New life, new growth and new arrivals have been the theme for the last week. Ranger Andrea Sithole had the honour of calling in the first newborn Impala lamb a few days back and now most of us have seen at least one little lamb amongst the herds on Londolozi. With many more still to come in the next few weeks we look forward to watching the existing herds almost double in size. However, it does also mean the predators have many more opportunities to seize an easy meal as the impala lambs are incredibly vulnerable during the first couple of months of their lives. They are not just prey to leopards and lions; some of the smaller predators such as martial eagles, pythons and jackals will also benefit from the influx of the little lambs. Despite this, the synchronization of these impala births ensures that the species as a whole is more successful than if they were to give birth throughout the year.

The first big rains of summer drenched Londolozi about two weeks back and we have now started to see the reserve transform. The Sand River is flowing again in front of the lodges and there is new growth everywhere. The previously dry and dusty ridge crests now have a short layer of beautiful green grass that the grazing animals are making quick work of and the trees are casting more shade as their canopies continue to grow.

This last week has also seen the return of the Woodland Kingfishers that announced their arrival with their distinctive and unmistakable call that will soon become the permanent soundtrack of summer. These remarkable little birds that we are seeing here at Londolozi have just completed an epic migration from as far north as South Sudan. They fly at night and time their arrival with the beginning of summer hoping to prosper from better feeding and habitat conditions. They also breed here and so most of their calling is them trying to find a mate or defending their small territories. They will lay eggs with the aim of raising their chicks before the onset of winter next year when conditions become unfavourable and they need to fly back north again.

Enjoy This Week in Pictures…

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One of the first impala lambs of the season. We are still expecting many more in the weeks to come. 1/200 at f/5,0; ISO 400

 

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A pair of Woodlands Kingfishers after their migration back to Southern Africa this week. This pair could have flown down from as far as South Sudan. 1/640 at f/5,6; ISO 400

 

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Another effect of the recent rains is that tortoises, such as this Speke’s Hinged Tortoise, have become a lot more active. 1/500 at f/5,6; ISO 100

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A Western Stripe-Bellied Sand Snake peers over a mound in search of food. 1/500 at f/5,6; ISO 100

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The Xidulu female paused for a little bit atop a fallen Marula tree as she patrolled her territory not far from the Sand River. 1/60 at f/5,0; ISO 400

16
Xidulu 2:3 Female
2001 - present

The daughter of Sunsetbend female, is named Xidulu which means termite mound in Shangaan.

Xidulu 2:3 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
13 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
1 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
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A portion of the Mhangeni Pride stare at an approaching member of the pride as they rest in the Sand River. 1/250 at f/5,0; ISO 160

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A boisterous elephant calf chases after its mother who had just crossed the clearing ahead of her. 1/400 at f/5,0; ISO 400

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A lioness from the breakaway group of the Mhangeni pride smells the early morning air . 1/200 at f/5,6; ISO 400

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The granite boulders in the middle of the Sand River in the east of Londolozi have been a favourite spot for the Tsalala Pride in recent weeks. 1/250 at f/5,6; ISO 100

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A dramatic sunset with the Drakensberg mountains making for an impressive backdrop. 1/60 at f/16; ISO 100

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The Nhlanguleni female leaps into the upper reaches of a Marula Tree as darkness descends. 1/320 at f/4,5; ISO 100

Born to the Tutlwa female in early-mid 2011, the Nhlanguleni female spent her formative months (and years) in and around the Sand River.

Nhlanguleni 3:2 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
11 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
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A herd of elephant ambles across an open clearing with the promise of rain in the clouds above. 1/500 at f/4,5; ISO 200

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A Kudu Bull stands atop a termite mound to get a better vantage point of his surroundings. 1/640 at f/5,0; ISO 400

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Dust bathing is an important way for Elephants to cool down as well as protect their skin from the sun or any annoying insects such as ticks. This Elephant Bull shows us how it’s done. 1/1000 at f/5,0; ISO 400

Filed under Wildlife

About the Author

James Souchon

Field Guide

James started his guiding career at the world-renowned Phinda Game Reserve, spending four years learning about and showing guests the wonder of the incredibly rich biodiversity that the Mapuataland area of South Africa has to offer. Having always wanted to guide in the ...

More stories by James

17 Comments

on The Week in Pictures #259
    Guido,Dina says:

    hi James , fantastic pictures again ,.
    By the way did the weak 3 rd youngster of the hyena we have seen die or is she still alive??

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Dina and Guido, It was seen again a few days ago so it seems to be doing ok. I hope you are both well.

    Ange Wallace says:

    Awesome blog, James! I love waking up and checking out a little of what is going on WAY over there! Week in Pictures is my favourite. Thanks for sharing!!! Gorgeous shots.

    Greeting from Canada. Only a sciff of snow so far and a balmy -3C.

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Ange, Thanks very much. Good to hear from you! Please send my best to the rest of the family and I hope everyone is doing well.

    Sri says:

    Thanks. Absolutely love the posts. Keep them coming.

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Sri, will definitely do that! Glad you enjoy them.

    Bev Goodlace says:

    Wonderful to hear the news of Andrea’s sighting of the first Impala lamb of the season. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs – so looking forward to being there next weekend. Cannot wait.

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Bev, lots to look forward to! See you next weekend!

    Jill Larone says:

    Beautiful pictures James! The little Impala lamb is so cute — let’s hope he stays safe! It’s really great to see everything green and the Sand River flowing again and the animals starting to look healthier and less stressed.

    James Souchon says:

    Hi Jill, still hoping for some more rain but the bush is transforming daily.

    Francis Daisy janssen says:

    Just beautiful. Thank you

    James Souchon says:

    Thanks Francis

    MJ says:

    Love seeing the changes the summer brings to the bush! Thank you for sharing.

    James Souchon says:

    Hi MJ, the bush is becoming greener by the day!

    Al Kaiser says:

    Thanks James. Really enjoyed the photo of the Nhlanguleni female.

    James Souchon says:

    Thanks Al! Hopefully see you back here soon

    Rich Laburn says:

    Great set of pics and wonderful to see the Woodlands Kingfishers return!! What date do they typically return to Londolozi and for how long?

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