Firstly, the Mystery Bird from yesterday.
Almost everyone got it right: the answer was an African Fish Eagle. Most large eagles have much darker or barred tails, so the all-white was distinctive.
The next Bird Challenge will be quite a bit harder.
This week has seen some amazing Ntsevu lion sightings, as they’ve been hunting wildebeest succesfully again. The Nkoveni female was also doing well for herself and her cub, killing a young kudu calf and then an impala the next night within twenty metres of her kudu kill.
Long grasses are starting to make photography a bit tricky, but fortunately enough of the big cats in particular have been seeking out the more open clearings and sodic sights, allowing unobstructed viewing.
A couple of rangers contributed this week, so Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
When you are so thirsty but haven’t mastered the use of your trunk, you improvise. An elephant calf dives head first into a waterhole to cool off and quench its thirst.
Two of the Ntsevu pride cubs engage in some light swatting. Fast forward five years and a swat from this young cub when fully grown could break a zebra’s neck!
Weavers. Industrious little birds. The master builders of the avian world, they are able to assemble the most intricately woven nests in less than a day, using only their beaks. This is a Village Weaver, identified by the black around its face extending only to the base of its bill, and not higher up the forehead.
Which way is up?
Seeing a pangolin is on most ardent safari goers’ bucket lists. This individual had actually been found by the Inyathini male leopard, but its instinctive tuck-and-roll defence, combined with hard armour scales, helped it escape relatively unscathed.
With her cub still resting on the ground, the Nkoveni female assesses what next move an approaching hyena might make.
I’m getting a bit mixed up with species here. This was initially thought to be a Red-veined Dropwing (Trithemis arteriosa), but they have a certain amount of black under the abdomen, which this one doesn’t. A Broad Scarlet (Crocothemis erythraea) would probably be the next best guess, but in this photo the dragonfly appears more orange than scarlet. It’s most likely a trick of the light that’s altering its colour, so Broad Scarlet is the answer we’re going for. Any suggested alternatives?
Another dragonfly (this one looked like a Common Tigertail – Ictinogomphus ferox) wasn’t so lucky a little bit further across the river, and fell victim to this Green-backed Heron.
I don’t know if this necessarily counts as a river crossing, but this bushbuck’s feet were wet so I’m going to tick it. This young female was following her mother across the Causeway (it’s amazing how much can happen there in the space of 20 minutes), and walked very daintily across this shallow section to move into the next bed of thick reeds where she would feel less exposed.
The Nkoveni female leopard recently caught a kudu calf and hoisted it into a Marula tree. Capturing only the simple detail of tail and hooves tells the story.
Her cub, meanwhile, watches from a neighbouring Marula tree…
The bounty of summer migrants has kept birders on their toes as they flock in to feed on the abundance of insects (the birds, not the birders). A European Roller perches on a dead tree looking for its next meal. I won’t be too long until the migrants will be departing on their north-bound leg as the temperatures here start to drop and the food supplies run out.
An intimidating look as a hippo bull feeds towards us on a cool, overcast day. Cool weather allows for hippos to remain out of water for longer periods of time to maximize grazing potential.
One of the Ntsevu cubs strays a little too close to this Birmingham male. Despite the apparent ferocity in the snarl of the big male, these brutes of the lion world can be surprisingly gentle with young cubs.
A zebra calls after rolling in the dust. Dust bathing aids in removal of unwanted parasites and calling allows to maintain contact with the herd.
Having been spotted in a thicket, an Ntsevu lioness makes her way across an open clearing in full view of a herd of impala and wildebeest, with no further intention of hunting.