Only a few days until Christmas and the festive season is in full swing. Energy and excitement continues to build. It’s a time of abundance, a time of giving, social gatherings and over-indulgence in food! These actions seem to be seen around us in the African bush. Every day we witness changes to this picturesque landscape. The grass grows greener and taller, tree canopies fill with birds, flowers, fruit and leaves. Wildebeest, Impala, Warthog and many animals alike have begun giving birth to offspring. For Londolozi’s wildlife it’s also a time of abundance, gatherings and an over-indulgence in food.
There have been exciting events out in the bush over the last week. The Birmingham male lions have been pushing territory further south and well into the eastern section of Londolozi; these males have been roaring and mating with females of the Ntsevu pride. How will the Majingilane coalition react? Will they react at all? We witnessed a sad scene as one of the Tsalala sub-adult lionesses was killed by one of these Birmingham males, and then fed upon by hyenas and vultures. A very large hippo bull was killed in a fight with a second bull and provided incredible lion, hyena and vulture activity with many interactions. Leopards have been thriving off all the new-born antelope and it’s been a regular occurrence that impala lambs are found hoisted high into the tree tops.
We have yet to have a second sighting of the Nhlanguleni female’s cub, but we are keeping our fingers crossed…
For now, enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Wildebeest calves are one of the later arrivals in summer. At this age they are still wobbly on their legs and vulnerable to predation. Just like the impalas, by birthing all together over a short period ensures that at least some of the calves will survive through the season. f5.6, 1/1250, ISO 800
A single buffalo cow fell victim to lions unknown, but the Matshipiri male came slinking in in the late morning to feed on the carcass, possibly attracted by the vultures descending. The bones and scraps are picked off by a number of white-backed vultures and hyena. f5.6, 1/800, ISO 1600
The Tamboti female and her cub are doing well and have been the most viewed leopards on Londolozi this last week. A fallen over marula tree provides a great vantage point from which to look out for potential prey or danger. f5.6, 1/1600, ISO 640
The Tamboti female inhabited the south-eastern sections of Londolozi, having a large part of her territory along the Maxabene Riverbed.
A backlit Birmingham male walked through foreign ground. These male lions are investigating the eastern sections of Londolozi, frequently scent marking and mating with the Ntsevu lionesses. Backlighting adds an elepment of mystery to nighttime photography. f5.6, 1/160, ISO 2000
A village weaver displays below his newly built nest in hope of attracting a female. It will take this male anywhere from 9-15 hours to build such nest. f6.3, 1/640, ISO 1000, +2.0 EV
Zebra stallions engaged in combat. A first for me at Londolozi. These stallions will fight with one another, often inflicting serious injury with their dagger-like canines and brutally powerful kicks in the hope of securing a harem of females and asserting dominance. f5, 1/400, ISO 3200
One of the Tatowa female’s cubs enjoys a comfortable position on a fallen over tree while being watched by the safety of her mother. This is my first photograph of one of the healthy and fast growing cubs. f5.6, 1/800, ISO 500, +1.3 EV
The Tatowa female was one of a litter of three females born in early 2012 to the Ximpalapala female of the north.
The Nanga female lowers her body posture as she scans a herd of impala as to work out which one will be the easiest target. f5.6, 1/160, ISO 1000
The Nanga female was born to the Nyelethi 4:4 female in 2009 as part of a litter of three.
A cute, inquisitive hyena cub strolls over to investigate the clicking cameras in the back of the Land Rover. The local clan has once again moved den sites; their current site provides good photographic and viewing opportunities. f5.6, 1/800, ISO 800
An african wild dog relaxes after a failed hunting attempt. It is a rush of excitement chasing after these animals when on the hunt, as they can cover a lot of ground in a very short space of time. f.5.6, 1/640, ISO 640
An emotional scene. One of the Tsalala sub-adult lionesses was recently killed by a Birmingham male lion who wondered through uncharted territory. The deceased lioness was fed on by this hyena and, later in the day, vultures. f.10, 1/125, ISO 1250
A hippo creates a cloud of water droplets as it emerges for a fresh breath of air. The evening sunlight provides a golden hue of spray as the hippo exhales. f.5.6, 1/800, ISO 1000, +1 EV
The Tamboti female carefully strolls through a thicket of the trees from which she gets her name. The thicket lines provide a secretive approach when hunting impala on the fridges of the grass-filled crests. f.6.3, 1/400, ISO 800
A Klaas’s cuckoo with its beautiful emerald, iridescent sheen perches for a second, allowing a photographic opportunity. The bush is filled with migratory cuckoos at the moment, yet the Klaas’s cuckoo is one that sometimes remains in the area throughout the year. f.6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640
Atop a fallen over tree the Tamboti female snarls at an approaching hyena. Hyenas will often trail leopards in the hope of being led to a kill, and upon realising they have one following them, most leopards will break off any hunting attempt they may be engaged in, as they would be sure to lose the kill if they were to make one. f.5.6, 1/500, ISO 500
New additions to summer. Warthog piglets suckle from their mother. Warthogs are some of the later animals to give birth in summer and we are starting to see more families appearing in the bush around Londolozi. f 6.3, 1/125, ISO 1000
A back-lit silhouette of a silent hunter. The Tamboti female decends from a fallen over tree and begins her evening patrol. f 5, 1/200, ISO 2000
A dead hippo provided a huge amount of excitement with lots of feeding activity from lions, hyenas and vultures. A hyena looks up, over the diminishing ribs as to what danger might be approaching out of the darkness, as the rain begins to fall. f 5, 1/60, ISO 2500
Not happy with the presence of vultures feeding on the hippo carcass, a hyena chases them all away, snapping at their tails. f 5, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV
Hippos clash as golden sunlight hits the water on a warm summers evening. f5.6, 1/500, ISO 1000