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Reading the signs

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Chavaluthu
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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by Chavaluthu » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:32 am

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image by chavaluthu, on Flickr

This tree squirrel was seen on the Trunk of a tree giving loud alarm calls, We searched the area & eventually found an African wild cat moving in the long grass a distance away. I have seen them do this to a host of predators, even Lions. They flick their tail up & down while looking in the direction of the threat. I often see them mobbing snakes this way, usually they are joined by Burchell's Starlings when this happens. Difficult to find out what they see most of the time though.
He who drinks from the waters of the Letaba.. will return to the Lowveld!

iedman
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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by iedman » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:17 pm

Very interesting thread.
Pops - agreed. a couple of years ago I was driving from Skuk to LS and heard Vervets giving alarm calls. I stopped and sat there for 5 mins and was rewarded with a Leopard walking down a clearing and into a culvert below the road.
I knew some sort of predator was approaching but so many people drove by ignoring the Vervets calls and it would be so easy to miss this sort of natural indicator.

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avon vosloo
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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by avon vosloo » Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:34 pm

Learn to recognize the alarm calls of the plover species - sometimes it's just a water lizard getting a bit to close too their nest/chicks, sometimes awc, jackal, etc.

If you do not see anything, stop, switch off the vehicle and listen - after about ten minutes of silence, the veld comes alive :thumbs_up:

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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by pops » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:53 pm

Hi All. This shows that it pays to drive with the vehicle's windows down. You get to hear things you didn't know could help you with your spotting.

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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:26 am

I remember my frustration once close to Pretorius Kop camp. All the birds were going crazy. I knew that there must be a predator, but the grass was far too high.

Another moment was seeing a whole troop of baboons frozen it a tree. It was amazing to see these gragarious, noisy creatures frozen solid.

Lovely squirrel photo. 8)
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Butterbee
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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by Butterbee » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:39 pm

I agree, this is a great thread!!!

I have heard impala making their alaram call and looking in one direction and after a few minutes of waiting we spotted a huge male lion! The sightings are so much more special if you can track down the animals by reading the signs. You are really in nature then!
At my previous job in a reserve I was always aware of predators in the vicinity, thanks to the vervets! Most of the time a leopard would be seen around the camp! Loved It!!!

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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by t-bal » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:54 pm

Great thread :thumbs_up:

We always look for signs and noises of the bush. Last September we saw loads of vultures in the trees and we heard bones cracking. We obviously waited. Other cars just drove past once we told them what was going on, there reply was… so you are looking at vultures :wall: . After a while 2 hyenas came running over a hill. We followed them towards there den. All the other cars mist that because we were only looking at vultures.
Saing this, we have had it as well that we first spotted the predator before we saw or heard the signs :tongue:
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Bush Baptist
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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:35 pm

Vultures in dead trees are usually roosting.
Vultures among greenery are usually waiting at a kill site.

As SG has stated, we have seen the HB, jackal and PCG, but 2, not all 3 at the same time.

Once, on the Timbavati river road, we came across the freshly dead carcass of an impala, with a juvenile bateleur pecking at it. We stayed for a few minutes waiting for the 'owner' to claim it, but nothing came by. We assumed it was roadkill. Any theories?
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Crested Val
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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by Crested Val » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:56 pm

My tale starts with a rock lion!!! :redface:

I was with my SO and my brother, on a dirt road near Letaba, and bro suddenly shouted "Lion"
We stopped and peered into the bush, only to find that the lion was a rock............we've all been there I'm sure!!
However, on the opposite side of the road there were some Impala, and as we ovserved them, we could see that they were very nervous and twitchy. I said "Maybe there is a predator nearby" so we turned off the engine and just sat. After a while SO happened to look in his mirror, and there standing in the middle of the road, behind our car was a magnificent leopard. We stayed with him (with no other cars) for ages, but had we not known a little bit about animal behaviour, we would not have seen him!! :thumbs_up:

neilo
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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by neilo » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:50 pm

Perhaps the easiest one to hear is a Baboon alarm call. There's no sound on earth like it :shock:
They see in color like us, so their ability to see predators early is very good.

Had a baboon in the nissan Patrol in biyamiti. We were loading the car. He was sitting in the back area.
He barked when we came around the corner. Got the scare of a lifetime :pray: . (Window in front was open , he went out that way). It could kill or seriously hurt you if it was trapped :big_eyes:

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DrPhil
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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by DrPhil » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:57 pm

In 2011 along the Letaba river I witnessed a waterbuck barking and staring into the thick bush on the riverbank. After searching for the predator I finally saw the lioness walking in the road in front of me.... :slap: Reading to much signs almost cost me a lion sighting.... :tongue:
Not in Kruger.... Busy planning the next trip...

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Chavaluthu
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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by Chavaluthu » Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:44 pm

Guineafowl are usually a good indicator as well. Often though its because of Aireal predators like the African Harrier Hawk,but every now & again you find them going crazy & chilling in the trees trying to escape danger below. Leopard's are always keen to have a crack at these birds & often flush them out.
Great comments coming through, very interesting to read! I must say though, Giraffe have always been my most reliable spotter. Their height gives them a great advantage & the fact that they stare constantly in the direction of the predator makes the job a lot easier. :wink:
He who drinks from the waters of the Letaba.. will return to the Lowveld!

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Re: Reading the signs

Unread post by Grantmissy » Tue Jul 29, 2014 12:55 pm

When the baboons and monkeys go into a frenzy – leopard. On two occasions we were fortunate to see leopard where either the baboons or monkeys gave the leopard’s presence away. Once on the Skukuza- Lower-Sabie road and once on the Skukuza – Malelane road.
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