A Leopard Protects her Kill from a Bateleur …

Ben’s News from Elephant Plains on the Tusk Sabi Sand Photo Tour:

Another great day awaited us when we set out in the early morning. We heard that the female leopard was still close to where we left her with her impala kill, and we headed there immediately. She was fast asleep on the ground in a thicket, and although it was great to see her, there was little chance of good photography but we remained with her, hoping that she would stir and move around.

Now and again the leopard got up and looked around, and on one of these occasions she looked up when a Bateleur Eagle flew overhead. She realised that the eagle might scavenge her kill she immediately got up and went over to the crarcass that she had placed high in the Marula Tree.

We raced ahead and speculated which side of the tree she would ascend and then positioned ourselves for the best view. We were correct and when she went up exactly as we predicted we we ideally situated to get the best possible shots. She fed for a while and then climbed to a lower branch from where she stared over our vehicle at a herd of impala. The she fed again for a while before to our joy she descended the tree again. Aha! We had both the ascending and descending photos in our burgeoning collections.

This afternoon was fairly quiet. We returned to the leopard at sunset, and found her resting on the ground. After a while she climbed a termite mound. We illuminated her with flash, and with the pinky orange sky glowing behind her, the whole scene looked amazing.

She remained on the termite mound for hours – in fact she was still there when we had to return to the Lodge. As the light changed we replaced our flashes with our spotlight and took photos with all different lighting effects. Luckily, the cat moved around quite a bit as she looked around, checked surroundings, sat, stood and lay down in turns, giving us plenty of scope for more and more tremendous images.

Finally we ran out of time and left her there, but we will most probably return to her again tomorrow …