It has been cold. The coldest morning this year in fact was recorded this very morning at 4.6 degrees Celsius. I know that for some of you from the colder regions of the world that temperature is nothing but when you are out before sunrise on the back of an open Land Rover searching for animals you definitely want to be wrapped up from head to toe, especially when the wind chill is lowering that temperature to below freezing! Luckily, with sightings that we have experienced this last week the cold becomes the last thing on your mind.
The coalition of the four Birmingham Male lions and the six Ntsevu lionesses continue to enthral us. This week they have been seen on regular occasions across the central parts of the reserve. They are not always all together and there has still been regular mating activity between some of the individuals. We are hoping that some of the females give birth soon and ponder the fate of the cubs that we know some of the other females have had but we are yet to see.
The Tamboti female and her daughter are still one of the more sought after sightings on Londolozi at the moment. We were lucky enough to sit with them for an entire morning as they chased and played with each other non-stop.
The Nkoveni female is busy raising a single six-week-old cub and is often seen hunting in the vicinity of her den site. Her cub has not been seen as much but we are hoping in the next few weeks she will start moving it away from the den and taking it to the kills she has made.
For now, enjoy this Week in Pictures..
A close-up view of the interesting looking Southern Red-Billed Hornbill and its impressive beak. This is a male, identified by the black on the lower mandible. Together with the Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbill, these are two species of bird that you are most likely to encounter on your game drives through Londolozi. 1/1600 at f/7,1; ISO 320
The African Harrier-Hawk has quite an interesting method of searching for food. We spent a couple of minutes watching this individual stick its head into holes and crevices in this tree and peel bark away with its beak as it searched for any invertebrates, insects or nestlings to prey on. 1/200 at f/5,6; ISO 100
The Tamboti Female pauses for awhile on top of a termite mound as she spent the morning hunting through the central parts of her territory. Her cub is well over a year old now, and will likely be approaching independence. 1/640 at f/5,6; ISO 100
The Tamboti female inhabited the south-eastern sections of Londolozi, having a large part of her territory along the Maxabene Riverbed.
We have had regular sightings of the four Birmingham males and there is a still been a fair amount of mating between this coalition and the lionesses of the Ntsevu Pride. On this particular morning this male was seen trailing behind two lionesses. 1/6400 at f/5,0; ISO 1250
A very distressed and alert herd of Impala look in the direction of the Nkoveni female who had just managed to catch one of them after a very patient wait. With a 6-week-old cub to feed it was a crucial meal for her. 1/640 at f/5,6; ISO 2000
After watching a herd of impala slowly move closer towards her for the better part of an hour the Nkoveni Female eventually made her move from the dense thicket she was hiding in and ambushed this ewe, which was probably significantly heavier than her. 1/320 at f/5,6; ISO 2000
A gorgeous female who is found to the east of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.
Two Ntsevu lionesses engage in a bit of play-fighting one morning in the south eastern parts of the the reserve. Some of these females have cubs, however we are yet to have any stable sightings of the litter(s). 1/3200 at f/5,0; ISO 2000
A lone Birmingham male listens intently to the sounds of the night. His brothers were not too far away and we heard him roaring a couple of times before heading off to go and find them. 1/100 at f/5,6; ISO 2000
When driving along the river one always needs a sharp eye to spot the beautifully coloured Malachite Kingfisher. They will sit for hours in the same place waiting to spot a small fish under the surface of the water for them to catch. 1/3200 at f/5,6; ISO 1250
Arguably one of the most exciting pair of leopards to find on Londolozi at the moment, the Tamboti female and her daughter often play for hours together and this morning was no exception. They used this dead fallen over tree as a jungle gym and the youngster proceeded to jump over her mother a few times as she rested. 1/1600 at F/5,O; ISO 1000
Often the only view of a Dwarf Mongoose is fleeting. They usually run for cover as soon as they are detected but if you wait for a few minutes at a comfortable distance outside a termite mound that they call home they will eventually pop their heads up out of their safe refuge. 1/3200 at f/5,6; ISO 4000
It’s only at about 3 months old when an elephant starts to grasp exactly how to use its trunk. Before that time when it comes to drinking they have to stick their mouth into the water and lap it up like most other animals do. It does make for a somewhat comical sight though. 1/1250 at f/5,0; ISO 1250
I made an attempt at using the panning technique with photography to try and capture this impala ram chasing another as rutting season is in full swing. The idea with panning is to try and get your subject’s head in focus while the rest of the image is blurred to show motion. It can be quite a tricky technique to master but with all the chasing of one another that Impalas have been up to they have been great subjects to practice on. 1/60 at f/8; ISO 2000