Day 5 - 7th October
We had a really sound sleep and woke earlier at 5h30am to get the sunrise. It was not as chilly as yesterday and the wind was basically gone. SO made coffee while I tried various setting to get the sunrise correct - remember I take very few photos but she told me to try as she really wanted a cup of coffee.
She brought out the coffee and rusks and was having a good giggle at me as I was still trying to get the sunrise. Below is my final effort. Can you think of a better view to wake up to!
After sitting and watching the suns rays spread over the dunes the first animals arrived at the waterhole and it became busy which could only mean the lions had moved far away during the night.Gemsbok
Gemsbok are polygynous. The resident bull of the herd mates with receptive females. Solitary territorial males are known to attempt to herd mixed or nursery herds onto their territories, thereby securing exclusive mating access to the females.
Mating System: polygynous
There is not a specific breeding season for gemsbok, though young within a herd tend to be of similar ages, indicating a reproductive synchrony in females. Females become sexually mature at about 2 years of age, and can conceive almost immediately after an 8.5 month gestation. Gemsbok are classified as "hiders", meaning the young are not seen present with the mother, but are hidden in the general vicinity, with the mother returning to nurse the calf 2 to 3 times each day. The young weigh between 9 and 15 kg at birth. At birth, calves are entirely brown in colour. They develop the characteristic markings at about 3.5 months. At this point, the young are weaned. The males disperse and females join the maternal herd about a month after weaning.
Breeding interval: Gemsbok tend to breed every 9 months, and usually with little time between giving birth and becoming pregnant again.
Breeding season: Breeding season is year round, pending water availability.
Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Average gestation period: 8.5 months.
Average weaning age: 3.5 months.
Average time to independence: 4.5 months.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1.5 to 2 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1.5 to 2 years.
Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 years.
Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); post-partum estrous
Average birth mass: 12000 g.
Average gestation period: 270 days.
Average number of offspring: 1.
Like most ungulates, pregnant gemsbok isolate themselves from the herd before calving. The single neonate is kept concealed, usually within sight of the mother. This hiding behaviour continues up to six weeks of age, ending with reconciliation with the herd.
Males are not reported to participate directly in parental care, so the feeding, sheltering, protection, and grooming of the young are all accomplished by the mother. As is the case with most bovids, the young are able to stand shortly after birth, and can move around with the mother as needed.
The above photo gives an indication that the sun gets difficult but you can still get photo's but not easily.
We felt like sitting here the whole morning but unfortunately we had to move on as we were staying at Nossob tonight. We packed all the stuff into the van and said goodbye to Eric. We departed on the exit road at 7h45am.
We again elected to take a slow drive and the animal spoor and general sightings were good. We spotted our one and only black shoulder kite of the trip but it was to far for decent photo. The following sequence of photo's shows that sometimes patience does get rewarded as the jackal started of far away so we turned off our engine and sat quietly hoping it would come closer.Black Backed Jackal
Male: 6 to 11 kg. Female: 5 to 10 kg
Can be up to 13 years
Mating takes place during the winter months. Between 1 and 6, but sometimes (although very seldom) up to 9 or 10 cubs, are born from July to November depending on the region, area and rains.
About 2 months
Diet - Food and water:
They are hunters and scavengers with a very acute sense of smell. Their diet consists of a wide range of food including small antelope, hares, reptiles, rodents, insects, birds and eggs. Some types of wild fruit and berries that have fallen to the ground are also eaten. Domesticated sheep (lambs) and young goats are often killed by them as well as chickens. They also scavenge for carrion. Because of their adaptability, Black-back Jackals are not really water dependent, but will drink water on a regular basis if available.