Dwarfish

Dwarf Mongoose

There are two species of mongoose regularly seen on the Maasai Mara. The more common is the banded mongoose, but the dwarf mongoose – a small African carnivore found in groups of 15 or less – is also spotted, though less frequently. I expected to leave Kenya with that added to my list of ‘what I’d wished I seen’, places the secretary bird and martial eagle then seemed destined to live.

But a curious combination of fate and luck conspired to the ends of preventing disappointment. When at the checkpoint between the Mara Triangle Wilderness Zone and the Maasai Mara National Reserve, I got out the jeep – with my camera, of course – to stretch my legs.

This proved to be a very good decision.

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Not only did I spot a new species of weaver (which *hint hint cough cough* I have still not identified and therefore has not been added to the Grand Bird List yet), I also saw a small group of mongooses heading off into the shrubbery. One particularly curious individual had perched himself on a rock to observe the surroundings before they all disappeared.

I held my breath, and crept closer very, very slowly. I could see the mongoose tensing, getting ready to run. Luckily, he delayed his flight till the last moment.

Dwarf-size mongoose, maybe. Dwarf-size experience? Definitely not.

Three Lines, Three Photographs, Three Days: Band of the Banded

For today – the last day of the challenge – I was planning on a portrait I had taken during the summer. When I skimmed some old photographs, however, I came across this one, and found it fitted the theme better than the other two, at least. 😛

Banded mongooses, the creatively named Mungos mungo, are the most commonly found mongoose on the Masai Mara. Their groups average around 20 but can be up to 70 in number. In the photograph below, it was evening, and after a long day’s foraging, this band of three (pun intended) were returning to their den. For more information on banded mongooses, I highly recommend checking out bandedmongoose.org, an ongoing research project by the University of Exeter on their fascinating behavioral tendencies and social quirks.

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I would like to note that for this challenge, black and white was not mandatory: it merely happened so that all my photographs turned out that way!