You know you have had a good day, when you come travelling, down past the quarry, and next thing around the corner…
You hear the immediate alarm calls of an Impala ram, with a glimpse of a fleeting young leopardess trying to slink away from the guests and you’re searching eyes. The Impala ram then gets a little bravado and continues, running behind the leopardess, alarm snorting as far as she slips away. Not often you get to see the tides turn. But in this case, I think with us surprising the leopardess, we unfortunately caused her to give her position away, lucky for the ram, because she was within striking distance.
We continued to follow her movements, as the alarm calls from the Vervet Monkeys and Helmeted Guinea fowl could be heard as she tried to conceal her movements in the Riverine thickets. We had the odd glance of her spotted pattern disappearing amongst the foliage, but soon we could only hear the alarm calls of the animals watching her movements.
After our morning surprise we carried on our merry way, with general game all round; large Impala, Zebra and Wildebeest herds with towers of Masaai Giraffe looking on as we drove past.
Our drive came to another stop, when we watched as a lone spotted hyena come loping past with 20 giraffe, zebra and impala heading in the opposite direction to the hyena.
Not too long after watching the hyena scrambling away, did I get to see a “lifer” – a birding term, for when a birder spots a new species of bird they haven’t seen before.
A Northern Wheatear, also known as a European or Eurasian Wheatear. This species is a Palaearctic breeder (breeds in Europe, North Africa) and then migrates down into Africa during the European winters, a very nice record for me. We also had a beautiful sighting of a Golden pipit, the male displaying his beautiful yellow plumage.
A very successful excursion.