An alert Hamerkop on the look out for tasty morsels in the shallows
I observed it feeding for over half an hour and in that time it caught well over two dozen items, mostly tadpoles
On high alert as another Hamerkop arrives
They size each other up before the interloper backs off
Later they both departed and I managed to catch one B.I.F.image
There are only 6 Spoonbill species in the world, and in most cases just a single species occurs in each of the World's biographical regions. Sub Saharan Africa's representative is the African Spoonbill. A locally common resident that is nomadic in response to water levels
Their unusually shaped bill is what sets them apart and is their unique tool for securing prey. They walk through shallow water sweeping their slightly opened bill from side to side. It is a tactile form of detecting prey and every now and then the bill snaps closed over an unseen prey item which is thrown up with a backward flip of the head, caught in the throat and then swallowed. Small fish and aquatic invertebrates making up most of their diet
We have had a pack of 10 Wild Dogs being held and fed in our boma (see previous post dated 12/01/2020) waiting transfer to another Game Reserve. We were very pleased to hear that a decision has been made to release them onto our Reserve instead as our previous pack has splintered and mostly moved away.
The adult female dog with the collar has been darted in the boma as her tracking collar had ceased to function and a new collar needed to be fitted prior to re-release. Note the face mask that has been fitted to protect the eyes
She has been carried from the boma and placed on the makeshift operating table as the vet Joel Alves monitors her status and Grant from EWT replaces the tracking collar
A closeup image of one of her paws showing how hairy they are
Grant makes the final adjustments with the new collar as Joel monitors her pulse
The new collar is in place and she is about to be returned to the boma (note the old collar lying in the back of the pickup to the right)
The stimulant to revive her is being administered as the pack members look on
Her mask has been removed and she looks up as she starts to come round
After the collared female had fully recovered the boma doors were opened and an Impala carcass was used to lure the pack out into the open. She can be seen in the foreground of this clip as they are busy feeding. The pack is now free to roam once again
I connected with our male Cheetah the other evening as he came down to one of our waterholes for a drink. It has been a while since I last him so it was great to catch up with him again.
We have had a period of very high temperatures recently, with the mercury reaching into the mid forties. Obviously the hot weather means the animals need to drink regularly. Waiting patiently at the water often has its rewards
The two females come to the pan late one afternoon
The three males had been on a Wildebeest kill for most of the day. Later in the evening they came to a nearby dam for a drink. Here is Collar at the waters edge
Mullet was next to arrive and found a spot to his liking
As the sun was setting Notch also put in an appearance
Last season I observed and photographed a pair of Crested Barbets using this hole as a nest site. See blog post dated 07/03/2019. Recently I noticed a Striped Kingfisher presence in the area and after watching for a few days was able to confirm that the hole is being used by Kingfishers this season.
One of the Striped Kingfishers on guard near the nest. They are defending their territory vigorously and I watched as a Red-billed Hornbill that ventured too close was chased away
A parent pauses at the entrance
Scrambles into the nesting chamber within the tree trunk
Reappears a short while later
A difficult B.I.F. image as the subject flies towards my lens. It is a a little O.O.F unfortunately.
I spent a couple of hours observing how a pair of Red-billed Hornbills were kept busy feeding their three chicks in the nest cavity. It took a while for them to get used to my presence at the nest but they then busied themselves ferrying food items to their hungry brood. They ranged quite far in order to find food and were away for up top twenty minutes at a time.
The nest aperture with three hungry beaks poised to accept incoming food items. Note that the bills are still orange in colour, they turn red as they get older
A variety of items were sourced including caterpillars, locusts, beetles and other insects
A busy parent
A short clip showing both parents bringing food to the nest
A very hungry looking Mullet about to set off on patrol early one evening
The cheeky lioness catches an afternoon nap on this high river bank. A lovely shady spot with a cool breeze
One of the older cubs surveys the scene from the vantage point
The setting sun back lights one of the younger cubs
A fine set
Recently the female Cheetah took down a male Impala for her and her two cubs to feed on. The vultures eventually started to congregate on the scene. After having her fill, she and the cubs moved off as the pressure from the descending scavengers began to mount. When the free-for-all began this alert Tawny Eagle managed to swoop down and pinch this piece and perched in a nearby tree to enjoy the meal at leisure
This very obliging Kingfisher allowed me to approach to within 15 feet, so I managed a few crisp images. It began calling so I was hoping the mate would fly in and I could capture some wing flapping and perhaps a duet on the branch. Unfortunately a rather selfish person drove between my lens and the subject and that was that.
End of story.
Checking me out
Its loud trilling song is very distinctive .... kri-trrrrrrrrrr