Tuesday, 9 June 2009

09th June – Windy Weather and Wild Dogs

The winds have been gusty all day long, and that did us no favours from a game viewing point of view as the animals sought shelter in the thick bush. My dreams of finding a cheetah in the quiet eastern sector proved just that; dreams! There were a number of impala, a herd of zebra and some kudu, but little else. I did manage to see a large herd of buffalo as they awoke form their nights slumber and started heading to the north in search of some water. A guide from a neighbouring lodge found the Sohebele female lion who is believed to have cubs, and she was making her way to the north western corner of the reserve, beyond which we believe she is hiding her cubs. While she was lost going into some thick bush, we later saw her tracks crossing off the property.

The quiet middle part of the drive ended when I headed back towards camp to follow up on Argyle Jnr leopard’s young female cub that Johannes had seen earlier on top of a termite mound. After seeing some zebra, we spotted the leopard still sitting on the mound. As she is not totally used to vehicles, I didn’t pull off road to get closer, but viewed her form about 20m from the road. After about five minutes she got up and wandered towards us and crossed the road about 7-8m ahead of us before disappearing in the bush. Heading back to camp we saw zebra, impala and a nice herd of giraffe on our airstrip.
Herald had a better morning, despite being unsuccessful in locating a rhino near Voël dam. He commented that he saw some nice general game, some elephant bulls and drove past a herd of elephants whilst on his way south to see two wild dogs! He arrived just in time, but unfortunately after a couple of minutes the two dogs bolted off after impala and were lost. Although this is typical, with a large pack of 10-15 dogs, one normally locates on one or two individuals and can continue with the sighting, but with only two dogs, this becomes extremely difficult! As a result, the dogs were not located again in the afternoon. Some good news though was that a large pack of wild dogs was also reported on the reserve to our north, so there is every chance they might come across to our property over the next few days.

The afternoon was also very quiet as the wind persisted through the day, with some splattering rain falling after breakfast. The giraffe wandered past camp during lunch. On drive, the leopard kill that was found by our guides doing bush work in the morning was gone, and there was no sign of the leopard. We also received a report of a rhino at Voël dam, but found nothing when we arrived. Herald and I left our trackers on the spoor and they soon found the Argyle male rhino sleeping in a Mopane thicket. He was very relaxed today, despite the wind, so provided a nice sighting for our guests. After that, I had very little luck, although I did tick off a jackal, a large bull elephant and a bushbaby. Herald had a bit more luck and saw genet, hyena, elephant, African wild cat and a hippo outside of the water.
We shall just have to see what the weather is like tomorrow, but hopefully it improves!

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