Gorro Lodge

First things first, I need to say thank you for all of the feedback I have been getting for both the blog and a few of my photos, it really helps! As I mentioned in the last upload I have really been enjoying living ‘off the grid’ and not being tied to my phone or computer. Unfortunately that doesn’t exactly tie in with keeping this blog up to date, or sorting through my photos. I find myself taking 200 a day, and usually managing to go through about 40 of them before I collapse into bed each night, so there is somewhat of a backlog already. I dread to think where I will be by the time I get back to the UK, possibly with a new external hard drive in tow.

Gorro lodge, where I have been since Monday, has been an awesome place for study sites. I didn’t really appreciate when I signed up for this that we would be working on game reserves such as this one, which effectively means you get a free safari experience as you work. So far we have seen Kudu, Eland, Rock Springers, Giraffes, Cape Mountain Zebra (which are both rare and in completely the wrong location here, but take that up with the original owner) and then last night on the way home a Porcupine just crossing the road!

As it turns out a lot of the surrounding area is covered with these reserves, to cater for the hunting industry, which is colossal out here. It was actually something I was very interested in doing whilst I was out here as it is the beginning of the hunting season, but after speaking to quite a few of the workers I have decided against it. The hunting scene in South Africa, sadly, is known for big groups of very rich men getting absolutely hammered all day and night and essentially putting a hole in anything that moves near them. No care for the ideas of conservation through hunting, or respect for the animals, they just want trophy prizes. Thankfully, when you are smashed you tend to make a huge amount of noise walking trough the bush, so I am told a lot of them go home empty handed!

Conservation is of course the main reason for the SCBC and the research we are carrying out, informing people of what is here in the Soutpansberg, and the habitat types that are important to allow various species to continue. My own personal reasons and contributions revolve around the photography of a lot of the subjects we are finding and that is what I mainly want to use this post for, in order to get a few more of my images out there.

So lets start with the Scorpions, so far we have found roughly 10 species across the two different study sites, Medike and Gorro, ranging from “I will put you in hospital if I get the chance” to “sure, you can pick me up, I don’t really care”. Of course we have been using the latin binomials but they seem a little less fun.

Version 2
Transvaal thick-tail (Parabuthus transvaalicus). Munching on a centipede.

This guy is one of the trip to the hospital variety, I found him under a rock and then watched him catch, sting and eat this centipede. You can see he has a thick tail, that gives it its classification, and small pincers. It uses these to hold prey still just long enough to give it a sting and then sits back and waits.

Then of course there are the reptiles! Im not personally concentrating on these whilst out here but they are forming a key part of both Ryan and Melissa’s research, so if they are seen they still have to be logged. They also provide some very nice photo opportunities, although they are not the easiest subjects, often not wanting to hang around for more than a second. I’m convinced that the geckos have an innate ability to sense the depression of a shutter button and flee instantly, and butterflies may also share this trait! Still, if you try to shoot 100 you have to get a few / Ryan seems to have some hypnotic ability with the lizards and geckos.

Version 2
Puff adder (Bitis arietans)

Sadly this puff adder did not want to hang around and pose, we had disturbed him basking and he was in no mood to be social. I managed to get off a few shots as he was making his escape and was pleased to find the head was in beautiful focus here.

Spending their time hidden amongst the rocks these buggers are almost impossible to spot. This individual was the one mentioned in the last post that Ryan and Melissa had captive and so we were able to get some good shots when releasing.

I’m going to leave it there for now rather than turn this into a small essay. I will try to get another post up soon, even though I have put a few more photos in this one there are hundreds more. We leave on Monday however so I cannot promise anything for a while.

Now for the bit to make you cringe. If you have enjoyed the blog so far please share it around! Tell your friends and family and get them to have a look. I’m pretty useless at the self promotion side of things so any help will be greatly appreciated!



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