You know it’s been a great few days when you have to scratch your head and really think in order to work out which sighting happened on which day. It all starts to blend seamlessly together after awhile, until it seems like a continuous highlights reel is looping.
That tends to be the standard pace of things here, and now that the rains are upon us it’s become even more so, as the bigger gaps that we find during winter are now being filled by a hundred and one smaller creatures and plants and events that define this change of season we are undergoing.
As well as a change in colour you will start noticing a change in characters going forward, with a lot more of Londoloi’s smaller inhabitants starting to take centre stage.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Buffalo have been popping up all over the place. It’s a funny thing to say when talking about a herd of a couple of hundred bovines, but we’ve been seeing herds in places we usually don’t which is always a welcome surprise. This bull’s senior status is evident in the worn fur on his face.
I know African Hawk Eagles have featured in a number of TWIPs of late, but for some reason I always feel compelled to try take a picture of one if I see it. It’s especially tempting when the bird is sitting right above you like this one was; it doesn’t often happen as the larger birds of prey tend to be quite shy, flying to a different tree if you approach.
On the subject of birds, this Fork-tailed Drongo nest was an exciting find, with its complement of three eggs. If the drongos had only waited a couple of weeks, the red-bush-willow they built the nest in would be foliated (you can already see the buds emerging), and the nest would have had far more cover. They’re pretty exposed because of the timing, so let’s hope luck is on their side.
Elephant calves tend to display with a lot more bravado if their mother is close by their side…
As soon as the mother wanders off however, all pretence at bravery from the calf goes out the window…
The Flat Rock male had stolen this kill from the Piccadilly female and her cub. Male leopards in this area obtain quite a high proportion of their food by kleptoparasitising kills off females, that is, appropriating kills that have already been made. They can get away with it by virtue of their larger size.
A female giant kingfisher, distinguishable by her rufous belly, not chest. Just remember it as males wear a shirt, females wear a skirt, describing where each sex has the rufous.
One of the local hippo pods at sunset. The rains have brought blessed relief to the hippo population; the river has risen substantially and there is far less pressure on space.
Spring and summer are about moody skies. This photograph of a female yellow-billed hornbill is nothing special, but I liked the green/blue/yellow combination brought on by the dark clouds.
The Ximungwe female feeds on some scraps she had managed to snatch back from the hyena that had just stolen her kill. She had dropped it out of the tree and the hyena had immediately grabbed it. We’ll be releasing the story of this sighting on our Instagram page soon…
An Nkuhuma lioness turns her paw up as she listens for the calls of her pride. She was walking around vocalising until late in the morning, eventually linking up with some of the other females and settling for the day.
The smallest cubs currently on Londolozi, the Mhangeni pair. They have even younger cousins – three of them apparently – that are being stashed in the Sand River close by, and we are eagerly awaiting our first viewing of them.
Whilst the cubs and two lionesses snoozed into the afternoon, two heads appeared over the skyline; two more Mhangeni females were joining from a nearby waterhole, shortly to be followed by the Othawa male.
Sunset means roosting time for most of Londolozi’s avian population, vultures included. Dead trees are generally favoured as the birds can land without worrying about getting their wings snagged in branches and twigs.
The XImungwe female in the same sighting as the above photograph with the hyena, before she dropped the kill. There’s a macabre element to this scene with the impala herd in the background, many of which are watching their former herd-mate being eaten only a couple of hundred metres away.