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Today we present the third batch of our favourites from the camera trap survey. Variety was the name of the game here, and although there were multiple leopard shots captured (the aim of the survey), in this series we wanted to focus more on the unusual denizens of the reserve. The last picture of course, was one we simply couldn’t leave out. We’re sure you’ve seen it before…
Without further ado, let’s dive right in…
This is Ranger Jess Shillaw, learning the Londolozi roads during her training period. Our concern is that Jess was only meant to walk past this particular camera trap once during her week out there, so why is she going past it in two shots in the same direction? She was pretty adamant that she found her way around the reserve just fine (she does have the map in hand, after all), but the photos speak for themselves, and I think Jess might have been a little more lost than she suspected…
Despite looking rather nondescript, this is an incredibly rare mammal. It’s a Meller’s mongoose, a small, solitary member of that family that rangers who work here will be lucky to see once or twice in a decade! Google it and you’ll struggle to find a better picture of one than this, so elusive are they. Although the camera traps caught a picture of a leopard taking down an nyala (see end of post), the picture above is just as rare and special in its own way.
Honey badgers aren’t seen too often, and a photograph of one carrying its cub is practically unheard of. This is one of my favourite photos from the study, as it captures an incredibly intimate moment between mother and offspring. Photographers are desperate to capture a photo of a lion or leopard carrying its cub, but I don’t think anyone would ever hope to capture a honey badger doing the same, knowing how small the chances are.
One would have hoped that this kudu bull would be hunkered down for the night, minimising his movements so as to be able to listen for any approaching predators. Maybe the temptation to investigate this strange new object in his territory was just too much for him to resist…
One of Africa’s Secret 7; a serval. Another very rare cat of which sightings are few and far between, servals prefer rank grassland, and their nocturnal nature means most of their lives are conducted in secret. Ranger Nick Sims recently got a brief sighting of one during morning game drive, but it was running into long grass before he had a chance to lift his camera.
The world’s tallest animal was never going to fit in the frame of a camera trap set at ground level. This camera station was near a prominent pan about 50m behind it, so it’s fair to assume this giraffe (I’m guessing a bull from the slightly darker colouration) was on its way for a drink.
Some sort of rodent. My rodent identification has never been up to scratch, mainly because the little critters seldom sit still long enough for you to get a good look at them, but this one looks like a bushveld gerbil.
Looks like some sort of rhino playdate. White rhinos are more sociable than many people think, although mothers with small calves aren’t often seen in groups. I imagine that this meeting was quite brief, and each calf and mother pair simply went on their separate ways after this serendipitous moment right in front of the camera trap.
We’ve mentioned black-backed jackals in the previous camera trap posts, but this is the side-striped variety. Although these jackals are slightly bigger than their black-backed cousins, they are apparently out-competed when they meet face-to-face. Having never seen interspecific jackal confrontation, I can’t speak for the veracity of this statement, but I’m happy to accept it until I see otherwise. One can see a second camera-trap in the background; every station had two cameras placed, angled to cover a chosen point from two sides.
This is certainly an owl, but exactly what species I can’t say for sure. Going on size, plumage colour and head shape it is almost certainly either a Barn, Grass or Marsh Owl. Marsh owls I think are slightly darker overall with more uniform colour, which narrows it down to Grass or Barn. Since there are two Barn owls living above the deck at Varty Camp and I’ve ticked them on my bird list, but I’ve never seen a Grass owl, I’m going to choose to believe that this is the latter species, and hope that it’s out there still, waiting to be seen.
James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...