Monday, 2 April 2012

01 April - Wind in the Willows

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

Elephant (Skittish Breeding Herd) / Motswari - Xinatsi dam

Afternoon Drive
(Herold, Marka, Giyani & Andrea)

Buffalo (breeding herd) / Peru – Hippo Rocky Road
Lion (Lone Male) / Peru – Hippo Rocky Road
Lion (Xubasa Female) / Jaydee – Jaydee Pump House, Tshwala Road
Rhino (3)

Okay, so maybe not Willows, but the wind had been howling through the mopane trees all night, and continued to do so as we left the car park this morning. Wind never bodes well for game viewing as the animals are nervous and skittish with their senses being compromised. So it was not a surprise that the bush was incredible quiet this morning. I took time to stop at some of the smaller things; termites, orb-web spiders and birds.  On Sohebele Plains, a small herd of Waterbuck, Impala and the local lone Wildebeest stood huddled quite close to each other, each keeping an eye out for potential danger.
 




We then stopped at Argyle Dam to check on the new hippo mother and her calf. The calf was now fully in the water, popping its little head up every 40 seconds or so to take a breath. The mother helped out by hoisting her youngster every now and then. As we looped around we found another hippo who was out of the water taking advantage of the overcast weather to do some feeding. When it saw us, the hippo stopped, looking intently for a couple of minutes and then wandered off in the opposite direction. Other than a small herd of nervous Zebra and a lone female Kudu, the bush was quiet so hopefully things pick up a bit this afternoon.
 











The wind was still blowing by the time we set out for afternoon drive, however, the sun had also started to peek her head out for a bit which warmed us up a bit. First swinging by Xinatsi Dam, we found our local hippo in his usual spot. He gave us quite a show of yawns and tail flicking, clearly skeptical at why we were eyeing his dam so intently. Planning on heading towards Java side, I changed direction when Marka called in a small breeding herd of buffalo. As we were coming closer to the sighting, Marka called in to say he had found a male lion following behind the buffalo as they tend to do. We approached amongst thick mopane, but were able to view him nicely when he lay down in an open patch.
 





I then tried in vain to get to a rhino sighting although, as it so often happens, the rhino crossed over the boundary and I could not follow. Rather disappointed I headed to Viool Dam for a drinks stop. The rest of the evening was spent looping homewards via Buffalo Pan area. Hyenas were calling around and when we finally saw them, there was much competition between the clan, as one had some left over kill. We witnessed two hyena battling it out a little bit for the last scraps, whooping and cackling excitedly. I apologise for the blurred shot and although this image is not prize worthy, I thought I would add it in for it captures the hyena's haste.
 

The others managed to squeeze in a sighting of the white lion female as she began her nightly hunt. We were all quite spread out and snuck into camp just in time. All in all, a good afternoon.

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