Scrub Hares are pretty much a given on night drives. Seeing at least a couple is pretty much guaranteed as you head back to camp, and we’ve amused ourselves greatly in recent weeks by having competitions to see who can guess how many can be counted before arriving in the parking lot.

31 is the record so far (which was a spot-on guess by one of the vehicle’s occupants!), which most likely reflects the season; it’s green which means lush grass, which means food for the herbivorous hares. They tend not to do all that much though, and shining a bright spotlight on them as we return to base is the bush equivalent of a neon drive-through sign for a Verraux’s Eagle Owl to come and feast, so we invariably don’t spend much time with them.

There isn’t a picture of a hare in today’s TWIP, but I had a delicious chunk of a Lindt chocolate bunny after lunch and started thinking of easter and the hare association, so figured I’d pay them some homage.

But enough about hares for now. Enjoy this Week in Pictures…

Ingrid Dam Young Female Jt

The Ingrid Dam young female is being left for longer and longer periods by her mother. It’s quite astounding how relaxed this young leopard is, as she has probably been viewed no more than 20 times, maybe 30 at the most. Some individuals are just more comfortable with Land Rovers than others. f2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 1000

Img 0425

Dwarf mongooses are some of the smallest mammals we see regularly on Londolozi. Living in hierarchical family groups, with only a single breeding pair at any one time, they are often to be seen scurrying across the road, usually diving into cover at the approach of a vehicle. If you sit quietly for long enough though, they’ll invariably come out again. Photograph by Rob Jeffery. f5.6, 1/8002, ISO 320

Hyenas Jt

Spotted hyenas are well populated at the moment. The local clan has its members seen regularly, but in the last few months they’ve relocated to a new den-site which we have yet to discover. No doubt it is deep within a big block, but given that they move dens every few months or so, it’s likely that they’ll be using at least one of the old ones again before the year is out. 1/640s, f3.2, ISO 1250

Elephant Fish Eye 2 Jt

A well-tusked elephant bull in a typical lateral display. Many wild animals present themselves side-on to appear as large as possible to a potential danger. With his sizeable tusks, it really wasn’t necessary for him to do this; he was already pretty intimidating. This was shot with a fish-eye lens, which distorts depth; the elephant was much closer than he looks! f4, 1/1250s, ISO 800

Giraffe Nurse Jt

A young giraffe suckles from its mother while another youngster lies down in the background. Young giraffes are regularly kept close together in small creches. This allows the mothers to have slightly lower vigilance, given that there will be at least two of them watching out for danger. f2.8, 1/1250s, ISO 320

Guineafowl Silhouette Rj

The local guineafowl flock spends almost every night roosting in the dead trees in the middle of the waterhole just outside Varty camp. Sleeping in a tree with a natural water defence around it prevents predators like genets or african wild cats from accessing the tree. Photograph by Rob Jeffery. f6.3, 1/2000s, ISO 320

Hog Piglet Rj

The local warthog piglets are getting larger and larger as Summer draws to a close. Well, at least the survivors are. The litters of 4 or 5 piglets that are seen at the beginning of the season are invariably whittled down to 1 or 2 by winter, as they make a relatively easy meal for many predators. Photograph by Rob Jeffery. f5.6, 1/800s, ISO 2000

Hyena Tail Flick Jt

A spotted hyena gives a quick tail flick to rid itself of water as it exits a waterhole. Hyenas will regularly wade tight into waterholes, wetting themselves in an attempt to keep cool. f4.5, 1/800s, ISO 800

Cheetah Scent Mark Jt

The local male cheetah scent marks a prominent marula tree. This was the most fortuitous morning, as we had been talking about the possibility of seeing him in the area, even though he hadn’t been found for a good few days. We had stopped to look at some Barn Swallows when tracker Life Sibuyi spotted him walking through the open grasslands straight towards us. f3.2, 1/1250s, ISO 320

Anderson Leopard Drink Jt

The Anderson male slakes his thirst. He had robbed the Nanga female of her hoisted impala ewe kill only that morning, but sometime in the middle of the day one of the leopards must have dropped it, as there was no sign of the carcass; only a few full-bellied hyenas and the Anderson male sleeping in the shade. Not even a leopard as big as him would have been able to stand up to three or four hyenas. f2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 640

13a1392

The rock monitor is the largest lizard we find at Londolozi. Their skin colour makes them incredibly well camouflaged on the tree trunks that they are regularly to be seen on, but one wouldn’t expect such a colourful tongue in such a drab-looking lizard! The fork in the tongue allows the monitor to ‘taste’ the air, analyzing scent particles by means of a specialized structure called the vomeronasal organ on the roof of its mouth. Photograph by Rob Jeffery. f5.6, 1/320s, ISO 800

Elephant Calf Jt

Young elephants regularly play their intimidation cards too strongly. Squealing loudly, flapping their ears and swinging their still-rubbery trunks, they tend to look comical rather than scary. Fast forward 30 years and they will be big enough to be really frightening when doing the same thing. This little one I think was more confused about how to operate his trunk that he was interested in us. f. 2.8, 1/320s, ISO 1250

Marabou Stork Jt

One end of the good-looking stork spectrum. The bottom end. Not renowned for their good looks, marabou storks have only a very downy covering of feathers on their necks and heads, owing to their often dirty, scavenger lifestyle. Big neck pouches (not visible in this individual) don’t add much to their aesthetics, and serve both a thermoregulatory and possible display function. f4, 1/2000s, ISO 640

Yellow Billed Stork Jt

The other end of the spectrum; the rather better-looking yellow-billed stork. Only a couple of years ago these birds were a rarity at Londolozi, but owing to wildly fluctuating conditions during the drought and afterwards, their numbers have also fluctuated, and we now see them fairly regularly. f4, 1/2000s, ISO 640

Vine Snake Jt

For an incredibly well-camouflaged species, we have been enjoying what is a decent frequency of Vine snake sightings. We had been told that this individual was in this particular tree, but it still took us a while to find him. If you look up to the left of his head, you can see just how similar to a stick his body looks. f9, 1/320s, ISO 1250. Macro Lens

Elephant Bulls Jt1

Two elephant bulls enjoy a playful jousting session. Fights like this only rarely escalate into more violent confrontations, and then only when each protagonist things he has the upper hand, or at least is evenly matched with his opponent. If one clearly realises he is outmatched, he will most likely break off the conflict before it becomes too serious. f5, 1/800s, ISO 640

Ndzanzaeni Young Male Leopard Jt

The Ndzanzeni young male, still being seen near Mad Elephant Pan. He had been found in the morning by ranger Alfie Mathebula, and we were hoping to find him nearby that afternoon. While sitting with some rhinos that were drinking at the pan, we heard some francolins giving off a small alarm in the bushes about 200 metres away. Francolins are notoriously unreliable as indicators of large predators, but ranger Fin Lawlor was adamant that we should investigate. Driving into a dense block of red bushwillow thickets, we were thrilled to discover that Fin had made the right call, and there on a termite mound was the young male, as goofy-looking as ever. f3.2, 1/640s, ISO 1250

Birmingham Male Lion Jt

The Birmingham males are making more regular forays onto central Londolozi. With the threat of the Majingilane males steadily waning in the west, it seems likely that they will encroach more and more as 2018 goes on. f5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 800

About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills were well developed, and he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team as a result. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the photographic skills ...

View James's profile

7 Comments

on The Week in Pictures #327

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

Awesome pics this week. Love the young Ndzanzeni male and the rock monitor.

Joanne Wadsworth

Wonderful diversity of wildlife at Londolozi. Everyday can bring the new and unexpected.

Mike Ryan

Hi James we picked up the Anderson on the Nkorho Facebook page this week north east of you. Do you have an idea of the size of his territory as when we have been out looking we always went north west. Has he moved territory ? Has he ever been seen South of the river? We have still yet to see him so those that do it is a real privilege.

James Tyrrell

Mike as far as I know he hasn’t been sen south of the river. He’s been seen IN the river, close up against the northern bank, growling at the Flat Rock male, but I’m unaware of any incursions to the south. We’ve often seen leopards using natural barriers like the river as territorial boundaries, so we can presume that that’s what he/they are doing. His territory effectively encompasses about 3/4 of Marthly (the section of Londolozi north of the river), with only the eastern corner being occupied by the Senegal Bush Male.
He has certainly pushed south over the last year or so, but for now looks pretty established.
He has been seen about 1km west of Londolozi in Ottawa, but how far north of us he goes I can’t say for sure.
I’ll try find out…

Mike Ryan

Thanks James for the invites really appreciated. So how many females do you have that venture north of the river understanding that they will mate with more than one male. Would love to see a current map of you male and female leopards with overlaps thanks mike

James Tyrrell

HI Mike,

Sure thing, I’ll send you a .pdf.

Best,

James

Callum Evans

The shots of the ID Young Female, the cheetah and the Birmingham Males have to be my favourites this week!!!

Connect with Londolozi

Follow Us

Sign up for our Newsletters

One moment...
+
Add Profile