I saved the raptors and Mammals of the Llanos (Hato Pinero) for this post. I may as well get this boring bit out of the way so you can watch the raptor fest unfold...lol
We left the lodge early to catch a boat for a planned river trip. We had  stopped at a couple of lagoons along the way, and just as the light picked up our Guide and driver shouted "Jaguar", a large cat quickly crossed the track into the trees. I got out of the car and quickly managed to get the bins on it as it strolled out of sight into the dense vegetation.... Very happy! ....... not a chance, because we turned around to get back into the car when we were confronted with this.....

Please click on the Jaguar - she really is beautiful

Stuff of dreams.....
Daylight and a 100ft away stands before us this magnificant Jaguar, excitement, deep breath hold the camera steady...bingo
One good shot was all I needed, it turned away and trotted back up the track that we had just come down, a few more shots for the memory , and a 2 or 3 minute chance in a lifetime encounter.

Bring on the birds
The Llanos turned out to be a raptor fest, large magestic birds of prey often showing very well and often being more than obliging for photo opportunities.

Savanah Hawk
No need to perch in a tree when it can sit comfortably along the trackside, even allowing me the chance to wind down the window for this shot

Crane Hawk
Common around the lagoons, often walking along the pool edges, however on this occassion a pair visited our ranch building and gave me a very intimate encounter.

The male looking very menacing


a real head turner

As vultures go the Black Vulture is quite a pretty species, we encountered them in most locations but on the Llanos they were very co-operative and often perched on fence post close by to a lagoon

Black-Colored Hawk
Oi dont shout -Not sure if he was actually shouting at us, makes for a great shot though
Great Black-Hawk
A simply magnificant bird.
We had a couple of Owl sightings while on the Llanos however after an evening on the tracks doing some spotlighting we arrived back at the ranch to find this Great Horned Owl sat on our roof, unfortunatly my camera work really doesnt do this bird the justice it deserves

Suprisingly the Crested Caracaras didnt give me many photo opportunites as they were often flying at great speed
Roadside Hawk
Not always on the Roadside

Juv Great Black Hawk

Laughing Falcon
This was probably the only species that we needed a scope for and my only sighting of the trip

Yellow Headed Caracara
Overall as majestic, proud and spectacular the other raptors are I think this species became my fav. The Yellow Headed Caracara were in large numbers in and around the ranch building. They were almost friendly .... very charasmatic and certainly fun to watch as they fed on the floor and preened on walls, roofs, posts.... everywhere really.

it wasnt just about Jaguars and birds of prey

Spectacled Cayman
it has a cunning look of
"Lets Dance" or "Dont mess with me"

peek a boo

Green Iguana

if I had known how quick these things move rest assured I would not have been on my stomach taking this image!

Weeping Capuchin

Red Howler Monkey

Crab-eating Fox
we were lucky enough to see a large family together


and a funny looking tree....
Great Potoo
This was certainly one of my target birds for the trip and I never imagined we would find one 10ft away while sat ontop of a truck ... no scope or even binoculars needed for this one. I did laugh to my self once we left when I figured that I took 30 shots of a bird that was never going to move and while the truck was staitionary I was not going to move.... 30 images all the same..... but give me that opportunity again anytime!

of course it was a real shame we ever had to leave

If your ever stuck for a place to visit and really cant decide where think about the Llanos in Venezuela


Amila Kanchana said...

So many different animals in one go, I'm thrilled! I don't know if any other part of the planet can compete with South America's Biodiversity!

Unknown said...

I can't believe you spotted a Jaguar! Lucky you!!! I spent one week in the Amazon and didn't even see a Tapir. OK, I saw a lot of fauna, actually. :-) Loved this post, all shots are fantastic.

Adam Jones said...

Great shots on your site Dave. Maybe we'll cross paths in the future. I am after those Lesser Spots at the moment.

Modesto Viegas said...

Great post!!!!!!!

FAB said...

Super post Dave. The varied wildlife is astonishing.

Unknown said...

Overwhelming post Dave!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

theconstantwalker said...

Fantastic images Dave... I was going to ask did you enjoy your trip.
I don't need a reply.

mick said...

Wow! All magnificent creatures.

Stewart M said...

Wow! That’s a real once in a life time kind of sight! Remarkable.

Stewart M - Australia

Pat said...

What a fabulous and wildly successful trip! The jaguar is so beautiful and the variety of raptors you captured is awesome.

NatureStop said...

Lucky you!!!spotting a Jaguar! Amazing shots of all the birds and I think that funny looking tree is cool...Thanks for sharing!!!


Vores have said...

Great pictures you show.
Wishing you a good day.
Hanne Bente / hbt.finus.dk

fjällripan said...

Fantastic post!! How great to see so many different raptors!

Andrea @ From The Sol said...

I dream of a day that I could get shots like this. You are so blessed with opportunity and talent. Thank you for taking me there.

Andrea @ From The Sol

Phil Slade said...

Looks like you had a great trip with lots of interesting wildlife - great pictures too.

Springman said...

Overwhelming! I can imagine your evenings sorting through these amazing photos. How exciting! That all this wildlife is supported in that local environment is incredible.
Many thanks for sharing Dave!

Dave said...

Thank you one and all

Very kind comments, however nature does the most part for me... I just have to be there to capture it..... what a rewarding task.


Monica S Engell said...

Wow! I'm impressed! What a wonderful shots from your successful trip!
Have anice day:)

Nelson said...

I love your photographs, the colors are really good and so many different creatures. It's a real feast.

Sallie (FullTime-Life.com said...

Scrolled back from the top and I am so happy that I did....what an incredible place ... (so many places, so little time ;>) but I can see the Llanos going to the top of any nature lover's list. Wow.