Thursday, 29 July 2010

Change is in the Air!

Greetings fellow earthlings hope that you are all well and living your dreams. Been back little over a week now and while I was gone, a whole bunch has seemed to have changed. To start off we all have new vehicles, “very spiffy if I may say so myself!” It does however come with it's downside as we are all now a little apprehensive when it comes to driving off road, for fear of getting a scratch that may tarnish our perfect chariots. Something I'm sure that will pass quickly as the environment that we work in makes it an impossibility.

So before our maiden journey six days ago we got to name our big green machines. Naturally, “Shrek” sprang to mind, or NOT, something about there not being a Shangaan (the local language) equivalent. So after some debate it was settled upon that she, as it is a thing of beauty, be named Hlowa, meaning wild dog. Ok, so it may be a little more appropriate than Shrek, as like the wild dog we work as a team, are full of energy and are always on the move. So what if we a tad smelly, we all have our faults!

Our first drive started off somewhat slowly but it was not long before Johannes radioed in a very unexpected but very welcome find and something we were obligated to respond to, after all, we're one of the pack. Joining the sighting the wild dogs were up and mobile, some running on the road while others were making their way through the long grass beside the road, all running on a front, clearly trying to flush prey along their way. How fitting, our maiden journey and one of the first animals we see, not to mention our first predator! Coincidence I think not, more of a knighting, I dub thee, Hlowa!

It was great to have the wild dogs back even though their visit was brief. We managed to see them the next day before they crossed out of our traversing area, as is their nature to roam expansively. The beauty is we never know when or where they will next turn up, so when they do pop in, it's always an unexpected surprise!

Driving this last week has uncovered a change in the bush, well at least for me it has. There seems to be something under foot and I can't quite put my finger on it. It's a feeling that has been brought on by a number of animals behaviour. I have mentioned previously how Kuhanya has been pushing her boundaries to the East, she continues to do so and is as unpredictable as ever.

If not to be out done by her daughter, Mbali, who we have not seen in over a month and when we have it's been very sporadic to say the least, turned up a day or two ago the furtherest East that many of us have ever seen her. It is great to see her back again, as the question of her existence was starting to do the rounds, it does however raise the question of where has she been, and why the sudden interest in the East? Another Leopard that we are now finding regularly around camp is Shongile, who we think has been pushed from the North by Argyle Female and her cub. Still on the subject of Leopard, Rockfig Jnr and her cubs seem to be up to the same shenanigans in the South and also are exploring all the corners of their territory. Both mom and cubs are well and with every passing day the cubs become more and more independent, not only from mom but from one another, with the guys now finding all three of them separated from one another on occasions.

Another change that is of concern is the departure of the White Lions, they were last seen the day before I came back on drive a week ago. That night they crossed into the Klaserie and out of our traversing area. It is not the first time they have done this, as they have left our traversing area on all points of the compass before, but usually return within a week.

What makes it different this time is that they have steadily moved to the West after their encounter with what must have been one of the pride males. Should they turn to the North from where they crossed, which can be presumed, they will find themselves back in their original territory and effectively HOME! Personally this brings about mixed emotions, on one hand it's great that they feel confident and comfortable in returning home and maybe as I type this the whole pride is reunited and the Timbavati Pride reign supreme once more! On the other hand it's a realisation that there is a good chance that we won't be seeing them back any time soon. I know, a little on the selfish side. It's still early days and who knows how this will all play out, it's the great thing about nature, the unpredictability! However should we be correct in our assumptions, the least we can expect is the occasional visit, after all, we are neighbours! It's with this in mind, and hope, that we check the North Western boundary daily.

Subconsciously, ok, conscientiously, as I guess by writing it down it can no longer be considered subconsciously, I'm trying to manipulate “Murphy's Law” to our advantage. I hear by challenge the “Laws” to make me eat my blogged words! Here's hoping it's another occasion that I get to eat humble pie!

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