Monday, 27 February 2012

26 Feb - SPOTS!

Photo of the Day
Morning Drive
(Marka, Herold, Shadrack & Andrea)

Rhino – (crash of 6)
Elephant (breeding herd) / Peru - Lily Pan
Buffalo (breeding herd) / Vielmeter – Hide Dam
Leopard / Mbali - Giraffe Kill, Elephant Crossing to Klipgat Crossing
Daghaboy / Mbali - Giraffe Kill, Klipgat Crossing
Daghaboy / Vielmeter - Blue Waxbill

Afternoon Drive
(Marka, Herold, Shadrack & Andrea)
Rhino (crash of 6)
Buffalo (Breeding Herd) / Vielmeter – Hide Dam
Buffalo (Daghaboys) / Argyle – Argyle Dam
Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Peru – Machele Pan
Elephant (Kambaku) / Java – Western Cutline
Elephant (Kambaku) / Vielmeter – Nyosi Crossing
Leopard (Ntombi female) / Vielmeter – Sweet Water Pan Access

This morning definitely saw a turn in game viewing luck. Petros and I decided to check the wedge where we came across male leopard tracks, unfortunately for us they headed straight into Ingwelala. However, just then Marka called in 6 rhino a bit further south. Himself and Shadrack had tried to approach in the vehicle but they were quite skittish so they then approached on foot instead. Myself and Herold went in after and managed to watch them at a close distance. The crash of rhino soon picked up our presence and ran off, however, we continued to track and view them a few more times for about another hour. Unfortunately I had to carry a rifle instead of a camera (which I would have much preferred) and therefore have no pics. It truly was a magnificently exciting sighting as it is not often one gets the privilege of seeing 6 rhino together on foot! Still intent on finding leopard, we headed to Lion Pan for drinks knowing that Makepisi and his brother are regularly in that area. Just as Petros got off the tracker seat, he jumped back on whispering urgently, “ingwe, ingwe!”.  Makepisi’s very skittish brother ran past our vehicle and we attempted to follow. We got a brief visual but the vegetation was thick and he continued to elude us. 

Herold then found Makepisi a few kilometers further down the road, so we spent the rest of the morning watching and following him. At one point, a nosy hyena came to investigate and Makepisi nonchalantly sat staring back. Due to the terrain, it was tricky to follow him and although we got some great views, we eventually lost him in the riverine thicket. Shadrack and Marka followed up on the buffalo and elephant herds, which were located further to the east.

As I mentioned, my current guests are here predominantly to photograph leopard, so that has been our main mission and continues as such. This meant that the afternoon became another cat finding hunt. We started first around Argyle Dam where we found our local baboon troop on the dam wall and then headed towards Peru. Not far into our drive, Ntombi leopard female was called in on Vielmeter. Moving towards that direction, we came across rhino tracks, and not 2 minutes later we bumped into the group of 6 from this morning. Unfortunately, they were still incredibly skittish and moved off very quickly. We still had a poor visual of them from about 100m away and were desperately trying to hold onto them until another station had arrived. However, as the sound of another vehicle approached, the rhino took flight once more. Still responding to the leopard, we continued on our way finding her with Giyani, in rather thick vegetation. We managed to stay with her for quite some time as she made her way down into a drainage line for a drink, and then to some hidden meat for an early evening snack, eventually climbing up into a marula tree for a quick snooze before her nighttime endeavors.

It was a beautiful sighting and an absolute treat to sit with her. The rest of the guys had some good sightings of buffalo and elephant. Three different leopards in one day certainly put a big smile on my face!

1 comment:

  1. WOW. Some great leopard shots Andrea!!!
    Thanks for all the updates.