The Week in Pictures #169. Wow. That number just hit me. When ranger Talley Smith came up with the idea, I’m sure she did’t imagine that over three years later, and with 169 posts totalling probably in excess of 2500 photos, her brainchild would be alive and well. 2015 will mark the year in which we reach our 200th TWIP, and I’m sure we’ll have to cook up something exciting to mark the occasion. For now though, just let the weeks tick by as Londolozi’s inhabitants do their thing, and enjoy THIS week in Pictures…
Spread ears are designed to increase the already intimidating profile of an elephant. In this case the elephant was above us on a slope, further accentuating the size and our resolve to keep our distance.
Rather a macabre photo, but a very interesting find. The nest of a potter wasp broke off from behind some disused furniture that had been stored in the Londolozi staff area, revealing a treasure trove of stored spider carcasses, brought back to the nest to feed the wasp’s larvae.
A pair of Verraux’s eagle owls rest up in the boughs of a leadwood tree. They had just been harassed by a pair of Wahlberg’s eagles but settled down to sleep in the shade again after the eagles had moved off.
A Giant kingfisher – Londolozi’s largest kingfisher and one of it’s more vocal – launches into flight along the banks of the Sand River.
The Mhangeni pride. A phenomenal pride in that the females have successfully raised 9 out of an original 10 cubs through to sub-adulthood. The youngsters are steadily approaching the age at which they will become consistently involved with the hunting, and the pride will be forced to focus on larger game to provide enough food for themselves.
The 4:4 male who has been hanging around our Western boundary. We have not properly identified him yet as he his new to the area, but he has been mating regularly with the Mashaba female, and looks like he his here to stay.
The Camp Pan male. How long will he still be seen? It already looks like he has been permanently evicted from his territory, as he has been seen west of Londolozi’s borders, heading back towards the area in which he was born, while the Piva male patrols what was once Camp Pan’s domain. Here the Camp Pan male had stolen this impala lamb kill form a martial eagle. Older males like this scavenge just as much as they hunt, if not more so.
A wary elephant cow eyes out the potential threat from a crocodile basking on the banks of Vomba Dam. When examining the tracks of this crocodile after it and the elephants had moved off, we estimated its length to be easily in excess of 3 metres.
A hooked-tusk elephant cow leads her herd out of the woodlands in southern Londolozi.
Grabbing what he can, a wild dog from the pack that occasionally visits from the south, scurries off to finish his portion off before the rest of the pack comes to steal from him.
The Piva male, the new dominant male leopard in Londolozi’s central areas, relaxes in the cool shade of the Tugwaan riverbed.
Nick Kleer points out some stars to Graeme Gullacksen and Graeme Gullacksen. One can have an enormous amount of fun ‘painting with light’ once the sun has gone down. Long exposures leave one a lot of room to experiment with torches and flashes, and you can create wonderfully innovative shots. Watch out for a feature on painting with lights, coming soon…
The Nanga female balances precariously on a branch of a Milkberry tree. Her impala kill is visible just above her to the left, and she had just beat a retreat up into the branches, getting out of the way of a patrolling hyena below.
I love the yoga pose this Swainson’s Spurfowl has adopted while giving off his evening territorial call.
A rare sight these days, and Londolozi’s oldest female leopard, the Dudley Riverbank female is still alive and well. She is not seen often and is no longer able to hold down territory against the younger and stronger Tamboti female, but at 17 years of age is still looking in reasonable shape.
Photographed by James Tyrrell
We certainly do see other snakes, although it is only a fleeting glimpse as many of them are wary of other predators and don’t spend much time in the open.