Finishing off last week we had a couple of amazing sightings of the Birmingham Male near the airstrip. We were lucky enough to follow him down to a waterhole for a drink. He subsequently managed to kill a young buffalo that evening and spent the next while feeding on that.
A few unique and great birds have been around as well. This includes a juvenile Martial Eagle in the open grasslands, as we spend some time with a herd of buffalo, the Giant Kingfisher along the causeway, a Lilac-breasted Roller, a Brown Snake Eagle, and a Black-crowned Night Heron feature too.
We have a journey of giraffe spending time on the airstrip, a dazzle of zebra framed by a flock of Cattle Egrets flying overhead.
But the highlight of the week is most likely the Ximungwe Duo spending time in a large dead leadwood tree with an impala carcass. It is everyone’s dream to see a leopard in such a tree with all the textures, leafless branches and clear backgrounds. A photographer’s perfect scene.
Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Resting on the tarmac of the Londolozi airstrip is probably the warmest spot on the entire reserve, yet this is where we found the Birmingham Male one afternoon. He spent some time here before heading for a drink at a nearby waterhole.
The teeth of a predator are often a good indicator of their age. Here you can see the teeth of this Birmingham Male are chipped and worn down.
There’re a resident pair of giant kingfishers that have settled down around our main crossing point through the Sand River. Both are relaxed and allow you to sit just a few feet away from them as they scan the water below.
The intimate moment of making eye contact with a predator as they drink.
Although leopards can climb up and down trees at a young age, it doesn’t mean that they are good at it. The Ximungwe Young Male has had a few clumsy descends that we have witnessed. But this one, in particular, I was grateful for as he paused long enough to get a shot of him before half tumbling down.
Covering himself from head to the tip of his tail this male buffalo entertained us for a while as he rolled around in a deep mud wallow.
His wallow was interrupted as he got a fright when out of the corner of his eye the movement of an approaching hyena caught his attention.
A juvenile Martial Eagle staring straight into the camera, in a tree with Glossy Starlings
This is a photographer’s dream – to get a leopard in a tree. This sighting was beyond that. Clear, grey skies, a dead leadwood tree without leaves getting in the way, and of course a leopard. The Ximungwe Young Male had been seen in this tree before which made most of us so envious but luckily this week he did it again!
Not commonly seen, Black-crowned Night Herons live a rather secretive life, hiding out in the dense riverine vegetation during the day and emerging only at night to feed. The causeway crossing point, east of the camps, provides phenomenal views of this species though; sometimes even during the day, if you’re lucky.
Slowly ambling across the airstrip this mother and calf paused for a while, staring at us, giving time to snap a few extra shots ensuring we at least got one decent one.
As the golden morning light shone through, this Lilac-breasted Roller was lit up perfectly, showing off its bright colours.
A terrapin soaking up the golden light. Terrapins need the sun to help their metabolism and will often stretch out their legs to optimise on additional heat
The Ximungwe Female and her cub were found in this dead Leadwood tree with an impala lamb kill. We all were in awe to see not only one leopard in this abstract tree but two! We waited for an hour to see them both up there.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
Brown snake eagles are one of the more easily identifiable birds of prey at Londolozi. Their upright posture when perched, remarkable yellow eyes, and large rounded head set them apart from other species. They also tend to perch on the highest point of any tree that they land on.
In amongst the large herd of buffalo was a dazzle of zebra, in this particular photo, a stream of Egrets flew overhead and framed the zebra.