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jeffb

As Leopards Watched Their Flocks By Night

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jeffb

Thanks @mopsy. Glad you enjoyed the report. The 2 leopards made a great last drive, and having the trip bracketed with leopards on the first and last drives makes a nice story.

 

@AfricIan, @ForWildlife, and @CDL111 thanks for your help with the eagle! I have corrected the identification on my flickr page.

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AfricIan

Not a problem @jeffb, as a non-birder (though getting better) myself I'm always grateful for any corrections to my misidentifications. In the case of your eagle, I went with a Tawny on the basis of my copy of Newmans telling me that the western-banded snake eagle was more of an ash-brown colouration however like @CDL111 I'm happy to accept @ForWildlife's ID

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inyathi

@jeffb 

Very interesting report, great to see so many leopards

 

I’ve just had a look through my copy of A field guide to the Larger Mammals of Tanzania which is a photographic guide, to confirm what I suspected, your notes were correct the mongoose in post 6 is a whited-tailed not a bushy-tailed. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen the latter species, but it should usually be dark brown or black in colour with very bushy-tail, the tail of a white-tailed isn’t always fully white, sometimes as with your animal only the tip is white, if it was bushy-tailed it would be all dark. 

 

My thoughts on birds

 

Post 25 my vote on the eagle would be western banded snake eagle, the size and shape says snake eagle, it is too small for a tawny. Bateleurs are related to the snake eagles and have a similar shape but the adults are unmistakeable, juvenile birds are all brown so can be mistaken for other snake eagles. This bird though doesn’t look like a young bateleur and it looks to small for a brown snake eagle.

 

Post 26 little sparrowhawk, woodland kingfisher, sacred ibis

 

Post 33 yellow-billed kite

 

Post 36 Crested guineafowl, white-fronted bee-eater, goliath heron with Egyptian geese

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marg

@jeffb and @inyathi...agree with the id of the mongoose as a white tailed.  We returned from Zambia two weeks ago so whenever I get to doing a trip report will include a photo of a bushy-tailed one.  

 

@jeffb...thanks so much for your report.  I have really enjoyed it especially since we were there about a month after you.  I worry that  people will get bored with similar reports!

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jeffb

@inyathi and @marg thank you for the corrections and identifications. Somehow I got the descriptions of the bushy-tailed and white-tailed completely reversed.

 

I was a little reluctant to start this report, as there have been so many reports on South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi. Finally decided to do it since some of the camps I stayed in have not been reported on. And people are always happy to look at leopard pics :D

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amybatt

I really enjoyed your report and thank you for sharing.  I appreciate the round up at the end you did on the accommodations, that’s really helpful for those of us thinking about going to Zambia for the first time.  You had an excellent safari.  I’d kill for those nighttime leopard sightings!  

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ZaminOz

@jeffb

great photos and trip report.

Who says Pentax cameras can't do wildlife!

 

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jeffb

@amybatt thank you for your comments. I'm glad you found the report helpful. From the other trip reports on ST to the same parks, it appears that our safari was unexceptional, and other safaris to South Luangwa have produced many more leopard sightings than we had. But we had plenty, and some of them were very good indeed, so we were more than satisfied. This was my third safari, and by far the best, although also significantly more expensive.

 

@ZaminOz I bought the Pentax because I wanted to move up to DSLR and it was a bargain compared to the Nikon and Canon starter kits. With the addition of the 55-300 mm lens it is more than enough camera for my very limited skills and very occasional use. I used the TAV mode (set aperture and shutter speed, auto ISO) which worked really well with the method described by @Jochen here. Thanks @Jochen!

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ZaminOz

@jeffb

Good stuff! Yes I also use TAV mode (Pentax special) on my K5ii. I find it very handy.

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