The first Week in Pictures for 2018… What a treat! The infamous New Years Eve party was a good attempt at keeping some of us from getting up early, but it did not stop the animals from continuing with their daily routine… And what a stunner of a day the 1st of January 2018 was. The large storm on the final day of 2017 washed away everything that needed to be, and provided a fresh canvas for us to begin the new year. Literally… The tracks were clear as anything on the dirt roads out in the bush; the birds were singing; and the skies were blue.
Speaking of new beginnings, the four Birmingham male lions have continued to patrol through large tracts of land, venturing further south and further west, well into the territory of other male coalitions. It’s a matter of time before the current dominant male lions (such as the Majingilane) in these areas encounter the new arrivals. Wild dogs have been providing some entertainment, with two packs being found simultaneously on one morning, both of which flushed out and treed a leopard in different areas! The Tsalala pride has been seen along the river on a number of occasions, but still seems unsure of whether they should rejoin as a pride or not, with the older tailed Tsalala lioness frequently being seen alone.
Here’s to a wonderful year of TWIPs.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
One of the last, stormy evenings of 2017. A zebra walks past as the sun pops out from behind the clouds. f4,5, 1/500s, ISO800.
A Birmingham male lion gazes in our direction as the morning light catches his face. This coalition of four brothers is being viewed more and more often on Londolozi, making for some exciting game drives. Expect to see a lot more of them in 2018… f6,3, 1/2000. ISO500.
Another sighting of a Birmingham male. This individual was calling continuously all evening. One of his brothers was found at the same time on the opposite end of the reserve, also calling. They met up over night, travelling several miles together. f4,5, 1/250, ISO1600.
It never gets old… The beautiful lilac breasted roller. Normally they fly away before you manage to lift your camera. This particular individual was so hot that it wanted to stay in the shade. Notice how its wings are slightly ajar, allowing the breeze to pass over its chest. f5,0, 1/5000s, ISO800.
A rather large hippo bull yawns, revealing its massive tusks in a threat display towards us. This individual put on quite an elaborate performance, throwing its head right back and then rolling right over onto its back. f5,6, 1/320s, ISO640.
The Tamboti female leopard walking straight toward the vehicle while on a territorial patrol. Leopards have to mark their territory a bit more frequently than normal during the wet season as their scent is washed away by rain on a regular basis. f4,5, 1/160s, ISO1250.
The Tamboti female inhabited the south-eastern sections of Londolozi, having a large part of her territory along the Maxabene Riverbed.
An elephant walks with its trunk held high. This elephant was hurriedly approaching a waterhole with the rest of its herd, all of which held their trunks raised into the air when they got scent of the fresh water. f4,5, 1/2500, ISO800.
The Inyathini male leopard jumps into the air to avoid being caught by the sharp claws of the Mashaba young female. This pair was found mating for several days,, travelling great distances side by side this week. Maybe 2018 will be the year for the Mashaba young female to have her first litter of cubs. f5,0, 1/500s, ISO800.
Another leopard who originated in the Kruger National Park, he has established a large territory in the south eastern areas of Londolozi.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
A crash of four rhino quench their thirst just before sunset. f5,0, 1/40s, ISO1000.
We bumped into a pack of nine wild dogs near the river early one morning. It seemed as though they had eaten already as one dog had an impala leg in its mouth, while some others were covered in blood. However, they soon set off again, trying to flush antelope out of the thickets. Out of nowhere, they flushed a female leopard out who promptly ran up the closest tree! f5,0, 1/640, ISO800.
The Nhlanguleni female sleeps in a thicket shortly after being treed by the pack of wild dogs from the previous image. We were happy to see that she still has suckle marks, indicating that her cub, which has only been seen once, is most likely still alive! f5,6, 1/1000s, ISO800.
Initially skittish she spent a lot of time in the Sand River, now relaxed she makes up the majority of leopard viewing west of camp.
A martial eagle feeds off a monitor lizard. These huge birds are renowned for killing these massive lizards. This individual watched us carefully before it continued to feed. f5,6, 1/2000, ISO800.
An Egyptian goose drinks water from a waterhole while its goslings do the same. Egyptian geese will have as many as 20 goslings, many of which fall victim to predation, with only a handful reaching adulthood. f5,6, 1/500s, ISO800.
A young wildebeest calf walks toward its mother before attempting to nurse. Note how the umbilical cord is still attached, indicating that it is only a few weeks of age, if that. Just like impala, wildebeest have a set breeding season whereby calves are born soon after the first summer rains. This allows the youngsters to feed off all the fresh grass shoots, and the simultaneous birthing means the predators are not able to eat all the calves; some at least will make it through to the next season. f5,6, 1/1000s, ISO800.
A stare from the Tamboti female as she sits on top of a termite mound scanning the landscape… f5,6, 1/500s, ISO800.
A new year is for new beginnings! This small zebra foal would not leave its mother’s side. The backlighting provided for a great black and white photo opportunity, illuminating the manes of the zebras. f5,0, 1/2500, ISO400.