October 2015 Ranger’s Report
As the drought bites harder (We’ve only recorded 1 mm of rain for October !!), the animals are all moving to the centre and northern areas of the Reserve, where the meagre re-growth from July and August’s fires occurred. As a result of this, we are having sightings of concentrated groups of animals on a relatively small area, which makes for super Plains Game viewing.
Oddly enough, being in our 3rd year of drought, the present environment has become suitable for some species which normally would not occur in this Region – namely the Cape Cobra. This snake has been seen in a few places on the Reserve in the past 2 months, and is a species which deserves caution and respect due to its potent Neurotoxic venom, and sharply reactive nature.
Sightings of some of our Lion population have been good with the main Pride being quite nomadic in the middle of the Reserve. I, with my Guests, was very fortunate 2 weeks ago to watch them make a kill 20 metres in front of our vehicle right next to the track we were travelling on – which then prevented us from being able to move for at least an hour. It was interesting to observe close-hand the behaviour of the Pride whilst feeding, and level of tolerance (NONE !!)displayed by the 2 Males to the Lioness, and 3 sub-adults – who all wanted to feed on the Impala that THEY had caught. Lots of growling, cuffing and bone-crunching !! – real National Geographic stuff !!.
The birds have been busy in and around the Lodge grounds, with 2 Cape Robin-Chat Hens now sitting on eggs, as well as the Common House Sparrows in the outside rafters having just produced again. The Cape Wagtails have built a nest in full view of the pathway to the Honeymoon Suite. Our resident Familiar Chat had the 3 eggs in her nest evicted by a Mocking Cliff-Chat (so, even in the world of Birds, domestic violence can be a problem !!). Our recently returned Paradise Flycatchers are flitting around looking for suitable nesting sites. Only a few of our normally abundant migratory species have returned so far, and in small numbers only. The Steppe Buzzards, 4 of our Cuckoo species and the Paradise Flycatchers. Perhaps the others are still on their way ? – Perhaps next month will bring some rain ?
On the evening of the 31st, the “Shangri-La” of all animal sightings unfolded, as Rheinhard was returning from his afternoon Gamedrive, on the track just below the Lodge, he, together with a Ranger from a neighbouring Lodge, caught a female Leopard in the beam of their Spotlights !! What excitement !! The sighting was distant enough for her to remain relaxed, and she remained in the area long enough for a few other Rangers and their Guests (Matt and his Guests included !) to view her before she moved off. What a way to end the month !!! Tracey – you bring us good karma ! When are you coming back again ??