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impyim's Australia to Kruger, Aug. '13

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impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Perth Western Australia

Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:43 am

Well at long last I'm getting back to my TR. My first eye has been operated on and I get the second one done in 10 days. The ops. are for cataracts but a real bonus is that the specialist improves my short sightedness as well and I shouldn't have to wear glasses for distance any more.

We had left Lower Sabie heading for Mlondozi day. We saw these birds on the bridge as we left camp --


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It must have been the morning for birds as we sat and watched this lovely bloke walking along near the road - the bush was very dry as you can see



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We also spotted these 2 just before we headed up the hill to the dam -


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We stopped for a coffee and admired the view from the dam - a troop of baboon came down to drink and a couple of waterbuck were in the distance.


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On the way back we spotted a pair of secretary birds. A first for us in Kruger - we had only seen them previously in Etosha. They were walking very fast and I couldn't photograph them together - most of my photo's blurred (obviously I needed to do something different to my camera).


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We stopped and watched a treeful of arrowmarked babblers for awhile. They act just like the babblers we have in Australia - its amazing how many of the birds are similar.

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We saw lots of other general game - kudu, giraffe, wildebeest, duekers, buffalo


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We were about 5 kms from camp on our way back when I though I saw something in a tree - no other vehicles were about, so I had my doubts about what I had seen, but nevertheless I got SO to stop and backup and saw this -


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I had to zoom in to get the photo and my SO was amazed that I had spotted it as we were doing just under the speed limit.

Another photo taken after he had shifted a bit and more zoom applied -


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We were amazed that not one other car came along while we were looking.


On the way back to camp we stopped for the photo


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Back at camp we were having a cuppa on the verandah when this beauty sauntered past checking everything with his tongue


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Well that's about all for today - my eye's are hurting and I'll post some more later.

impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 559
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:26 am
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:20 am

Last half of our 2nd day at Lower Sabie -

After an afternoon rest up we decided to go to Sunset Dam (doesn't everyone).
Just before the dam we saw this hyena -

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then in the bushes another couple

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I'm going to submit my posts after every couple of photo's as my wifi keeps dropping out and I have to start all over again !!!

impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 559
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:26 am
Location: Perth Western Australia

Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:42 am

When we parked at the dam there was a hippo standing with its head resting on the concrete inlet area - he looked really beaten up - he was trying to get back in the water but another hippo was chasing him back out all the time. Didn't get many photo's as took video's and its not very good.

We sat and watched the yellow billed storks and the grey heron - I love the way they land on a hippo and neither takes any notice of the other

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impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 559
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:26 am
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:51 am

We left but couldn't resist taking a few photo's of the sunset - this is the best of them -


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It was a really hot day (for August) about 32 deg. and there must have been a fire somewhere as you can see from this photo it was very hazy - makes for a great photo though.

Back at camp we decided to try and cook up some pasta. The chalet we had had a double electric hotplate on the verandah. Unfortunately it kept tripping out as soon as it was turned up to high - it took us just over an hour to cook pasta !!!!! - still fun though.

Tomorrow evening we are booked for a sunset drive - really looking forward to it.
To be continued

impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:28 am

While writing this TR I decided it was time I did another watercolour - I chose to do this rendition of a sunrise over the Sabie river - the photo was taken from just in front of our chalet. It was a misty morning. As my eyes are still a bit out of focus its not the best. Sometimes though with art you're better being a bit out of focus!!!!!


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to be continued at later.

impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:02 am

So the next morning we're heading towards Ntandanythi bird hide and the dam near it.

We spot this lovely giraffe on the way - we think the vehicle (I think its a Landrover) is a bit close!!!!!


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I was going to crop this photo, but leaving all the sky in and the dried grass seems to capture what Kruger can be like in August.

After awhile he/she wandered into the bush and somehow found something to eat -


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When we nearly got to the hide there were these wildebeest wandering down for a drink


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They always look like they're carrying all the sorrows of the world on their shoulders. This one looked especially gaunt.

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Sad to say we were talking with the people in the next chalet that evening. They had arrived at the hide as we were leaving and they spent over an hour watching a crocodile pulling one of the wildebeest into the water to drown it. As he was telling us I felt very sad and in some ways wished we had been there but I think I wouldn't have been able to watch it unfolding so slowly.!!!!!


We got to the hide and watched the antics of this hornbill - he wanted to stay in the shade but there were more interesting things in the sun -

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impyim
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:41 am

JUst a couple more photo's before I go and have the other eye operated on.

This barbet was sitting in the bird hide - I think he must have been fed by people visiting the hide.


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We sat for quite a while in the hide looking, looking and eventually saw a hippo. It was very quite as far as animals and birds were concerned.

We left and on the way managed to photograph this lilac breasted roller (which I've been trying to capture for ages)

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and this magpie shrike - another one I've been trying to photograph


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I also managed to get some really nice shots of what I think is a brown snake eagle (correct me if I'm wrong)


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So that's it from me for awhile until I can focus again.

impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 559
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:26 am
Location: Perth Western Australia

Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:29 am

Well it seems like ages since my last posting on my TR. All your good wishes for a successful operation must have worked. Thank you all so much.
I've now had the 2nd eye operated on and boy can I see good. The trouble is I had to go and clean my house !!!!! something not usually high on my list of must do's. As my cataract's had been developing over many months (years) I hadn't been able to see the state of the house.!!! All done now for awhile.

Back to the TR -
The next day we decide to drive towards Crocodile bridge to see the wildlife in that direction.

We saw all of the usual - impala hippo, bush buck, giraffe, elephant etc. I obviously figured we had enough photo's as I didn't take many this drive.
We even saw 3 lion but they were too far away to take a decent photo.

I did take this photo of what we thought was a very unwell young giraffe on the road along the river -

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We sat and watched it for ages - there was no mother or any other adults anywhere in sight and eventually we left him.
On our was back (about and hour later) he was still looking and standing in exactly the same position. I didn't like his chances with no one to feed him or defend him.

Everywhere we drove we seemed to see rhino - we saw six altogether in 4 different sightings.

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When we got to the place on the river where you can walk we couldn't find the guard - eventually he came up from the river bed. By this time it was getting very hot so we gave him a drink and didn't go for a walk.

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We went back to Lower Sabie and had a rest for our drive in the evening. Which I will continue next time.

I've been feeling like a Kruger fix, so yesterday got my pen and paints out again -


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painted from this original photo


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That's all 'til the next episode.

impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:49 am

Sorry its taken so long to get back to this trip report.
My eye operations were a success in that I can see wonderful, but I've been suffering from dry eye's (as a result of the ops) and haven't been able to do much computer work.

It was so long ago I had to refresh my memory of where I was at.

Its the end of our 2nd last day in Kruger (sad, sad) and we're doing a sunset drive with the ranger at Lower Sabie.
The day had been really warm, but we took coats in case it got cold.

Here we are hanging out to leave -


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We were the only non South Africans on the trip, and our driver/ranger was a lovely SA lass who had recently married. She had her husband along with her in the passenger seat. She said she was hoping to get some really good sightings to show him.

We had only gone a little way from camp when we found lionesses lazing in the sand along the riverbed - too far away for a decent photo. While watching them someone also spotted a rhino on the other side of the river. This promised to be a really interesting drive.

All of a sudden our ranger gave a really unranger like squeal of excitement - right next to the road was -


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We were only about 15 ft from this beautiful leopard. He/she (is there some way to tell the difference while they're lazing on a tree) just lay in the tree doing what leopards do best (looking gorgeous)
We took heaps of photo's and stayed for about 1/2 an hour while he dozed and then looked around occasionally as if to say "what's all the excitement"

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We were hoping he would get down from the tree, but that wasn't to be so eventually we left him.

This was the best sighting of a leopard we had ever had and we were so happy.

By the time we left him it was nearly dark so we spotted along the main road beside the river.

This herd of elephants came up from bathing across the road -


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It was so funny seeing them with the watermark half way up their body (the little ones). It just shows how shallow the Sabie river was then (in August).

We continued on with the night drive spotting bush babies, bush buck, duiker, hares and also a grey duiker.

Just near Sunset dam on the way back the ranger found an absolutely huge croc. over the other side of the road from the dam. I never realized they travelled so far - he was about 300 m from the dam.
Sorry no photo's - but believe me he was really huge.

What a lovely drive we had and it was so nice that we were passengers and not having to drive.

Will continue with the last 2 days in Kruger at a later date (hopefully not too much later).

impyim
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:20 am

Once again sorry it's been so long between postings. I can only work on the computer for about 1/4 before my eye's worry me.

To continue -
This was to be the last full day in Kruger. The day started out really hot with a hot wind blowing. The temperature gauge in the car showed the outside T. was 38 deg. about lunchtime.

We had a terrible nights sleep - we could hear what we think was a buffalo bellowing. We presumed the lions that had been lazing along the Sabie river near camp had decided to kill one of the four old buffs that had been hanging around near Lower Sabie. I couldn't go back to sleep until about 4.30 and so slept in. We drove out looking for ages to see if we could see a kill but couldn't find anything.

The best sighting that day was a lone elephant. He/she wandered along the front of camp to an area just in front of the restaurant. There was a really lovely mud hole there which he headed straight for and proceeded to have a mud bath for about 1/2 hour. What a treat for everyone up in the restaurant area.

Here's some photo's - the first is the elephant walking purposefully towards to mud hole -

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Such delight -

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A few close ups -


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With mud and water going everywhere -

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Eventually he had no water left so he wandered off.

I walked all around inside Lower Sabie - finding birds and little animals. A group of kudu's wandered along the outside of the fence -

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We went for a last look at Sunset Dam and found this very fat (we think pregnant) hyena just standing on the road - she stayed there for ages letting everyone get their photo's (very obliging) - not a very good photo unfortunately

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That's enough for my eye's for one session. Next episode (being the last day of our wonderful 21 days in Kruger) I'll post all of my pen and wash paintings that I've put on the TR plus a few more.

impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Tue May 06, 2014 7:50 am

Eventually I get back to the last bit of my TR.

But before I write about the last day - a rerun of my pen/wash drawings I did while we were in Kruger and some I've done since.

Our first camp was Malalene - Great memories - thanks for the lovely drive Ecojunkie and how I loved sitting watching the birdbath and waiting at the lookout over the river to see what would happen next.


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Then we progressed to Skukuza - a really roomy rondavel overlooking the river. Loved watching the ellies making there way along the river grass towards us. Mischievous monkeys raiding fridges.

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Then on to Orpen - watching the waterhole whenever we were in camp - and just loved the cottage.

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On to Letaba - the walk along the path overlooking the river produced my first sighting of a Giant Eagle Owl, and the impala lilly's looking gorgeous. Our first cottage at Letaba -


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Our second cottage at Letaba -

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And a sketch of Letaba gate

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Then one night (only in Satara - we wished it had been more.


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Back to Skukuza - a different cottage this time. Loved the braai we did from here with our Granddaughter - saw our first cheetahs on a kill.


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Then to our last cottage - when we booked this I was rather apprehensive as to what we would get as it was the last accommodation available at Lower Sabie. Such good memories of LS - probably the best the LIT on sunset drive.


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All of the above (apart from the Letaba gate) were painted sitting in front of our cottages with my little painting set and paper balanced on a tray. They were very quick sketches to allow me to capture the feel of Kruger.

Since coming home I've experimented with painting some of the animals.

My first was a zebra -

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Then a giraffe -

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And the last one for this page - elephants at a waterhole - next time I will put in some paintings I did using Kaapsedraai's photo's of young hyena's. A lot more time and effort went into them, but I'm really pleased by them.


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impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 559
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:26 am
Location: Perth Western Australia

Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Wed May 14, 2014 5:52 am

Well we've come to our last day at Kruger. We're flying from Nelspruit to J'burg to Perth and our flight to Perth leaves about 10 p.m. so we dawdled along just taking everything in.
We drove to Crocodile Bridge and then along the river road to Malalene. We wanted to exit at Malalene as I had a heap of kitchenware to give to Ecojunkie for use in Malalene.

The bush was soooo dry that we were amazed to see any animals - goodness knows what they find to eat.

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And our 3rd sighting of a blackie (correct me if I'm wrong).

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Our last giraffe -


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And a few impala at Gardenia waterhole (dry) along with a dwarf mongoose -


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Gardenia waterhole - the green on the left if algae on the only bit of water

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I'm not sure where we saw this gorgeously camouflaged lizard =


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and this one that is the exact opposite - showing off his finery -



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And that was the last animal/creature we saw before we exited the gates.

This is not the last of my TR as I'll be submitting paintings and acknowledging one of our other forum members who very kindly let me use his amazing photo's as reference.

impyim
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Thu May 15, 2014 4:13 am

Thanks for still following my TR. Barryels, Kaapsedraai, & Hilda.

The following are my renditions of the photo's that Kaapsedraai took of hyena's (that are in his current TR). Thank you so much for allowing me to use them as reference Kaapsedraai.
I would love to be able to submit photo's as clear and detailed as yours.

My painting


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Kaapsedraai's photo


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My painting


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Kaapsedraai's photo (as you can see I've taken artistic licence and left out the small hyena's in the background)


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My painting - this one is more ink than watercolour and the other 3 are more watercolour than ink.

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Kaapsedraai's photo (again I've left out some of it in my painting)

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and my last painting - this appears a bit blurry in the photo - I think it didn't scan properly as its ok in the painting.


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and Kaapsedraai's photo of these gorgeous hyena pups ( ???? I know hyena's aren't really gorgeous but these young ones are so appealing).


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All of these painting are on one sheet of watercolour paper which I will now get framed.

I've really caught the bug in painting the animals of SA, so now I'm going to try wild dogs, and BBJ. I might try the big cats eventually, but the dog type animals are easier to paint (their snouts are larger and easier to get in perspective)

That's all for now. Thanks to every forum member who has read my TR, and especially those who have commented on it. As most of you probably know its so great to make contact and communicate about our love for the animals/birds and all creatures in South Africa.
My very special thanks to everyone involved in making the forum work so well.

impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Tue May 20, 2014 2:03 pm

[quote="Meandering Mouse"]Impyim, yout pictures are really lovely. I like the delicacy. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: The last tasting of the hyenas is very special. I hope you keep posting your pictures as you develop your skills. Please keep in contact. :gflower:[/quo
Thanks MM. I so enjoy painting them. My SO said to me today "are the animals of KNP your theme for this year". I said "probably"
Its amazing to find that I can paint them quite well - as I've never ever tried painting animals before.
Am currently working on a couple of wild dog paintings - they're looking reasonable. :thumbs_up:

impyim
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 559
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread postby impyim » Tue May 20, 2014 2:12 pm

Kaapsedraai wrote:impyim, what can I say...just beautiful and I am so glad that I could be of help.

Just love them and Well done!

Looking forward to the 'Painted dogs' or 'Painting the dogs'.... :lol: and BBJ's...

You made me feel like buying some painting stuff and start doing this....I used to do this when at school couple of decades ago... :D

Thank you for inspiring us through your art. :clap:

My special thanks to you Kaapsedraai for taking such wonderful photo's and then allowing me to use them as reference.
Why not go out and get some paints & have a go. I never knew I could paint animals until I tried to so I could put them on the forum. With your artistic eye (in your photo's) I'm sure you could produce some lovely paintings. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:


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