LBAH Informational Articles

Colorful and Courting Frigates

These aerial acrobats make their living by stealing food from other birds, often times Boobies and Tropical birds. They have a vivid courtship display which you will see on this page.

Our first encounter with this winged wonder started as soon as we left port.
Our guides assured us we would be getting much closer and more personal during the visit to some islands.

They are aerial acrobats and have amazing flying abilities

They steal food from their other birds by harassing them so much with their tremendous flying ability that the other bird
drops its mouthful of fish to stop the harassment.

This frigate in the top right of the photo is taking a branch from the mouth of a blue-footed Booby in the lower left

The Booby is now on the right with the branch in its mouth

The victorious frigate

They exist in large breeding colonies on some islands.  As you approach they will soar all around.

Many will glide just a few feet above your head. This is a female.

The male with throat sac partially deflated

As you hike around the colony you start getting close to them. This female is resting.

The courtship process is fascintating to observe. These 3 males are trying to impress a lone female.

A male without an inflated throat pouch

A couple of puffs of air and the transformation is apparent on this different frigate

Another example of a prime male specimen!

Another male put on quite a display in his attempt to attract a female

Unfortunately for him he attracted another male intent on taking his perching spot

A few choice words and the intruder left

His charms worked because a female soon landed

And the courtship began

The look of love

Soon after the coursthip the stork drops off a fluffy package

And now the work begins keeping this chick’s stomach full.

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Marine Iguanas

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Our Galapagos Group

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Costa Rica 2008

We stayed at a hotel that was right on the beach

It was a good spot for us surfer dudes to practice our technique

The hotel had a beautiful garden setting

The fisherman took their boats out daily

You could walk along the beach and watch the locals doing their “local” thing

Large flocks of pelicans would congregate over the beach. Scarlet Macaws squawked by almost daily.

The jungle was just outside our door

This dragonfly was one of the multitudes of insects we encountered on our hikes in the jungle

Leaf cutter ants were numerous…..

….along with spiders

We passed this sign as we drove to Manuel Antonio National Park so  I had to take it

This park is right on the water and abounds with monkeys and reptiles

Our first sighting was a sloth and its infant

When the monkeys were not trying to steal your food they actually sat still for a photo op

A red eyed frog

Basilisk lizard

We saw lots of spiny iguanas

After Manuel Antonion we went to Carrara Reserve.

We timed it right with the Macaws when they came in to eat the palm tree nuts

It was like a mini Africa trip with crocodiles…

…and strange looking birds called boat-billed herons

Green Kingfisher scanning the water for fish

Ahinga drying its feather


Amazon Kingfisher with its dinner

Dappled leaves in a slow moving stream

After a week of relaxation it was time to pack up for Antarctica

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Conservation Trips


Join Dr. P as he shares some his worldwide conservation trips.

Lions of Tsavo National Park



Masai Mara October 2007


Bears of Katmai National Park


Ted Fish Mouth

The Endangered Black Rhino of Zimbabwe

Black Rhino Calf


The Endangered Orangutan of Borneo

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Cheetah of the Mara




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Enchanted Galapagos

At the end of March I took a group of 12 friends and veterinarians to Galapagos. If it is on your bucket list this trip is well worth the time and effort. The guides are awesome, the wildlife viewing is just about as good as it gets, the water is warm and clear, and the Ecuadorian people are gracious (and prepare great meals).

Some of my guests were repeats from my African safari trips and their photographic expertise is increasing (finally). We will share some of their pictures, although this page has just a small fraction of the wildlife we saw and the photos we took. In some cases you can link to more photos of the same species. They are low res for rapid downloading. If you are interested in the high resolution version let me know. We had a great group and hope to make this adventure one of many together. We made this a veterinary continuing education trip in addition to our usual shenanigans.

Click on the group photo below to see them individually and some of the photos they took

Thanks to Dr. Hornof and his expertise and passion for teaching, our veterinarians actually looked forward to their daily CE. Of course when the lectures are on the deck around the hot tub its easy to get people to show up.

Our boat had a high resolution TV and projector so we were able to get the most out of digital radiography.

Here is some of the group beaming with knowledge after another informative session with Dr. Hornof and the guides

Our guides were level III (the highest level) and had extensive knowledge. Bolivar (Boli) Sanchez was our main guide. He has been plying the waters of the Galapagos since his ship captain dad took him there as a three year old.

Click on one of the photos below to learn more about him and Cristina

His outstanding counterpart was Cristina

At the end of our trip Boli and Christina magically transformed into King Neptune and his wife to make sure all of our “Darwinian Transgressions” were properly punished. If you click on the photo you can learn who were the worst culprits.

King Neptune

The wildlife is up close and presents good photographic opportunities, so everyone got some great shots. Looks like one marine iguana is looking at his reflection in the lens.

Click on any animal photo below that interests you for a few more pictures of that species in larger size. Don’t miss the section on the courting frigate birds.


Marine Iguanas and Their Lookouts

The colorful and courting Frigate

Red Footed Boobies


Nazca Boobies

Naska Booby

Galapagos Hawk

Blue Footed Boobies

Very Friendly Sea Lions

Flightless Cormorants

Galapagos Penguin

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Lioness on the Hunt

This page has a sequence of photos of a lioness stalking and killing a wildebeest in the Serengeti of Tanzania in July of 2009. The powerful primal instincts of this predator are readily seen. Nature’s brutality is also apparent so be prepared to see the death of the wildebeest.

Our guide Proteus noticed her in the grass on the right as we slowly drove a road near a marsh around 9 AM. Do you see her towards the center right? She is not easy to spot hidden in the grass.  Linda is pointing the 500 mm lens right at her. She is the small tan figure under the arrow 50 yards across the marsh from us. Another vehicle in our group with Mike and Carole was just in front of us. The others in Group 1 were ballooning and we were to rendezvous with them at lunch.

This is a picture of Linda using the 500 mm lens to capture the next photos in our sequence. 

As we watched the lioness hunkered down in the grass and became difficult to see

This closeup makes it easier to spot her- the tan colored object in the lower center

She rose up when some zebra and wildebeest approached the marsh in front and to the left of our vehicle

They came close to her location because they wanted a drink. She initially put herself in this area
because she knew they would need some water.

As they came closer she kept her gaze on them

When they got within 50 yards they became alert and stopped. They could smell her but they could
not see her according to our guide.

The zebra beat a hasty retreat and ended that stalk before it even began

When they started running she came across the marsh for a better view, only to wach them in vein

There were two other lionesses still hiding in the marsh. She seemed to know where they were but
we could only catch an occasional glimpse of them.

She kept looking at the spot the zebra just left. This time some wildebeest
came closer, but they also smelled her and kept their distance.

After a few minutes she settled down and hid in the grass again and kept looking for prey

The other vehicle in our group decided nothing was going to happen and they went in search of another lioness they saw
in the distance. Too bad for them! Our patience was rewarded 30 minutes later when she stood up and saw something
behind us we did not see initially.

It was 3 wildebeest crossing the road 100 yards behind us. As she stared at them it became obvious she was getting ready to move after them. Our alert guide saw this and threw the land cruiser in reverse and told us to “hold on”. It was at this point that I pushed Linda out of the vehicle and took control of the camera and big lens. 

Events transpired rapidly at this point. She was on our right still and parallel to our car running at a rapid
stalk behind us. Our guide kept up with her as I captured this shot of her initial stalk.

We had to move fast so our vehicle was bouncing heavily. It was all I could do to hang on while trying to focus on her as her stalk increased in speed. As you can see I got more grass in my photo than lioness. This was one of the disadvantages of using a 500 mm lens in a bouncing vehicle.

I missed her completely on several shots

I was able to catch up with her periodically. Our guide was doing a great job staying with the lioness
without scaring the wildebeest and interfering with her hunt.

When I lost focus I had to play catch up. At this point I was just hoping to hang on to the lens so
it would not fall out of the vehicle and get damaged. I don’t think there are too many Canon service
centers in the Serengeti.

Once she locked onto the wildebeest she did not waiver in her gaze. Her muscular body is like a taut
spring ready to unwind. This is one of the most impressive parts of the whole hunt and causes goose bumps.

We were still moving backwards when she went from stalking to the explosive charge

With both of us moving so fast I still had a hard time focusing on her

You can see her in the background as she is pouncing on the wildebeest. Too bad I am focusing on
the grass in front.

Our car stopped moving just as she hit the wildebeest with full force. Now I was able to stay with her.

The high frame rate of my Canon 1D Mark III enabled me to capture a good bit of the action now
that we stopped moving

The momentum of her pounce rolled the wildebeest on its back as the lioness skidded in the opposite direction

She worked on holding the hapless animal as it kicked wildly in the air. You can see her claws
coming out as she tries to hold it down.

She rapidly moved toward the throat in order to keep it quiet (so no other predators could hear it
including other lions) and finish the kill by suffocation

She has the final death grip on the throat and now it is only a matter of a few minutes before the
wildebeest dies. Wewere told by numerous people that at this point, which is only 10 seconds
from the initial pounce, that the wildebeest is in a state of complete shock and feels little. 

At this point the wildebeest is dead and she is hanging on for good measure

She finally looks at us only 20 yards away

Apparently we were bothering her because she dragged it into the marsh and that’s the last we saw
of her or the wildebeest.

Our hat’s off to Proteus our guide for seeing her initially and moving the vehicle to the right position in the nick of time. Kudos to Linda and Joy for agreeing with me that we should be patient and stay with the lioness when she was just hiding in the grass and doing nothing.  Being familiar with my camera when there was no time to think or change settings was also important. If I had the time before our guide took off in reverse I would have put on my much lighter, and easier to use in a heavily bouncing vehicle, 400 mm lens instead of the bigger 500 mm. This unscripted nature makes wildlife photography quite a challenge and lots of fun. Joy, Linda, and yours truly were still shaking hours later after witnessing the keen instincts and power of this lioness.


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Tanzania 2009 Group 2


This is the beginning of the trip so we are still smiling.


Robert and Lela

Rick and Joan


The Dinkers (don’t ask why they got this nickname)

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