Thursday, 18 August 2011

17th August: A Spotted Leopard Owl.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

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

Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru –
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / JayDee – Tchwala Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Peru – Xinkhovanin South.
Lion ( 2 x Timbavati Pride Females) / Peru – Wild West.
Leopard ( Unknown Male)

Afternoon Drive.

( Chad, Grant, Chris, Petros & Herold.)

Buffalo ( Dagha Boy) / Motswari – Motswari Wedge River Rd.
Rhino ( 2 x Unknown)
Lion ( 2 x Timbavati Females) / Peru – Wild West.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari Reception Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Peru – Voeldam.
Leopard ( Argyle Female) / Peru – Old Gate Link.

Daily Synopsis.

Starting under clear sky's the morning promised a lot. There was still a slight cool breeze about but in comparison to the day before it was a mid summers morning! Our mornings objective found us looking for Zebra and Lion, in that order. We decided to head to the East on a bit of an exploratory adventure. I say this as I didn't know the roads in the area we were heading too. Along the way we checked all the usual spots for Zebra but came up empty handed. How dare there not be Zebra at Zebra Pan! Our little venture took us through some beautiful areas but unfortunately did not yield much, unless you count the hundreds of Rhino tracks in and around the area. Reaching the our South Eastern boundary I received a message from Chad that he had found me my Zebra, on Zebra Entrance, where else would they be! Being a little far we continued on our route believing that we would find our own Zebra along the way and as fate would have it, it was not long before we did. I've never seen guests get so excited about Zebra before and I can bet nor had the Zebra, as they got all shy and wandered off behind the bushes.

With one down we had one to go. It was at the same time that we were with the Zebra that I received the unbelievable news that two female Lions had been found in our traversing area. Typical, we were in the South East corner and they were found in the North West corner! Being the first Lions to be found in the last five days, you can imagine the attention they drew. It was just as well we were so far away because by the time we got there the line up should have died down. To make sure of this we stopped for a cup of coffee. Resuming our drive we made our way slowly in the direction of the Lionesses. Along the way we had a magnificent sighting of a herd of Elephant making their way towards Makulu Dam over an open ridge. We also found a troop of Baboons, a herd of Impala and Nyala, all intermingled on the same ridge, and a little down the road, one of the biggest Kudu Bulls I've ever seen, his horns must have easily been over a metre apart at the tips.

Eventually arriving at the Lionesses we could drive straight into the sighting. They were both sleeping up against a fallen bushwillow, which provided some shelter from the wind that had gradually picked up during the course of the morning. They did lift their heads on one occasion to survey their surroundings but quickly dropped them again as they succumbed to sleep once again. Spending as much time as we could with them we finally had to make our way back to camp as we were well beyond being fashionably late.

The afternoon was meant to be a bumble around the North not getting involved in any of the sightings unless they were of Buffalo, Hyena or Giraffe. We set off around camp looking for a Dagha Boy as they are renowned to frequent the Sohobele riverbed in front of the lodge. Having no joy there we broadened our net further North along the riverbed. It was only a matter of time till we found what we were looking for, a relaxed Buffalo Bull feeding alongside the road. Having ticked Buffalo we set of in search of Giraffe. We once again caught a break and found them not far from our Buffalo unfortunately they were a little beyond view and not a great sighting.

Still being around camp I received an urgent plea from Dave informing me that two unexpected guest had arrived at camp and what were the chances of getting them on drive. Being on the airstrip and having space on our vehicle we responded to his plea. With the guests staying only one night we would now have to enter into the sightings line-up, something we were trying to avoid. We decided to head to the Lions as it was getting dark and we would not make it to the Rhino before sundown. They are also the scarcer of the two at the moment, never thought I'd say those words. We got lucky as all the interest in the Lions had died and we were able to make our way straight there. Arriving on site we found them intently smelling the air and moving stealthily as they made their way South East, they were clearly on the hunt. We decided to follow them until darkness fell, see if they would have any luck, but the time we spent with them they did not pick up on anything and we eventually left them to go about their business of hunting undisturbed.

Heading to a spot nearby for a splash and dash, a quick sundowner stop, I was discussing with another guide on the radio on whether or not the one Lioness was pregnant or not. I mentioned that I thought they must of killed something and eaten the night before. To which my tracker, aka Apprentice Pete, butted in and said kill. I mentioned to him that I'd already said that, to which he responded, no there is a Leopard with a kill about fifty metres back and getting more. Backing up slowly, sure enough there in a Mopane tree forty metres from the road sat a Leopard with a freshly killed Impala. Well done Pete! We slowly approached closer as we did not know which Leopard it was but it seemed pretty relaxed. Getting to a comfortable distance we killed the engine and watched as she fed a little and then proceeded to begin to clean herself. After a good bath she climbed down from the awkward Mopane and settled in for a nap at the base of the tree. This is were we left the sighting for others to enjoy. When I asked Pete what he was doing looking so high up in trees, he mentioned that he was looking for a favourite of his, Owls!

1 comment:

  1. Man Grant, that was a great day!!!
    Everything fell into place for you. And the second bite of the cherry with the lions was a much better sighting than the mornings sighting :-)
    What a great way to end it with an unexpected sighting of the leopard!!! Well done Pete!