Brendon Shares from Elephant Plains: Birmingham Male Lions Carnage! …
After the bumper day that we enjoyed yesterday, who could blame us for thinking that today might be a bit quieter? What! Here? Hardly! We were in for another incredible day.
And as always nothing went according to plan … we started the morning by going towards Salayexe and cub, but that plan changed almost immediately when we heard that lions had been spotted near a dam, so we shot out that way to photograph them in the early sunrise warm tones.
We recognized one of the youngish male Tsalala lions in one spot – and then we saw two more large males … the Birmingham Pride! And they were after the Tsalala boy. They chased him around, this way then that – determined to get rid of him. One of the males was particularly aggressive. The aggressive male and the Tsalala youngster disappeared into the bushes so we turned our attention to the other Birmingham male.
There we found all the other members of the Birmingham Pride – they were looking very fat, with bloody faces and it was immediately very obvious that they had been feeding. Then another stood up a short distance away and we went over, to find him feeding on a buffalo. We looked around and could not believe our eyes – carnage! You could almost say that there were corpses everywhere! Well, that is an exaggeration, but when I tell you that the lions had killed five – yes!, five buffalo – unbelievable! So these four males had killed five buffalo this morning! One was a calf, but the anothers were large subadults.
(We actually wonder if the first buffalo wasn’t maybe killed by the Tsalala Pride. We saw the three Tsalala lionesses later in the morning, and maybe the Birminghams took over and then killed the other four? But we are not sure)
We collected some really good images of the pride and some of the kills, and then of the lions as they went to a dam nearby to drink. The light was good, and it was just incredible to see the lions – on one kill is always an amazing sight, but on five kills. Wow, again and again! It was mindblowing!
So mentioning all the other game sounds almost mundane, but it is always a pleasure to see the elephants, buffalo, hippos, and all the other game all around.
This afternoon we headed out and were lucky enough to see Shadow, a female leopard with a duiker kill in a tree. She was lying on some short grass under the tree, meaning that we were able to get some lovely shots of her there.
We headed back to the lions for some nighttime photography to complete our collections of lion images. Side lighting, portraits, back lighting, spot lighting – we did it all as two carried on feeding while a third lay out for the count on his side, and the other fed on another kill by himself.
On the way home we encountered the three young Tsalala males – they are about 2 1/2 years old by now … they were keeping an eye on the buffalo kills which makes us really think that one of them was not taken by the Birminghams. But if the older lions spot them hanging around, there could be a nasty confrontation …
Tomorrow maybe we should check on the lions first …
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