On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

This weekday feature is for Juicers who are are on the road, traveling, or just want to share a little bit of their world via stories and pictures. So many of us rise each morning, eager for something beautiful, inspiring, amazing, subtle, of note, and our community delivers – a view into their world, whether they’re far away or close to home – pictures with a story, with context, with meaning, sometimes just beauty. By concentrating travel updates and tips here, it’s easier for all of us to keep up or find them later.

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Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today World Cup 2018 begins. This is the biggest sporting event on our humble planet.  The first game is at 11 am Eastern and I hope some other FPer will be hosting World Cup duties. I will be watching many games over the next month and have my favorites to root for/against, but it’s always exciting to see a story appear before your eyes, and to root for a team you’d never cared for before. I’m not much of a sports fan, but it really doesn’t get better than the World Cup!

I’m already budgeting for the 2026 WC in North America as there’s no way I’m going to either Russia this year, nor Qatar in 2022. It’s not the expense so much as the host countries. I am much more favorable on Qatar compared to some of its Gulf neighbors, but I still have serious labor and human rights concerns for the labor force constructing the necessary infrastructure for the matches, so I won’t attend.


Before affairs of men, let’s take another look at the glorious natural world.

Today, pictures from valued commenter Albatrossity.

On our Africa photosafari in May, we spent 4 days on the Serengeti Plains. The wet season was going on longer than usual this year, which keeps the grass green and thus delays the northward wildebeest/zebra migration out of Tanzania into Kenya. So there were still plenty of herd animals, and plenty of predators that enjoy the presence of those herds for now. Life is good, until it’s not, when you are a predator. Hopefully our president will be learning that lesson soon.

Leopard on the rocks

Taken on 2018-05-19

Gol Kopjes in the Serengeti

The plains are dotted with rock outcrops, which the Germans (who colonized this part of east Africa) called kopjes. Kopjes are great places to find predators who hunt at night, since they offer shade and shelter during the day. This leopard was surveying a small herd of wildebeest in the distance.

Mama leopard and cubs

Taken on 2018-05-19

Gol Kopjes in the Serengeti

The leopard in the previous pic was a mom; her two cubs were also hiding in that kopje. They decided to come out and play. Mom was not pleased, and she snarled and cuffed them until they went back inside. Our guides were amazed at this as well; it was the first time either of them had witnessed a mama leopard interacting with her cubs like that!

Secretary Bird

Taken on 2018-05-19

Gol Kopjes in the Serengeti

This bird was one that I have wanted to see in the wild for many decades, and we saw lots of them. A member of the falcon family, it strides across the plains looking for snakes, lizards, or hapless rodents. A captured snake will be grasped by the strong toes and beat to death on the ground; the long legs keep the snake from inflicting a bite to the body. They do fly, and we saw some perched in trees, but in general they seem to prefer to walk

Young male lion

Taken on 2018-05-19

Gol Kopjes in the Serengeti

A contented and well-fed young male, who was a member of a pride that was finishing off last night’s wildebeest when we found them.


Taken on 2018-05-19

Gol Kopjes in the Serengeti

Alternately sleeping and scanning the horizon, this guy was spotted by our guide from a distance of about half a mile when he poked his head up for a look. He didn’t seem to mind our presence at all, as he continued alternating between sleeping and scanning

Dark Chanting Goshawks

Taken on 2018-05-20

Near Semetu in the Serengeti

Another of my target birds for this trip. This gorgeous small raptor hunts alone, or in family groups cooperatively, which is relatively unusual for predatory birds. This couple (female at top, male at bottom) had just finished copulating, thus ensuring at least a start for the next generation of goshawks.

Greater Kestrel

Taken on 2018-05-20

Gol Kopjes in the Serengeti

This is a bird I fell in love with in the Serengeti. We saw them regularly, and they were always relatively tame, allowing close approach and photography. What a stunning creature!


Thank you so much Albatrossity, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

24 replies
  1. 1
    Quinerly says:


  2. 2
    Spanky says:

    You do give good pic, Alb. Stunning closeups.

  3. 3
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Thank you 💗

  4. 4
  5. 5
    Reformed Panty Sniffer says:

    Just stellar all around. Thanks for sharing.

  6. 6
    Another Scott says:

    Beautiful pictures. The leopards look close enough to touch!



  7. 7
    JPL says:

    The pictures are amazing, and I love the close up of the Kestrel

  8. 8
    rikyrah says:

    Wow. Simply wow. Please send more pictures 😄

  9. 9
    Mary G says:

    Wowsa! That was some trip you took. Amazing pictures as usual – I assume you had a good zoom and were not right up in that lion’s face. Of course, if he was eating leftovers he probably wasn’t that hungry! I love the name of the Dark Chanting Goshawk.

  10. 10
    mm says:

    Wonderful pictures!!!!

  11. 11
    Waratah says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful photos. I love the leopards they are a favorite. Your photos make me love them all.

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    I can understand the mother leopard’s annoyance. Predators are supposed to keep quiet when observing prey from a hiding place. You’re never going to catch any food if you don’t learn not to make noise.

  13. 13
    KSinMA says:


  14. 14
    gbbalto says:

    Albatrossity, thanks for the wonderful pictures. Alain, thanks for curating these posts.

    I suspect that among other considerations, Ma Leopard is afraid that a lion will spot the cubs and kill them – unfortunately they are competitors…

  15. 15
    Lee says:

    These are amazing pictures!

  16. 16
    MomSense says:

    Seeing Billin’s and Albatrossity’s photos make me really want a nice camera. When I was in Florida there were so many great pictures I just couldn’t capture with my phone. Anyone know if film vintage Nikon lenses work with digital Nikon cameras? Trying to figure out what I’d have to do to upgrade from my stupid smart phone.

  17. 17
    Elizabelle says:

    Always a fool for cheetahs.

    Could look it up, but anyone know why it’s called a “secretary bird”?

  18. 18
    Amir Khalid says:

    Wikipedia offers some interesting possibilities. Including that in olden times human secretaries — that is, clerks — used to keep a quill pen tucked behind the ear, which kind of looks like that tuft of feathers behind the bird’s head. Wikipedia also mentions that farmers in the Cape of Good Hope kept tame secretary birds to work pest control.

  19. 19
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Amir Khalid: Leave it to you to research and answer! Warmest regards, enjoy the match!

  20. 20
    Mel says:

    Beautiful photos and beautiful creatures, especially the big cats! Mama leopard is magnificent.

  21. 21
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Amir Khalid: “Take it inside, kids!”

    Great, great photos. Wow.

  22. 22
    Eljai says:

    Those photos are just gorgeous! I’m going to go look at them again!

  23. 23
    eclare says:

    Beautiful photos! I went to Kenya twenty years ago for a safari trip, it was amazing.

  24. 24
    stinger says:

    Wonderful photos, Albatrossity — you should publish them in a book. And congratulations on the secretary bird!

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