Day 17 – September 23 – Afternoon
After the cheetah episode we explored the water holes which were quiet. We turned and headed north back to camp and on the way had a nice sighting of 5 BEF’s foraging in the river bed for about 30 minutes.
We arrived back in camp just as heat was getting intense and as SO was preparing lunch I took the opportunity to walk around and managed to get the following photos:Yellow Mongoose
The ranges of males will overlap, but those of females do not. The alpha male will mark members of his group each day and the boundaries of his range with anal secretions, urine and faeces. He will also rub his back against objects in his range leaving behind hair as a visual marker of his territory.
Mating occurs between July and September and after a gestation period of 42 - 57 days, 2 young are born in a cleared out underground den. They are weaned after 10 weeks and are fully grown by the time they reach 10 months old.
We departed late in the afternoon after a rest hoping to catch up with the cheetahs from this morning. It was not to be and the drive was the quietest of the trip.Kori Bustard
Kori Bustards are omnivorous birds, although they tend to be more carnivorous than other species of bustards. Insects form a large portion of their diet, especially when they are chicks. They also eat a variety of small mammals, lizards, snakes, seeds, and berries of plants. They have been observed eating carrion. They are purported to eat the gum from the Acacia tree. Discrepancy exists however, as to whether they are eating the gum itself, or the insects that might be stuck to the gum. Kori Bustards are one of the few species of birds that drink water using a sucking motion rather than scooping it up as most birds do.
Kori Bustards are considered to be a Polygynous species. Males often gather in loose lek-like formations on top of low hilltops and display for females. During the height of display, the esophagus in the neck of the male is inflated to as much as four times its normal size. The tail feathers are cocked so as to reveal as much of the white under feathers as possible. The wings may droop down so much that the tips of the primaries touch the ground.
During direct courtship of a female, the male will bow toward her with his neck inflated and bill snapping. He may also emit a low-pitched booming sound. Actual copulation lasts no more than a few seconds, and once over, the male leaves and resumes displaying to attract another female. He plays no part in incubation or in the rearing of chicks. As with all bustards, no nest is made. Rather, the clutch of one to two eggs is laid on the ground in a shallow scrape the female has made. The eggs are pale olive in color with splotches of brown. Incubation is 23-24 days. The chicks are Precocial and able to follow their mother around several hours after hatching. They remain with her well after the fledging period, which is at about five weeks. Sexual maturity is reached (at the earliest) at two years.Lanner Falcon
The lanner falcon feeds mainly on small to medium-sized birds, ranging from larks up to the size of ducks and GuineaFowl, and sometimes takes domestic poultry and even other falcons. Hunting often takes place where prey congregates, such as at waterholes or colonial nesting sites, or at grass fires, where up to 20 lanner falcons may gather to feed. Small mammals, such as rodents and bats, may also be taken, along with insects, reptiles, occasionally carrion, and even spiders and scorpions in deserts. The lanner falcon usually, though not always, hunts during the day, chasing or seizing prey in the air or sometimes from the ground, and occasionally stealing food from other birds of prey. Food is sometimes cached to be eaten later, and lanner falcon pairs often hunt co-operatively, with one bird flushing out prey for the other to catch. Some lanner falcons have even learned to follow human hunters, taking prey that they flush.
The breeding season of the lanner falcon varies with location. Breeding pairs perform acrobatic aerial displays during courtship, and build nests on cliffs or rocky outcrops, in quarries, on buildings or on the ground, or use the abandoned nests of other large birds, often in a tree or on top of an electricity pylon. The female lays between two and five eggs, which are incubated for 30 to 35 days. The young fledge at around 35 to 47 days but are dependent on the adult birds for up to a further three months. Lanner falcons are thought to breed from about two to three years old.WindmillClouds
After taking photos of the sunset we starting backing the van as tomorrow was a moving day to TR and we decided to back what we could tonight as we waited for the fire. We then sat and had a very pleasant evening with steak and salads for dinner.
After showering we had a nice sleep.