Monday, 15 August 2011

14th August: Circles In The Forest!

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Chad, Godfrey, Grant, Chris & Colbert.)

Buffalo ( Breeding Herd) / DeLuca – Drongo Drive.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / DeLuca – Mpela Mpela Pan.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / DeLuca – DeLuca Access.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / DeLuca – Mpela Mpela North.
Rhino ( Tshangula Male)
Afternoon Drive.

( Chad, Godfrey, Grant, Chris & Colbert.)

Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Seans Clearing.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Argyle – Western Sohobele.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boy)

Daily Synopsis.

Desperate for Lion and with no signs of the ever reliable Machaton Pride in the South we decided to start where we had finished off the previous evening. Maybe by some miracle the Lions that we were tracking had turned around and not followed the Buffalo out of our traversing area. After all the wind had come up very hard from the South during the night and this may have prompted them to change direction as they may have lost the trail of the Buffalo, one could only hope! Our first bit of luck came with us finding the breeding herd of Buffalo resting in amongst the Mopane. They must have decided to change direction with the wind and keep the advantage of scent and sound. This was a positive sign. We proceeded to check carefully to the North of the herd for any signs of our feline friends.  

During this period we found ourselves three very relaxed Bull Elephants that we could not pass up on spending at least some time with. After our Elephant fix, we continued with our pursuit, checking the roads to the East. Having checked all the roads in the area, some of them twice, we were about to start heading South when Marka contacted us to let us know he had fresh tracks for a single Lioness just to the North of us on our traversing boundary, heading South West. Heading in his direction we once again prepared ourselves for the hunt and were pretty sure the Lions were still on the trail of the Buffalo. Before setting Jacky off on foot we checked the surrounding roads for the third time, once again coming up with nothing. Returning to the site of the last track Jacky went on foot while we again checked the same roads we had just been on. I think by this stage our guests must have thought we had lost the plot or at least our sense of direction! This time round we did find tracks for the Lioness though, right on top of our tracks. She must have been in the block when we came round and walked behind us. She had once again changed direction and was now heading to the East, away from the Buffalo. As we were not far from our Eastern traversing boundary it was a race to check the cutline to see if we could get a quick glimpse before it crossed. Unfortunately it would appear we lost, as we found tracks very close to the boundary but not actually crossing. It is a very rocky area though and very difficult to pick up tracks but it appeared that she just flew away. Thinking back on it we believe she was not after the Buffalo any more and was in fact looking for the rest of the pride that she may of become split from during there nights hunting. A comment from my guest wrapped it up nicely. She said that although we did not find the Lioness the adventure and fun in looking was just as exhilarating as if we had. Thanks Paul, Nicky, Keegan and Oliver, it was great having you guys here again and we already looking forward to your return next year. We'll keep practising our tracking and Lion taming till then!

Focusing all our attention on our tracking we were oblivious to what else happened out there but from what was recounted to me the guys had a relatively quiet morning. Godfrey and Chris also followed up on Lion tracks in the South, more than likely the Mafikizolo Pride, but eventually ran out of time. Colbert visited Tshangula, who was found sleeping in the riverbed, clearly trying to escape the ever increasing wind and decreasing temperature. It would appear that the other animals also followed Tshangula's lead. Lets hope things pick up in the afternoon and by that I don't mean the wind!

Afternoon drive started with Dave's premonition being right on the money. At lunch he passed a comment that he felt we would find a Leopard on afternoon drive and that Colbert would be the one to find it. A little over five minutes into drive Colbert came onto the radio with the news that he had located Kuhanya. Not being far behind him I joined him in the sighting and we followed her as she went about looking for something to hunt. Climbing to the top of a termite mound to obtain the best vantage point to survey her surroundings we got a great view of her. Content with our sighting and realising the area she was moving in was particularly difficult we moved out so that everyone else would also get a view. We needn't have worried as shortly after Mbali, Kuhanya's mother, was found on Java and many of the stations chose to respond to her instead. Interestingly, Mbali killed a Sharpe's Greysbok which she was forced to hoist into a tree as two Hyena's tried to disposses her of her dinner. This bodes well and hopefully if she does not drop it during the night it will be there for all of us to view in the morning.

After the excitement of the opening sighting we could relax and take in what ever else the afternoon had to offer and we all pretty much bumbled around in the North doing just that. With the wind still blowing a gale not much else was on offer apart from a couple of Elephant Bulls and the afternoon seemed to drift away with the odd sighting here and there. After dark we were rather fortunate with sightings of a Genet, a couple of Bush-babies and a Chameleon, not bad considering the conditions.

Lets hope the weather man has it wrong and the weather improves for tomorrows drive.  

1 comment:

  1. Great sightings Grant. Man, it is COLD in joburg, and I believe there as well!!! Hope it gets better soon so the sightings can pick up :-).