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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Scariest birding moments (1 Viewer)

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Rushing my wife to hospital in absolute agony afte she was stung by a scorpion was scary.

This a bit naughty too, we were standing out in the open in a supposedly secure, camp adjoining ing Kruger in Souh Africa when my wife points out a Buffalo, just 30m behind us and stood, looking at us. I told her to stand still and quiet, the Buffalo charged in to the bushes and we heard the the horrible screams as it attacked two birders, almost killing one of them. We helped clean up the gaping wound in his side, bubbling from having peirced his lung, he was then 'choppered' out' and spent 3 months recovering in hospital. The other guy was lucky, he was flung through the air and landed under some thick bushes where he remained until the attack was ended by two African fishermen putting two 9mm rounds in the animal which then ran away. The animal was later found and shot by rangers.

The two guys were lucky in as mcuh as they had some trees and bushes to get under, had that Bufallo attacked us instead, we'd both probably be dead, we literally had nowhere to hide from it.

Here's a newspaper cutting of the incident

 
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dandsblair

David and Sarah
Supporter
Rushing my wife to hospital in absolute agony afte she was stung by a scorpion was scary.

This a bit naughty too, we were standing out in the open in a supposedly secure, camp adjoining ing Kruger in Souh Africa when my wife points out a Buffalo, just 30m behind us and stood, looking at us. I told her to stand still and quiet, the Buffalo charged in to the bushes and we heard the the horrible screams as it attacked two birders, almost killing one of them. We helped clean up the gaping wound in his side, bubbling from having peirced his lung, he was then 'choppered' out' and spent 3 months recovering in hospital. The other guy was lucky, he was flung through the air and landed under some thick bushes where he remained until the attack was ended by two African fishermen putting two 9mm rounds in the animal which then ran away. The animal was later found and shot by rangers.

The two guys were lucky in as mcuh as they had some trees and bushes to get under, had that Bufallo attacked us instead, we'd both probably be dead, we literally had nowhere to hide from it.

Here's a newspaper cutting of the incident

Does make you think.

We had one time where on a foot safari in Zimbabwe with just a guide we got between a herd of elephant in the bush and some young bathing in the river. Our guide tried cocking and uncocking his rifle hoping to scare the animals off but they just stayed there as darkness approached, our guide said "right when I say go we are going to keep our head down and run between that gap in the herd" (probably about 10 metres). Fortunately fitter than we are now on go we sprinted through and didn't stop until we reached the vehicle - the beer was so delicious.
We later heard a local was killed while showing some tourist from Victoria Falls through the same area.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Does make you think.

We had one time where on a foot safari in Zimbabwe with just a guide we got between a herd of elephant in the bush and some young bathing in the river. Our guide tried cocking and uncocking his rifle hoping to scare the animals off but they just stayed there as darkness approached, our guide said "right when I say go we are going to keep our head down and run between that gap in the herd" (probably about 10 metres). Fortunately fitter than we are now on go we sprinted through and didn't stop until we reached the vehicle - the beer was so delicious.
We later heard a local was killed while showing some tourist from Victoria Falls through the same area.
I just think these foot safari's are stupidly dangerous, have not and would not do one.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Many years ago, I was birding in a preserve near San Diego on a day when for some reason there were numerous rattlesnakes around. Prior to this day, I don’t recall ever having seen a rattlesnake in the San Diego region. I got into an area where I was suddenly surrounded by maybe ten or so snakes, and they seemed to be on hair-trigger, rattling all around me. That sound is nothing like you hear on TV or in the movies, and let me tell you it gets the Adrenalin flowing, your heart pumping out of your chest, and your knees feeling like Jello.

Anyway, I turned around and made my way out of the area. I thought I was in the clear. However, I passed a small bush where a very large snake was coiled, but I didn’t see it. Without warning, it struck at me and its fangs actually got caught briefly on my pant leg. I extracted myself from the situation and sat shaking in my car for some time before I composed myself enough to drive away.

I never went back to that location.

Dave
When I lived in San Diego, my herpers friends would totally have been excited to hear about where that happened, and something like this would have been the highlight of the year for them :p
 

Nightjar61

David Daniels
United States
When I lived in San Diego, my herpers friends would totally have been excited to hear about where that happened, and something like this would have been the highlight of the year for them :p
It was a highlight alright, but for me not one of the good kind!

Dave
 
Probably when I due to my inexperience and stupidity found myself on the edge of a raised mire in Russia and took a step forwards.

The good news, I sank only to upper thigh height. The bad news, I thought I had stepped in muskeg and was for that moment seriously afraid I'd fall beneath ground level and never be seen again.
 

Steve Arlow

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Scariest probably for the wife; was on a cruise on a small boat, about 12-15 passengers around the Galapagos. Came down for breakfast one morning and the steps were damp with morning dew, they had recently been varnished as well as it was the start of the season so wanted to look allspruced up, which made them very slippery.
As I went down the steps my feet just went away from me and I was launched into the air and came crashing down on the bottom step or two right across the small of the back. A passenger nearby shouted out you okay to which I responded "No I f**cking not" and then that was it.

I then remember waking up to a dozen faces looking down at me in panic, crew, passengers, guide (who was telling me to stay away from the light). The wife was in a state.

I went to sit up put was told to wait and to not move as a doctor was on his way from Puerto Ayora which we were moored off of. Apparently I had "blacked" out and had gone into convulsions and then stopped breathing which I suspect was my body reaction and I was holding my breath, maybe. I was unconcious for around 10minutes.
The Doctor arrived after haf an hour and I was eventually checked out and was told I needed to go to get an x-ray and checks, in Quito as he thought I had probably fractured a vertebrae. Going back to mainland Ecuador would mean the end of the trip so I remember say "no its fine, give me some pain killers, there's endemics to be seen".
Felt fine for rest of the day following the painkiller but when it wore off I was in agony, throwing up all night and I missed a whole day of the trip and an Endemic and with rough sailing not helping I started to think I should have gone for the x-ray and it was actually a serious injury. 24hrs later I was on deck watching Galapagos Petrels and feeling fine, albeit sore.
IfF I had not been holding onto the hand rails coming down the stairs when me feet went away then I suspect it could have been a lot lot worse. The wife was scared shitless, on a boat, at the Galapagos with husband who may have just broken his back, she was not amused. Thankfully it turned out okay but even now i get twinges in the back at the exact point of impact.

It put me off boats for a very long time and as a result I cancelled the Atlantic Odyssey trip I was meant to be on the following year, fine with boats again now though.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
We we re in an RTA in The Gambia.

Our driver was going all out as we approached aT junction. Not a chance in hell that he'd make the desired left turn and we went straight across and ended up, nose down in a ditch.

I had been on the back seat of a five vehicle van but went flying between the two front seats and put the windscreen out with the top of my head. Fortunately, we weren't far from a hospital in Bansang so I had my leg X-rayed and though in pretty bad pain were on our way again in the banged up vehicle which was replaced next day.

There was the bonus though of African Scops Owl which was calling in a tree in the hospital courtyard, you should have seen the look on the Doctor's face as I rose like Lazarus and hobbled to detect the Owl which I did and it was the only one of the trip!
 

stuartvine

Well-known member
Stepping too near the edge of a path in a gorge in Crete (concentrating on birds, not footing) and having it give way. Fortunately/unfortunately, my slide was interrupted by getting a foot caught in tree roots. This span me round and flipped me over, tearing some knee ligaments in the process. Mildly scary. The next trip (to Costa Rica) was accomplished on crutches. Same island, driving around the south-west coast, going around a corner with the sea about, ooh, 1000m below (rough estimate) when a Griffon Vulture appeared over the cliff edge right in front of our windscreen. That time we both nearly crapped ourselves. :LOL:
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
Does make you think.

We had one time where on a foot safari in Zimbabwe with just a guide we got between a herd of elephant in the bush and some young bathing in the river. Our guide tried cocking and uncocking his rifle hoping to scare the animals off but they just stayed there as darkness approached, our guide said "right when I say go we are going to keep our head down and run between that gap in the herd" (probably about 10 metres). Fortunately fitter than we are now on go we sprinted through and didn't stop until we reached the vehicle - the beer was so delicious.
We later heard a local was killed while showing some tourist from Victoria Falls through the same area.
Been on one of those once in the Okavango, just me and a guide. We were walking along just fine when we heard a lion roar. I asked him, "Um. Was that a lion?" His Response, "Don't worry, it's far away". Uh huh. We walked a bit more. Another roar. Me: "That sounds closer." Him: "Don't worry. It's still far away." At this point, I remembered the old joke, "I don't have to run faster than the lion. I just have to run faster than you." Fortunately we never saw the lion.

I later asked the guide about it. He truly was unconcerned because he grew up around African wildlife and knew how to behave to stay safe. He also said he was amazed that we Americans can live among bears. They scared the crap out of him.
 

MJB

Well-known member
Back in 1964, I had been partaking in an ascent of Kilimanjaro**, but once on the crater rim at Gilman's Point (4908 metres), I began to suffer altitude sickness, and after a sleepless, headachy night in Kibo Hut (4703 metres)at the upper end of the saddle, I had to go further down the mountain to Horombo hut (3720 metres, just below Mawenzi Peak), where we had cached supplies. I stayed two nights, and at last felt fully recovered: no other parties were that high on the mountain. I set off cheerfully down the track towards Mandara Hut, which at 2700 metres was just below the upper forest limit. The weather was good, a breeze from the north bringing a few light rain showers.

As I left the bulk of Mawenzi behind me, I saw through a smirr of rain an animal coming down the slope towards the track, perhaps two kilometres in front of me. Both my path and the animal's were subjected to undulations and so as I reached the beginning of each small ridge, I checked to look for the animal though my bins. I could see it was maintaining its path, but amid the scrubby vegetation, I could only see its back at first. I decided to pause before the top of the next ridge to allow for enough time for it to cross my path and therefore be downslope. After about 15 minutes, I moved on, and at the top of the ridge I could see it clearly. It was a black leopard: it was looking away from me, but the rain had stopped and through the binoculars I could see the sun directly on it, its glossy black coat marked by matt black spot-clusters. I promptly reversed my course to get out of its sight.

I pulled out of my backpack my flimsy camera tripod to extend it in the hope that the leopard would mistake it for a spear or a rifle. After waiting another 15 minutes (which, amid a more intense rain shower, seemed to pass excruciatingly slowly), I decided to take another cautious look. No sign of the animal, whatsoever. I started off down the track again and could see the forest edge not too far away. The path took me left of a small hummock and I as rounded the corner, on the track before me, coming in my direction was the black leopard. It saw me, stopped looked to its right and left, looked up, seemed to sigh heavily, and turned off the track, downslope and moved unhurriedly on its resumed original direction. To this day, I can vividly recall the way the animal's shoulder blades alternately moved, almost languidly as it moved steadily away.

At Mandara Hut, I encountered a number of the guides who were titivating the accommodation, giving them a lick of paint here and there, but when I told them about the leopard, most went running off up the trail to try to catch sight of the black leopard. One guide who remained, Roderick**** Loka, told me that after a brew of tea, he was going down to near the Marangu Hotel, and asked if I'd like to get there before dark. That seemed a very good plan, and so we set off. Not too far below Mandara hut, where the vehicle track zig-zagged through primary forest, I thought I heard thunder, not uncommon at that time of day, but Roderick stopped, and bade me keep silent. Very cautiously, we got to a hairpin in the track, and more 'thunder' occurred. I still hadn't twigged what was happening, but when I saw Roderick had a greyish pallor about him, I reckoned that it was something serious. Roderick whispered "Tembo!"

Now, before setting off on the trip, we had brushed up our Swahili words for animals we might see on the way from Nairobi to Marangu, and so I knew instantly that what I had mistaken for thunder was in fact the rumbles of the digestive system of African Elephants! We stayed at that hairpin while Roderick calculated in which direction the elephants were moving, and fortunately they were not using the track. We scuttled cautiously down to the next hairpin, and there in front of us was a pile of steaming elephant dung... There was absolutely no evidence that I could see as to where the heard had crossed the track, but of course Roderick could.

There were no further adventures that day... However, I later got word that this was the first black leopard seen for some time in that area, where previously they had been rare, but recorded reasonably regularly
MJB
**I was in the RAF, stationed at Khormaksar, Aden, at the time.
****How did I guess that Scottish Presbyterian missionaries had held sway in this part of the world...?
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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