It’s been a fairly slow leopard week, with long grass and only a couple of vehicles out making sightings hard to come by. Cloudy and windy conditions have made for excellent hunting for the spotted cats, and we tend to find the leopards are confined to thickets as a result, feeding on kills they’ve made in the black of night, and aren’t moving around as much for us to find. They’re there, but it’s been tricky.
The Avoca males have spent longer on Londolozi this week than we’re used to, being found for a good three or four consecutive days in the north of the reserve.
Elephants, as has become the norm over the last month, continue to steal the show.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
A little bee-eater comes in to land after a successful hawk. Hawking is the style of hunting they tend to employ; spotting insects from a perch, swooping up or down to catch them, then returning to the same spot to to feed.
“Like a flea on the lion’s lip” was a phrase I once read in a novel, used to describe a particularly vulnerable situation. Well this fly is technically inside the lion’s mouth, which is probably a far worse place to be, although judging by how tricky it can be to swat these pesky little insects, I’m sure it got away just fine. One of the Avoca males rests in the shade.
A very young elephant calf tries to keep pace with the rest of its herd as they move from one marula tree to another.
Patience is the Hamerkop’s key to success. They are often to be found standing motionless on the edge of the causeway, waiting for an unsuspecting fish to leap out of the rapids.
A large rhino bull stands with his nose down, taking in the scent of a female that had passed by only a few minutes before.
This is when the morning excitement levels ramp up; a fresh leopard track, its crisp edges indicating that the animal that made it moved past not too long before…
A female red-crested korhaan. The male of this species is renowned for his spectacular breeding display, which involves rocketing vertically into the air, then flopping over at the top of his climb as if shot, plummeting earthwards and then catching himself at the last minute to land safely.
An elephant bull feeds amongst the Phragmites thickets of the Sand River.
The Styx young male (or the Nkuhuma young male; I always forget which is which), marches towards our vehicle. This pair has been encountered regularly in central Londolozi, and so far have successfully dodged other coalitions that may wish to do them harm.
My focus was out, but I rather enjoyed this frozen expression on the Styx young male as he gave his head a good shake.
The obligatory elephant eye shot. Just as it’s almost impossible to drive past a herd, it’s also too much temptation to resist capturing this type of shot if one of them approaches and you have a long lens on.
Nest on nest. A foam nest frog had chosen to make its nest on the tip of a disused weaver’s nest, overhanging a small pan. Had the weaver nest still been in use, this outcome would have been very unlikely.
Our largest owl species, the Verreaux’s – formerly Giant – Eagle Owl. Fearsome predators, these owls have been known to take down prey as large as secretary birds, herons and flamingoes!
Yet another tiny elephant to be seen on Londolozi. Although elephants do not have a set breeding season (their gestation period is twenty two months!), there seems to be a surplus of very young calves around at the moment.
The Ximungwe young male glances skyward to where a vulture was flying overhead. Although fully independent, this young leopard is nevertheless still hanging around under the protective umbrella of his father the Flat Rock male’s territory. It is only a matter of time before he gets pushed out though…