Tuesday, 20 March 2012

19 March - Leopard Cub!

Photo of the Day
Morning Drive
(Grant & Andrea)

Leopard (Rockfig Jnr & Cub) / Vielmeter – Bushwillow Way
Elephant (Breeding herd) / Vielmeter – Molongo Road
Wild Dog (Pack of 18) / Tanda Thula – Machaton Dam

Afternoon Drive

Elephant (Kambaku) / Motswari – Motswari airstrip
Leopard (Makepisi & Brother) / Java – Confluence crossing

The morning started out incredibly quiet to the point of concern. You know things are tough when tree squirrels are your only point of conversation! It was understandable then that I was ecstatic to find a bushbuck. Only after reviewing the photographs later however, did I notice the tiny butterflies resting on the bushbuck’s eyelids, obviously enjoying the moisture. Being the shy animals bushbuck are, she slowly moved off. 

Continuing along, Johannes then called in Rockfig Jnr very far away. Knowing this could be my only chance of a sighting for the morning, I headed in Vielmeter direction. I had to hurry as she was mobile, and we bounced along until coming to bushwillow way. As I pulled into the sighting, her cub took fright and bolted with mother after her. It took a while to relocate and when we finaly did, all we could see was grass. Luckily the cub popped it’s head out for a while 5 seconds and I snapped away. The cub has a 2:3 spot pattern and it was an honour to see it, even though it was for so short. The little one does seem slowly getting used to vehicles so hopefully we will be getting better views soon. Not wanting to push her too much, we pulled out of the sighting as there was still quite a line up. 

Wild Dogs were then called in on Tanda Tula property and we had been invited on. I knew I was going to be terrible late back to the lodge, but a pack of 18? How could I resist? The pack was on the opposite side of Machaton Dam, and were very interested in the catfish who kept surfacing. It was a scenic sighting as we could see the entire pack, with their reflections in the water. The pack soon moved off and we unfortunately could not follow in that property, and also had quite a journey back to camp. Feeling satisfied with some good sightings, we bumped and bounced back home for a much deserved breakfast (especially since we had sacrificed a drinks stop for the dogs!). 

The afternoon started with a bull elephant on the airstrip. My guests had viewed him earlier as he fed and drank in front of camp so we did not stay too long. It was a very warm afternoon, and the bush seemed quiet with animals taking to the shade and hiding. 

We headed towards confluence crossing and surprised a male leopard drinking at a little pan. Initially we thought it was Machaton male as he had been seen nearby the day before. However, one of my guests suddenly exclaimed that there were two leopard! Sure enough, lying in the grass was a second leopard. It was Makepisi and his brother who were lazily enjoying the afternoon shade. We watched them for quite a while and also found a dead tortoise nearby which the two brothers have a habit of catching, even though they cannot eat much.

After a wonderful sighting we decided it was time for sundowners so we headed down into the dry riverbed. After a great drinks stop, with two hyenas skulking past we started off again, well at least tried to. It was a quiet drive back, with one shy chameleon peeking its head out.

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