Friday, 30 March 2012

29 March - Taking Off!

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

Elephant (Kambaku) / Argyle – Crossing below Argyle Dam
Elephant (Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Morongo Road
Buffalo (Breeding Herd) / peru – Illegal Crossing
Buffalo (Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Buffalo Pan Access, Junction Hennies Road
Leopard (Makepisi male) / Peru – Mangwa Clearing

Afternoon Drive
(Marka, Shadrack & Andrea)

Lion (Solitary male) / Argyle – Woodpecker Road
Buffalo (Breeding Herd) / Argyle – Woodpecker
Elephant (3 Kambaku) / Argyle Road – Viool Dam

This morning, as I waited for guests on the veranda, a Grey Heron walked on the bank opposite camp. I tried to photograph and the light was so low that the shot came out like an abstract painting!

The drive started out well with a breeding herd of elephant close to Argyle Dam. There was an enormous bull elephant in musth slowly following the herd. As I made my way to join Herold in viewing the bull, a large hippo blocked our way as he stood in the road. We gave him quite a fright though, and as hippo do, he dashed quickly for the safety of the water. The local baboon troop was hanging out on Argyle Dam wall for their morning sun-tanning session. We then watched the male bull as he finished up drinking and made his way up the river road stopping on the way for a good back scratch on the steep riverbank. Seeing as though he was definitely in musth (and one large bull too) we kept a safe distance, but still got a great view of him.

We then went to follow up on the rest of the herd, which was quite close by. We found them slowly feeding in a westerly direction. One male got a bit excited and decided to give us a bit of a rev, but has not quite built up enough courage to give a real scare….just yet. Shadrack called in a herd of buffalo on Giraffe Kill, and seeing as though our sighting last night was so quick, I decided to respond before a drinks stop.  On the way we came across a herd of kudu drinking water – this was incredibly special as they are usually quite shy and hide in thickets, so to see a group out in the open was just beautiful. The buffalo were down in the riverbed so we could just peek through the riverine thicket. Some of the youngsters had quite a bit of energy and were playing with each other, while the adults slowly fed. Herold got lucky with responding to Makepisi who was still in a similar area to last night.

I started out the afternoon by visiting the lone male hippo in Xinatsi Dam, my guests promptly asked me to move on when the hippo released a rather large volume of gas. We then checked Sohebele Plains where a single male Wildebeest sat resting, while two Tawny Eagles sat perched on a dead branch nearby.

By this point Sharack and Tiyani had managed to track a male lion who had killed a young buffalo. We went to view him and the audio was amazing of crunching bones with the smell of stomach contents. The sun had gone down, and the lion’s head was tucked away in branches so unfortunately the photos are not great. However, it was definitely a sensory sighting and I wish I could post sounds and smells on this blog! The drive home was very quiet, and all we found were some fresh lion tracks on Western Cutline, however it was too late to follow up so hopefully we get lucky again tomorrow!

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