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The Leopard's Tail

January 2012

Good Day to all our Leopards Tale Readers

We have had a fabulous and certainly very jolly Festive Season! We started off with a bang and officially welcomed our Female Lions into our Reserve.

We have spent our Festive Season welcoming guests from South Africa and from all over the World. The Guides and Trackers have spoilt our guests with some amazing sightings, Our Hosts have taken care of every need and wishes, The Chefs ensuring our guests have been treated to some spectacular South African Fare. Our Team at Leopard Mountain have done a spectacular job… Well done!!!

OUR RESERVE

Our Guide Wesley, gives us some wonderful updates:-

LEOPARD

Amazing sightings have been plentiful with male, female and cubs being shared amongst the guides. 

A large Female was seen close to the Lodge with two 6 month old cubs and numerous fresh tracks have been discovered in a specific area. There is a suspicion that one of the other females has given birth recently. The fact that she is not moving as far as usual during her nightly activities is good evidence that there is the presence of cubs. A large Male has been seen regularly providing excellent photographic opportunities. It is very exciting to know that the leopards are breeding successfully, as this only means more leopard viewing opportunity.

LION

The lions have been making a strong presence of themselves this month. The coalition of three brothers are still proving to be quite nomadic, their territorial movements and hunting has been taking place here at Leopard Mountain quite frequently of late.

Imagine our surprise when the three brothers were seen relaxing with full bellies no more than 20 meters from Melissa and Ivors' house. Please excuse any photo that appears with Mel's house in the Background!

A nice shaded spot on the dam wall at our waterhole lookout provided the lions with everything they need, a constant water supply, numerous species of animals coming down to drink and cover from the hot afternoon sun. This makes for perfect hunting grounds.

The lioness's have also arrived and are currently in the boma being acclimatised to the surrounds in their new home. They have come from Tembe Elephant Park, bringing completely new genes into the area. We are looking forward to them being released sometime in early February

ELEPHANT

Looking for elephants has definitely been a highlight this month, a lot of tracking has been involved in searching for them.

The bulls have slowed down on the pushing down of trees and seem to be focusing more on the abundance of what is offered by the various grass species and trees now that it is so green everywhere. The elephant calves are looking and behaving more and more like elephants.

A lot of practice is being showed amongst the little bull calves with regards to being ''bull elephants''. It seems a large portion of the young bulls time is being spent chasing off resident warthogs and ground dwelling birds. This will come in handy as they mature slowly and will put the youngsters in good stead for when they are adult bulls and have to fight other bulls for breeding rights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHEETAH

They are breeding well with numerous quality sightings. With the Relaxed nature of this species, watching them go about their daily routine and possible hunts has been a pleasure. A male has made himself at home in the south of the Reserve and he is constantly seen hanging around a large waterhole.

 

BIRDS

A number of sightings of different species of Bee-Eaters have been shared amongst the guides. Not only are we seeing large amounts of little Bee-Eaters, there are also large flocks of European Bee-Eaters in the area, as well as white fronted Bee-Eater pairs all around the reserve.

Narina trogons have also been playing their part with more than a handful of sightings being shared amongst the leopard mountain guides. This shy bird spends the entirety of its day, well hidden in the forests on the reserve.       

There seems to be a large amount of ostrich chicks hatching on the reserve already. Some females have actually laid their eggs into the same nest sight. Once hatched there is also a larger amount of protection from all of the adults. Usually the more dominant female out of the flock tends to push the subordinate females eggs to the outer area of the nest sight, which is a shallow hollow in some soft sand, she then proceeds to move her eggs towards the centre of the nest where there is more heat when the adult is sat down on them.

The Narina Trogons are in full breeding colours. The most noticeable feature is definitely the yellow marking on the facial area changing to a beautiful turquoise colour during the breeding period. Male Trogons will also spend an entire day chasing each other through the canopies of the riverine forests to rid their territories of possible competition.

There have been a large number of juvenile raptor sightings, Marshal Eagles, African Crowned Eagles and African Harrier Hawks.

There is a copious amount of reed growth in and around a lot of the waterholes at the moment. This is common place in the summertime. The reed beds make for good nesting and breeding grounds for a large number of bird species. The species being viewed spending a lot of time in and out of the reeds include: Masked Weavers, Village Weavers, White Winged Widow Birds, Common Waxbills and some of the more illusive Warblers.

With the return of summer, comes the return of an incredible amount of bird species, nearing four hundred in the Leopard Mountain area alone.

There has also been a very rare sighting of Red Headed Weaver this month. The last sighting of this species of weaver in the area was around four years ago. The sighting was also over forty kilometres from where the Red Headed Weaver birds were spotted this time around. A definite highlight of the month on the bird front.

GENERAL GAME

With the new youngsters in the herds of antelope and other species of animals including; zebra, buffalo, monkeys, baboons and giraffe, game viewing has been exciting on a completely different level. Watching young Vervet monkeys is always a highlight. So much is learnt through play in monkey culture. Playing and wrestling also establishes dominance amongst monkeys, even from a young age. The baboons are thoroughly enjoying the fresh fruits on the cluster figs in the Msunduze and Manyoni riverbeds.

The herds of impala have literally doubled in numbers due to the new lambs. There have been herds of up to two hundred impala seen together in areas where there is good grazing. The zebra mares are starting to give birth to their foals too. Although a little later than the impala birthing season, it is still a great time of year as there is an abundance of grasses. The stallions seem to be extra protective of their herds due to the fact that there are a number of new additions amongst the various herds.

HYENA

Hyeanas have been viewed on a couple of occasions this month this is very exciting as Hyeana sightings have always been rare.

With the lions moving into the area recently, the Hyeana follow in hope of scavenging on what the lions leave behind. Their eerie calls have been filling the night air on a permanent basis of late.

A very relaxed pair allowed us to view them only metres from the game drive vehicle The Hyeana here at Leopard Mountain are making good use of the riverbeds during the early hours of the evening, possibly resting and also denning near the riverbed.

ZULULAND WALKING SAFARIS

December has been very busy with the guided Walks and the walks are proving to be a very popular additional activity. The walks allow you to have a completely different wildlife experience; we encountered many different herds of buffalo. Watched Square-Tailed Drongo's mobbing a Family of Banded mongoose. We saw a White Rhino Bull mating with a Female and when the female's calf approached too close the Bull turned around and tossed it into the air. Vultures were seen on the ground when we go closer we found the warthog carcass that they were feeding on was still in its burrow. Lion's roaring early in the Morning gave an exciting start to one of the Walks. This is just the tip of the ice-berg of the incredible experiences we had this month on Trail.

ZULULAND WALKING SAFARIS:

December has been very busy with the guided Walks and the walks are proving to be a very popular additional activity. The walks allow you to have a completely different wildlife experience; we encountered many different herds of buffalo. Watched Square-Tailed Drongo's mobbing a Family of Banded mongoose. We saw a White Rhino Bull mating with a Female and when the female's calf approached too close the Bull turned around and tossed it into the air. Vultures were seen on the ground when we go closer we found the warthog carcass that they were feeding on was still in its burrow. Lion's roaring early in the Morning gave an exciting start to one of the Walks. This is just the tip of the ice-berg of the incredible experiences we had this month on Trail.

THIS MONTH'S COMPETITION

You could be the lucky person to win yourself and a partner a free night including dinner, bed & breakfast and game drives at the lodge. You may email us your answer to win@leopardmountain.co.za (competition closes 31st January 2012 terms & conditions apply):

Solve this Riddle:

In the forest I am important in life and death
Though lacking lungs I shall never take a breath
Before eating me be certain of my name
Otherwise it might be a dying shame

Congratulations to Last Months Winner Was:

Thank you to everyone who responded to our competition! The winner of our LEOPARD MOUNTAIN competition for last month is Mark Hammond. Congratulations - you have won yourself and a partner a free night .

Last Month's Riddle was:

3 friends checked into a motel and were charged R30 so each paid R 10. The clerk realized that he made a mistake and overcharged them by R 5 so he asked the bellhop to return the R 5. He gave each friend R 1 and kept the remaining R 2. Each of the 3 friends got R 1 back therefore each paid R 9 which is a total of R 27. We know the bellhop kept R 2 which adds up to R 29 and not R 30. Where did the other Rand go?

ANSWER

Initial charge was R30.00 when it should have been R25.00 so R5.00 must be returned. R3.00 is given to the 3 friends and R2.00 is kept by the bellhop which equals R5.00. Each of the 3 friends paid R9.00 and not R10.00 so as far as the friends are concerned they paid R27.00. The clerk will tell us that they were charged R25.00 and when you add the R3.00 returned with the R2.00 kept by the bellhop you end up with R30.00.

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