The week of the Woodland Kingfisher!
In 2019, our records state that the first one was seen on 16th November. This year, it was Thursday 19th November that the first sighting of the migratory bird was recorded. A few days later, but who’s counting? For us, this means that summer is officially here. The descending call of the woodland kingfisher will now fill the landscape for the next few months as more and more arrive, establish territories and begin to lay eggs and raise chicks.
On the animal front, four young cubs from the Ntsevu Pride were seen on several occasions, bringing much joy to all. The search for the Makomsava female and her cubs continues as their tracks send us in circles in the northern parts of Londolozi. Impala lambs made their way into the world last week and are appearing all over the place now.
Enjoy This Week in Pictures…
An Ntsevu lioness, her four young cubs and a sub-adult male from the previous litter of 2018 all greet each other before getting going one evening. Roars from the rest of the pride caught their attention, causing them to get up and head in a straight line in that direction.
A male saddle-billed stork wades through the shallow flowing water of the Sand River. The species is listed as endangered in South Africa, with fewer than 100 birds in the whole of the Kruger National Park. We are lucky to see them searching for food quite regularly in and around the Sand River.
Two white rhinos quench their thirst late one warm afternoon. These two sub-adults have paired together, living a nomadic lifestyle until they reach sexual maturity after which they will probably go their separate ways.
Tracker Rich Mtabine pulled off an amazing spot this week. The paw and tail of this female leopard were all that was visible from about 350 metres away, looking slightly into the sun. We drove closer to find the Nkuwa female lying very comfortably under the canopy of this marula. Clearly, a few months away from the bush had no impact on Rich’s keen eye for a leopard!
New life… An impala ewe looks on at her new lamb, taking its very first steps.
The Ntsevu pride wandering one by one down the middle of the Londolozi airstrip, being watched closely by a huge herd of impala. Animals have right of way…
A leopard tortoise crossing the road. For months and months over winter we don’t see these ancient reptiles. Come the summer rains and the flush of green thereafter, and these beautifully marked tortoises appear again and are seen scurrying all over the place. Interestingly, they are the only terrestrial tortoise that can swim as they are lacking a scute (part of the shell) above the head, enabling them to lift their head out of water.
There is nothing quite as beautiful as a leopard lying draped across the branch of a tree. There is also not much out here as relaxed as this leopard with all its limbs hanging on either side of the branch. The same sighting as the above picture of the Nkuwa female, from much further away.
A flap-necked chameleon making a dash from one bush to another. They have a wonderful habit of pushing their tail straight back then swaying back and forth with each step, giving themselves the appearance of a branch or leaf swaying in the wind.
The latest cub of the Nhlanguleni female. Viewed from a distance, this cub was almost as interested in us as we were in it. Having basked in the sun on this boulder for a while, it gave a big stretch then promptly scaled the face of the boulder and disappeared into the thicket, awaiting the return of its mother. Still only a few months old, we will give this cub all the space it needs to grow up safely – so far, so good!
A few lionesses from the Mhangeni Pride ventured into the central parts of Londolozi this week. Two cubs around four months of age were with them. We know that three lionesses have given birth thus far, so hope to see the full complement one of these days once all the cubs join the pride.
A majestic African fish eagle soaring above the Londolozi camps.
A phenomenal array of colours just after sunset. A herd of kudu gathered on a crest, providing a great silhouette opportunity.
A herd of elephants gathering at a waterhole for a drink. With the warm days, elephants are attracted to waterholes, often spraying water and mud all over themselves to keep cool after quenching their thirst.
A fork-tailed drongo perches on the edge of a tree just before roosting for the night. They will often call repeatedly just prior to roosting in the evening, normally from a prominent perch like this one.