Hippos are notoriously territorial over their little puddles of water, and that doesn’t change at all when a small herd of buffalo want to quench their thirst!
I was sitting at a waterhole watching a hippo do what hippos do. It was slow going, as it can so often be with the extra large grazers, but the light was superb. I was hoping he would start his late afternoon antics, which involve all sorts of grunting and snorting, combined with the classic ‘yawn’ that so many photographers crave. Enter the buffalo…
A small herd of large male buffalo made their way down to their local waterhole, for a late afternoon drink. Their approach caught the attentions of the hippo, who had now lifted a little more of head out of the water, giving us a glimpse at more than just his nostrils! He made no real attempt at encouraging the buffalo to move on, until they hit the waters edge, and dropped their burdened heads to drink. The hippo, furious at this ‘forced entry’ into his private patch, let loose with a fantastic display of his alpha male status (to be fair he was the only hippo in the dam, so was the alpha male more by default than anything else), and he did so just before the sun went down, which made for some great images!
The hippo carried on with his testosterone driven display, until the buffalo, which had paid exactly no attention to the hippo, had finished their pit stop, and carried on with their day.
As is so often the case with wildlife photography, you need patience, but a little luck goes a long way! I find if you are patient enough, the luck will eventually come.