Duba Plains: An evening Aardwolf sighting ends another exciting day for us

By November 4, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Brendon reports:

We found buffalo tracks soon after leaving the camp in the pre-dawn darkness. We tracked these and found the herd of buffalo all fast asleep. After scouting around to see if any lions were present (lots of excitement but no nearby lions) we returned to the now awakening buffalo. We captured some wonderful shots of the buffalo as they started to stir and move around on the wide open plains. The light as always at that time of morning was quite indescribably gorgeous, and the sleepy buffalo created perfect shots for us.

We heard lions calling during last night  and wondered if maybe one of the prides had joined the pride at the buffalo kill. We headed in that direction and found that we were quite correct … the two prides were feeding on the remains of the buffalo – and when I say remains, all that remained were a few ribs and part of the head.

The lion cubs were just adorable with their over – fat tummies, rolling around, stalking each other and playing with whatever came their way. Meanwhile the adults continued to feed, and as the amount of food lessened they became more and more confrontational. Lots of activity, with snarls, growls and swipes at each other again provided wonderful photographic opportunities for us.

As the morning progressed the lions full tummies and the increasing heat caused them to seek some shade, and they proceeded to lie down not far from the remnants of the carcass. 

Within moments six or seven Yellow-billed Kited swooped down to collect whatever scraps they could. We were totally absorbed as the birds flew down, grabbed their spoils and headed for a nearby perch to enjoy their prize, only to be knocked by one of the other birds. The aerobatic displays that followed were breathtaking as the birds chased one another, then swooped down again to grab another morsel and be chased again.

We were still watching this incredible sight when the vultures arrived. Both Hooded and Cape Vultures appeared seemingly from nowhere and they then started competing for the fast diminishing scraps of the carcass.

The lions watched the action with lazy interest from their shady spots, eventually succumbing to the warmth of the day to sleep.

On the way back to the Lodge for lunch we stopped briefly to photograph Fish Eagles, Red-backed Shrikes and Coucals.

When we headed out again this afternoon we found that the buffalo have moved to the edge of Silver-eye’s territory. We caught excellent images of the buffalo moving across the open plains and we could hear Silver-eye’s pride calling quite close by. They have not eaten for many days and we are hopeful that we may catch some action here again tomorrow. This is where we plan to start our morning.

While following the buffalo we saw about 20 to 30 hippos splashing around and being quite aggressive. We stopped for action shots before starting to head back to the camp in the fading light.

Just as the sun was setting we discovered a head popping in and out, in and out of its den. We stopped to watch and identify the animal and were thrilled that we had come across an Aardwolf. I had heard that they are here, but are rarely seen … this was my first sighting here, and there was just enough light to get some shots as it emerged from its hiding place.

We are all thrilled by what has been another absolutely wonderful day in this area … and each of us is expectantly waiting for what tomorrow will bring …