This week again I had the pleasure of spending time with several experienced and devoted photographers. Many had come to Londolozi in the hopes of photographing a leopard. Fortunately for us Mother Nature, as well as Freddy ‘Eagle Eyes’ Ngobeni, did not disappoint. We were treated to a variety of sightings of the Maxabene Female, the Vomba Young Female, the Dudley Riverbank 5:5 Male, the Marthly Male, and the Vomba Female, to name only a few! Otherwise we took some time to enjoy the remaining winter colours and light, sharing photography tips and embracing the bushveld. Enjoy this week in pictures…
The Vomba Young Female breathes heavily after taking down an impala. In the middle of the day, we stumbled across her with the carcass, having killed only moments before. The last thing we expected to see in the heat of the day!
The Vomba Young Female looks up to make sure the coast is clear while feeding on her impala kill later on that afternoon. After so many months of hunting small prey and getting it stolen by her father, the Camp Pan Male, it is wonderful to see this young leopard killing larger prey more frequently, and actually getting to enjoy it! However, on this day she faced another challenge: the kill seemed too heavy for her to hoist in the nearby marula tree. After attempting to carry it up, and falling back down several times, we left as night fell and she ravenously fed on as much as she could before the hyenas found her. Indeed, upon investigation the next morning, the hyenas had polished off the carcass - hopefully not before she could get her fill.
At one point, she tried to mask the evidence by burying the remnants before trying to hoist the carcass.
Something spooks the sunbathing hippos, causing them to crash into the water, as the oxpeckers scatter. It turned out to be only a passing nyala!
The Dudley Riverbank 5:5 Young Male walks in front of some wildebeest, who were clearly more interested in him than he was in them. His battle wounds from his fight with the Marthly Male seem to be getting better, and he made a territorial appearance this week in the eastern section of Londolozi, perhaps inching back in to reclaim lost ground.
A White rhino bull after having enjoyed a roll in the mud on one of the first hot spring days, cooling him down as well as helping with parasite control.
A Side-striped jackal peers back at us after having been stirred from a mid-afternoon nap. Despite their increasingly common occurrence on Londolozi, these shy creatures have proven difficult to photograph!
The Vomba Female hunts impala using a Marula tree as cover.
A Malachite kingfisher stares into the Sand River from his perch on a Phragmites reed. These striking birds are considered a rare find, and we were lucky enough this week to have one frequenting a river crossing point.
One of the Majingalane Males (Dark Mane/Sore Foot), and a Sparta Pride Lioness. We saw these two mating earlier in the week. His foot, with the injury to the pad of a toe previously shown in the Week in Pictures, seems to be almost healed, despite the fact that he still limps slightly.
The Maxabene Female walks down the road with a spring in her step. With a full belly, she had clearly eaten recently, and was patrolling her territory, scent-marking heavily. There had been another female in the area, the Tamboti Female, and Maxabene seemed to want to leave a clear message that this was her ground.
Some impalas stare and alarm at the Maxabene Female walking past, as she displays the white of her tail to indicate she is not interested in hunting them.
On a quiet afternoon in the open plains of southern Londolozi, a zebra stares at a young waterbuck bull passing by.
Two Little bee-eaters huddle in for warmth on a chilly morning. We are currently awaiting the return of the migratory bee-eater species for the summer, but we are lucky enough to have these colourful birds here all year round.
Framed by the golden reeds, the Vomba Young Female sits next to the Sand River. I included this photo this week at the risk of 'overkill' of this individual leopard... but sometimes it just seems that certain leopards present themselves in a good photographic opportunity more often than others! It has certainly seemed lately as though this female likes the camera!
Herds of buffalo and elephant blanket the landscape in the late afternoon light.
Flowering at the end of winter, Impala lillies provide a bright splash of colour to the dry and tawny bushveld.
The Vomba Female courts the Marthly Male. Female leopards are usually quite persistent in their attempts to get a male to mate, and this was no exception. She pestered the Marthly Male to the point of him actually growling and swinging his claws at her before finally giving in to her charm.
The Vomba Female and Marthly Male post mating, in an intense moment.