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Wildlife Weblog – February 2021


The nice rains continued by February, and after Cyclone Eloise in January had crammed the water desk, this deluge (228 mm in whole) took all of the dam ranges to the utmost! For the primary time in in all probability eight years, Georgie’s Dam in entrance of the lodge has overflowed! Extremely, the hippo responded instantly, and we now have counted over 20 hippo on some days. We now have a continuing cacophony of hippo calls resonating up the valley to the lodge within the early mornings and evenings. We additionally stay up for it attracting many fascinating birds once more.

The bush has continued to thicken up, decreasing visibility considerably. Whereas we often see various kudu presently of the yr, being strictly browsers, they only disappear and it’s tough to get a very good view of them.

The rains have attracted numerous fascinating birds, particularly people who love tall grasslands and the wetland sort of environments. We’ve seen numerous African crakes which have been scarce over the previous few years, and likewise managed to see (pictured proper) the elusive Corn Crake!

Lots of the birds are additionally persevering with to breed, from the big Saddle-billed storks (pictured left) to the diminutive Little Bee-eaters (pictured beneath). We’ve additionally began seeing fairly just a few child warthog, particularly out on the quick grass of the big open clearings.

The younger Ottawa sub-adults have continued to remain in improbable situation, opposite to our expectations. Being so younger and inexperienced, we suspected that they may wrestle to search out meals or hunt, however they’ve proved us mistaken and are wanting extremely good. All 4 of them are nonetheless collectively, and the older male specifically is beginning to present indicators of being a really huge lion!

Lion Pride

Lion Pride

Lion Pride

Lion Pride

The Ottawa females, in flip, don’t appear to be too upset in regards to the children transferring off, and could also be having fun with the truth that they don’t have to struggle for meals with the three males. They’re additionally very often aside, with one feminine being with a Thumbela male, whereas the opposite two keep away and luxuriate in some alone time.

Lion Pride

Lion Pride

Lion Pride

Misava has remained in his natal territory for fairly a while. At 4 and a half years outdated, it will have been anticipated that he would transfer additional afield however, like Ravenscourt, he has remained near the place he was born, and continues to provide nice sightings. Lately, he had an impala carcass hoisted in a marula tree, which gave us some nice alternatives to {photograph} him.

Male Leopard

Male Leopard

Thamba and Ravenscourt are nonetheless having their territorial disputes, though it’s in a extra passive manner for now. Thamba has been pushing additional north and west, and plainly Ravenscourt has responded to this stress by coming down south fairly regularly this month. He nonetheless has Euphorbia placing stress on him within the north, so he by no means stays down south too lengthy, earlier than marching again to the river to guard the core of his territory.

Male Leopard

Male Leopard

Nyelethi can also be nonetheless seen pretty frequently, however his boundary with Ravenscourt is rather more settled, and so they appear to have come to an settlement as to the place it’s a while in the past.

Male Leopard

The younger females, Khokovela and Tisela, have for a while now been our greatest viewing leopards. Khokovela not too long ago had a contemporary impala kill, however earlier than she might hoist it out of attain, hyenas arrived and stole it from her. She had no alternative however to slink away, but posed superbly on a fallen tree to look at her kill being devoured.

Young Male Leopard

Young Male Leopard

Young Male Leopard

Tisela additionally had a kill, however luckily she managed to hoist the kill, giving us fairly just a few days of fantastic viewing and, as it’s in her genes, posed completely for the keen photographers.

Young Male Leopard

Young Male Leopard

Young Male Leopard

Our resident male cheetah has been seen fairly quite a lot of instances and really used the cooler, wet circumstances on one event to efficiently chase down and kill a younger impala at Nkombe Dam clearing.

The pack of Painted Wolves has not but totally resumed their common visits to the West, however just a few of our visitors had been lucky to see them on just a few events. As all the time, they’re wanting good and hopefully quickly they’ll return extra frequently. We hope the identical for our visitors!

Elephant numbers have been on the regular enhance within the Higher Kruger, though we now have seasonal actions and sporadic excessive and low numbers within the Sabi Sand as they transfer searching for good meals and water. Generally it may be exhausting to search out the breeding herds, however now in February we now have had quite a few nice sightings of those unimaginable animals.

We even have had fairly numerous giraffe within the southern components of the Western Sector of late, which is uncommon, as we don’t have the perfect habitat right here for them. They’re often discovered additional north, close to the Sand River, the place we now have the next focus of Acacia timber, which is their most well-liked weight-reduction plan. Nonetheless, we now have been loving having these giant ‘Journeys of giraffe’ out on our clearings.

We go away you with an odd sighting, in that we don’t usually get to see or {photograph} these little creatures. We discovered two Mauritian Tomb Bats roosting on the principle stem of a big Scotia tree, and apparently, they don’t roost in giant teams. Often solely as much as 5 will roost collectively. In addition they have unusually good eyesight in comparison with different bats, permitting them to detect hazard extra simply. In addition they use echolocation, which suggests they emit sounds that bounce off their prey, to find and hunt. Many individuals don’t notably like bats, however they’re very important in feeding on bugs which regularly carry ailments dangerous to people. They’ve been recorded as feeding on as many as 4000 bugs every per night time!

We hope that every one our mates and visitors have been preserving secure and wholesome, and that your vaccine rollouts are going effectively, which in flip could aid you all return to us quickly to witness in individual nature at its greatest.

To make amends for all of the updates throughout our lockdown, please take a look at our YouTube Channel right here.​

With heat needs
Neil, Natasha and The Savanna Workforce

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