We were snowed under in the beginning of August – so much so, that access to the Usher Centre was only possible on foot! Ann Burke, Reserve Manager, submitted the following after all the drama was over.
Notable sightings for the month include: Small-spotted genet adjacent to and in the gum plantation (15 and 31 August); African Spoonbill in the small dam in Camp 9A (15 August); approximately 20 White-faced Whistling Ducks on the dam below the UCC (second two weeks in September); recent Bush pig diggings on road adjacent to gum plantation (15 August); Black-backed Jackal near gum plantation (16 August); Yellow-billed Kite flying over reserve (20 August); pair of SA Crowned Cranes (26 August); pair of oribi in Camp 5 (30 and 31 August); one male and two female Reedbuck in Camp 5 (31 August); female duiker in gum plantation (31 August). Note: no Bushbuck were observed in the gum plantation in August.
Wattled Crane Pair: The pair was observed in close proximity in the nesting wetland on 18 August. On 22 August, a pair of Blue Cranes was observed walking rapidly up the hill in Camp 9. They were closely followed by the adult male Wattled Crane. When the pair of Blue Cranes reached the top of the hill, they stopped and unison called. The male Wattled Crane took flight and flew just over the top of their heads to land near the pair. He immediately performed an arch display and then opened his beak and ran at the Blue Cranes. They rapidly walked away down slope and then took flight. After their departure, the male Wattled Crane stopped his charge to preen and perform a series of ruffle threats. On 26 and 31 August, the male was observed foraging in the upland (Camp 9) adjacent to the nest while the female was sitting on a nest located several meters from their first (and second) nesting site of 2011.