It pays to be out early
07.02.2020 - 07.02.2020
We are greeted by a somewhat unusual and intriguing sunrise this morning, with crepuscular rays appearing to radiate from the glow of the sun on the horizon. Very dramatic.
Our 'breakfast' this morning (Malisa's expression for the first animal / bird we see of the day) is a pack of hyenas chasing a herd of impala.
We take off in hot pursuit.
The hyena is no match for the super-quick antelopes, and they all get to live another day.
The hyenas wander off in search of something else for breakfast.
The sun is just making an appearance over the horizon, colouring the sky with a promise of a beautiful day.
In the distance we see three lions, they are brothers, aged around ten years, which is considered old as far as lions go (they generally live for 12-15 years in the wild).
One by one they wake up, making the most of the early morning sunlight.
Shaking the sleep away
Strolling along the road, they walk straight past our car, one after the other.
He's looking up at David as he passes. "Is that a Sony camcorder you are using?"
Marking his territory
Looking bedraggled and grumpy, his fur still damp from the morning dew; the second lion doesn't look to amused to be confronted by the paparazzi just after waking up.
I'd say he's got more problems than a few eager photographers: just look at his left eye!
He too marks his territory in the same place as his brother.
The last one to walk past us looks a much healthier specimen.
They leave the road and soon disappear into the long grass.
We move on to “see what else nature has to offer us today”.
Red Necked Spurfowl
He is trying his very best to impress her, but she is having none of it!
He may be far, far away, but this is the fifth leopard we have seen in three days. Quite unbelievable.
I can't even make out what it is with the naked eye, but using my 600mm with a 1.4x extender on a crop factor camera (making it an effective focal lens of 1344mm) and cropping in Photoshop, I can definitely see it's a leopard!
The distance is making photography unsatisfactory as the atmospheric distortion creates soft images; so we don't hang around for very long.
Last night we were chatting with the Swedish couple during dinner, and they were not leaving the camp until eight this morning. It is now coming up for eight o'clock, and we've already seen a pack of hyenas chase a herd of impala, had three lions walk right by our car, and seen a leopard in the tree. I cannot understand people who come on safari and don't take advantage of the first couple of hours of daylight, which is when the animals are usually most active.
A lone Cape Buffalo
The buffalo comes complete with passengers: Red Billed Oxpeckers.
A band of curious little mongooses check out the parking area near a picnic site.
Inspecting the suspension of another safari vehicle
"I want THAT blade of grass!"
Nearby a Dwarf Mongoose is sunning himself on a rock.
White Rumped Helmetshrike
It's time for us to go and have our picnic box in a designated area, and for me to finish this blog entry. Stay tuned.
Thank you Calabash for another exciting morning on safari.