The star attractions for the day, were the two couples of Lion and the pack of African Wild Dogs on the move.
There was a lovely sunrise this morning. I managed to capture the light over the lake before sunrise. Today we set off towards gate three, through the game park entrance and were soon in sight of a couple of Lions. They both looked male with manes. It later transpired the one with the light scruffy mane was in fact female.
For the next hour we followed the lions around, cutting them off at the pass where they relaxed quite near to the road. The female sat by the termite mound, and the male remained in the grass. After a wait the female got up, urinated and walked into the grass. The male lion went over and sniffed and then did a flehmen response. This is meant to aid the transfer of pheromones and other scents into the vomeronasal organ located above the roof of the mouth via a duct which exits just behind the front teeth of the animal. After this the Lions wandered into the bush. We left and looked for other sights.
We saw a herd of Wildebeest in the distance, but the Buffalo were still hiding from us, and hid the whole day. We came across two Ostrich, one demonstrated poohing, which is quite a sight. A couple of White Browed Sparrow Weaver birds, and a Red-billed Hornbill.
We stopped for coffee, and during the break I managed to photograph a Bateleur which was playing the thermals and a Saddle-Billed stork in the water. It was busy hunting.
After coffee, a male Wildebeest posed for a photograph. A couple of Hooded Vultures in a dead tree made a nice photograph. On the way home two one-legged Stilts in a pond showed up a nice reflection.
On the way home there was a Giraffe covered with Oxpeckers, Red Billed, Yellow Billed and Juvenile. In one photograph, I counted ten Oxpeckers on the Giraffe’s back. There was likely some more hanging onto its flank.
Back for lunch, and then out again at 4.00pm for the evening drive. This was going to be a long drive, with us breaking two Moremi rules. Offroading, and arriving back at camp after 18.30. Stopped by the lake, and saw a Plover in the sand. Click Click.
We saw some Ground Hornbills, these are an endangered species. They eat snakes, they have white primary feathers to entice the snake to strike in a safe area. These birds can live for 40 years, but have only one chick every three to four years.
Next up was a Wattled Crane and a very elegant Impala buck.
Moremi African Wild Dogs
We had news there was a pack of African Wild Dogs in the area, so headed out searching for them. On the way a Honey Badger was spotted. Some quick driving around we managed to spot it again, so fleeting as it put its head around a tree. We all missed getting its photograph.
We came across the pack of six African Wild Dogs on the track walking away from us. We did a detour to head them off, and were able to photograph them walking towards us. Two of the dogs had radio tracking devices.
We were now on the search for a couple of lions who had been reported in the area with a kill. We headed in their direction at speed, as time was getting short. On the way we saw a pair of African Fish Eagles, and a Saddlebilled Stork looking very elegant in the reflections and dying sunlight.
We made it to the Lion and Lioness after travelling off road to their kill. We next heard the male lLion was cracking away at the bones of a carcass. The Lioness was playing sleeping lions, or rather stuffed lions.
We left and travelled at high speeds on very narrow and overgrown tracks to get back to camp. The route taken was planned not to pass by the entry gate and used headlights as little as possible. On the way we saw a large group of female elephants with youngsters. Most of the Ellies we had previously seen were lone males. No time for a shower, straight into dinner. The others vehicle had arrived home much earlier.
During this drive we were without radio, so were unable to communicate with anyone unless they were very near. We were unable to report sightings to the other vehicle, and unable to tell them we were OK and would be late back. The reason was Rosemary had sabotaged the aerial by using the cable to help her clamber off the vehicle.