Thursday, 3 March 2011

2nd March: Slow but steady!

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Elliot & Johannes)

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Lion ( Maghlatini Males) / Peru – Fish Eagle's Nest.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy)/ Argyle – Crossing Below Argyle Dam.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant & Johannes)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Argyle – Argyle Dam.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Peru – Elephant Crossing.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Argyle – Hamerkop Loop.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Mbali River Rd.
Rhino ( Shangula)
Lion ( Mahlatini Males) / Argyle – Oppiekoppie Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

Only receiving guests for afternoon drive, we were treated to a little sleep in this morning. Elliot and Johannes however headed out for what appears to be a quiet morning in comparison to the day before. They checked up on Kuhanya, only to find that she had lost her kill to Hyena's, but she had not travelled far and was found further North on the airstrip up one of her favourite Marula Trees. The Mahlatini's were also found a little to the West of where they had been the day before, yet again not travelling far during the night. It would appear they are apprehensive about heading home, could possibly be from the serious fight they were involved in before seeking refuge in our traversing area.

Jacky and I will be joining Johannes this afternoon, see what we can see!

The afternoon got off to a very slow start, think it may have had to do with the rather warm weather, usually in these conditions we stick to the dams until late afternoon when things have cooled off and the animals become more active. This afternoon was to be no different, with us finding two male Elephant at Argyle Dam, feeding lazily along the waters edge. Spending some time with them in the hope they would demonstrate their fondness for water and swim, we waited patiently unfortunately they let us down this tim

So to try make up for it we decided to head on and relocate the Mahlatini Males, who were found on morning drive not far from the dam. Following the tracks from the morning we located where they had been resting but there was no sign of them now. Knowing they would have not gone far in this heat we scoured the area, but came up with nothing. Truth be told they had chosen a very good spot, as it is a very thickly vegetated area and they could be anywhere, especially when you don't have tracks to follow. Persisting we checked all the surrounding roads for any sign or track, but once again came up empty handed. We decide to move on and see what else was out there, but would return round sundowners to see if they would pop up around the dam to drink. Keeping to the water, we headed to Vyeboom Dam, along the way we found two Dagha Boys lying in a shallow pan. They were unperturbed by our presence, unlike our friend from a couple evenings ago, and remained seated in their cool spot ruminating.

Finding nothing at Vyeboom Dam we continued on to Buffalo Pan, where we found a Lappet Faced Vulture. Our arrival unfortunately spooked it from taking its apparent drink but on approaching closer we found a small crocodile chewing on something, we could not make out what it was, but we now think the two of them were locked in a tug of war, before our arrival.

Leaving the croc to his spoils we literally drove round the corner and bumped into a large Rhino. At first we killed the engine and told everyone to remain very still and quiet, fearing it would turn and run off into the bushes at the slightest noise, before everyone got a chance to see it. Oddly it remained motionless itself, standing in the middle of the road looking at us in bewilderment, it was then that Jacky let us know that we could all stop holding our breath, as it was Shangula, our relaxed male Rhino. Having never seen him in this area before, I was taken by surprise, but Jacky mentioned that when he first started seeing Shangula he was frequently found in and around this area.  

Watching him he looked totally at home, alternating between feeding, rubbing his horn and urine spraying, an indication that this was in fact still part of his territory.

With the sun setting we were running out of time, as we still wanted to get back to Argyle Dam for sundowners and hope the Mahlatini's would reveal themselves. We were not the only ones to have had this idea and another of our colleges from the South had done just that. It was not long before we heard him on the radio announce he had found them, apparently while taking drinks he heard something sneezing done below in the riverbed, on closer inspection he found it to be the Mahlatini's. They became highly mobile to the North, so we had to accelerate our arrival as they were fast approaching the boundary of our traversing area. Arriving shortly before they crossed we were able to spend five minutes with these impressive males before the thick vegetation of the North swallowed them up.

So what started out as a slow afternoon quickly accelerated into action packed drive, and goes to show, you never know what lies around the next corner!

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