CyberDiary – 20 October 2011

Early morning Mashatu landscape

Early morning Mashatu landscape by Andrei Snyman

Just two days ago we had 10mm of rain, and already there is a green flush covering the landscape. Not to be outdone, the trees are all showing signs of new leaf shoots as well. It’s really amazing to see how quickly the vegetation reacts to the first rains.

Temperatures have remained fixed in the upper twenties, and even when it’s overcast it still gets hot. This is mostly due to the humidity however. There is hardly any dust when we’re out on drive either, it’s as if winter has been summarily washed away by the rain.

The well-known leopard cub triplets are still seen frequently with their mother. The little female, who is also the runt of the litter, appears to have sustained an injury to her front leg, as she’s been limping recently. Her brothers are growing quickly, and both look set to follow in the footsteps of their father. Pitsane, who is named after his territory which runs along the east side of the Pitsane River, is himself a force to be reckoned with. We’ve seen a few other leopards around in the last while, although there is one in particular that stands out. She is a beautiful young female living around the well-known White-Cliffs in the Majale River.

The Central pride of lions is still doing well, with eland featuring on their menu fairly regularly. Matswane, the adult male who is blind in one eye, has been doing some walking between the Central lionesses and others living further north of our reserve. The three males and females living in the south-west were not seen this week. The GPS satellite collar on one of the males indicates that they’ve been spending more time on the southern side of the Motloutse River, which explains their absence in our neck of the woods.

On a somewhat less predatory note, the albino porcupine we mentioned a while back was seen again. This time close to the M1 crossing at the Majale River. Even for those not blessed with an ‘eagle eye’, it was a breeze to spot this white and pink critter running around in the open at night. When we approached it immediately stuck its head into a dry bush, while leaving the rest of its body and quills out in plain sight. We thought perhaps it didn’t realise that it was white, and therefore easily visible to onlookers.

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See you out there,

Andrei



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