Tuesday, 28 February 2012

27 Feb - The Herds are Back!

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

Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Java – Western Cutline
Elephant (Kambaku) / Java – Java/Vielmeter Cutline
Buffalo (Daghaboys) / Vielmeter – Western Shlaralumi
Leopard (Makepisi & Brother) / Mbali – Shlaralumi Riverbed East of Lion Pan

Afternoon Drive
(Herold & Andrea)

Elephant (Kambaku) / Sohebele Plains
Elephant (breeding herd) / Vielmeter – Back Nine
Buffalo (Daghaboys) / Vielmeter – Dizzy Drive
Buffalo (breeding herd)  Vielmeter – Hide Dam
Lion (Machato pride) / Umlani
Leopard (Makepisi and his brother) / Mbali – Giraffe Kill Road/ Illegal Crossing

This morning was relatively overcast and quiet. We started towards Vyeboom Dam with sightings of Marabou Storks perched up in a dead tree. 

We continued towards Lion Pan where we had seen Makepisi and his brother yesterday. Checking the riverbed, Petros spotted the two brothers playing together. It was incredibly tough terrain and although we attempted to view them from the riverbank, it was a poor visual from about 100m and they eventually continued east along the riverbed where we could not follow, which was most frustrating. Instead we decided our luck on Vielmeter, which was very quiet as well. We looped back via Java spotting one elephant bull blissfully feeding on some fresh grass growth. We were already running rather late as we had once again travelled quite far south, so rushed back just in time for breakfast. Herold had a great sighting of an elephant herd on Java.

While most stations rushed for the lion sighting on Umlani this afternoon, we decided to stay further north to continue our leopard mission. Starting off with a little family of warthog on Piva plains, we then headed down to Vielmeter where we found two Dagahaboys doing what they do best: mud wallowing!

Continuing along, we then found a breeding herd of buffalo at hide dam as they cooled off in the water. We sat with them for some time and enjoyed a great sighting of these buffalo swimming and kicking up water while flocks of red-billed oxpeckers attempted to land on their heads!

En route to Sweet Water Pan, we found a herd of elephant feeding. They were quite dispersed and we didn’t stay for too long, but they were beautiful nonetheless. Heading along Giraffe Kill, we checked the riverbed where just as we hoped, the young male leopard brothers were playing. At this point it was a little too dark and distant for good photography so I set my camera aside and enjoyed the sighting of the leopards chasing each other and clambering around the fallen logs in the riverbed. 

Despite the droves of mosquitoes, it was a spectacularly special sighting of leopard interaction, which we don’t get to see very often.

All in all another good day in the bush!

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