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…
The daughter of Sunsetbend female, is named Xidulu which means termite mound in Shangaan.
Born to the Tutlwa female in early-mid 2011, the Nhlanguleni female spent her formative months (and years) in and around the Sand River.