Thursday, 14 April 2011

14th April – Looks Like the Elephants are back...but where are the cats?

Photo of the Day
Elephant bull drinking at Sohebele Dam

Morning Drive
(Chad , Grant, Marka and Herald)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Woza-Woza Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Makulu Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Jumbo Drive
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Tchwala Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Terminalia Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
3 x elephant bulls – Peru, Western Cutline
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Malongo Rd
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Lily Pan Rd
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Peru Entrance
2 x elephant bulls – Peru, Concrete Crossing
1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Sean’s Clearing
1 x buffalo bull – Motswari, Camp

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Marka and Herald)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Confluence Crossing
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Wilkens Way
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Klipgat Crossing
2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Argyle Dam
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Fish Eagle’s Nest
3 x elephant bulls – Peru, Long Rd
2 x elephant bulls – Peru, Sohebele Dam

2 x elephant bulls - Jaydee, Makulu Crossing
4 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Northern Access

Daily Synopsis
After a day like today, it is hard to believe that last week the guides were struggling to find elephants!  Between our guides today, they ticked off no fewer than 20 sightings of elephants across all parts of the reserve, and it was wonderful to see so many elephants back in the reserve!  I just wish our cats were as obliging, as we had a cat-free day today.
The day started off with a covering of clouds that persisted through most of the daylight hours, but brought with it none of the promised rain...well, not unless you call 0.5mm rain!  I headed to the west, hoping to find any sign of rhino, but as has been the case since the rains fell last week, the rhinos seemed t have moved back west into Klaserie where the mud wallows and waterholes once again hold some water.  We may have to wait another couple of weeks before they begin returning in the fashion that they did over the last couple of months.
Despite not having any luck on the rhino or cat front (tracks for the Mahlathini males and the new unknown pride of lions led us nowhere), we did have a morning filled with pretty good general game and some nice bird viewing; I saw steenbok, impala, waterbuck, kudu, giraffe, buffalo, hippo, and crocodile.

African spoonbills and a grey heron at Makulu Dam

Open-billed Stork at Makulu Dam
After giving up on the tracks for the nervous pride of lions, we headed back towards camp, and then the elephants seemed to flood out of everywhere!  There were three separate breeding herds of elephant around Makulu Dam, and a couple more on the way home, along with several bulls scattered across the reserve.  We also had our resident buffalo make an appearance near the camp during breakfast and on bushwalk.


Cheeky young male elephant
The afternoon saw Herald and Grant heading south, hoping to be able to follow up on tracks for the Mahlathini males, but it got dark before they could find them; at least the tracks didn’t head off the property as they had previously thought!  The afternoon started off quietly, but Grant ended off seeing giraffe, elephant, impala, kudu, wildebeest, hyena, zebra and fire flies....don’t laugh, it’s what his guests wanted!





Waterbuck and ground hornbills; Egyptian Goose and chicks; Swainson's Spurfowl
I stayed in the north and just bumbled around; again we had good general game that included several groups of waterbuck, ground hornbills, warthogs, hippos, kudus, impalas and four different sightings of elephant bulls around Argyle and Sohebele Dams.






Elephant bul drinking at Sohebele Dam
Things were a bit too quiet heading back to camp, but considering that we haven’t seen leopard for the last two days, it just means that we are now more likely to see one tomorrow...if the brewing storm doesn't have different ideas! 

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