One of those days

28th September 2011
Every day is different when you go out in the bush. Seasons change, animals' behaviour patterns change, and if they didn't I think the bush would lose most of its appeal. Even so, there are days when everything just falls into place, and at every turn (or so it seems) there is something wonderful to see.

Waterbuck are often overlooked, and sometimes they don't get the attention they should; this big male was in no hurry to leave the track that I was using, so we watched each other for a while until he moved on. Just across the track, he caught up with one of his females and mated with her. We'll look out for his youngters!!

A few minutes later, I rounded a bend in the track and almost gasped in surprise as I caught sight of this female leopard in the tree above me. She was no more than 8 metres from me and I had to sit still for nearly 10 minutes and not lift my head, or pick up my binos until she settled down and was comfortable with my presence. Of course she heard my vehicle coming, and decided to stay where she was, but I think the distance between us was less than even she had expected. After a while, she relaxed completely and dozed while I rolled the vehicle forward down the hill to get to a better position for a photo.

The river is so low now, that it's possible to drive through in some places. While I was crossing, I stopped to photograph a White-fronted Bee eater which was using an exposed log as a look out post from which to launch hunting sorties out over the water. Bees and other insects are, of course, drawn to water so these are rich hunting grounds for aerial feeders.

On the other side of the river, hippos lounging in the shallows were being attended to by the ever-present Red-billed Oxpeckers. Feeding on ticks and other skin parasites, they get a good meal and do the hippos a service.

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