Monday, 7 December 2015

Kruger in December

The weather here is now very unpredictable! It is once more baking hot! Actually what it should be this time of year.

This male was calling periodically.
But he was always hiding!
This female drinking in the late afternoon.

Very showy!
It doesn't get much better than this!

Yes I know there are a lot of these,
 but what the hell!

A fantastic sighting

Maarten & I had a quick run into the park on 2nd December & struck gold with two Leopard sightings. The first was a male but largely hidden in the long grass but the second was a female drinking at De Laporte waterhole & gave amazing views!

Brown Snake Eagle

Wahberg's Eagle

A very old male Cape Buffalo.

Peter's Epaulette Fruit Bat.
This male Elephant is in musk 
(notice the stains down the side of its head) 
which means it is keen to breed!
Grey Heron
Squacco Heron
Getting ready!
It started to fish, but it was so quick
 I missed the money shot!
Swallowing it!
Immature African Fish Eagle
Skukuza Golf Course

Maarten & Rob.
Hippo moving a small Croc along!

Almost touching!
Give it a little nudge!
The Croc finally gets the message!
Got ya!
White Rhino
Having a lazy afternoon!
Notice the Red-billed Oxpecker!
It gets right up there!

On the 5th we all went to Lake Panic, the Golf Course & Skukuza Restcamp. It was a nice morning out, but without anything outstanding seen.

For some reason this Spotted Hyaena was out
 in the open mid-afternoon.
Does it look evil enough?

Great close up moments!
These two Elephants were playing....
Then they started getting a little frisky!
Getting down to it!
But there is something unusual happening here...
They are both males!
Homosexuality in the natural world
 is supposed to be quite rare.
That trunk looks rather suspect!

The 6th was the day that Maarten & Rob were leaving, so I drove them to the Nelspruit Airport & we said our goodbyes. Hard to believe the boys had been here a month! It had been a good time for all. I then drove back through the park.

Water Dikkop
Impala's had just given birth & young
 seemed to be everywhere.
Just look at all those ticks!
Kudu's are also common along this route.

A nice male Leopard was a pleasant surprise.

The end of the day.
Looking towards the northern Drakensberg.

On the afternoon of the 7th I went for a game drive along the Waterhole Road & back along the river. It was a very hot, but pleasant outing.

Transport Dam held a collection of 
 Open-billed Storks.
Hippo with its Terrapin hitch-hikers!
A pair of Wahlberg's Eagles taking emerging insects.
There were Amur Falcons overhead,
 but difficult to photograph!

Cape Vulture

White-backed Vulture

December 10th I went on another afternoon drive over the same route as a few days previously.

Turning green after  little rain.
Transport Dam

She greets the male.

He starts to follow her.

She raises her tail indicating 
her readiness for mating.
Marking his territory.

In the afternoon of 18th December I drove over to Skukuza to renew my P O Box number, as the end of the year is looming. After a quick look around the camp watching a small herd of Cape Buffalo in the river, I decided to do a quick game drive on my way home. I drove via the S65 Waterhole Road & although it was a pleasant outing, I didn't see anything memorable until I came across a pair of Lions laid in the shade. They had moved away from the main pride & they were periodically mating & the male scenting on bushes & small trees.

Just another day in Africa.

An old beat up male.
The next day I was up before dawn & in the park again. This time to drive up to Satara via the dirt S36 road. This is a little travelled road with a wonderful picnic site located along it. It was a beautiful morning kicked started buy a Leopard in a small tree just on entrance to the park at Paul Kruger Gate. There were too many cars around for my liking, so I quickly moved on a found four Lions resting in the shade. Only one of the males was photograph-able.

This view looks more like July, not December!
Ludmag Dam

As I drove through this mixed bush willow community it quickly became apparent that there had been no rain at all in these parts. It was much dryer than around Sabie Park with the vegetation still all brown & little or no new growth.

I saw a couple of nice Buffalo herds & three old males resting in the shade of a large tree. Then I got to Nhlanguleni Picnic Site, this is one of my favourites & today it was very busy with herds of animals coming down to drink.

Even a lone Hippo came for a drink & a cool off in the pool. This indicates that there is little or no other water locally. It looks like the animals in this part of the park are in a for a tough time.

I continued further north & cut across on the N’waswitsonsto Road which hugs the dry river of the same name. By this time is was getting to late morning, the heat was building & little was moving. I saw another Lioness laid in the shade but she wasn't worth a photo I am afraid! I then drove to Satara for a bit of downtime in the heat of the day. Met a guy called Bruce & we had a good chat about all things natural history for an hour or so.

Orpen Dam like I have never seen it before!

Then drove south along the main road, calling in at Orpen Dam, where the water levels were the lowest I have ever seen them. Not much to record as it was very hot, just tipping 40 degrees C!

On 23rd went Christmas sopping to Nelspruit via the park. It was a quiet drive & intensely hot with little seen.

Mondolozi Dam
Dry as a bone.
Elephants finding water is tough going.
Looking towards Lower Sabie Camp.
Only the Sabie River has plenty of water in it.

On  24th was up before dawn & entered the park. Drove to Lower Sabie & back. It was so dry everywhere, the dam at the picnic site at Mondolozi was completely dry - the first time I have ever seen it like this! Game sightings were sparse but did see a female Lion & later on a couple more, but the latter were deep in the shade.

Greeting each other.

Some of them have blood on their heads.
 they had obviously just been feeding
 before we found them.

On 30th Rob Franklin & I had a run into the park. Just for a morning, we went along the S3/S4 & Diospone Road. It was quiet until we came across a pack of 16 Wild Dogs resting after having just made a kill. They still had blood on their paws & faces! It was a real quality sighting & we stayed with them the best part of an hour.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve,

    Great pics. If you can find the time, could you please have a look at the pale eagle I e-mailed you pics of.