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@Tdgraves thank you - trying to get the bird list and correct ids together befire i dare to launch it!

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@Kitsafari  What an interesting episode with the warties. Normally I would never get sentimental about a kill but, in this case, it was a little sad. Poor mother wartie. It's a tough life in the bush!

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@Galago we felt sad too when the mum wartie lost her second baby. we had seen so many warthogs with lots of babies in the Mara, and were speculating that she must have lost all her babies to the lions. 

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A very enjoyable post. 


When we were there a few weeks after you, we were told the Dik Dik Pride overall was struggling a bit because they had mainly been pursuing warthogs of late, and that wasn’t  producing enough sustenance for the group overall. Your episode seems to bear witness to that, at least diet wise. 


Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to more. 


Edited by Alexander33
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@Alexander33 we were surprised that the Dikdik pride were hunting mainly piglets. it's not for a lack of herbivores there. Your post reminded me that there was one cub in particular that wasn't doing well when we were there. it was thin and lagging behind. I'm not sure if it made it. 


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The first morning in OMC was fairly clear after a wet wet night. In fact, all our evening drives were cut short by the rains at 6pm, such that on our final day, we decided to get out of the camp for our afternoon drives at 3.30pm. But thankfully, the rains would stop overnight and the rest of the day would be dry and clear. 




the first thing we did was to see the two cheetah sisters who were still hunting. we and a few other vehicles trailed them all the way to the Ntiakitiak River.






one stared down our cameras as it checked out another vehicle. 




as she came to the river, she looked like she wanted to cross the river but the swells were full and the currents looked very strong. she sat by the river, watching the river flows and the handful of buffaloes feeding opposite. James said a male lion was sighted across the river earlier. i hoped they wouldn't attempt a crossing; they wouldn't be able to make it for sure. 





they took turns to sit on mounds, looking out on the areas for prey but prey was elusive this morning. They walked on and soon we reached a wide open area that was the Sayailel Plains. Down the valley by the river we could the Porini camp. The sisters chose to lie down, not a km away from the camp and at that moment, I did wish we were staying at the camp. It was at what looked like a strategic location.

we took tonnes of photos of the cheetah sisters. We spent the better part of the morning just trailing them. 











Edited by Kitsafari
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Since the sisters seemed unwilling to move from their shady positions, we decided to skirt around the Ntiakitiak river to see what birds we could find. we found black masked weavers tendering to their nests on a tree perched precariously over the roaring river. The time watching these industrious male weavers reinforcing old nests and building new ones against a scenic background was just truly enjoyable. 





attracting the attention of a female:













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A beautiful cheetah sequence. That river does look very full indeed. The weaver segment is fascinating.

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Beautiful leopard and great vulture action on the first page. And I liked seeing you go to bat for hyenas in the third page; they always need to be appreciated more, and you found some nice fluffy ones. :)


But wow that impala on the second page is really something else. Totally fascinating that the growth is on both forelegs.


Fantastic cheetahs throughout.

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@Marks so pleased to see you back in ST - you've been away for a while. :)


and thanks to you and @TonyQ for enjoying the cheetahs and weavers and hyenas. 


More cheetahs ahead!

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A few more birds along the river. DSC02808.thumb.JPG.2cb2601f2483ce315e2829d5fd92ca4a.JPGKBC3-43.thumb.JPG.e3c55e742534fa038960d1c08a96ccc0.JPGDSC02815.thumb.JPG.3dc5e8f6584b05ac2040354b94df23d1.JPGKBC3-44.thumb.JPG.2a916e64e1ebef6399d9e5663dd9934e.JPGKBC3-45.thumb.JPG.f085ca4ffd2d5b0f4149f423b15c296c.JPGDSC02822.thumb.JPG.6dfc1b00b21a68bacb11c1636d6db88d.JPGDSC02826.thumb.JPG.02141444cc9e05c2b0665186f2bfb400.JPG


we returned to the hills and waited for the cheetahs to move along but they refused our appeals. so we had breakfast in the vehicle, just in case they decided to make a lightning move. But i guess our food didn't appeal to them. James saw something at the top of the hill, which was more promising and that was how we ended up with a pack of six cute young jackals playing among themselves,while waiting for their parents to return with breakfast. It was such a great interaction to watch. 




one of them held something in its mouth and walked towards our vehicle looking for shade.KBC3-49.thumb.JPG.71d5a43d5795c8c9ce0c9797fc5767c8.JPGDSC02873.thumb.JPG.633e8192d8a43ce1c999e81dfc4cd494.JPGDSC02878.thumb.JPG.6ac5694d10c5c718520794b5d06f88cd.JPGDSC02883.thumb.JPG.f7e30c5d16f3ce99032c08af41dc0481.JPGDSC02885.thumb.JPG.bd0be22651511cbdec707f79167ae88e.JPG


But then Mummy returned, and it was a melee of jackal cubs crowding round her for food. 





poor cub pleading for more!





the mum took them into the woods to hunt for food, but soon the cubs were speeding down the hill - the pop has returned with more food!







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It was still mid-morning, and the cheetahs weren't moving. To stay around the area, James elected to move around the other side of Porini camp to see what we could find. 

More birds and a handsome eland. 






Then James spotted something in the river - hippos quarreling - a good spot! at first, we could see the hippo on the left nervously chattering away while the eyes of a submerged hippo were watching it. When the submerged hippo rose, he was a monster. you could clearly see the smaller hippo being extremely nervous but the fight wasn't much of a fight as both appeared reluctant to go into a full flight and get seriously injured. 




sorry for the shakes - i'm not good with filming and the vehicle moved a couple of times. the last portion shows the difference in the hippos' size. 



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More birds - I've just realised that I could end up with more bird photos than mammal or reptile photos in my future safaris! 





a secretary bird, definitely not typing on the top of a tree but accompanied by a weaver....



a guineafowl



a flock of excitable grey-backed fiscals....




were they mating or were they kicking up a ruckus because of the tawny across the plains? 



or the Verreaux's eagle owl which seemed more sleepy than wanting to hunt? 



and then back at the camp after lunch, we found the resident sweetheard - a pretty silverbird




a starlingDSC03086.thumb.JPG.18ee3b312f543eebecf3570733ef6031.JPG


and a tawny in flight



but it was the gecko visitor which brought us back to earth. :) 




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The jackal pups are adorable.


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@Kitsafari  Reading your post I realised I've never seen young jackals. Lovely photos and great interactions. Feeding six youngsters must be very hard work.

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Wow, that river really was raging. Glad the cheetah sisters didn’t attempt a crossing. What a wonderful sequence of photos of them. We were not fortunate enough to encounter those two. 


Love the jackal pups!  Just looking at your images of them makes me smile. 

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@Kitsafari Lovely photos of the cheetahs, also enjoyed the landscape shots very much,

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16 hours ago, Kitsafari said:


@Marks so pleased to see you back in ST - you've been away for a while. :)


Thanks! Just life and work getting in the way, but I'm trying to make more time. :)


The jackal interactions in your latest batch are really interesting. It's neat to see so many of them together.

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I hope the cheetah sisters got something to eat soon. Worried.

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we kicked off the afternoon drive with the big animals - buffalos and elephants. we hadn't seen a lot of eles, and over the course of our stay, we didn't see big families of elephants. those that we saw were small herds with four to five in a group, and even then i think I could count on one hand the number of times we saw elephants in OMC. Perhaps we were just not in the right place at the right time for the jumbos.


these two buffaloes were having a little wrestling match but when they saw us, they became bashful and moved off. 


















Edited by Kitsafari
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after the sweet interlude with the baby elephant, we went in search of the two cheetahs. Still looking very lean, and walking and gazing, they were clearly still hunting. By then there were some 5-6 vehicles but all keeping on the sides to give them clear open spaces in case they wanted to hunt. they passed a herd of thompson's gazelles, showing little interest. 




In the distance, straight ahead of them was a herd of gazelles. The other Kicheche vehicle drove straight behind that herd as did 2 other vehicles, thinking the cheetahs could walk towards the herd. 

then a herd of gazelles also in the distance towards our left stopped to look at the cheetahs.



I was watching the first cheetah when suddenly her sister behind her raced past her, veering towards our left.



As I was taping, the vehicle lurched forward as James hoped to catch her in the act of the kill. But as we all know, cheetahs wait for no man nor vehicle. they were just too fast, and we were following so it was impossible to get any photos. By the time we reached her, the slender neck of a fawn was in her jaws. the sister caught up and both greedily tucked into the fawn as a topi gazed on and the other gazelles watched from a further distance. 

Finally they found a meal. They had been waiting for a fawn but James said most of the fawns would have been hidden in the grass, out of sight, while the mothers joined the herd to graze. It just so happened that the fawn got up to join the mother in the herd that the cheetah immediately noticed it. the guests in the other Kicheche vehicle told us they were too far away and missed the entire hunt. 









the first few seconds of the tape shows the cheetah racing off, but as James moved the vehicle i stopped filming and resumed when we reached the cheetahs and their kill.



The other Kicheche vehicle decided to move on to find Fig, and we were about to follow suit when we noticed a tawny flying above us. the Tawny tried to steal the food from one of the cheetahs and almost succeeded but a flock of lapwings came swooping in, harassing the eagle till the bird flew off. 






Edited by Kitsafari
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we were glad to see the sisters finally eating. I was surprised that the pair was still together after going independent for many months but they must have figured that they had better chances of survival being together until they were ready to mate.

So from one big cat to another, we went looking for the dik dik pride in the vicinity. The lions were about 2km away over the hill, and they were sprawled around the sparse acacia bushes. they didn't seem particularly happy to see us. :(






or maybe she was just a little grumpy. a young female came over but no loving welcome greeted her. the young ones were just rolling around. If they were all just depending on her to provide, it's no wonder she was just a bit edgy.











Edited by Kitsafari
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The skies were darkening and it was steadily raining across the land. 



the female lion's ears pricked up, sniffed the air and she stood up as did a few others. just on the rise of the hill, yet another warthog with a single piglet were making their way back to the bushes. 



and like that, the running prey triggered the lions. a hunt was afoot. 





as usual, the lioness went for the piglet. as the lioness carried her prey back to the acacia bush, we could see the piglet was still alive as it tried to squirm away from the lioness' tight hold. 




of the 3 lion hunts we witnessed - all three kills were piglets. It does support what @Alexander33 had heard from his guide - if the dikdik pride appeared to be hunting only warthogs - and babies mainly - they would be struggling badly if they kept up their hunts this way. the cubs wouldn't have enough to survive on. one of the cubs was extremely thin and didn't look well at all. it was hidden in the bush and when its siblings and cousins crowded near the adult lioness, it hung back in the bush. 


the lioness brought the kill to a bush and all the cubs stayed far from her.




but slowly one by one they came together as a group, finding strength and support from each other. It was fascinating to watch how the young lions were pleading for a morsel but doing it subtly and slowly without triggering the lioness' wrath. they crept closer and closer, all the time grooming each other and disguising their progress. 




and before you could finish your cup of hot tea, they were almost on top of her. 





and then the rains began and it was time to head back to camp. But on the way back we looked back and the sun peeked out of the clouds so we made time for some sunset photos. 

An afternoon of hunts. Not a bad way to spend our time in bountiful Mara. :)





Edited by Kitsafari
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what a wonderful afternoon! i was sad to hear you hadn't seen any elephants and then you got the adorable baby! such great texture in your photos. we also saw a cheetah kill-they caught a hare. it was our first kill so glad it was a small animal. we all thought we'd be upset but we could not take our eyes off the kill. and then when the mom was sharing it with her 2 cubs, 2 jackals came in to steal it away and the cheetah chased them. just like your talon. 


so excited to read more - we leave in 3.5 months for out next safari.

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