Saturday, 24 December 2011

23rd December - Mbali's Bad Luck!

Photo of the Day
Mbali walks off after losing another fresh impala kill to the Rockfig hyena clan!
Morning Drive
(Chad, Grant and Herold)
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Western Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Hide Dam
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Hide Dam Northern Access
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Java, Leopard Rock Hide
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Mbali, Mvubu Crossing
3 x buffalo bulls – Peru, Lily Pan
1 x buffalo bull – De Luca, Argyle Rd
1 x breeding herd of buffalo – Jaydee, Tamboti Pan

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Grant, Petros and Herold)
1 x leopard (Mbali) – Vielmetter, Vielmetter-Java Cutline
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Tchwala Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Vielmetter Camp
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Piva Rd
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Jaydee, Ndlovu Rd
1 x elephant bull – Vielmetter, Piva Rd
7 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Nyosi Confluence
2 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam
3 x buffalo bulls – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd

Daily Synopsis
Again, we like to blame the weather for our quiet drives, but as the weather was almost perfect this morning, with a light cloud cover to keep the temperatures down until breakfast, one could have expected to see some good game – after an hour, I was just happy to see impalas!
I needed lions, and as no signs have been seen in the central region, I headed to the north and east to check there – besides some distant wildebeest and even more distant kudus, we only saw some impala and a lone buffalo bull – following that, we went about 45 minutes with nothing! 

Impala lamb and buffalo bull
I filled the gaps with information, but really needed to see some game – so was happy to find impala and one zebra in the east! 
Impala and a zebra
Stopping too for some of the smaller things like termites and a baboons spiders hole, I slowly made my way for coffee at Majambi Dam.  It appeared everyone besides Herold was having a quiet morning – he saw plenty of elephant (five different herds!) and good zebra, giraffe and wildebeest in the south.
I also managed another herd of zebras, a lone giraffe, lone wildebeest and impalas all at one spot to the west of Kudu Pan!

More zebra and giraffe

Carrying on to the more central regions, things didn’t really pick up, so we paid attention to the smaller things as we carried on – we did see more impalas, a hippo, crocodiles, water monitor, terrapins, and a couple herds of kudu as we headed back towards camp, the sun eventually warming the bush to levels that could be a bit uncomfortable!

Hippo, water monitor and impalas
The afternoon followed the same trend as the last few days and proved to be far better than the morning drive.  With a lot of cloud cover, it was a very pleasant temperature as we headed out, and the animals seemed to enjoy it.

Around Argyle Dam and Piva Plains, we enjoyed a troop of baboons, a very large herd of impalas, a herd of waterbuck and a wildebeest.

Impala, waterbuck and wildebeest on Piva Plains

I carried on towards the Nhlaralumi, hoping to find some elephants and Makepisi male leopard at his favourite spot.  We didn’t see all that much, but had continuous sightings of impala herds, waterbuck, vervet monkeys and some nice birds.

Very surprisingly, Makepisi male was not resting at Lion Pan, so I carried on a bit further until we came across a small herd of elephants and spent time watching them.

Elephant cow

I was ambling off when Cynet from Kings radioed in that he had found some hyenas that had once again stolen an impala kill from poor old Mbali leopardess!  He sounded very excited, so I headed straight over to join him.

Nearing the area, we found a tired looking Mbali walking away from her nearby kill – by the sounds of things, she had just caught a large male impala, but the alarm calls of the rest of the impala herd drew in the resident hyenas from the Rockfig Clan (confirming our suspicions that their den site is still nearby!) – two of which rushed in and chased her off!  That is the second time this week that she has lost a large kill to these hyenas – the worst part was that she hadn’t even had a chance to eat anything before losing it! 


Mbali looking tired after losing another kill
We followed her for a while, but my main reason for coming to this area was to see the hyenas, so we moved back to where they were feeding on the kill as the vultures gathered in the surrounding dead trees – some brae hooded vultures tried to sneak a morsel, but the hyenas simply chased them off.

Rockfig hyenas feasting on Mbali's kill
Carrying on to Hide Dam for a drink, I realised I should have just come to this area for game drive!  There were a couple of herds of zebras, a herd of wildebeest, plenty of impalas, a pair of jackals (also drawn into the area by the vultures) and while I didn’t see them, also a large herd of elephants on the other side of the Machaton Riverbed.

Black-backed jackals and a zebra herd
After drinks we headed back to camp, but it was a very quiet night drive and we didn’t add any more species to our day’s list.

The weatherman tells us that there will be rain tomorrow – as long as it rains cats and dogs, I will be happy, because we can certainly do with some of them on this Christmas weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your posts and hope u all had a great christmas. So why is it that Zebra's can scare off the hyenas (last post) but that the hyenas scare off the leopard again? is it that the hyenas don't do alot of the killing them selves and wait to rush in when another animal has a kill? or is it the amout within their clan against which ever animal? just doesn't make much sense to me, but then again I have never seen these animals in their natural habitat. Thanks!