Thursday, 8 September 2011

07th September: The Wonder That Is Birth.

Pic of the Day.
Morning Drive.

( Herold, Grant & Colbert.)

Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Marimane Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Ingwelala / Motswari Cutline.
Elephant ( Kambaku) / Ntsiri – Argyle Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Grant, Colbert, Petros & Godfrey.)

Elephant ( Kambaku) / DeLuca – Western Cutline.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Java/ Mbali Rd.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Java – Back of Java.
Leopard ( Mbali) / Java – Back of Java.

Daily Synopsis.

Where we had tracks the previous morning, this morning we had nothing. This was not good as there were a few of us in need of Leopard. We split up and checked all corners of the North before some of us headed to the Central and Southern sectors to try our luck there. We did eventually find tracks but they all amounted to nothing and once again it would appear the animals were one step ahead of us, well technically, quite a few!

We did have ourselves a nice sighting of Little Bea-eaters sunning themselves in the Tsharalumi Riverbed and we added Hyena to our ever growing species list. To add one bird and one mammal species on all our guests drives is always one of our targets. This is very easy to begin with but when you get to day three it starts getting a little tougher and like in our present case we have guests with us for seven nights. So for us this morning, mission accomplished!

Something I'm very sorry we missed out on was found by Colbert. He found a Waterbuck lying down, which is not that unusual given the time of morning. What was unusual and very special, not to mention extremely rare was that she was mid process of giving birth! When they arrived on scene the calf's head had breached and both front legs and while they sat there they got to witness the miracle of birth. Colbert kept me informed of all the developments and went as far as timing the entire process, mentioning that it stood at five minutes and proceeded to try walk at eight minutes. It sounded amazing and from the pictures that his guests showed me after, of which there were two thousand, I kid you not, it was unbelievable! They watched through their camera lenses and have recorded the most amazing sequence from the actual birth, the calf lying on the ground within the birth sack, the mother cleaning the calf and feeding on the birth sack, to the calf standing and taking its first steps. Being photographers you can only imagine how happy they were. The funny thing is they are here specifically for Leopard and Lion.

Johannes had himself a frustrating morning as he picked up on the Mafikizolo Pride's tracks and had signs of them hunting and actually fighting with Buffalo. Even with Hyena and Vultures in the area he could not determine where they got to and if they had actually succeeded in catching their prey. The area it occurred in is very difficult and very thickly vegetated and I would not even enter the thought of heading in there on foot. I guess time will reveal the full story, lets hope the time is on afternoon drive.
Keen to add another species to our list we set off looking around the North with the intention of finding either Leopard or Buffalo. Once again we were to be disappointed and found no track or trace of either one. Setting our sights on the South we once again meandered slowly on our way to Java and Vielmieter properties. Along the way we received the news that the Mafikilzolo Pride had been found with a Buffalo kill, unfortunately it is in an area that is inaccessible for two reasons. Firstly, it is in a thickly vegetated rocky drainage line and secondly, it is nearly under the deck of a landowners private residence. Brings new meaning to bring and braai!

Our trip in the South yielded two nice breeding herds of Elephant but not what we were really after. Deciding to take drinks at Elephant Dam we thought we may get lucky with Ntombi's son, who likes to hang out in the area. Drinks came and went without much activity around the dam but on the radio awaited a very pleasant surprise. Getting mobile we received the news that Mbali had been found on Java a little to the East of where we had been hoping to get lucky with her. Not being far we headed straight in her direction. We arrived with her slowly moving along a drainage line looking to flush something from it's cover. She stumbled across a Scrub Hare but after temporary pausing she continued on her way showing very little interest in it. We eventually had to leave her as once again we had run out of time and she was heading into a particularly difficult area to follow.

Adding our species for the afternoon we headed home after another successful day.

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