Monday, 28 March 2011

27th March – Mary had a Little Lamb...

Photo of the Day
The gorgeous Nthombi female leopard
Morning Drive
(Chad, Elliot and Marka)
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female with duiker kill) – Motswari, Reception Link
1 x breeding herd of elephant – Peru, Xinzele Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephant  - Peru, Sohebele Dam
3 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Voel Dam

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Elliot, Marka and Grant)
3 x wild dogs – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Solar Panels
1 x leopard (Kuhanya female with duiker kill) – Motswari, Reception Link
1 x leopard (Nthombi Female) – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd
6 x rhino
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Peru, Argyle Rd
1 x buffalo bull – Kings, Ridge Rd

Daily Synopsis
I’m going to start off the blog a little backwards today, but it will maybe explain the title of the blog a bit better!  As it says, ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’.  Now frankly, that is not entirely true, unless of course the hyena’s name really was Mary...and even if it was Mary, she didn’t just have a little lamb - she had half a leg of lamb; lamb that was meant to be for our guest’s dinner!  Yes, a hyena walked into the back of Boma and stole a massive piece of lamb off the buffet and walked out the back of the Boma to eat it!  I went to chase her, but it was too late as she had eaten it all already; although it was some consolation to watch as she ran away, she ran straight into a storeroom door!  It was like a bad slapstick comedy, but I just stood there laughing as I watched this hyena scampering away with its head to the ground (mouth probably still burning after eating such a hot meal!), and to trot head-first into a door!  Fortunately there was still the other half of the lamb and a delicious Pork-and-Beer Stew to enjoy, so none of us went hungry after a good day’s worth of game viewing at Motswari.
I returned to drive, and it is always wonderful to start off with a good sighting straight away, and Kuhanya leopardess did just that when we arrived to find her feeding on her duiker kill 300m from the camp.  After struggling with it for a while, she climbed down the tree and went to rest in the drainage line for a while.

Kuhanya feeding...Chad cursing that damn branch that ruined a potentially awesome photograph, hahaha!
Besides that, I took it relatively easy in the morning, finding a small breeding herd of elephants west of Sohebele Dam and 3 buffalos at Voel Dam where I had my coffee stop.

Elephant and buffalo from the morning drive
Heading home past Sohebele Dam, we found that a larger breeding herd of elephants was busy splashing around in the mud at Sohebele Dam.

Elephants at Sohebele Dam
Additionally we saw some impala, nice kudu bulls, lots of hippos, bushbuck and some nice birds.  Elliot had a slightly frustrating morning trying to follow up on those two male lions from yesterday, and got as far as tracking them down to a site where they had killed and finished a young buffalo, but could not find where the tracks went from there; you know they have just disappeared if Elliot can’t find them!

Baby terrapin - look how big ths tones are in relation to it!
Fortunately in the afternoon, the animals didn’t elude us.  Elliot found Kuhanya not far from the lodge, and she was followed back to where she had her kill, but she took it down from the tree and began feeding on the ground.  There was not a great deal left, but a hyena was seen walking away from the area with the skin of the duiker when we returned to camp.
I skipped on Kuhanya and planned to head south, which proved a wise choice when three wild dogs were reported near Elephant Dam, and being my favourite animal, I wasn’t going to miss that!  Getting down south was a bit trying though, and we didn’t see a great deal, but the trip down was worth it; although not for wild dogs as it happened to turn out.
Nthombi female leopard was found drinking at Elephant Dam, before wandering right past the wild dogs, with neither party becoming aware of one another!  I arrived a bit later and watched her stalk an impala herd without luck – a bit disappointing considering the good cover she had available. 

Nthombi on the prowl
 As the wild dogs drew quite a bit of attention from the guides, I was waiting to go in last to follow them on a hunt.  Sadly my timing was off, and as I approached the sighting as the last station, they were already mobile, and literally 3 seconds after arriving, they ran off the road and down towards a neighbouring lodge that I didn’t want to drive in front of, and they were gone.  Fortunately all of the other guests got to see them. 
My disappointment was short-lived, and 3-minutes later I was pulling into a sighting that my guests were far happier to see, as they had not seen these animals at the previous lodge they visited; rhinos.  A herd of six to be exact!  It was wonderful to see such a large and reasonably relaxed crash in the area that had only been found because the guys were following the wild dogs!

Crash of 6 rhinos!
There were also some buffalo and general game species around this afternoon, but again, the spotlight was taken up by the precious predators of the Timbavati!
So once more, we wait to see what tomorrow brings us!

1 comment:

  1. Wow Chad, what a great day...
    I was also cursing that branch in front of Kuhanya, that would have been a great shot!!!
    Love the hyena story... Won't they become a problem if they get into camp too often, and maybe get used to getting easy food??

    Glad you saw the wild dogs after missing out the previous time.

    And great to see some rhino shots again from you.