simien-mountains

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Klipspringer by BARBARA EVANS
Via Flickr:
Klipspringer are the ballerinas of the antelope world - they are unique for walking on the tips of their hooves. They are also noted for their dense, coarse coat which rustles when shaken or touched. The black patches in front of each eye are glandular. Extremely agile and sure-footed, Klipspringer are often found on rocky, stony ground as was the case here.

November 7, 2011.  Simien Mountains, Ethiopia.  By no means is this photograph spectacular, but it was all I could snap in the heat of the moment.  There I was, sitting atop a cliff overlooking the breathtaking Simien Mountain Range.  It had been a long day and I was enjoying my late afternoon lunch of rice and meat that I had picked up in Debark.  I did not have utensils and so was scooping it up with my hands. 

As if from thin air behind me I heard a WOOSH, followed by a THUNK, as this eagle smacked my hand while trying to eat the meat from it.  I had no idea what hit me.  I looked back and forth, then finally up as I saw the eagle rapidly circling in a downward spiral aiming to attack again.  And man, with those two enormous eyes glaring down at me, I felt like a rabbit with nowhere to hide.  So what did I do?  I’m embarrassed to admit that my instinct was to react like a four year old and duck (if I can’t see the eagle, it can’t see me, right?).  Thankfully my mountain scout was nearby and, having seen this comedy play out before him, ran over and flung his jacket in the air to shoo the eagle away.  I had just enough time to jump up and ditch the food further away, run back and snap this shot of my hunter before he flew off over the abyss of cliffs below us.