Okavango Machaba Safari: A Leopard Surprise
ODP Safaris, Outdoorphoto, Wildlife Safaris, Photographic Safaris, Wildlife Photography, Wim van den Heever, Villiers Steyn, Okavango, Okavango Machaba, Brendon Cremer, Leopard, Guinea Fowl, Leopard Kill, Tawny Eagle, Elephants, Hippos, Spotted Hyena, Wild Dogs
Villiers and Brendon from Okavango Machaba: A Leopard Surprise
The Wild Dogs were nowhere to be seen when we arrived at the den this morning, so we decided to make our way slowly to the where we would start our mokoro trip later.
We stopped to photograph hippos with beautiful golden backlighting while a Juvenile Fish Eagle watched from an overhanging tree branch.
A little later we stopped to photograph a really handsome Tawny Eagle right next to our vehicle. As we stopped we heard an almighty todo – probably small animals objecting to the danger lurking overhead. A number of squirrels and Guinea Fowl were in a real state, making a huge din, giving repeated warning calls, and frantically scampering around. Panic and chaos reigned!
But then we noticed that neither the squirrels nor the Guinea Fowl were even glancing up at the eagle! The consternation was caused by something else entirely … and the source seemed to be in or around bush.
And now we could see her – the Machaba Female Leopard had just caught a Guinea Fowl and was sitting there with the new kill in her mouth.
As she walked away we followed, photographing the beautiful leopard’s every step. For a while we were certain that she was returning to her cubs with the kill. She shows definite signs lactating and as her cubs are almost a month old, we were really hopeful that she would lead us to them. But no, she lay down and ate the fowl. Our images as she walked along with the Guinea Fowl in her mouth and then settled down to eat it make a superb series!
That was the highlight of the morning, so let us not go into all the other game roaming everywhere …
This afternoon everyone was ultra keen to try and see the Wild Dogs again, so, holding thumbs, we set off for the den again. And all seven dogs were there, sprawled out all over the place, protected by the Mopane veld, but we managed to get really close.
The alpha female was busy again, checking repeatedly on the den where two week old puppies were very quiet this afternoon. No-one has seen the pups yet, and although we hoped, we also realized that it is a bit early for them to be out and about.
We enjoyed our sundowners at Motswiri Pan, watching hippos cavorting and snorting in the water, and periodically sending tall plumes of water into the air – all against a bright orange sky as a backdrop.
As we switched on our spotlights to start the drive back to the Lodge, three Spotted Hyenas arrived and we were just in time for spotlight photography as they strolled past us on the way to the water.
This has been another bumper day, and because everyone would like just one more encounter with the Wild Dogs before leaving for home tomorrow, we will head in that direction in the morning …
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