Wednesday, 20 February 2013

18th February – What Leopard Crisis???

Photo of the Day
Another photo of the day by Rachel...this time of Rockfig Jnr
Morning Drive
(Chad, Peter and Andrea)
1 x leopard (Xindzuti male) – Argyle, Vyeboom Dam
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Buffalo Pan
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Long Rd

Afternoon Drive
(Chad, Andrea and Grant)
1 x leopard (Rockfig Jnr female) – Vielmetter, Back Nine’s East
1 x leopard (Machaton male) – Peru, Western Cutline
3 x rhinos
1 x rhino
1 x buffalo bull – Java, Crossing Below Java
4 x buffalo – Argyle, Western Sohebele
1 x elephant bull – Argyle, Vyeboom Dam
1 x elephant bull – Peru, Pan Rd

Daily Synopsis

With everyone having struggled for leopards the last few days, I wasn't holding my breath, but we all headed out in search anyway.  Andrea stayed up north on Argyle to see if Argyle Jnr and her youngsters had popped back in after going into Ingwelala; she had no luck with them but did find tracks for a male leopard that she helped to try and track down with some other guides without luck.

Peter went south and tried to help Marka track down Rockfig Jnr – Marka found her on foot but had no such joy in the vehicle.  After a lovely sunrise with impalas, wildebeest, waterbuck and some zebras, we went looking in the central regions. 


Hearing some guineafowls alarm-calling, we scouted the area with no luck, and Petros began following tracks for another male leopard around Mbali Dam...but as with the other trackers, it was not our day...maybe there was a leopard crises?

The morning was actually very quiet, but as we were making our way back to camp, it started picking up.  More impalas and a lone elephant bull in musthe kept us company before we continued back for breakfast. 

Crossing the Nhlaralumi, one of my guests spotted a leopard stalking across the sand in the distance, so we went closer – while I expected it to be Argyle Jnr’s boy optimistically stalking a waterbuck, it turned out to be Xindzuti!  We spent some nice time as he lay watching the waterbuck, but without cover, he had no chance.  We were already late, so left him after a while and went back to camp – Johannes had found fresh tracks for Argyle Jnr and the cubs coming back, so hopefully this will end the leopard “drought”.

I chose to go south to view some rhinos, and arriving there, we started seeing impalas, a couple of hyenas at the den (and while we heard the little cubs, we didn’t manage to see them) and some tracks for a leopard, but as it was in the area Marka had first seen tracks this morning, I assumed they were from can imagine the pleasant surprise we got when a couple hundred metres later we found Rockfig Jnr ambling down the road!

She was calling for her son, and we assumed maybe she had a kill somewhere...sadly she walked into the Machaton Riverbed and was lost before Andrea got to see her.

I did get to see three rhinos, and a little further down the road we found another large bull, but it was getting dark already, so we didn’t manage to get photos, but we did manage to enjoy a lovely sundowner before heading back to the lodge.

As always, Java was full of general game that we had to pass, but one animal we did spend a bit of time with was Machaton male leopard, the third and final leopard that we managed to find ourselves today!  What luck!  Even luckier was that Andrea was not far away, so I followed the big tom until she got closer and could enjoy a leopard sighting at that was it, Petros asked for leopards and he got them; cant wait to see what he asks for tomorrow!

That is a leopard, believe it or not!

1 comment:

  1. Nice leopard sightings at last Chad...
    Great photos as always.
    Keep up the good work ;-)