Saturday, 3 September 2011

02nd September: Chad Must Have Arrived Safely In Tanzania.

Pic of the Day.

Morning Drive.

( Herold, Marka, Godfrey & Grant.)

Cheetah ( Unknown) / Peru – Phiva Plains.
Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Argyle – Oppiekoppie Rd.
Leopard ( Voeldam Female) / Argyle Rd.
Leopard ( Hlakiso his mom & their mom) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Sohobele Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Giraffe Kill Lookout.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Argyle Rd.
Buffalo ( Dagha Boys) / Argyle – Crossing Below Vyeboom Dam.

Afternoon Drive.

( Herold, Marka, Godfrey & Grant.)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / Motswari – Xinatsi Dam Rd West.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / JayDee – Madala Crossing.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Entrance Dam.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Vielmieter – Hide Dam.
Leopard ( Umfana Male) / Kings – Double Highway.
Leopard ( Kuhanya) / Motswari – Motswari Reception Rd.

Daily Synopsis.

Waking a little earlier this morn as we have changed to summer hours, YIPPEE, we now head out at six which again puts us a little ahead of sunrise. We decided we would head out and follow up on the Leopard that Marka had found the previous evening with the Warthog kill, although Jacky and I hate driving along the tar road. Sucking up our pride we headed on our way, finding out where the other guides in the area were going to check we plotted a course for the rest of the morn. It was during this that one of the guides mentioned that he was heading straight South as there was nothing up North to be found. The animals needed no second invitation and suddenly the North became very active. Clever ploy, I think I may start using it! We first found a couple of young Elephant Bulls, add this to the Kudu, Giraffe, Impala, Steenbok and the two Black Backed Jackals the tar road was turning out to be not so bad a choice after all and this was even before we arrived at the sight of the Leopard kill. The bubble had to burst though and arriving at the location of the kill we found a large male Warthog hanging from a Maroela Tree but no Leopard present, only an optimistic Hyena sitting below willing the carcass to fall. Sitting for a while with the Hyena, we decided that the Leopard had either gone for water or was sleeping in the bush somewhere. Looking at the size of the Warthog and the height it was hoisted into the tree it is more than likely the work of Argyle Male, and he keeps odd meal hours. Deciding to leave it till this evening after dark we headed on our way to the West to find ourselves a Rhino, something that my guests missed out on their previous trip.

While stuck out in No-man'ss Land, Marka kindly contacted us to let us know that he had found Kuhanya not far from camp. Wondering how we were going to magically transpond ourselves to his location Jacky calmly pointed out another Leopard kill up in a Maroela Tree. This time it was a Steenbok that had been hoisted. On closer inspection we found Voeldam Female sitting below the tree feeding on the head that she had removed from the carcass. Not being the most relaxed of Leopards she finished off her meal and then decided to move the rest of it to a more private location so she may dine undisturbed. It was great to see her climbed into the tree, remove the carcass and then run off with between her legs with relative ease into the great beyond. Having had a good sighting we decided to rather stick to the plan and look for our Rhino.

Stopping at Voeldam for a little birding we found a Grey Heron, a number of Spoonbills, a Hamerkop, a couple of Woolly Necked Stork and three Saddle Billed Storks. It was the latter that did something that I've never observed before. While one of them flew off the other two stood fifteen metres from the waters edge. At first it seemed they were sunning themselves but then one moved off to a little pile not far off and picked up something, that we soon identified as a fish, and carried it to the water, where it dropped it and then seemed to push it around in the water. The other Saddle Bill then followed suite and also made its way to the fish pile and then to the water, also dropping it in and then pushing it around. It looked like they both were practising catch and release, well that was until they seemed satisfied that the fish were properly rinsed and they proceeded to grasp them in their bills and steadily work them back into their mouths and then down their throat. They would then head back to the fish pile and go through the exact same sequence. This happened on three occasions, so totalling six fish in all. I've never seen a bird stock pile fish before, let alone go through this whole procedure before eating them.

Eventually pulling ourselves away and regaining focus we continued with the task at hand! It was not long before we found tracks for a crash of Rhinos. With both Jacky and I going onto foot we followed the tracks until we found an area that they had defecated. Checking the temp of the dung we realised that although the tracks were from last night, they must have been from early evening. Deciding to head back to the car we would check the area surrounding Voeldam and see if we could make up some time. It was after driving around in a complete circle that we realised that they had in fact once more crossed out of our traversing area!

In other news, Marka appears to have the Leopard magic at the moment, as he went one better than finding not only the Leopard the previous evening and Kuhanya this morning, but he then found himself three Leopards all sunning themselves on a termite mound alongside the Tsharalumi Riverbed. Not to be out done Herold countered Marka's Leopards with a Cheetah! Unfortunately Herold and his guests were the only one's to see it, as the Cheetah was extremely shy and showed them exactly what speeds they are capable of as it ran off into the bush. I wonder if it perhaps may have come from Tanzania and therefore it is a little unsettled. It would appear our breeding herds of Elephant are back with two nice sightings of large herds. One of which we popped into visit before heading on back to Motswari.

Lets hope there is nothing in the North this afternoon!

Well I got what I wished for, unfortunately it did not work for us like it had in the morning. To be fair though we did endure a very hot afternoon and I think all the animals went into hiding, specially as it is so dry at the moment. So.......... in conditions such as they were we found what was to be found, Elephant, and you did not have to look hard for them just find the closest water point.  

As things cooled off later in the evening things did start appearing and we had a nice sighting of a Hyena during drinks break at Hide Dam. Marka once again proved he had the magic and found Ntombi's son after dark. Apart from that it was a pretty quiet afternoon, none the less though great to be out there!

Lets hope the temps drop during the evening and we have a ourselves a busy morning!

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