Wednesday, 8 February 2012

6th February – Luck of the Irish!

Photo of the Day
Fighting impalas
Morning Drive
(Andrea, Grant and Shadrack)
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr female killing a male impala) – Argyle, Piva Plains
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Malongo Rd

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Andrea, Grant and Shadrack)
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr female) – Argyle,Piva Plains
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Piva Plains
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Piva Plains
1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Giraffe Kill Rd
1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Southern Access
1 x elephant bull – Karans, Majavi Dam
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Russet Rd

Daily Synopsis
With my vehicle being out of action, my guests joined up with Andrea, and so did I as we headed out on a cloudy morning.  Although the weather man said there was a 30 percent chance of rain, that basically meant it wouldn’t rain.  Who would have guessed it, but he was right...far too right, and as we headed south, we got wetter and wetter!
This would not have been so bad had we been seeing animals, but the rain did little to help us, and besides some waterbuck and impalas early on in the drive, there was nothing out there!  We did enjoy some good birds, but even after a welcome coffee stop and a cessation of rain, the game didn’t pick up, and none of the general game species we were looking for in the south popped up – only a herd of wildebeest, and nothing else!

Wildebeest and a pale-form tawny eagle on a wet morning
Grant’s morning sounded worse than ours; one wildebeest, one waterbuck and impala.  However, even in situations like that, we know how quickly the game (excuse the pun) can change...and this was no more evident than for Grant and his guests who got to see Argyle Jnr leopardess catch and kill an impala in the middle of Piva Plains while they were watching the impalas!  They then got to watch as she struggled to pull down the fully grown adult male impala in front of them, before eventually succeeding and killing the unfortunate beast! 
With all the alarms created by the impalas, she had no sooner killed it when Shaddy arrived, but feeling quite exposed in the open, she moved quickly to the nearby mopane thicket.  Not wanting to interfere with the sighting, and not sure if she moved off because of the impala attention or the arrival of a second vehicle, the guides moved off to give her space to come back and move the kill in peace on her own.
The afternoon was drier, and it was definitely an improvement, but still a touch frustrating!  Shaddy found tracks for lions, but from after the mornings rain, and not too far from the camp, so Petros and Patrick set about tracking them, while I went and spent time with a large elephant bull that was shaking a marula tree to get all the delicious fruits off!  After viewing him for a while, I headed off to Piva Plains hoping to get lucky with Argyle Jnr – Grant in fact got a glimpse of her, but that was as a herd of elephants chased her off!  Well, at least we had elephants there, and in fact, there were two herds, so all our guides got to spend some quality time with them.

Elephant bull eating marulas and a warthog

Breeding herd of elephants
I went to check on the leopard again, and she had dragged her kill under a bush next to the road, but sadly she wasn't there, so we spent time in the area watching a nice herd of impalas that were fighitng on the riverbed.

Impalas fighting below Lover's Leap
In the mean time, our trackers had located the Jacaranda Pride on foot, but sadly the ground around them was far too wet to access the sighting in a vehicle, so we decided to wait until after dark and hope that they moved onto the road.  To “pass time”, we went and had a wonderful sundowner with a herd of hippos and a rising moon at Argyle Dam before trying our luck with the cats.

Sundowners (or moon-risers?) at Argyle Dam
Sadly, Argyle Jnr did not return to her kill, and looking for the lions proved to be a rather fruitless exercise – Petros and I went to check on foot to see if they were still there, but it appeared that an elephant walking past the area might have scared them off – despite checking the roads around there (some being unsuspecting dead ends after the floods!), we had to give up and return to camp.  Andrea enjoyed an elephant bull joining her for sundowners, and Grant had another herd of elephants; so while we did get frustrated by the lack of cats, or bad luck with cats, we did enjoy some other good viewing...let us see what tomorrow brings!

1 comment:

  1. Man, I would love to see a leopard kill. It is still on my wish-list!!!

    Good luck for tomorrow Chad, let's hope the cats play along.