out at sunrise, which was at 6.30am, and drove across wide open plains to an
area favoured by numerous larks. In pretty quick time we had seen Pink-billed, Spike-heeled, Red-capped, and Eastern Clapper Lark, plus
stunning views of Double-banded Courser and Northern Black Korhaan – not a bad
Following a delicious breakfast, and very close views of Long-billed Crombec
in a tree beside our table, we loaded
the luggage into the trailer and then walked to the waterhole
for one last look.
Upon arrival we were greeted with a huge mass of animals all
gathered close to the water: Springbok,
Black-faced Impala, Burchell’s
Zebra, and our first Greater Kudu.
Flocks of Namaqua Sandgrouse were
flying in to drink, and both African
Palm and Little Swifts flew
overhead. We literally had to tear ourselves away and set out on the drive
towards Halali, spending the next three hours driving across Etosha. Birds of
note on the drive were headlined by Rufous-eared Warbler, with other species such as Ostrich, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle,
Rufous-naped Lark, and our first Red Hartebeest being seen.
primarily checked out the waterholes en-route
and at one there were herds of Burchell’s
Zebra, Springbok, Blue Wildebeast and Black-faced Impala. At another we saw Red-billed Teal, Egyptian Goose and flocks of African
Quailfinch flying in to drink.
|The waterholes at Etosha were full of mammals this morning|
reaching Halali we were a bit late so dived straight I for lunch, and got
interrupted by a flock of White-crested helmetshrikes.
Then after getting
our rooms sorted headed straight out on a drive through the Mopane woodland,
where our first stop was teeming with birds responding to the owlet tape. Of
course, a real Pearl-spotted
Owlet flew in and this helped us out a lot as in came a superb Carp’s Black Tit,
as well as numerous Grey-headed Sparrows
and Red-eyed Bulbuls.
species appeared such as Yellow-bellied Eremomela, several Violet-eared Waxbills, and a pair of
Buntings. The rest of the drive around the woodland was quiet apart
fro a Bateleur
that Sorrell spotted, until Jenny spotted a Leopard walking through the grassland – unfortunately no-one else
could get on it!
we drove back out to the open plains, finding our first Red-crested Korhaan, and carried on
to where a Leopard had previously been reported earlier in the day. With the
temperature dropping we had high hopes of seeing it, maybe a foolish thing as
I’ve twitched mammals on these tours before and they usually end up in
disappointment. But this afternoon was different and as we pulled up at the
spot there was just one other vehicle there.
|Leopard giving us a bit of attention before heading towards the Springbok|
Within a few minutes we had
located the Leopard, a large female, sitting behind a small bush in the grassland.
How bizarre to see a Leopard in this environment and not a Cheetah, but
apparently the herds of Springbok and Impala had left the dry bush and
woodlands for the richer harvest of the open plains. And the Leopard had
followed them. We spent a while watching the bulky shape of the beast through
the bush before all of a sudden, it began walking off to our right.
|Here she goes...|
went into a crouch and began stalking some Springbok
that were stupidly walking right towards it. The Leopard crouched down and
became invisible and 4 Springbok kept on walking straight towards it. The first
one walked right past the hidden predator, but the second one got too close and
the Leopard gave a short chase, which proved unsuccessful.
|This female Leopard gave chase to an unwary Springbok|
But boy what an
experience to witness nature in the raw!
We kept on watching the beast until the sun was just above the horizon
before driving quickly back to Halali.
|As the sun began to set we had to leave the Leopard....|
After dinner we spent a pleasant time at the
waterhole in the camp, where we saw 2 Black Rhinos,
2 Black-backed Jackals, an African Elephant, and best of all, 2 Cape Foxes.