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…
Great pics this week. Love the hammerkop and the Styx males.
Wonderful pictures always different and peculiar. I didn’t know of red -crested korhaan! So very interesting. Also the frog’s nest. Elephant calves are just too cute! The Styx young male has a lot of scars already… what a funny photo he looks squinting
The leopards are my favourite big cat, it is amazing to see how many leopards there are and how you reconize them individually. The little elephants are so special and to see how they try and walk with the big elephants. Beautiful bee -eater has they catch there prey. The lion prides are always a good sighting and how you know each one of them is astonishing. Thanks for these beautiful foto’s, wonderful to see all of God’s creation.
Cool pictures of so many different species. I like all of them.
James, I really like the photos, I saved the hamerkop, I saved the owl🤗
Great shots James! Love the bee-eater in motion!
I love your photos and some of these, along with your written word, put a smile on my face.
Terrific photos for TWIP! Thanks for sharing!
The patience of the Hamerkop. Somehow, I tie that in to the process of getting rid of Trump, but I can’t say that I have been patient during the last four years!
Hi James! Love the photos this week! The young male lion is the Nkuhuma Male. He’s the got the distinct nick in his left ear, a triangle of whisker spots on his right-hand side of his muzzle, and two whisker spots on his left (above the whisker lines). Best ways to ID him (at least those are what I use)
Your leopards may be in hiding this week but the Djuma and Chitwa leopards and others have been out and about! That is OK…..you have “our” Nkuhuma and Styx young males instead! Beautiful photo of the young Ximungwe boy!
Beautiful pics this week! Love all the baby elephants, and great bird pics too.
Some absolute cracking photos – well done.
It is the culture of photography that is a major asset of Londolozi , along with quite a few things ( fantastic hospitality & driving etc)
Well, another week’s images done and dusted, satisfying our fascination with the wildlife you’ve see this week….. , and I have to ask- was the fly in the lion’s mouth a gift, spotting it in editing? Also, my favorite is the cross-eyed, out-of-focus Nkuhuma lion. Sometimes our “oops” photos become a classic.
Baby animals tug my heartstrings and your Ellies are adorable – more please!!
i like the pictures-Thanks James
James your birds and baby Eli’s stole the show for me this week. But hey, every photo tells a story and every one is just fabulous 🙏💕
Another wonderful and diverse array of images this James! I really appreciate the variety and scope this week… out of necessity or not!
I never tire of the elephant eye shots…or those of baby elephants!
Those elephant babies were are so cute! I’ve missed TWIP! Glad to be back.