During the Christmas holiday of 2011 we went to Australia were it was still summer to catch some sun and visit some friends and family. While we were there we went to a campsite were many strange things happened like a man coming into the campsite with a pet crocodile, dingo and python to having the toilets invaded by kangaroos at night but the important thing is that we survived!
It was late in the evening and because I was a small annoying child, I was nagging everyone for dinner.. After having been told that that dinner would take a while, I wondered off to the swings at the corner of the campsite. I played there for ten minutes with another group of children but they all ran away. I didn’t understand why they had done so and thought that they were being mean so I carried on playing until a shadow appeared behind me. I thought it was my Dad because the creature seamed tall enough so I turned around and said “could I please play for just a bit longer…. AHHHHHHHHHHH” A massive kangaroo taller than most humans stood in front of me as if it was trying to ask if he could have a go on the swings! I screamed at it, but the stupid creature didn’t react so I ran away to the tent and didn’t speak a word of the adventure i had just had and before we had even eaten dinner I had just experienced my first adventure of the evening in that peculiar campsite.
During the summer of 2014 I went to Komodo island in Indonesia to look for real life drgons as part of a mission to to see the real Indonesia by doing a tour of the country before I moved house.
As we approached the island on boat, a crowd had formed on the bay circling a pair of dragons on the beach. I was exited and started to run towards them but I was quickly stopped by a guard who told me that these dragons had venom in their spit and were very aggressive. I ran back to my mum and carried on with our journey. We walked to the guide hut and sorted out some papers but my attention was drawn to a rubbish dump were, unlike most rubbish dumps, had six adult dragons in it! we went deeper into the forest as I walked nervously in the middle of the group. Our guides had long sticks with a V shape at the end to draw away the komodos by the neck.We came to a clearing and my question had been answered: what do more than 2000 dragons on one small island eat? A large heard of deer grazed nervously as a pair of large dragons rumbled loudly shaking the ground in the process. The guides had told us it was their mating call. He later told us that that was a quite mating call because the dragon didn’t want attract the attention of much bigger males which made me wonder, if that was a small dragon and that was a quite rumble, I wonder what a big male and a loud rumble look like. Maybe the reason there are so many males is why there are lots of earthquakes in the area!
During the summer of 2017 we went to California and while we were there we saw some pretty cool but sad things. We found out that there were some hummingbirds in a nearby park so we went to investigate.
We left the hotel early and walked towards the park in which they had been sighted in. We arrived and looked around unsuccessfully for the hummingbirds. It didn’t look like the ideal setting: cars, tall buildings, loud police cars and fire engines, screaming kids, big dogs ETC.
After a while the crowds cleared up and cars left to reveal a beautiful pair of hummingbirds. We tried to trick our minds into thinking nothing could live here and that the sightings were just misconceptions from an amateur birdwatcher or even a hoax. Seeing the pair of beautiful birds made me happy but at the same time, sad. It was wonderful to see them there but I would much rather have seen them in a forest and I am sure the birds would have to. This reminded me of the scene in Planet Earth II where Indian leopards hunted close to the city and in the background you could see the buildings of Mumbai. It was a cool and weird place to see leopards hunt but at the same time, it was far from ideal. It was the same case for these birds, Id liked to see them, but just not in front of a massive city like San Francisco.
during the summer of 2016 we went to Costa Rica. While we were there I heard of the crocodile bridge and, following my secret love for crocodiles, I asked my parents if we could go. Conveniently it crossed the path of one of our hotels to the other, so basically, it didn’t make a difference if I had asked or not.
We approached the bridge and there was so much traffic because everyone was getting out of their cars in the middle of the road on a bridge with crocodiles underneath so instead we decided to park the car, get out and walk. The species under the bridge were American crocodiles and being the third biggest species of crocodile in the world, they were massive! I expected the bridge to have one or two or even zero crocodiles underneath, and that the reviews and videos I had watched were rare moments in history where crocodiles had gathered to numbers of 20 to 30 individuals. I peered over the railing of the bridge prepared to be disappointed but I was wrong, very wrong indeed. I was awestruck to see around 15 to 20 crocodiles lying both in and out the water and given that crocodiles can hold their breath for up to 3 hours there were probably many more underneath the murky water. The place didn’t seem the ideal for 20 crocodiles and that’s because they don’t prey on live animals but instead rely on tourist throwing in fish or road kill that they’ve picked up on the way to the bridge. The crocodile bridge definitely lives up to its name and I highly recommend visiting it.
In the summer 2015 we visited some friends and family in England but also went to Blakeney Point to see the seals and go crabbing.
We drove away from our campsite towards Blakeney. We arrived and bought some crabbing nets. We then found the seal watching boats and booked a tour. The reason the seals where on the bay at this time of the year was because they were molting. The species found here were grey seals and harbor seals (pictured above.) Before arriving to the bay we did see some seals in the water that where playing around. In the distance you could see a line of red boats all from the same tour company. Apparently the tour company had bought a section of the bay where all the seals molted meaning that no other tour companies or rouge sailors could get in the way of us making for a well organized trip. Unlike most of the animals we see, I didn’t care about photographing a big male, instead all I wanted to see was a cute seal pup. We approached the line of boats and quickly joined it. The seals seemed to pose at the camera by kind of clapping like you see them do in zoos. As we approached the end of the line I saw a cute harbor seal pup that made for a cute and funny photo!
During the Christmas holiday of 2017-2018 we went on a safari to Yala national park in Sri Lanka where we saw lots of Asian elephants but also saw a leopard and many more animals.
On the day of our safari the army looking vehicle pulled up at our hotel at around 4:30 am and as soon as we got into the car the race started. The race was to get to the ticket office early because with new rules allowing only 400 cars into the park 10 minutes can make the difference between getting into the park or not.
The thing i found on safari was that everyone mistook “ National Park” for “Safari Park” and seemed grumpy at the fact the pile of carrots meant for the animals would go to waste because quite frankly, the animals were wild and the closest you could have got to the big tusker was when it flipped the jeep over.
We went on safari 2 days in a row and my favorite elephant sighting was on day 2. We had seen the leopard on day 1 and on day 2 i was a lot more relaxed and appreciated the small animals a lot more for example the Egyptian mongoose or the pied horn bill. I didn’t expect to see a leopard and instead focused more on getting some shots i would be proud of. Day 2 of our Yala trip was coming to a close and there were two safari cars parked near a watering hole so we investigated. I got the camera ready and was delighted to see how close up the elephant was meaning that i got a nice closeup shot of the elephant.
During the half-term holiday of 2015 we visited a tiny village in Asturias famous for its European brown bears in an effort to conquer our top three animals of Spain: European brown bear, Iberian lynx and Iberian wolf.
We arrived at the village after leaving our luggage at the hotel, which to my surprise, had heating, and like always, a few minutes after we arrived we were already walking on a mountain trail looking for a bear. There wasnt really a certain place the bears had been seen so all we could do was scan the entire valley. For two days we did just that but we were unsuccessful. On the third day I had given up and went to spend the day exploring the village and eating Halloween sweets from the night before I found a big cow market and spent the rest of the day there. At around 3:00 I went back to the hotel to pack the bags. We set off at 5:00 and before leaving the town, we parked at the bottom of a hill and scanned the treeline. For ten minutes my dad hopingly looked through the telescope than said ”get out the car boys”s I sighed and stopped the plants vs. zombies game I was playing and asked if he had seen some more chamois goats. He looked at me with a relieved smile and answered its a bear. I hopped out the car and ran to the telescope and, with some guidance; I spotted one of the rarest species of moving black dots in the world.
In the half term holiday of 2015 we went to Andujar in Spain to try and see the Iberian lynx. We went there because a friend had been and said that he had seen one on the fifth day of his 5 day trip.
We arrived at the hotel and like usual we left our bags and within a few minutes of arriving we were in the car driving to the location our friend had spotted the lynx. We passed a fighting-bull farm and within 10 minutes of arriving we were at the recommended destination. We scanned the valley for about five minutes. After minutes of looking we decided to move up the road to another spot and as we buckled up we looked forward to see a distinct cat like shape moving across the road. Nailed it. My brother held his finger on the camera as the device made a machine gun-like sound. When we reviewed the footage later it looked like a stop motion while flipping through the trillion pictures that we took in only five seconds of the lynx appearing and disappearing out of nowhere.
The story of the second lynx was that we were driving to the destination of the first lynx on the third day when we passed a man. He saw our car coming and immediately faced his telescope in another direction as if he was hiding something. This was suspicious so we drove by slowly and stared at the spot the telescope was originally facing and as we were about to leave the scene, I saw a cat shaped head and screamed lynx! luckily the window was closed so the lynx didn’t hear me. We backed the car up and scanned the spot again and there, to our delight, there was yet another lynx.
My mom is a teacher and therefore missed the first 3 days of our holiday at work so when she arrived we were eager to find a lynx for her. We drove down the road we had seen the first two lynx. Further up the road was group of parked vans that grabbed our attention. We drove up to the group and got out the car, whilst a man helpfully showed us where the lynx was. At the start you could just see its distinct pointy ears that the lynx is famous for, but then it got up and walked down the hill as we prepared the camera. The cat walked across the road and we got a nice picture, I don’t know if it’s ever been done before but we had completed and photographed an Iberian lynx hat trick in five days!
In the summer holiday of 2014 we decided to visit Indonesia (the country I was brought up in) to catch up after a year in Spain. While we were there we went to Tanjung Puting national park on a 3 day boat safari.
An hour after touchdown on the island of Kalimantan we were on a boat pulling away from the dock. We entered the start of the river to be greeted with loud howls and roars from the trees inviting you to explore just a little further and thats when we realized we really were in orangutan territory. Compared to other boats ours was small and therefore faster. We past many boats and after about 3 hours I felt a bit scared because I was in the middle of a jungle but I soon calmed down after passing a rangers hut and a small museum on the river bank. On the first day we had made two stops to look for orangutans and both were successful but they were only females and babies. I was looking for a big male like the concrete one seen at the entrance of the river. On the third and last day we pulled up at our first stop and some bananas were thrown onto a wooden stage. For twenty minutes we looked at a gibbon eating the bananas set for the orangutans when, king-Kong style, a massive male jumped onto the stage almost cracking a plank of wood.
In the summer holiday of 2016 we went to Costa Rica. While we were there, we stopped by at a place called monteverde to look for hummingbirds but mostly to see a quetzal.
I was watching The great British bake off when my dad came into the room with a big grin on his face. He said he had seen the rare bird in somebody’s farm in an avocado tree. I sort of sighed because birds weren’t usually to my taste but my dad said there was a cafe, so I got up and left. We walked about ten minutes over to this guys farm and went up all the way to the avocado tree which was at the border of his property and there in the tree was not one but seven quetzals! We then went down to his cafe and stared at the photos of quetzals on the wall. As we left we passed a small shop and at the back, in a glass frame, was a quetzals feather. I said earlier that I didn’t really care about birds, but this one was impossible not fall in love with, everything about it was beautiful: its green chest, its red belly, its long tail feathers
Its rare enough to find 1 quetzal let alone seven in one tree and especially rare to see a magnificent male with large tail feathers like the one pictured above. Local people in monteverde loved the quetzal too and it looked as if their economy was based on it because every restaurant, every shop, every bar and every hotel had something that resembled a quetzal.