Sardine Run South Africa

 

Dolpins 8

The sardine run of South Africa occurs between June and July on most years. Millions of sardines (Sardinops sagax) attract thousands of predators including dolphins, tuna, sharks, whales, and birds. It also attracts people who wish to see and photograph this spectacular event.

Dolphins 7

 

The long-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis) are the driving force that creates the fish “bait ball”. Large pods of dolphins work cooperatively to herd the fish into these tight groups. Sardines along with mackerel (Scomber japonicus) group together when they are threatened. The dolphins force the fish up to the surface where they are easier to catch.

Gannets 2Gannets 1

After the dolphins have done the hard work many other predators begin to take advantage of such a large concentration of fish. The Cape gannets (Morus capensis) are large seabirds that begin to dive by the hundreds into the fish bait ball. They reach speeds of over 100 km/h (60 mph) as they hit the water. If not initially successful they will chase the fish underwater hoping for a meal.

Spinner 2Shark 1

Not to miss out sharks begin to show up in large numbers. Spinner sharks (Carcharhinus brevipinna) were the most common on our encounters although there were also bronze whaler sharks (Carcharhinus brachyurous) called copper sharks in South Africa and dusky sharks (Carcharhinus obscurus).

Dolphins & Gannetts 1

Each year can be very different. We had very poor visibility (10 feet or 3 metres) on our first 8 days and few bait balls. We did not see a single sardine in our 9 days on the water. Fortunately, we encountered a fairly large bait ball of mackerel on our final day in a pocket of water with relatively clear visibility that allowed us time to get in the ocean. This 20-30 minute event produced all of these pictures.

Dolphins 6

 

 

 

 

Birds: Often Overlooked In The Serengeti

Okay, we know everyone thinks of lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes and leopards: the big animals. While working on our animal photos it became apparent that there were lots of bird photographs. 29 different species to be exact! Of course we want to give the illusion we are intelligent so onto the internet we go to find bird names 🙂 Three of the species below we could not find a matching photograph anywhere. Enjoy the birds and if you see we have labelled a species incorrectly or know the species we have as unknown, then let us know in the comments section.

Bird21
Black-Headed Heron
Bird11
Usambiro Barbet
Bird13
Helmeted Guinea Fowl
Bird24
Lilac-Breasted Roller
Bird29
Coqui Francolin

 

Bird6
Auger Buzzard
Bird4
Common Ostrich: Male
Bird5
Common Ostriches: Female
Bird2
Egyptian Goose
Bird16
Spotted Crake?
Bird9
Greater Flamingoes
Bird10
Lesser Flamingoes
Bird19
Unknown
Bird20
African White-Backed Vulture
Bird25
Superb Starling
Bird7
Unknown Pigeon or Dove: Ngorongoro Crater
Bird28
Yellow-Billed Stork. Note the crocodile in bottom of picture
Bird22
White-headed Buffalo Weaver
Bird18
African Spoonbill
Bird30
Red-Necked Spurfowl
Bird1
Great White Pelican
Bird14
Blacksmith Lapwing
Bird15
Cattle Egret
Bird3
Rufous-tailed Weaver
Bird12
Southern Ground Hornbill
Bird27
Unknown Weaver: Female
Bird8
Kori Bustard
Bird26
Spekes Weaver
Bird17
Black-winged Stilt
Bird31
Marabou Stork