Sunday, 27 May 2012

25th May – Friday Fatigue

Photo of the Day
Elephant herd rushing to water in the late morning

Morning Drive

(Chad, Shadrack, Herold and Grant)

4 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Vielmetter, Mangawaan Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Mvubu Crossing

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Mbali River Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Klipgat Crossing

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Peru, Mangwa Clearing

2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Camp Dam

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Shadrack, Herold and Grant)

4 x lions (Mafikizolo Pride) – Vielmetter, Mangawaan Rd

1 x leopard (Nthombi female) – Vielmetter, Elephant Dam Rd

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Western Sharalumi

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Vielmetter, Mangawaan Rd

1 x elephant bull – Java, Airstrip

Daily Synopsis

Apologies for the delay in getting these posts up, but a combination of being a tad busy and a tad frustrated with slow internet!  But here is a recap of the weekend, although, with my memory, im sure I’m going to miss out on a few things!

Immediately as we left camp, we had a small herd of giraffes near the soccer field, including a small calf that is new to our area, and hopefully will hang around for a bit.

Giraffes at sunrise

Having photographers, I started out very slowly on Friday morning, stopping to spend time with a herd of impalas on the airstrip in some lovely light as the sun rose to warm us up, although, admittedly, it was a rather pleasant temperature out. 

Early morning impalas

It is always enjoyable to spend time watching impalas, especially the male impalas at this time of year that are far from tolerant of the other males in his territory, but the herd eventually moved of and so did we.

Always good photographic subjects in good light!

Around Argyle Dam, we had our hippos chilling in the water, some waterbuck and a nice herd of zebras on Piva Plains, that again absorbed our interest in the golden morning sun.

Hippos and zebras

Another herd of waterbuck and zebras were feeding in the woodlands at the southern end of the plains, but we chose to rather head towards Mbali Dam where Makepisi male leopard had been found; but sadly, his general direction of movement didn’t fill me with much hope as he headed towards the river, and before I could even get excited about the prospect of seeing this guy, he vanished and we decided to stop for coffee in Mvubu Crossing with Grant; although an immaure malachite kingfisher did delay our coffee a bit!

Malachite kingfisher and waterbucks at Mvubu Crossing

We had no sooner packed up when a herd of elephants came running down into the crossing and straight to the water!  It was a fair sized herd with several calves, but we left them as after they had finished drinking, as they were clearly not the only herd in the area.

Elephant herd at Mbali Dam

Just outside the crossing, we found a troop of baboons, and one female was extremely relaxed – by our standards anyway – and we spent a good deal of time watching her feeding on old marula fruits about 15m from us; this is very unlike baboons in our area, and it allowed me my first decent baboon photos in over 5 years here!

Female baboon having a meal

There were also a load of babies playing about, but it was the relaxed female looking for fruit that still got most of our attention.

Sorry, but i dont get to photograph baboons much here!
A little further along, we had another big herd of elephants drinking in the riverbed, and while some moved off, we climbed out the car and went and sat on some rocks along the waters edge and watched them feeding and playing in the sand – it is always special sitting in the open watching elephants that pay absolutely no attention to you!


Photographing elephants in the Nhlaralumi

The morning was wearing on, and we continued our search for Makepisi, but had no luck – we only saw another big herd of elephants in – you guessed it – the Nhlaralumi riverbed, but besides a few more impalas and a warthog, there was not much to write home about.

Elephants and waterbuck along the Nhlaralumi

Herold and Difference did well to track down the Mafikizolo Pride, but there was not much else about today.

The afternoon was set up nicely, and we headed south hoping to get lucky with the lions and even Nthombi and her cub that had been seen late in the morning near the lions.

I went via Scholtz, but it was dreadfully quiet – a brown snake eagle and a handful of impalas, but nothing else.  Fortunately, Nthombi had been found earlier, and it made the quite trip worth it, and we arrived to find her resting high up in a marula tree, but she was in no mood to do anything for us, and she barely even opened her eyes for us!  Still, even a sleeping leopard is a thing of beauty and after enjoying our time with her, we moved towards Sweetwater Pan for a drink, bypassing impalas and kudu on the way.

Brown snake eagle and a sleepy Nthombi

Hoping to have timed our arrival at the lions perfectly, Grant and I were a bit disappointed to find a great deal of inactivity amongst the fat bellied lions!  The female was awake and one young male momentarily lifted his head, but, like Nthombi, they were clearly in no mood to play along today, as all our animals had obviously had a long, busy week!

Waiting for sunset to go see the lions awake...a pity they didnt feel like bieng awake!

Heading home to camp, I jokingly asked Jacky to find us a hyena, and about 5 minutes later he did just that. Easy.
Jacky's hyena

Carrying on, I then asked for a civet – something that we honestly don’t see that often.  Scrub hares, impalas and a herd of wildebeest later, Jacky found the civet for us. Easy.
Jacky's civet

I then asked him for a male leopard.

Ten minutes later, a pair of eyes lit up in the middle of the road, and I was just about to get super excited thinking that he had miraculously found a leopard, but it turned out to be another civet – oh well, I guess two out of three isn’t that bad!!!

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