Monday, June 25, 2012

June's little gems

Below is a photo of a red bellied coast squirrel snapped on the rocks during one of our signature boat trips to Stiegler’s gorge, his rich auburn colour stood out beautifully in the surroundings of the large boulder like rocks which are characteristic of the gorge.

 Fresh starts and the new season have brought us plenty of newborn sightings, 2 particular new born species demonstrating to us their genius camouflage to help see them through their first vulnerable days in the wild world. The first is this immature Kitlitz’s plover, as you can see he blends in perfectly with the speckled sand which surrounds him, he is not alone though, he also has protective parents around him all the time, just the other day we saw them mobbing 2 saddle billed storks getting a bit too close but even under these watchful eyes anything can happen in nature, they may be off hunting looking away for a minute so this camouflage gives the chicks extra protection. They are precocial chicks having to learn quickly to be mobile on their feet, as they don’t grow up in the safety of a nest like many other bird species, again the camouflage helping to secure their survival.
  The second is this young crocodile spotted on a shady spot along the river, blending brilliantly in with all the colours that surround him, these little snappers can fall prey to amongst other predators the powerful fish eagle, which is ever present along the shores of the rufiji, even one of its very own species, adult crocs may try to eat the little ones, this young crocodile remained motionless and statue like as our boat approached and left, he did not flinch.
Our resident hippo pods have been entertaining us daily, we also have plenty of new hippo tots dotted up and down the river and lakes, always under the extremely watchful eye of mother, one particular mother and calf spend most of these cool June mornings napping away on the newly exposed sand bank in front of the mess, we often see them coming back from a hard nights feed early in the morning and collapsing into their soft sandy beds for the morning, that’s the life!...

Friday, June 1, 2012

One of the last great wildernesses

Boating on the mighty Rufiji River
Pel's Fishing owl
Male Leopard resting in a small leafed Teminalia
Back lit jets of mist from the Hippos exhaling.

The large Nimbus clouds have faded, all the dust settled after the long rains, there is a freshness about Selous, the dry season is closing in fast, still time though for the animals to stock up on the nutritious flora that is scattered all over the rugged terrain.The view from the lodge this year is different, all the vegetation the river that dumped the previous year on the sandbanks has now been all washed away, some of them huge trees which the Rufiji claims every year.

On a trip up to Stieglers gorge, we managed to spot the elusive Pel's Fishing Owl pictured above, it is considered a mega tick amongst birders and took me 8 years in Selous to see it.

We had a wonderful sighting of a male and a female leopard with an Impala kill in a tree, the female was less relaxed than the male, which is unusual for Selous.

We look forward to seeing you here in the Selous, one of the last great wildernesses.

The Selous Team.