Where to start? This was one of those ambitions
I’ve had since childhood after watching a wildlife documentary about this pace
but never thought I’d ever fulfil it. And it didn’t disappoint. After
struggling to nail Lynes’s Cisticola
on the downward journey and being constantly distracted by the awesome vista
below, there were also views of Lanner,
Northern Anteater-Chat, Purple Grenadier, Schalow’s Wheatear, Brown
Parisoma, Yellow Bishop, Lappet-faced Vulture and Sooty Falcon.
|Red-rumped Swallows were perched beside the track|
Nearing the crater floor
we could see a few jeeps watching a group of Lions beside a small lake so headed down there, only to come
face-to-face with a majestic Caracal
about 30 feet away from us! What? We’d just been staking out an area that
Caracal has sometimes frequented higher up and never thought we’d have a
realistic chance and now here we were.
It had just killed an African Hare but been spooked and was
tentatively trying to cross the track in front of us towards a kill that 4 Lions had made, but was now being taken
over by Golden Jackals and Black-backed Jackals, with some White-backed Vultures also moving in.
|This Lioness was a bit feisty....|
|Vultures and Jackals at the kill|
But after several minutes it decided against that course of action as a Lioness began chasing the Plains Zebras before turning her
attentions to the Caracal. So it hightailed it out of there and disappeared up
the slope. I’m sure some of the other jeeps weren’t even aware of the presence
of this scarce mammal as they were too focussed on the Lion action. But we were elated and the huge surge of adrenalin
really is something you need to experience at some time in your life. I love
it! So we stayed around the water for some time, taking in the Lions, Kori Bustard, Thompson’s Gazelles,
Fischer’s Sparrow-Larks, Red-capped Lark and other commoner
After a toilet stop we drove out into the plains
where amazingly we found another Caracal,
albeit quite distant. We also saw Pectoral-patch
Cisticola, Black-bellied Bustard,
Spotted Hyena, a confiding Rosy-breasted Longclaw, Montagu’s Harrier, another sleeping Lion, some African Quailfinches coming to drink in a stream, before heading to
the Hippo Pools.
Needless to say they were full of Hippos and some waterbirds but with rain threatening we drove to
the picnic site. Here there were many Fan-tailed
Widowbirds in non-breeding dress, African
Fish-Eagles, flocks of Red-billed
Queleas and a hunting African Hobby.
Leaving here we headed back towards the escarpment,
and along the way enjoyed watching displaying Black-bellied Bustards, Isabelline
Wheatear, several Kittlitz’s Plovers
and Plain-backed Pipit.
more lush area with lots of larger trees we saw some perched Lappet-faced Vultures, Dusky Turtle Dove, Hildebrandt’s Starlings, Ruppell’s
Vultures nesting, both Red-backed
and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Broad-billed Roller, Black Storks, Martial Eagle and a pair of White-headed
Barbets. And that was our day.