Friday, 3 June 2011

02nd June: Leopards Aplenty.

Pic of the Night.

Morning Drive.

( Marka & Grant.)

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Leopard ( Shongile) / Motswari – Motswari Wedge.
Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Hennie's Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Vyeboom Dam.

Afternoon Drive.

( Marka & Grant.)

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Leopard ( Unknown Male) / Peru – Mphiva Plains.
Leopard ( Argyle Male) / Peru – Mphiva Plains.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Northern Access.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) /
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Sohobele Plains.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Jiga Jiga Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Argyle – Argyle Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

Greetings Ladies and Gentleman, I'm back, alive and semi kicking. Would like to thank you all for the support during my moment of madness, unfortunately I fear I'm not cured and once I'm able to move my muscles again I will return to training for next year, may as well be prepared!

So during my break winter arrived in the Lowveld with us waking for an extremely chilly morning drive. Personally I love this time of year, the early morning light is phenomenal and the brisk conditions combined with the morning dew personify an African bush winter.

It was to be a great morning as before we even left reception Jacky had heard Francolin's alarm calling nearby, this was shortly followed by the distinctive calls of a Leopard to the North of camp. Once loaded up we did not hesitate in heading in it's direction. Luck of the Irish was to be with us and rounding a corner we found Shongile making her way along the road through the Sohobele riverbed. We spent a great deal of our morning with her as she first tried her luck stalking a Bushbuck along the rivers bank and when that failed she moved through the Southern extent of her territory investigating and reaffirming her presence through urine spraying a great many trees and shrubs.  

It was great to spend time with her as Jacky and I have not seen her in quite some time, always missing out when she was in the area. I think I mention this every time I see her but she remains one of my favourite Leopards, but thinking about it, they all are, hmm...............starting to sound like Chad!

At the same time as we were with Shongile, Marka had relocated Kuhanya who was still to be found with her Impala kill taunting the Hyena's near Motswari's Airstrip, aka, my running strip. They too spent a fair amount of time with her watching the intriguing interaction between these two predators.

After our Leopards we helped Marka track a herd of Buffalo that had made their way across the Airstrip to the East. Hearing that tracks had been found further East, we decided rather to head West as we felt that Marka was close to finding his mornings first objective.

Things turned quiet for the next hour and only once it started to warm up did find the animals becoming active, first we had a nice herd of Waterbuck and while with them, Eagle Eye Jacky saw a herd of Giraffe on the horizon, if they were any further they would have been in the future! Making our way to them we were in for a double bonus as in amongst them was a small scattered herd of Zebra. Hearing that we had found Giraffe, Marka made his way in our direction after the Buffalo, as they would complete his mornings objectives, and all of this before coffee!

After coffee it appeared all the animals were out and about with us finding a great variety of general game, as well as two different herds of Elephant. The one was a great sighting of them drinking from Vyeboom Dam, as a large Crocodile sunned itself on a small island, next to which was a group of Hippo, of which two were mating. A little bit of an overload in one sighting!

True to form we were now running late for breakfast and made our way back to camp, already looking forward to what this afternoon has in store for us!

As is the way of the wild, the afternoon drive was to be a very quiet one for us! I think we were partly paying wildlife tax and the other part, was that we were looking for specific animals and were driving areas that they would be found and apparently nothing else.

We started our drive looking for the herd of Buffalo that was found around Motswari in the morning but as we tracked the herd it started to move further and further to the North East and we eventually abandoned our search when they crossed out our traversing area. We then turned to the West try our luck with finding Rhino. Shortly after setting off we found a Dagha Boy, I guess it was our consolation for missing out on the herd.

A Black-Backed Jackal, Don't See To Many Of Them!

Our search for Rhino was to prove less successful than our Buffalo endeavour with us not even finding a track that we could begin tracking from. As we searched all their favourite haunts we found little else but a fragmented Zebra herd to liven up our afternoon.

As it was a nice evening and we were not having any luck on the wildlife front we decided to take an early drink and enjoy the stillness of the bush at sunset. Hoping our luck had changed after drinks we set off in search of our nocturnal creatures, this was as frustrating if not more, as we now started to find all our diurnal animals under the light, which we do not view after dark! One nocturnal creature that we did find and that made our whole drive worth while was the elusive White Tailed Mongoose. It is not that often viewed and when it is, it is usually a glancing glimpse as it scurries off into the nearest bush, but on this occasion we were able to view it out in the open for some time, with it even approaching us inquisitively.

Marka's drive on the other handd was far more productive with him visiting Kuhanya and her kill, followed by a large breeding herd out in the open on Sohobele Plains. His evening only got better when he found a young male Leopard that appeared to shy from the vehicle but while trying to relocate him they found the reason for his hasty retreat, Argyle Male. He was following after the younger male and when he reappeared would chase after him. We were able to get a glimpse of Argyle Male as he chased off his new competition to bring our evening to a close.

Who knows what tomorrow holds in store!

1 comment:

  1. Great Leopard shots Grant, isn't it funny how all the leopards come out of hiding when Chad is not there :-)
    4 different leopards in one day!