Elephant Plains: Thandi’s Cub and the Magpie Shrikes

By October 11, 2014 Elephant Plains No Comments

Villiers Shares News from Elephant Plains:
Thandi’s Cub and the Magpie Shrikes

There was a light drizzle early this morning and we wondered if Ralph Lauren Cheap Sale  anyone would be put off and prefer to remain at the Lodge, snug in the comfortable beds. Of course not! Everyone was up and ready to go … and in fact it was quite dry for most of the drive.

Now when it has rained like it did during the night, all the animals scent marks are washed away – so guess what they would be doing this morning! We knew that theCheap Ralph Lauren Polo Outlet UK    male leopards would be very active, ensuring their territories were well demarcated.

As we left the Lodge we found ourselves surrounded by elephants. At least thirty of them were all around, big, small, medium, tiny … actually we seemed to see elephants at almost every turn today – well, that is when we weren’t busy with leopards.

3 Ele Herd Babies Vil 11-oct-2014-2-5

We made our way to Big Dam, and there we found Lamula, one of the dominant male leopards, lying out in the open on the far side of the dam. We approached, and watched as he first gave a massive yawn, and then as if to remind himself that he had work to do, he stretched, –

3 Leoprd Stretch Vil11-oct-2014-1-4

– and started off on his scent-marking quest.

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Just then we received a call – Tingana, another large dominant male was also here. Mmmmm – two large, dominant male leopards so close together?  We went to find him, but he had disappeared, leaving an impala kill stashed safe from scavengers way up in a Maroela tree.

We went further east – and who should we find but Mvula, yet another large male leopard. He was lying on a large branch in a Maroela tree, relaxing and watching as we approached.

3 Leopard in Tree Bren_D3S4872-2

After giving us plenty of time for photography, Mvula came down from his lofty perch. We soon saw why. He had spotted a herd of impalas and decided to try his luck. 

It was so exciting to watch as he stealthily approached his prey. They were totally unaware of his presence – he didn’t seem to stir even a blade of grass as he crept closer and closer. We held our breath, engines off. Then some nearby zebras spotted him and bolted. Without knowing why, the impalas sprinted after the zebras. 

This signalled a good time to return to the Lodge for some rest, good food, and some Lightroom …

This afternoon we decided that we may just be lucky enough to see Thandi and her cubs. We headed to where we know she has been for the past few weeks. There was no sign of her, but we were incredibly lucky to see one of the little 2 month old cubs. It was so special to watch as it played around, and then climbed right to the top of a shrub, where it sat, quite bemused. Then a couple of Magpie Shrikes started to hassle the cute little bundle! The tiny leopard clearly wasn’t sure what was going on, but it hung in there.

We went further to try and spot Thandi, and found her in a tree with a freshly killed impala on an open branch. At first she made no attempt to eat, and we managed some lovely shots of her with a rapidly darkening purple sky in the background. Finally, as night arrived, she started to eat, and eat, and eat. Out came the flashes and spotlights. We remained with her until it was time to return to the Lodge.

Tomorrow is our final game drive. Maybe our incredible luck will hold for another day …