Day 14 - 16th October - Continued
We then turned around and headed south in the direction of TR and our first unusual encounter was of a pcg eating a snake and then flying off with it to demolish its meal. Not too long after this we spotted another cape cobra again surprisingly quite small but entertaining all the same as it went from bush to bush in search of food.
Just as we started down the road again SO spotted an African wildcat dart across the road in front of us and into the first tree it could find on the left hand side. When we got there to our surprise it had flushed out a barn owl from its nest to the outer branches of the trees. We sat here for about 20 minutes observing the consternation of the owl regarding the wildcat taking its home and contemplating where it was going to stay for the rest of the day.
The remainder of the drive to TR was quiet and we made fairly good time arriving at 11.15am. the first activity on the list was to fill fuel which took a while as we put in more than 120liters. On completing this we went to the shop to our surprise it was half empty as they were relocating for the upcoming renovation of the existing shop. We were basically looking for water and ice which we got but they had ran out of 5litres therefore we only took enough 1.5l bottles to keep us going in the hope of finding 6litre bottles in the next few days.
Death is always around in KTP.Crowned Plover
Breeding occurs in the spring months from July to October. The nest is in a shallow depression in the soil with a lining of vegetation and other debris. The nests are on flat ground near a shade tree and mammal droppings that are the same colour as the eggs. There are normally 3 eggs, sometimes 2 or 4. Incubation requires 28 to 32 days and is done by both sexes. Immediately after hatching the young leave the nest while both parents look after them.Pale Chanting Goshawk
Pale Chanting Goshawks are generally monogamous (have only one mate). However, rarely a female pairs up with two males (a primary and a secondary male). The secondary male assists with the breeding activities and, on occasion, also mates with the female. The reasons for this behaviour may be that the breeding territory needs to be defended by more than one male or that it takes two males to secure the food for the brooding female and the chicks.
During the wet season, they usually produce one brood. When conditions are particularly favourable, they may attempt a second brood. In particularly dry years, they may not breed at all.
At the beginning of the breeding season, the male - while perched on top of a tall tree - makes his melodious display call, continuously calling for hours at a time. The female and male can then be seen soaring together in circles.
Nesting varies depending on the latitude, mostly from May to February with peaks from July to November.
Their nests are usually situated on the upper fork of tall trees at heights of 10 - 33 feet (3 to 10 meters), or is placed on man-made structures, such as utility poles, survey beacons and steel pylons / transmission towers.
The nest is built by both the male and the female (and the extra male, if applicable).
The stick nest is relatively small, measuring about 20 inches (50 cm) across, with a cup-like indentation in the middle that is about 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. The nest is lined with anything suitable that the parents might find in their environment, including plant matter (i.e., leaves, grass), bird feathers, spider webs, rags, wool, rope, paper, plastic bags, dung, regurgitated pellets - even small bird nests. The nest is occasionally re-used during the following season or they may build a new nest. If they do, they often move the nesting material of their old nest to their new structure.
The female lays at intervals of several days 1 - 2 (occasionally 3) pale bluish or greenish white, unmarked eggs. The eggs are incubated for 33 - 37 days. Both parents fiercely protect the nest site.
If several eggs are laid, the young hatch at intervals of several days. The female feeds the young with food provided by the male. Both parents defend the chicks; however, in most cases only one of chicks survives to the end of the nesting period –likely caused by lack of food or predation. The chicks fledge when they are about 6 - 7 weeks old. The young will remain near the nest for several months or even the next year. Some eventually even breed in the same area.Cape Cobra
This species is oviparous. Mating season is during the months of September and October, when these snakes may be more aggressive than usual. Females will lay between 8 and 20 eggs (roughly 60 X 25 mm in size) in midsummer (December–January), in a hole or an abandoned termite mound or some other warm, wet location.The hatchlings measure between 34 and 40 centimetres (13 and 16 in) in length and are completely independent from birth.
In one captive study, mating occurred in the month of September and oviposition in November. Gestation period was approximately 42 days and the incubation period was 65–70 days at about 28-33°C (82.4-91.4°F). Clutch size was 11-14 (n=2) and hatchling ratio was one male to five females.