November 2013 Bush journal and update by Matthew Brennan
Weather: The rains are upon us. It has been quite a wet season so far with hardly a day gone by this month without any rain. This has been a blessing on two fronts as the usual November heat has been dissipated and the bush is green, lush and interspersed with all the colours of the flowers and birds. The river regularly flows over the wall of our causeway and makes for a breath-taking few seconds driving across it.
Wildlife: The bush has had an influx of young. The impala are perfect miniatures of their mother’s which offer great opportunities for guests taking photos and predators feeding. The migrating birds are back and the breeders are in full plumage; at this time of year it is all about the colours of the bush. Leopard Panthera pardus
Dayone: This beautiful cat has seen a few times in the last month, it hasn’t been too often but to be fair there has been so many leopard sightings that we haven’t had much need to track him. He has been seen patrolling his usual routes and maintaining his dominance within his territory. HlabaNkunzi and her cub:HlabaNkunzi has been seen mating over the last while with a few leopards in the area; as such it appears that she is slowly starting to cede some of her territory to her cub. Her cub is really taking her change of circumstance well and is adjusting to the new role in her life. The cub has been seen hunting and there are rumours that she has made a few kills. She has been a bit overly ambitious and got chased up a tree by a warthog once and screeched at by a white-tailed mongoose which she promptly let go.Xhikavi:
Unfortunately we can confirm that one of the two new cubs was killed, either by baboons or dayone in the area. She has moved her den most likely because of the incident. Hopefully the remaining cub will keep hidden until it is able to look after itself.
Dam 3 Female:
She has been found regularly with a cub about 4 months old. While the mother herself is pretty skittish the cub is very relaxed around vehicles and is helping us keep Dam 3 in the area and not have her bolt off.
Lions Panthera leo
All three brothers have been seen with the one Othawa female and have been taking it in turns to mate with her. They have looked really skinny but for them it is a matter of priority with regards to mating or feeding. Surely when she passes through this cycle the males will return to their usual well fed selves.
The two mothers have been working hard to keep all the young ones alive and recently they have kept a nyala bull alive on a hunt so that the cubs could learn to make their own kills. Two of the cubs are very adventurous and are often not with their brothers and sisters, which always raises alarm bells with the rangers but as soon as we lose all hope they appear from some adventure or other no worse for the wear.
This pride had a windfall recently when a bull rhino killed a female rhino in a mating incident. The pride got to share the carcass with an apparent million blow flies and made their life really difficult. Other than that they are doing well and keeping to the south of our property.
There are a lot of elephants on the property at the moment and following the herds is a high number of bulls with a large majority of bulls being in musth, which has made for a few interesting drives and a few raised pulses. There have been a few births as well and so we get to see the parenting skills of these great animals, with all the members of the herds taking part. Recently we saw a whole herd lie in the road and go to sleep during the day.
Of other things:
There have been two spectacular sightings that come to mind, first is the grey-headed kingfisher which is a rarity for the area and secondly a trumpeter hornbill. There are the more common yet no less spectacular birds like the red-headed weaver, white storks and Southern Carmine bee-eater which is so loved that it gets the deserved attention from the rangers.
The bush has always something to offer just sometimes it has more to offer than others, and just like all the animals are benefiting from the rain and the rewards it creates and stimulates, so do we as the privileged few benefit. This is certainly the time of abundance and it would be remiss to not take full advantage of the situation.That’s all from us this month. We thank you for spending few moments with us in the wilderness, sharing our experiences and joining our adventures. We are committed to keep you updated. Please follow our Facebook page for daily updates.
Regards, THE INYATI TEAM
Keith & Francis – Managers
George (Head Guide) & Solly (Tracker)
Khimbini (Senior Guide) & Richard (Tracker)
Matthew (Senior Guide) & Nelson (Tracker)
This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan