Sunday, 26 February 2012

Feb 25 - That's better.

Photo of the Day

Morning Drive
(Marka, Herold, Shadrack, Andrea)

Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Western Cutline
Leopard (Skittish male) / Peru – Hennie’s Road
Buffalo (Breeding herd) / Mbali – Anthill Corner Road
                                          / Vielmeter – Vielmeter/Java Cutline

Afternoon Drive
(Marka, Herold, Shadrack, Andrea)

Buffalo (breeding herd) / Western Cutline
Elephant (breeding herd) / Shanatsi dam
Leopard / Shebedjane Road, South of Double high way

Setting out this morning I was determined to have more success than last night and was therefore thrilled when fresh leopard tracks had been spotted on Peru. We followed the tracks for a good 45min as they looped from initially heading east, then south, and turning back east again. As we were trying to figure out if this leopard had crossed the riverbed, a male leopard was called in on the radio close by. We quickly made our way there where we found a large waterbuck kill but no leopard. Driving slowly in the block, eventually we relocated him. However, he was extremely skittish and despite Marka and my own efforts to hold him, he kept running into thick vegetation meaning that we only got the slightest glimpse of this rather beautiful male.

Leaving him in peace, we made our way further south for drinks where one lone hippo showed his nostrils to us at Lily Pan. It was already quite late so we turned directly home, finding a breeding herd of elephant on Western Cutline. The visual of the majority of the herd was poor, but one female continued to feed close by and approached us very inquisitively, trunk up and sniffing away.  I was able to get some real close up shots of her roughly textured skin and the fine silk of spider webs stuck to her eyelids!

Herold had buffalo luck this morning, coming across two breeding herds; one on Mali, and the other further south on Vielmeter. With my guests coming to Motswari just to photograph leopard, I wasn’t responding to most of the other sightings being called in. This meant that the afternoon was relatively quiet as we searched for the elusive spotted cat. We knew that a male leopard had been seen on Kings, and therefore decided to stay in the South so that once the southern stations had finished with the sighting, we might hopefully get a quick view. While Herold, Marka and Shaddy got great views of breeding herds of buffalo and elephant, I enjoyed some good birding and two Daghaboys resting up in a mud wallow.

Just as the sun went down, we were called across to the leopard sighting and managed to watch him for a little while as he attempted to stalk some impala. Because he was hunting, we switched off the spot light and left him … I hope he managed to catch himself some dinner! It was very late by the time we left the leopard and had to rush back in time for dinner, but did pass through a breeding herd of buffalo on Western Cutline en route home.

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