Thursday, 23 December 2010

22nd December: All in a Days Work.

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

Uncountable x Mopane Trees.

Afternoon Drive.

1 x Dagha Boy / Peru – Mpiva Plains.
4 x Dagha Boys / Vielmieter – Sweetwater Pan.
Lion: (5 x White Pride) / Vielmieter – Nkhoro Road.
Elephant: (Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Back Nines.
Leopard: ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Hangar Road.

Daily Synopsis.

Not going on morning drive myself and with only Elliot driving from Motswari it was always going to be a struggle, as it's very difficult to cover the entire area when you driving alone. From what he told me of his drive, they had tracks for a division of the Jacaranda Pride that they spent the morning trying to follow up on. It's a faction that has it's territory in the North and in the heart of Ingwelala, it consists of two males, three females and four cubs. You may remember my pic's from a previous Blog of the pride and its cubs that I took while visiting Chad at Ingwelala. The area that the tracks were found consists of very dense Mopane and makes it time consuming and very difficult to follow up. If you are not following up on something specific it does not offer much else in terms of general game and makes for an extremely quite drive, although this time of year you would be surrounded by Mopane Worms adding some form of action.

Afternoon drive saw myself and Herald driving. Hoping things had turned we split up heading South, Herald covering the East while I headed West. As things had warmed considerably from the day before we figured to stick to water for the first part of the drive. Approaching Argyle Dam we had a great sighting of a group of mature male Kudu, with a family of Hippo as the backdrop, things looked promising.

 Heading on to Sohobele Dam things once again turned quite and it would remain that way for the next hour with both of us not finding much. I headed to Sweetwater Pan in the hope to at least get lucky with some Dagha Boys that hang around in the area, Herald in turn decided to check Hide Dam and Entrance Dam. As it cooled off I got lucky with my Buffalo finding them resting in the water at the pan. Herald also ran into a large Breeding Herd of Elephant between the two dams, the winds of change had arrived.

After both our sightings we agreed to both make our way to the area they had found the White Lions in the morning to try relocate. Arriving in the area we expected to find them in the exact spot as the morning, as Lions don't move much in the heat. To our dismay they were gone, time to get to work, we searched the surrounding roads to look for any clue as to which way they headed. I found tracks crossing to the East, it appeared they were running. Herald was to the East of me and decided to make his way my side to help follow up on the tracks but on the way we got lucky as he bumped into the White Lions. The reason they had moved became quickly apparent as he found them feeding on a very young Buffalo. They must have caught it around midday as there was very little left and the majority of the pride were lying in the shade full bellied. After spending our time with them we headed off to have drinks at Hide Dam, hoping to be joined by Heralds Herd of Elephant.

While having sundowners Johannes was in the North looking around Argyle Dam, when he radioed in that he had found Argyle Male with a young Impala kill and that Kuhanya was also in the area. It looked as if Kuhanya had killed the baby Impala and Argyle Male had actually stumbled across her and dispossessed his daughter of her dinner. As the Elephant had not yet joined us for drinks we wrapped up things and took a chance that one of the stations would be able to hold onto Kuhanya while we made our long, long way there. Herald came to our rescue and kept her through thick and thin. As we took over the sighting and Herald was about to pull out, Kuhanya quick as a bolt leapt forward and pounced on a Swanson Spurfowl, that looked to have got away as we saw it fly off. This must have been its partner as Kuhanya lifted her head to reveal the red head of the Spurfowl between her teeth. No sooner had she caught the Spurfowl, a Hyena leapt from the darkness and tried to steal her second dinner of the evening. It was at this moment that I came to realise just how quick Leopard are, as all in one movement Kuhanya picked up the bird, took three steps and flew into the safety of a nearby Mopane Tree. The Hyena looked as amazed as us and drifted off quickly as if it had woken from dream walking and the Leopard had never really existed. Kuhanya spent a little more time in the tree just to make sure it was gone and then returned to the ground. We left her at this point to find a place to enjoy her meal.

All in all, a great afternoon, who knows what tomorrow will hold!

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