Leopards and elephants certainly seem to be the theme this week, with the giant pachyderms being seen more and more frequently feeding on the by-now abundant marula fruits up on the crests, and the leopards spending more time up on those same crests are sometimes up in those same marula trees. The long grass of summer provides adequate cover for hunting where in winter the leopards would be exposed, so their activities aren’t as confined to the river thickets and drainage lines as they normally would be.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The ultimate combo. It’s amazing to see how unconcerned either species is with the other’s presence, although when you consider that neither is a threat to the other it makes perfect sense. The Nkoveni female and an elephant bull share the space.
Some of the Ntsevu cubs on a fallen marula tree. Young lions act more like leopards than the adults, climbing up any object they come across. Their lighter frames make it a lot easier for them to scramble up, and they don’t have to conserve energy for hunting like the adults.
The Nkoveni female has been featuring prominently this week, which is understandable, as her small territory encompasses the Londolozi camps, and she tends to favour certain parts of it over others, focusing her movements in one area for a few days before moving on. Here she sits up after drinking at one of the local pans.
In photography, the softer the light towards evening the better, as you don’t have to deal with as much contrast between light and shadow as you do earlier in the day (assuming the sun is out). The saliva on the chin of the Hosana male indicates that almost certainly another leopard is nearby. It was the Anderson male.
A magnificent elephant bull slowly plods towards a woodland thicket. Elephants are favouring grass as a food source at this time of year, as it is thick and soft and rich in nutrients. But when the heat of the day descends, they usually do the smart thing and make for the shade.
One of the hyena cubs at the local den. Many people have a mistaken impression of hyenas from the way they are portrayed in popular fiction, but half an hour at a den-site with cubs like this one will change anyone’s mind.
A yellow-billed hornbill makes short work of a large bug. Is it a locust? What do you think? Most of the hornbills are nesting at this time of year, and simply sitting and watching where an individual carrying food lands can lead you to a nest, where it is delightful watching the adults feed their chicks.
The working tusk of an elephant bull. One can see how the tip is slightly worn away, indicating that this elephant favours his right hand side to break branches do all the other things a tusk is used for.
Panning; a simple technique that can turn a relatively mundane scene into one of opportunity. The slower an animal is moving, the slower your shutter speed needs to be to accentuate movement, which means less chance of getting a good shot, but the gamble is all part of the fun.
The Nkoveni female yet again, this time on the receiving end of a quick pounce by her cub.
Young leopards are a treat to spend time with, as they have a highly exploratory nature. The Nkoveni female’s cub was chasing doves up in this marula tree, and I decided to switch to a slow shutter speed to highlight her rapid descent.
Two bulls lock tusks and trunks in a play-fight. The bull on the right was considerably bigger, so this altercation was only ever going to end one way, hence its playful nature. It would be very unlikely that two bulls of such different sizes would enter into a serious contest.
The rain and the heat combined to bring this beautiful African Rock Python out from wherever it had been spending its time. The termites that were in abundance this night were bringing out bigger things to feed on them, which in turn were bringing out the serpents…
There seem to be a surplus of bulls on the reserve at the moment; maybe all the cows are in oestrus, who knows? This one stopped only long enough to cover his entire body in mud before moving on across the crests.
Dramatic cloud formations and colours hint of storms to come…