Monday, 16 July 2012

14th July – Family Reunion

Photo of the Day
Makepisi male watching his brother and mother

Morning Drive

(Chad, Grant, Herold and Andrea)

3 x rhinos

1 x rhino

1 x rhino

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Timbavati

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Airstrip

2 x elephant bulls – Motswari, Hanger Rd

2 x elephant bulls – Argyle, Mangova Rd

Afternoon Drive

(Chad, Grant, Herold and Andrea)

3 x leopards (Makpisi male, Shindzuti male and Klakisa female) – Peru, Mbali River Rd

1 x leopard (Machaton male) – Mbali, White Syringa

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Xinatsi Dam Rd North

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Motswari, Airstrip

1 x breeding herd of elephants – Per, Mvubu Crossing

1 x elephant bull – Mbali, Buffalo Kill

1 x elephant bull – Motswari, Camp

Daily Synopsis

Wow, sorry, im really way behind on these blogs, but will catch up tomorrow, I promise!

Saturday was a quiet morning for me, but an exceptionally exciting morning for the rest of the crew – Andrea, Grant and Herold joined the WildCon group and their guests as they went to microchip three rhinos in the southern Timbavati, but read more about that on Andrea’s blog post on this blog.
I was thus alone in the north and spent the first part of it trying to track down the six lions that had walked through camp last night as expected; after drinking at Marula Pan, they moved past elephant room (after breaking one of our path lanterns with a swipe of a paw) and carried on north; sadly we tracked them off the northern boundary into Ingwelala, just as some other guides tracked the two Ximpoko males into Ingwelala further to the west – once more having literally covered the entire length of our traversing area in one night.

I did enjoy a couple of elephant bulls around the northern areas, some steenbuck and impalas, as well as the hippos at Argyle Dam, but it was generally very quiet.

Elephant bull and steenbuck
I went to onto Mbali looking for the leopards that had been around there last night, but found very little except a nice spot for a cup of coffee; after which I planned to head south to see Rockfig Jnr and her cub on Kings – but as per my leopard luck of late, the two of them were lost and I had to alter my plans.  Luckily there were some impalas, zebras, giraffes and kudus around on Java to keep us entertained, as well as a sighting of a pair of slender mongooses – the first time I have ever seen these solitary mongooses together.

Zebra, kudu, giraffe and slender mongoose
The afternoon saw us heading out with a few more vehicles; we started off well with two herds o elephants being found within 300m of camp, of which I got to see the one with the little injured calf that is doing very well.

Injured elephant calf doing great
Moving on, I was going to head down to the hyena den when Makepisi male leopard was found west of Mbali dam, so along with all the other Motswari stations, I headed in that direction, but took my time as I wanted the group to go first so I could enjoy the sighting without being rushed.  This seemd a good plan as I bumbled about and found some impala, a pair of mating water monitor lizards and a martial and tawny eagle perched in a dead tree.

Mating monitor lizards and martial and tawny eagles
Suddenly, my plan appeared to back-fire and Makepisi joined up with his shier brother Xindzuti and together they zig-zagged through the bush back towards the river.  The line up was dying down, but it was already too late for me, and as they approached the river, they joined their mother, Klakisa female, and together all three crossed the Nhlaralumi into Mbali and were gone – I managed about a 2 minute sighting of them as they crossed, but had no luck relocating them.  No surprises there!!!

Makepisi male disappearing
After giving up on the search (seeing some giraffe on the way), we had a drink and then headed back to camp.  Heading on the road, Petros told me he could smell popcorn – no, we weren’t at the movies, but rather this was a sure sign that a leopard had just urinated close bu.  Seeing tracks in the spotlight for a male leopard heading in the direction we were going, we followed up and a minute later found the leopard responsible; Machaton male!

He soon left the road and we had the odd flimpse, but had lost him when we decided to leave; then Stuart, one of my guests, said he heard something, so I switched off, and could hear the sounds of leopard growls not far off.  My immediate impression was that there were two leopards, and possibly a mating pair that had caused the sound heard by Stuart.

We entered the bush, and after three stops, the low growling eventually led us back to Machaton male, but he was alone and we followed him for a short while until he was lost in some thick mopane and we conceded defeat and headed back to camp; not the greatest leopard sightings ever, but a lovely experience, and always fun finding your own leopards!

Machaton male walking down the road
Maybe my luck will turn tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful pictures!!!!From Argentina !I feel that I'm there in the middle of the bush!