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Home of leopards
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As we settled back into bush life this week, we continued to enjoy tracking our feline friends, but also spent time with many of the smaller animals. Birds are abundant at this time of year, and the Marula fruits are attracting animals from elephants to insects. The rain continues to hold off, giving us hot but beautiful, still weather. Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Not something you'd expect to see in the African bushveld necessarily! This well-camouflaged crab hiding on the side of a road was a great spot by one of our camp managers. After the flooding, we have had lots of water everywhere, so the aquatic creatures have been seen in strange places!
A flock of White-faced ducks stands at Tsalala Pan. These birds not only look beautiful but have a melodious, whistling call.
We saw quite a bit of the Maxabene 3:2 Young Male this week. Here he was on his way to hunting some impala. He crouched down and was well hidden, but as the impala walked towards him unknowingly, the monkeys spotted him and bellowed alarms, giving him away.
The next day we saw him perched beautifully on this termite mound. He had obviously not been successful in hunting, and was using the elevation to spot prey.
With all the lush green summer vegetation around, it was a real treat to be able to view him out in the open.
After James Hobson's post on the beautiful summer birds of Londolozi, I felt inspired to capture a few of my own! This is a European bee-eater, perched on an Acacia branch waiting for approaching insects.
Another summer visitor we often hear calling, but rarely sits still long enough for a photo. I had never noticed the green shine of the Jacobin cuckoo's feathers until we came across this rather relaxed individual.
A young impala 'stots', demonstrating the species' athleticism. Quite often, particularly before the heat settles in, young impala and other antelope can be seen frolicking, unknowingly increasing their fitness levels.
Nearby, a few wildebeest calves also cavorted in the morning sun. Little did they know that the Vomba Female was lurking in the treeline nearby.
Eventually she came out of the bushes, staring at the impala and wildebeest gathered on the plains. They did not see her, and as she slunk back into the thicket, we thought maybe it would be her lucky day for a kill. It does appear to us that she might still have her cubs, as she goes back and forth from the river often, and is still showing signs of nursing!
Just when a predator like the Vomba Female thinks it's in the clear for a good hunt, there's always something around to potentially ruin it! In this case, two hyena suddenly appeared, and followed the hungry leopard, hoping they could benefit from her imminent kill. Of course, this caused her to give up hunting for the morning, as all her effort would have surely been wasted if the hyenas were close by.
A Bataleur eagle flies past, checking the ground carefully for a meal. These birds often scavenge, and their low-flying ability often means they are one of the first birds to find a carcass.
This was an interesting sighting. A young elephant bull had discovered an old rhino skull and carried it in his mouth for a while, clearly curious.
One of the Sparta lionesses gets an unappreciated tap from her sister. The Pride of five, plus 2 cubs, have been spending lots of time on Londolozi. Quite often they are seen separately as the 3 younger lionesses, and the two older with their cubs.
A young Yellow-billed hornbill hides away amongst the safe haven of acacia thorns.
The sun tries to break through the threatening rain clouds as the large herd of buffalo grazes underneath.
The Marthly Male walks across Maddie's Dam wall, stopping occasionally to mark his territory. Since the floods he has been seen south of the river frequently.
The following day, the Marthly Male was found having killed a large warthog mid-day. He had absolutely stuffed himself and was lying panting in some damp, cool sand in a drainage line. He had eaten as much as he could, but seemed to know that his prize was too heavy to try and hoist into a tree nearby. Indeed, when a hyena came along later, the Marthly Male looked unfazed as his kill was stolen.
The Marthly Male drinks from a nearby pool of water. After a big meal, predators need to drink lots of water to help them digest.
Apparently collecting nesting materials, a male Saddle-billed stork gets ready for takeoff. We were really excited to see the pair setting up a nest on Londolozi!
Who says the large groups (or 'implausibilities') of wildebeest are only in East Africa? There seems to be a gathering around our airstrip recently - 112 of them were counted all together!
While seeing a predator drink is an exciting moment in the bush, especially for photographers, I felt a bit guilty just passing by this millipede refreshing itself at a puddle in the road. Sometimes we pay too much attention to the 'big' animals... I couldn't help myself!
A pair of Knob-billed ducks relaxes at Winnis' Wallows.
This time of year, there are Golden orb spiders everywhere... and their webs! It is difficult to walk (or drive) through the bush without getting the sticky silk on you, and clearly it's an issue for the animals as well!
A shy bird, this Grey-headed bush shrike stood still just long enough for a photo - the first I've ever been able to get of the species we hear so often calling.
Not even vertical stripes can help this very pregnant zebra mare appear slimmer! There are quite a few foals around at the moment, and apparently several more on the way.
With the unpredictable summer weather, we get a wide array of stunning sunsets at this time of year. This one was definitely the most 'pink' I have seen.
Another beautiful bird though luckily not a migrant! We get to see White-fronted bee-eaters year-round, although exactly a common bird to come across.
The Camp Pan Male walks down the road in the late morning light. As we saw last week, again here he was hunting well into the hot morning. Unfortunately he missed killing an impala soon after, but no doubt this experienced hunter will be successful again soon.
Some leopards seem to give us great photographic opportunities more than others, and for me, Camp Pan is one of them. Of course it helps when they stare into the light on a sunny morning!