A collaboration TWIP this week, as we eagerly await the arrival of the first impala lambs. The first one is usually spotted in early November, but late October arrivals have happened before. Synchronized birthing with the onset of the rains means that a large number of the lambs make it through without falling prey to predators, and lush grazing and browsing at the start of summer provides ample food supply for the mothers who are producing milk.
Shortly after will come the wildebeest calves along with the warthogs piglets and in this area a whole flood of vervet monkey infants as well.
With a new migratory bird species being ticked off almost daily, every 24hrs has its change to be recorded, making this a fascinating and exciting time of year.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The Mashaba female and one of her three cubs. The fact that their mother is now taking them to kills has placed these cubs into the next dangerous phase of their lives; the possibility of other predators being attracted by the smell of a carcass. The cubs’ climbing skills have progressed far enough that they are able to escape danger most of the time, but they are still far from the adept climbers they will be when older. f5.6, 1/500s, ISO 200. Photograph by Pete Thorpe
The Tamboti female leaps to avoid a playful attack by her cub. Having lost her other cub a month or two ago, her interactions and play with her remaining offspring will go a long way towards helping it develop its stalk-and-pounce skills. f5.6, 1/2500s, ISO 640. Photograph by Pete Thorpe
One of the Tsalala Breakaway cubs stares at a giraffe up a nearby hill. Adult giraffes are generally far to big for all but the biggest prides to take on, and in this case the cub was merely displaying curiosity, even though one of the older lioness did make a stalking attempt. f5.6, 1/1000s, ISO640. Photograph by Pete Thorpe
Two hyenas watch a yellow billed stork at the far end of the pool they were sharing. While the stork was almost certainly looking for fish, the hyenas were merely entering the water to cool down. f5.6, 1/800s, ISO 640. Photograph by Pete Thorpe
The light fades on another day in the bush, while ranger John Mohaud and tracker Judas Ngomane look for a beautiful spot to serve sundowners to their guests. f5.6, 1/320s, ISO 800. Photograph by Pete Thorpe
Londolozi’s smallest bee-eater species, the little bee-eater. These beautiful birds can be seen all year round, unlike the carmine and European bee-eaters that have just started to return from northern climes for the summer. Photographing birds can be tricky, but fortunately little bee-eaters employ a hunting technique known as hawking, in which they swoop from a perch after prey and then usually return to that same perch to kill and eat whatever they have caught. This predictability makes it much easier to capture them on camera. Photograph by James Tyrrell
One of the most textured faces in the bush, that of a white rhino. With some rain already having fallen and the early grasses starting to flush, the white rhino have been favouring the shorter grass areas where the food is plentiful. f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 640. Photograph by Alex Jordan.
Three hyena cubs emerge from their den as their mothers approach to nurse them. With space underground being limited, the adult females will often spend the day sleeping near to the den, only making their way there as dusk settles to suckle the cubs before heading out on a night’s forage. f5.6, 1/200, ISO 800. Photograph by Alex Jordan
A giraffe bull reaches up to feed on a knobthorn tree in the sunrise. For the most part, bull giraffes feed upwards and cows lean forward and feed downwards. Although this isn’t set in stone, it can be a helpful way to try and sex them, and for the giraffes it helps lessen the competition for resources. f9, 1/40s, ISO 250. Photograph by Guy Brunskill.
The Tsalala Pride spend much of their time in the Sand River, where game is concentrated in the winter months. The large granite boulders offer them a warm resting place on the cloudy days. f5.6, 1/200, ISO 100. Photograph by Guy Brunskill
Even though the Mashaba female will lead her cubs to kills, they will all take turns to feed, unlike lion prides, who will feed all together. Leopards’ natures as solitary cats, along with the fact that their often isn’t enough space in the tree, often sees a lot of snarling back and forth while one feeds and the other(s) wait their turn. f8, 1/500, ISO 100. Photograph by Guy Brunskill.
Much like the hyenas in the earlier photo, wild dogs will often make use of waterholes to lie in to cool down. f6.3, 1/400s, ISO 800. Photograph by Guy Brunskill.
The October sun does its best to break through on a cloudy morning. f8, 1/800s, ISO 160. Photograph by James Tyrrell
A Land Rover sits to watch the Senegal Bush male leopard disappear into the thicket to the left of the vehicle. This male (also called the Kunyuma male) has been establishing himself in the North eastern corner of Londolozi, although is seldom seen to due the sparsity of roads in the area. f8, 1/250s, ISO 320. Photograph by James Tyrrell
This pack of 12 were in a playful mood after having fed on two impalas during the course of the morning. Using this waterhole to frolick in and drink from, they then moved into the shade to rest out the heat of the day. f3.5, 1/2500s, ISO 320. Photograph by James Tyrrell.
The red-billed queleas continue to enthral guests and staff alike as they descend to the Sand River each evening to drink and then roost in their thousands upon thousands. f16, 1/60s, ISO 2000.Photograph by James Tyrrell
A white rhino bull is silhouetted against the evening sky. With relatively poor digestive systems, white rhinos have to be active for a large part of their 24hr cycle during winter, when grazing is scarce. In the summer, with lush grass everywhere, they can afford to slow down a bit as everywhere they turn there is plenty to eat. Photograph by Guy Brunskill