A fairly unusually hot week for the middle of winter saw temperatures of 36 degrees Celsius (97 Fahrenheit), reminding us of the warmth of summer. If the heat continues any longer we will begin to question if we have in fact seen the last of winter.
Leopards have been plentiful this week with some amazing golden light opportunities. The wild dog den has been living up to expectations and providing some amazing viewing as the pups grow more adventurous with each excursion out of the den.
Bird photography has definitely been the focus this week with some amazing images making it into the top picks, A magnificent Martial Eagle, a Secretarybird, and Sunbirds to revel about.
Let’s not forget an incredibly unique experience which we had to share, the pack of wild dogs were roaming in search of anything to hunt flushed a serval, a smaller cat-like predator that lives a drastically secretive lifestyle. The only escape for the serval was up into the nearest tree, being a dead knobthorn tree.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
After marching through probably one of the thicker blocks on Londolozi the Senegal Bush Male eventually settled down on a termite mound with the setting sun in the background giving off a hazy golden background with all the dry winter’s dust in the air.
An incredible sighting of a serval as it catches its breath from the top of a dead knobthorn tree having just narrowly escaped the jaws of a pack of wild dogs. Serval are solitary and immensely secretive so merely seeing one is exciting let alone having one perched up in a tree for us to see.
Serval favour grasslands and hunt small prey such as birds and rodents. Eventually, after half an hour, it plucked up the courage to scamper down the tree and disappear off into the thick grass.
A very unusual sight in mid-winter, but not completely out of the normal given the warm weather we have just had. Chameleons tend to be less active during the colder months of the year given that they are cold-blooded. For the most part, they will only venture out of a tree and onto the ground when seeking out a mate, laying eggs or in search of more food. Getting as low to the ground as possible while photographing them a rather unique shot.
Spending time around a colony of dwarf mongooses as they play and groom is always amusing. They can be rather skittish but if you sit quietly nearby and just wait they often relax a bit and then carry on as usual.
A few warthogs in the distance caught the attention of the Mawelawela Male causing him to prop his head up a little more above the partly burnt dark grass.
We have been having some incredible sightings of a single Secretarybird in an open clearing close to camp. Only one individual has been seen building a platform nest on top of a tree and keeps us wondering whether there is a partner close by or if it’s just building one to roost on.
Aloes in full flower are irresistible to many of the sunbirds. Even drawing in some sunbirds that we do not see too often such as this Marico Sunbird.
We are happy to say that the wild dog puppies are all alive and well and growing in confidence as each day passes. Venturing slightly further from the den’s entrance each time.
Photographing sunbirds can be a challenge but with a bit of extra patience, they are bound to prop themselves upon a cluster of aloe flowers for long enough to allow you to get the shot. This stunning Collared Sunbird did just that.
In digging around amongst some rocks we found this scorpion. Most scorpions have a thin layer in their exoskeleton that reacts to ultraviolet light causing them to appear as though they are glowing. By shining an ultraviolet flashlight in amongst the rocks and bark, if any scorpions are around they will light up making it easier to see.
A single lioness, most likely from the Ntsevu Pride, had been found after calling numerous times in search of the other lions in the pride. She had probably been off in search of the Northern Avoca Males in an attempt to try and mate.
The Mawelawela Male is now a dominant leopard in the southwestern parts of Londolozi, an area not normally chosen by us to go and search for leopards as it is a lot more difficult to find them. However, when one does find a leopard here is always hugely rewarding.
A gap through the leaves of a tree framed this magnificent eagle. Martial Eagles are the largest eagle we get here and in my opinion definitely one of the more attractive.