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Hot dry season at Camp Hwange


Bush dog

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Bush dog

Continuation of the second day

 

At Shumba, a yellow-billed kite was feeding on…….  Well, on what was it? I really don’t know.

 

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Black-shouldered kite.

 

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Buffalo.

 

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We stopped at Ebony Pan for breakfast.  A first small herd of thirsty elephants arrived and came very close to us.  Washington had to make them aware of our presence projecting, with his foot, in their direction, a little sand and dust.  They turned back without eventually drinking.  Never mind, they did not miss much, the water was very muddy and more conducive to mud baths, which was certainly done by some individuals from a second herd, arrived shortly after, and a lone dagga boy.  Sorry, no decent pictures!  At that period of the year, the light quickly becomes very harsh.

 

We then went to Masuma where everything was very calm, just some crocodiles basking in the sun and a few elephants.

 

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In the afternoon, we stayed on the concession.

 

Dickinson’s kestrel.

 

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This leopard was lying motionless, at the foot of a tree, at a certain distance from the road.  I still wonder how Wahington was able to spot it while driving.  It quickly moved away and disappeared deep into the mopanes.

 

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Slender Mongoose.

 

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Zebra.

 

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Having spent two weeks, last month, in the Western Cape, on the way back home, I made a stop-over of eight days in Zimbabwe, at Camp Hwange again.  This time, it was very hot (around 42° C) and dry, a

End of the first day   After the sundowners, we tried to spot one of the servals that live around Shumba and we succeeded.           

Second day   Early in the morning, at the water hole, the constant comings and goings of elephants was in full swing.  In fact, from the trumpeting and sounds of movements in the water heard

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Lovely Slender mongoose image

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Bush dog

@Geoff

 

Thanks Geoff, your pictures from Zambia and Kenya are great!

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This looks like an awesome trip to Hwange, @Bush dog! Amazing pictures, especially like the serval photos. Coincidentally I saw my first ever serval a few weeks ago in Kafue, but it was a brief one and hard to have a good look at it. So nice to see such great photos!

Stayed in Hwange before, in the eastern part, it wasn't that busy at the end of green season/beginning of dry season. But will keep in mind the eastern section if I happen to return.

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On 6-11-2017 at 8:49 AM, optig said:

@Christopher Moran I'll be at Camp Hwange and Little Makalolo from the 14th to the 17th of June next year as part of my second longest and most ambitious safari ever.

So I guess that trip includes Kafue and Hwange? Wondering what your itinerary will be, did you post it somewhere in trip planning? (can't find it myself)

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Bush dog

@LarsS

 

Thanks a lot!  The serval you saw, certainly the first of a long series.

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Bush dog

End of the second day

 

In the late afternoon, I was fortunate to witness something I had never seen before, one of the highlights of this trip.  Indeed, I saw the mating ritual of the red-crested korhaan.  What a show to impress the female.  When I arrived, the courtship display flight had been already completed.  It was in the second phase, the mating ritual.  To do this, the male gives itself a hunchback appearance and while bobbing up and down, slamming its beak and raising its bright red crest, after which it is named, it moves in small leaps around the female while approaching.  Throughout the dance, its gaze remains focused on the female.  This ritual is repeated as long as the female does not give it the green light for mating.

 

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Sundowners were again taken at Shumba.

 

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Bush dog

Third day

 

This day was a lions day but perhaps I should say it was first a lions night.  Indeed, in the middle of the night, I was suddenly awakened by the loud roar of a lion that must have been close enough to my room.  Others, more distant, answered it and so on until dawn.  We were of course out again at 5:30.  The sun was not up yet that we already saw the two young males, sons of Vusi and one of the two beautiful females that Julian, manager of the camp, called the Super Models. 

 

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Those two boys are almost three years old.  A few months ago, they were still seen with their mother and aunt.  Now, they are on their own, especially since a solitary male, quite young also but older than them, appeared in the area last March.  But they did not move from the concession and the surroundings of it and their presence does not seem to embarrass the newcomer who may be thinking of them for a future coalition?  We left them when one of the two other cars radioed us that the Super Models were not far.  Those two independent girls are now together for quite a long time.  One is pregnant by the newcomer.

 

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The newcomer was in fact not far from the females.  It was called Toy Boy by one of the guides.  It was seen for the first time, in March, feeding on a dead elephant.  It was then extremely shy but gradually became accustomed to vehicles.

 

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There will be more lions in the course of the day.

 

 

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Bush dog

Continuation of the third day

 

After the lions and not that far, a herd of buffaloes.

 

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Senegal coucal.

 

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At Dwarf Goose, another herd of buffaloes.

 

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2 hours ago, Bush dog said:

At Dwarf Goose

 

Is it really Dwarf Goose? Oh, maybe Mongoose? 

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Bush dog
2 hours ago, Geoff said:

 

Is it really Dwarf Goose? Oh, maybe Mongoose? 

 

Yes, @Geoff, it's really Dwarf Goose, probably this name was given to this seasonal pan because someone saw a dwarf goose on it when the name was given.

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@Bush dog Mike, I had to look it up. I'd never heard of a Dwarf Goose. It's not in my African bird books. Is it another name Pygmy Goose?

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@Bush dog  Wonderful pictures. The one of the 3 kudu drinking (elongated with the one in the middle) was quite striking. And I can see why the lionesses are called super models- they are beautiful.

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@Geoff

 

Geoff, I thought it was another name for the Pygmy Goose.  After checking, I'm not so sure anymore.  The only mention I found is on Amazon.  It's a plastic garden gnome with a goose but I can't make the connection with a seasonal pan in Hwange.  Next time I'm in Camp Hwange, I will ask Julian the origin of its name.    

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@Imonmm

 

Thanks!  They are magnificent all the more they are not that young anymore, around 7-8 years old.

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Continuation of the third day

 

We left Dwarf Goose and took the main road towards Masuma.  Arrived at Shumba at the level with the ranger's camp, it was with surprise that we found, on the left just below the road, Mandla beside a dead buffalo that it and Liam had killed during the night.  But where was Liam?  Five minutes later, we spotted it under a bush on the other side of the road.  We told the ranger to be careful with the lions around.  He was not aware of their presence. 

 

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These two were also to participate in the concert of roars of the previous night.   They were not very far from the five others.  Which leads me to say that while they regard the concession and Shumba's surroundings as part of their kingdom, they are not too obsessed with the presence of the other five.  After all, there are only three young lions and two females.  I think their regular presence in Shumba is intended to keep any potential intruder far enough away from their main asset, the Masuma pride and its large number of females.

 

This tawny eagle was feeding on a guinea fowl.  I was taking pictures when it decided to fly away, I continued and it’s only when I looked at the small screen of my camera that I understood why it flew away, the arrival of a second one behind it.

 

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Giant eagle owl, also feeding on a guinea fowl.

 

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During lunch, we saw giraffes, sables, crowned cranes and elephants, of course.

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Peter Connan

What a magnificent series you got there!

 

Seems like the Guineas were having a rough day.

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offshorebirder

Great new additions @Bush dog.     I particularly liked the photo series of the Red-crested Korhaan's courtship!

 

 

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Bush dog

@Geoff

 

Geoff, I asked Julian the origin of the name Dwarf Goose.  He told me that it's the ancient name of the pygmy goose.  They are coming each year, in the green season, when the pan is full of water.

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Bush dog

@Peter Connan

@offshorebirder

 

Thanks!!!

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3 minutes ago, Bush dog said:

He told me that it's the ancient name

 

Ha. Must be more ancient than me. :)

 

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Continuation of the third day

 

In the afternoon, on the concession, we came across four roans.

 

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Interlude.

 

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On our way to Shumba, to see Liam and Mandla, we stopped at the camp’s water hole where several tens of elephants were drinking.

 

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Black-crowned tchagra.

 

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Bush dog

Continuation of the third day

 

The lions were still where we left them in the morning and Liam was just moving to go closer to its brother.

 

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