Jump to content

My BBC moments: following Mara predators... and not only :)


bettel
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am back from my safari to Kenya (7 nights at Serian Mara).

 

I know I say this after each safari but I have to repeat: so far it was the best wildlife viewing :). We did not see mating pangolins (or any other super extraordinary sightings) but we saw 6 leopards, a few cheetah families (including the newest addition to Mara cheetahs - Nora's cubs) , 4 lion prides with cubs, crossings (unfortunately with some kills), 2 mating lion pairs and one mating lion harem (male was mating with at least two (possibly three) females at the same time), cheetah hunting, lions hunting, buffaloes chasing lions, lions killing an adult male warthog (that was a tough one!), lots of elephants (including one of the MNC tuckers), jackal and hyena cubs and much much more.

 

I have to warn that there will be a lot of photos :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to warn that there will be a lot of photos :)

 

I eagerly await them!

Edited by Marks
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@bettel

I have to warn that there will be a lot of photos


And you leave us hanging without even a teaser image?

 

;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agree Matt.... appalling behaviour.

 

Seriously, sounds like a classic Mara visit and I am equal parts jealous and eager to hear about it.

 

Actually I am not sure Nora's cubs are the latest additions, but I am not going to risk cursing my own visit coming up in just over two weeks by saying more.

 

If we have the same guide as you at Serian I will mention everything you saw.... no pressure though.. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

madaboutcheetah

@@pault - you will have to bring us back all the cheetah news - There's Nora; Kakenya; Nolari; Imani and also Malaika who is tragically missing one of her boys. I think there are also one or two mother cheetahs with cubs - but, less known as they are in Naboisho and Ol Kenyei. and not as publicized.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@bettel I'm sat back comfortably awaiting your report, it sounds like it's going to be a good one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@pault - you will have to bring us back all the cheetah news - There's Nora; Kakenya; Nolari; Imani and also Malaika who is tragically missing one of her boys. I think there are also one or two mother cheetahs with cubs - but, less known as they are in Naboisho and Ol Kenyei. and not as publicized.

@@madaboutcheetah... Maybe in Olare Motorogi too! Don't want to tempt fate by getting excited though. Saw the news on Kicheche Facebook page. Not sure if she is a newer mother than Nora.

 

@@bettel. Sorry...we are making a mess in your trip report thread,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And you leave us hanging without even a teaser image?

Agree Matt.... appalling behaviour.

 

I am working on it :)

 

 

Actually I am not sure Nora's cubs are the latest additions, but I am not going to risk cursing my own visit coming up in just over two weeks by saying more.

 

Are you talking about Musiara female? I think her cubs are little bit older. Nora's cubs are approximately 6 weeks now. Or there is another female? In any case the more cheetah cubs Mara has the better it is :)

 

 

@@bettel. Sorry...we are making a mess in your trip report thread

 

There is nothing to apologize for :). I am reading it with the great interest. We saw a cheetah with three 10-12 week (or so) cubs not far from Olare border. My guide did not know who they are. So I am reading the discussion with the great interest. I even contacted Meru Mara cheetah project and Elena was very kind to suggest helping with identification. Now I am waiting for the result.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Day 1.

 

I flew to MNC without any adventure and was met at the airstrip by Jonathan. We drove for only a couple of minutes when we saw lions. It was River pride. It normally prefers to stay on another side of the river (probably due to the amount of hyenas in MNC) but this time they were playing a welcoming committee.

 

Sometimes lions can give you such an intimidating look. You know when they stop breathing heavily, pause and just stare at you. I always want to apologise for everything I did and everything I will do :)

 

30_08_2015-01_zps5qw8oykg.jpg

 

Just couple kilometers away there were elephants. Wow! Two of my favourite animals just on a way to the camp!

 

30_08_2015-02_zpswcabdbks.jpg

 

After we arrived to camp, I signed all papers, had lunch and we went out. The light was bad but it did not matter as it was so nice to be outside with all those animals around.

 

30_08_2015-03_zpsxfohav76.jpg

 

30_08_2015-06_zps3wmgn6mj.jpg

 

30_08_2015-04_zpsdt2kssqd.jpg

 

30_08_2015-05_zps5foruxnw.jpg

 

Although Adrian told that MNC was not good for leopards at the moment we decided to try our luck. Jonathan knew that there was a male leopard on a kill near Kicheche camp so we went there and tried to find him. He completed the kill he had had but after 10 minutes of driving around we found him on another carcass:

 

30_08_2015-09_zpshimdyh8r.jpg

 

Poor thing could hardly breathe due to the amount of food he had :). We were sitting with him and just enjoying the amazing cat when the second leopard appeared. It was a female:

 

30_08_2015-07_zpsxzecdpu5.jpg

 

30_08_2015-08_zpsyqycm2yl.jpg

 

She walked around and tried to get close to the carcass but the male did not allowed: he growled, jumped up and almost lied on the kill. He had no intention to share. They did not seem to be a mating pair so we decided that it might be the female that made a kill and the male just stole it from her. We accompanied the female to the waterhole and back. She is a beauty:

 

30_08_2015-11_zpsrmgtofpa.jpg

 

30_08_2015-13_zps1zekvbq8.jpg

 

30_08_2015-12_zpsargmngnr.jpg

 

30_08_2015-10_zps4dccrfxb.jpg

 

Then the rain started but we continued to watch the male (the female disappeared in the bush) It was nice and peaceful. Some vehicles were coming and leaving but in general it was only us (and maybe one other car) there.

 

Then female came back and even more exciting thing happened as we saw this one:

 

30_08_2015-14_zpsqqzlcpmy.jpg

 

She was with a three month old baby here. What an outstanding surprise! The cub was not too confident so s/he quickly checked on her mother and father and returned to the bush (I am sorry for the quality of pictures but I had to include them :) ):

 

30_08_2015-15_zps2r8l20ey.jpg

 

That is the crazy start of the safari! Three leopards!

 

And then a hyena appeared so the male quickly woke up, took the kill and jumped on the tree:

 

30_08_2015-16_zpslcdvcpfx.jpg

 

I know the quality is poor but I like the dynamics :)

 

30_08_2015-17_zpspefefd5e.jpg

 

30_08_2015-18_zpsflnb2en2.jpg

 

The female was watching him. She was little bit lucky as a few pieces were left on the ground so she could have at least some snack:

 

30_08_2015-19_zpsa9nfttxo.jpg

 

After it got dark we returned to the camp.

Edited by bettel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@bettel First day gave you this? How could it get better? Was Alex Walker in camp?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@Game Warden, It was a crazy safari. I can't complain :).

 

Alex was not in camp, I believe he spends the majority of his time in Tanzania.

 

BTW, I made sure to let Adrian know that I am on Safaritalk and that my full report will be here :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah bringing back good memories of my Mara trip at Serian in February! You were so lucky with the leopards and the tiny cub - wow! Looking forward to more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hot damn, that's a start to a safari! Anxiously awaiting the next installment!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I know the quality is poor"
Hah, good one. ;) Leopard shots are awesome!
What a start.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blimey, good old MNC and Serian. I'm enthralled by the start to this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

30_08_2015-11_zpsrmgtofpa.jpg

 

Really fantastic photos all around, but this one stands out to me as a testament to the leopard's dazzling appearance. How funny that you were told immediately prior to these sightings that it wasn't a good time for leopards. I wonder if we can use that technique to summon other desirable animals?

 

Nice job with the crowned cranes, as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great first day... brilliant!

 

At six weeks Nora's are still the youngest then.You are correct, it was "Musiara" (her Meru-Mara Cheetah Project name now apparently as well as location of her first sightings) I referred to. Wonderful to hear there is a third female with cubs in the area. And that's at least two leopards with cubs as well. Lions stay away, please!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@@bettel

great photographs

would be interested to know about your equipment and settings

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@SafariChick, @amybatt, @Big_Dog, @twaffle, @Marks, @Earthian, @pault

 

Thank you very much for all your kind words and for reading the report :)

 

I wonder if we can use that technique to summon other desirable animals?

 

I wish it worked :). Can you imagine "There are not too many pangolins here" and then you see three :)?

 

At six weeks Nora's are still the youngest then.You are correct, it was "Musiara" (her Meru-Mara Cheetah Project name now apparently as well as location of her first sightings) I referred to. Wonderful to hear there is a third female with cubs in the area. And that's at least two leopards with cubs as well. Lions stay away, please!

 

I believe we also saw Musiara female with her cubs, but I am not 100% sure. I am waiting for Cheetah project to confirm :)

If by leopard cubs you mean the one I saw and Fig's cub then I think there is at least one more leopard with two cubs :). We saw them on MNC/Reserve border.

 

would be interested to know about your equipment and settings

 

Nothing too fancy :). I have Nikon D7000 and Nikkor 70-200 f2.8


 

Day 2.

 

We left the camp at 6:15 (it was our departure time for the rest of the stay) and for the whole day. The first thing we checked was a hyena den. I was pretty unlucky with hyena dens in South Africa. We were checking them there on daily basis and we never had any luck. I was SO happy that here I finally saw hyena cubs.

 

There are a lot of hyenas in MNC, extremely strong population, probably even too strong. It is one of reasons why cheetahs avoid coming here.

 

First we were met by older cubs:

 

31_08_2015-05_zpsckbwh9c3.jpg

 

But then younger cubs appeared too:

 

31_08_2015-01_zpsnbbghooa.jpg

 

And they started to play:

 

31_08_2015-04_zpsbnhacbnl.jpg

 

31_08_2015-02_zps3wtvr3db.jpg

 

But sometimes they were used as a toy:

 

31_08_2015-03_zpscshrrstr.jpg

 

Then we went to lions. There are three main prides in MNC: Cheli pride (approximately 30 lions), Offbeat pride (approximately 25 lions) and River ride (approximately 20 lions). As there is plenty of food around prides don’t stay together and are split into many groups so sometimes there was a feeling as if lions were under each bush.

 

On our way to lions:

 

31_08_2015-06_zpssfbrclrx.jpg

 

The morning we spent with four lionesses and 9 cubs. It was extremely entertaining. Cubs used everything around them as toys.

 

Hunt practice:

 

31_08_2015-07_zpsrv0xzy4w.jpg

 

The catch:

 

31_08_2015-08_zpsgtbcyzfs.jpg

 

31_08_2015-09_zpswvlyyisc.jpg

 

This cub was thinking what he should do now:

 

31_08_2015-12_zpsbpsxrsnv.jpg

 

And this one was practicing carcass dragging:

 

31_08_2015-10_zpsxsttqu8j.jpg

 

Sometimes moms were joining too. “Kid, did you wash your ears? Let me check?”

31_08_2015-11_zpswemqrfhb.jpg

 

Isn’t he a cutie?

 

31_08_2015-13_zpskhbsz8fj.jpg

 

Not everybody wanted to play, but nobody cared :)

 

31_08_2015-15_zpsiqdsd08a.jpg

 

I know there are a lot of photos but you should be proud of me I posted only 20%. Now you can imagine how bad it could have been.

 

31_08_2015-14_zpsa84jvyup.jpg

 

31_08_2015-16_zps4ezh1qts.jpg

 

“You sat on me!” –“You are biting my butt!”

 

31_08_2015-18_zpsuer0w3la.jpg

 

Group photo

 

31_08_2015-17_zpsdyx3xnhf.jpg

 

“I always wanted to be the only kid. Here is my chance. Sorry, bro, nothing personal”

31_08_2015-19_zpswnson5pm.jpg

 

31_08_2015-20_zpsy5icex3l.jpg

 

Some cubs actually were exercising wildebeests. Wildebeests were surprised but they did not have any choice:

 

31_08_2015-24_zpsr8tnct8m.jpg

 

But fighting was the most popular activity:

 

31_08_2015-23_zpsb527lotj.jpg

 

31_08_2015-21_zpsdivjjaq6.jpg

 

I swear this is the last one:

 

31_08_2015-22_zpsw8it1rle.jpg

 

By late morning lionesses took their kids to the rocky hill for the day rest and we continued the drive slowly moving to the reserve:

 

31_08_2015-27_zpsbyo4what.jpg

 

31_08_2015-26_zpsad4yulqi.jpg

 

31_08_2015-25_zps21ob4y4w.jpg

 

(to be continued)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

wow. what a story and pictures!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great tripreport and fantastic photos. Looking foreward to more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a great start to your trip.

Fabulous photos of the leopards, so many lions and fascinating to see them play. I also really like the hyena cubs.

I am looking forward to the next installments!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What lovely sightings in the first couple of days! Wow!

 

Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Zim Girl, @Earthian, @Africalover, @TonyQ, @Peter Connan

 

Thank you very much, your support motivates to continue!!!

 

@@pault,

 

I have just received cheetah identifications from Elena/Meru Mara cheetah project (it was so kind of her!). Another cheetah with 3 month old cubs that we saw is Rina, so there are even more cheetahs with cubs. You will have to bring us update on all of them :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy