Black Collared Barbet was the answer to this week’s mystery bird challenge, so congratulations to those who got it right.
To be fair, the two with their backs to the camera were juveniles, which made things a little harder.
The big news of the week was the Wild Dog pack moving their den.
The old den regularly featured afternoons or mornings of inactivity, when the parents were out hunting and the pups were safe in the hole, but two or three visits in a row with nothing stirring made us suspect very strongly that they had moved. We bumped into the male one morning and he ran a slightly different line than he normally would have to go to the old den, eventually disappearing at speed into a thicket.
A subsequent search on foot found the pack firmly settled at a new spot, with all ten pups alive and well.
The Ntsevu pride have been scarce this week, but the Styx pride have been around and the Tsalala lioness and her cub were viewed in perfect health in the Manyelethi river.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
The one-eared female from the pack of two looks back towards her pups. A few hyenas were nosing about near the den on this morning, but they were quickly sent packing by the two adult dogs, who maintain a strict perimeter zone around the den.
The striking yellow bill and red head of the Yellow-billed stork are seen clearly here as this individual takes its first flight for the day.
At a certain time of the year when the water levels in the Sand River are just right you are able to get some unique eye-level shots of hippos in the water from the safety of the causeway.
The early morning winter sun keeps tree squirrels warm as they stretch themselves out on a Jackalberry tree.
This rhino calf was very wary of us as we encountered it in the middle of the road with its mother. It looks to be no more than 3 months old judging by there being no sign of its second horn developing just yet.
The Finfoot female is silhouetted against the rising sun as she rests in a Knobthorn tree with an impala kill that she had made the previous day.
Same leopard, same position, same sighting, just from the reverse angle, bathed in morning sun.
Full moon over Londolozi.
This particular hippo makes a habit of performing these barrel rolls every evening. The waterhole he resides in is very close to the original Wild dog den (and not far from the new one), so if one is lucky it’s possible to watch his antics and then nip to the den to watch the pups before the light fades for the evening.
Head Ranger James Souchon, on the lookout for something…
The Wild Dog pups are getting their full adult colouration now, and are looking like miniature versions of their parents.
The Styx pride spent a couple of days trailing a large herd of buffalo, but didn’t manage to take one down. We tracked them through the Sand River one morning, and this was the point where they crossed, with their tracks clearly outlined in the damp sand.
Two Egyptian Goslings race after their parents.This photo didn’t come out quite as clearly as I’d hoped, but the blur still gives on the sense of their movement.
The White Dam male inhabits the south-western grasslands and is not often seen. Circling vultures had made him aware of this buffalo carcass, and he was found late on evening after the Lockdown Habitat team had been burning a firebreak, as evidenced by the scorched grass.
The rut is pretty much over for this year, but it won’t affect this young male, who will still have to wait another four years probably before he is big enough to fight for mating rights to the females.
More great news this week was the discovery of the Mashaba female leopard alive and well, after no sightings had been had of her for over 6 weeks.