Tag Archives: pied kingfisher

Kamberg Wildlife Sightings – July 2016

Pamela Kleiman of Connington Farm



The month started off with freezing weather and frost to the top of the Oaks the first weekend. After some lovely rain a few weeks later – we recorded 74mms – it was time to burn the veld



We were surprised when the farm dogs found a very young Duiker in the farm hedge. Fortunately it managed to escape and ran into the fields where we later saw a pair of Duiker – he trying to mate and she just not interested.


The only other mammals seen on the farm were a striped Mouse – ? Xeric four-striped Grass Mouse ?


the occasional Reedbuck and Jackal called most early evenings


Not too many insects around, but I did manage to capture a single African White butterfly female.


Early in the month I took a trip to the western area of the conservancy and was happy to discover the Cape Vulture roosting site near Kamberg.


Some of the special birds I encountered:

Drakensberg Prinia,


Drakensberg Prinia

Southern Black Tit that was very active in the garden this month.


Southern Black Tit

A Fork-tailed Drongo that was trying to devour a mouse it had caught – a very unusual sighting.


Fork-tailed Drongo

During the last week of the month the Yellow-billed Egrets started appearing.


Yellow-billed Egret

Purple Heron eyeballing a cow


Purple Heron

A Dark-capped Bulbul discovering the suet I had just put out in my new bird feeder – available from the RNR Conservancy stand at the Rosetta Market.


Dark-capped Bulbul

As an Atlasser based on Connington Farm in the Kamberg Conservancy, I get around to various areas in the district. I discovered the Hlatikhulu Conservancy sign the other day so have decided to add my bit. Unfortunately I am not sure of the boundaries of this conservancy, so I have only incorporated sightings near and west of the sign.


Some of the species I saw were Jackal Buzzard, Southern Red Bishop, a group of about 10 Pin-tailed Whydahs, a distant male Mocking Cliff-chat, Sentinel Rock-thrush,


Male Sentinel Rock-thrush

Red-capped Lark,


Red-capped Lark

Male Anteating Chat showing his white shoulder,


Anteating Chat

2 Secretarybirds in 2 different areas, this is a photograph of a young Secretarybird with a damaged wing,


Young Secretarybird with a damaged wing

Pied Kingfisher,


Pied Kingfisher

African Sacred Ibis, Egyptian Goose, Black-headed Heron, African Stonechat, Pied Starling, Buff-streaked Chat, Cape Vulture and a Barn Owl that must have died an awful death.


Barn Owl

It had just caught a few wing feathers on the barb of a barb-wired fence and was unable to free itself.


Barn Owl caught in a fence

As it is midwinter and very dry I look forward to Spring and Summer to discover other gems in this area.

Boston Wildlife Sightings – June 2015

Christeen Grant of “Sitamani”: This June we’ve experienced swings in temperature, from hot berg wind days

Before the cold front.

Before the cold front.

to icy frosts and damp overcast or misty days, with four snow falls visible on the Drakensberg.

Snow on the Drakensberg

Snow on the Drakensberg

The days after the cold fronts have gone through sparkle with clarity and golden colour.

After a cold front.

After a cold front.

Added to the atmospherics is the constant smoke from firebreak burning.



This has resulted in some stunning dawn and sunset colour. Very few flowers, even for June, as it’s been dry and frost burns back tender buds.



There have been some interesting birds around. A lone White Stork foraged in dry grass, missed the flight to northern summer. An African Harrier-Hawk swooped low amongst the trees, bombed by Drongos as they chased it off. In the indigenous shrubbery tapping could be heard, a Cardinal Woodpecker. Not far off two Black-crowned Tchagras flitted through the branches, I have only seen them here once before, over ten years ago.

The lone White Stork

The lone White Stork

Amethyst and Greater Double-collared Sunbirds are still here. A Long-crested Eagle sits sentry on Eskom poles. At night the familiar sound of Spotted Eagle-Owls calling. My favourite small birds, Cape White-eyes, love the small birdbath on the verandah, bathing several times a day.

Cape White-eyes bathing

Cape White-eyes bathing

A stunning Duster moth, Pingasa abyssiniaria rested on the windowpane. One of their larvae foods is Cabbage Trees.

Duster Moth - Pingasa abyssiniaria

Duster Moth – Pingasa abyssiniaria

A tiny spider caught a ladybird and spent most of the morning binding it to place in its web.

Spider and Ladybird

Spider and Ladybird

Near the garage shallow trenches have been ploughed up by Bushpig. I didn’t see them this time, but have in the past.

Bushpig rootings

Bushpig rootings

Other excavators have been very busy pushing up mounds of earth creating wonderful replenishing top soil for the lawn. Mammal Mole & Mole-rat excavations When we dug our well many years ago, a Cape Mole-rat Georychus capensis, fell in and drowned.

Cape Mole-rat

Cape Mole-rat

This interested biologists as the main populations are found in the Western Cape, with very small remnant populations near Giant’s Castle, in small areas of Lesotho and Mpumalanga. Dr. Peter Taylor brought Professor Nigel Bennett here hoping to observe live animals. 

Distribution of Cape Mole-rat

Distribution of Cape Mole-rat

They didn’t succeed, but did find an unexpected small Mole-rat usually found in Lesotho, Crytomys mahalia.

Male Cryptomys mahali

Male Cryptomys mahalia

We also have Common or African Mole-rats Cryptomys hottentotus here.

Common or African Mole-rat

Common or African Mole-rat

Apart from the Mole-rats, Tigger our cat once caught a Hottentot Golden Mole Amblysomus hottentotus.

Hottentot Golden Mole

Hottentot Golden Mole

So there is a subterranean hive of activity. Please excuse some of the photos, they were taken with a small camera!

Hottentot Golden Mole by C. Grant

Hottentot Golden Mole by C. Grant

(Photo and map images also from ‘Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa’ C&T Stuart pub Struik, ‘The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa’ B Cillie’ pub Briza and ‘Sani Pass Mammals’ poster illustrated C Grant pub WESSA Sani Wildlife.) Rob and Celia Speirs of “The Rockeries”: On Montshonga dam, we saw an African Jacana and a Squacco Heron. We also saw Little Grebe; Three-banded Plover; Sacred Ibis; Cape Wagtail; Pied Crows; Reed Cormorant; Blacksmith Lapwing; Black-winged Lapwing; Pied Kingfisher; Pygmy Kingfisher; and eight Cape Parrots which were harried by a Pied Crow and departed. The usual Yellow-billed Ducks and Egyptian Geese were around. Peter and Karen Geldart of “Cocquidale”: Regular visitors were six Southern Ground-Hornbills. David and Wizz Lawrence of “The Willows”: Nightly call of the Spotted Eagle-Owl; splendid male Reedbuck in wetlands. Bruce and Bev Astrup of “Highland Glen”: Oodles of Egyptian Geese in the tall surrounding trees and also Spur-winged Geese; plus Spotted Eagle-Owl heard calling. Barbara and David Clulow, visiting on 25th June: Family group of three Grey Crowned Cranes over “Netherby”, circled and settled to feed in old maize lands. Rob and Gail Geldart on “Boston View” and “Watershed”: Small herd of Eland; a Waterbuck, Common Reedbuck; a notable increase in the numbers of Mountain Reedbuck; two Oribi; Blesbuck, which never stay put, Grey Duiker and Bushbuck. Caroline McKerrow of “Stormy Hill”: I’ve seen a small herd of five Mountain Reedbuck. Also a Common Reedbuck and, while out horse-riding, I’ve been pleased to see an Otter swimming in a dam. The Porcupine seem to be quite active as I’ve come across quite a few quills in various locations out and about. There has been the resident Grey Duiker in the home paddocks and I’ve seen her a couple of times. The troop of Vervet Monkeys has visited a few times – they seem especially to lounge in the trees and watch me if I’m doing some training with one of the young horses. I also had a sad case of finding a dead Little Sparrowhawk. I think it may have flown into a window as it had broken it’s neck. I have lots of other Sparrows, nesting around my house, so that may be the reason. I’ve some African Hoopoe birds, eating on the grass at the moment too. Crystelle Wilson of “Gramarye”: In mid-winter it is only the hardy residents still hanging around and getting a bird list of 60 – 70 is hard work. A welcome sight was Black-winged Lapwings, making use of their preferred short grassland habitat.

Black-winged Lapwing

Black-winged Lapwing

It is easier to spot the gaudy Malachite Kingfisher against the pale, frost-bleached landscape of browns and yellows,

Malachite Kingfisher

Malachite Kingfisher

but you have to look twice to make sure the brown shape huddled on a rock is a Hamerkop and not a Hadeda.



In winter when you spot a raptor on a pole you can be fairly certain it will be a Jackal Buzzard

Jackal Buzzard

Jackal Buzzard

And the wires are also sometimes used by Rock Kestrels.

Rock Kestrel

Rock Kestrel

The list for the Elandshoek pentad 2935_3000 included: Sombre Greenbul, Brown-throated Martin, Black-headed Heron, Green Wood-hoopoe, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Black Sparrowhawk, Natal Spurfowl, Cape Longclaw, Red-billed Quelea, Cape Robin-chat, Red-necked Spurfowl, Spotted Eagle-owl, Cape Glossy Starling, Cape Weaver, Southern Red Bishop (in winter plumage),

Southern Red Bishop

Southern Red Bishop

Red-throated Wryneck, Drakensberg Prinia, Amethyst Sunbird, Pied Starling,

Pied Starling

Pied Starling

Levaillant’s Cisticola, Three-banded Plover, Reed Cormorant, White-breasted Cormorant, Helmeted Guineafowl, Black-shouldered Kite, Cape Sparrow, Village Weaver, Southern Boubou, Cape White-eye, South African Shelduck, Common Moorhen, Red-knobbed Coot, Bokmakierie, Pied Kingfisher,

Pied Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

Blacksmith Lapwing, Little Grebe, African Pipit, Red-capped Lark, Spectacled Weaver, Black-headed Oriole, African Rail, African Stonechat, Cape Grassbird, Cape Turtle-dove, Red-eyed Dove, African Sacred Ibis, Common Waxbill, African Spoonbill, Common Fiscal, Spur-winged Goose, Egyptian Goose, Cape Wagtail, Grey Crowned Crane, Hadeda Ibis, Dark-capped Bulbul, Cape Crow, Fork-tailed Drongo, Long-crested Eagle, Speckled Pigeon. Also providing a splash of colour is Yellow-fronted Canary,

Yellow-fronted Canary

Yellow-fronted Canary

While it was nice to find a little posse of Bronze Mannikins near the Boston garage.

Bronze Mannikin

Bronze Mannikin

Karkloof Wildlife Sightings for August

There has been a pair of South African Shelduck visiting the Loskop pan fairly regularly. The Grey Heron pictured here seemed to co-exist quite happily with them, but there has been a pair of Egyptian Geese who have an aversion to Shelduck and chase them off cursing and swearing at them!


The White-throated Swallows are back and have been making some home renovations in preparation for the upcoming breeding season. I had the first sighting of them on the 18 July 2014 after they returned from a short vacation.

Twané had a rare sighting of a single Pied Avocet on the Loskop Pan last month, a lifer for her, and also for the Karkloof Valley on the Southern African Bird Atlas Project 2. Roberts Field Guide shows that it should not be seen in this area, but like many other birds I am sure it isn’t familiar with Roberts!


The pans are exceedingly low at the moment, so there are increased sightings of African Snipe, Black Crakes and African Rails.

Snake Saga by Pat Cahill

A couple of weeks ago I was in the office talking to Twané when she let out a gentle scream – more of surprise than alarm. When I asked “What’s wrong?” she said “Look behind you”. I was standing in front of a shelf on which the box files containing all the records of the Centre are stored. There, crawling through the hole in the spine of the file was a little Natal Green Snake.


Like the Elephants child in Just So Stories, it had a ‘satiable curiosity’ and it then dropped one shelf down to assimilate the contents of an old copy of ‘Roberts’. All this erudition gave it a severe case of brain strain and it went down onto the coffee table for some refreshment.


Twané decided that coffee is not suitable for reptiles, so she picked up the eleven foot barge pole (this is used for things that you ‘wouldn’t touch with a ten foot barge pole’) and ushered it out of the door whence it dashed off to make use of its newly acquired avian knowledge. It is to be hoped that the next edition of ‘Roberts’ will be in a format which will be easier for snakes to handle and also incorporate information on which birds are edible.

I said to Twané that I was sure there was a species called a “file” snake. She Googled it, and sure enough there is – the Cape File Snake. Ours is obviously a subspecies, as it still has all its front teeth!


Mist-netting at Gartmore Hide – Karen Nelson

Karin Nelson had a ringing session on the 13th of August, catching 32 birds in her mist-nets which is again good for winter! The following species were caught, ringed and measured that morning:-

  • 1 x Red Bishop
  • 2 x Levaillant’s Cisticola
  • 1 x Fork-tailed Drongo
  • 1 x Pied Kingfisher (photographed)
  • 16 x Red-billed Quelea
  • 1 x African Stonechat
  • 8 x Village Weaver
  • 2 x Fan-tailed Widowbirds


Seen along the River by Charlie MacGillivray

Charlie goes for many walks on the farm and delights in the many different species that he sees each day. On one occasion, he was fortunate to photograph this Water (Marsh) Mongoose along the riverbank before it noticed his presence.

These mongooses are predominantly nocturnal but also crepuscular (active in low light). They feed on crabs, amphibians and small vertebrates and live near permanent water-bodies such as rivers, streams and dams.


Loskop Farm – AJ Liebenberg (Farm Manager)

AJ managed to get this great photograph of part of the large flock of Grey Crowned Cranes congregating near the cattle. Cranes have adapted well to feeding in agricultural fields and are beneficial to farmers, as they eat insects and weed seeds found near crops. Both the Grey Crowned Cranes and the Blue Cranes have been seen dancing in the fields and pairing up for the summer.

Remember to keep a lookout for nesting cranes and report these sightings to us so that we may pass the information on to the Endangered Wildlife Trust.


Gilboa – Michael Keefer

While up at the top of Mt. Gilboa, Michael lifted a rock to look at what was hiding underneath. He came across this lovely scorpion which he mentioned he sees often in the Shawswood forest when leading a school group on an interpretive trail.

The scorpion has been identified as Opisthacanthus sp. by the Virtual Museum experts. The Virtual Museum is a great platform for members of the public to become citizen scientists. Let us know if you’re interested in contributing sightings to this and we will show you how to get involved!


Local Crane News

On the 13 August 2014, Karin Nelson and Twané saw a colour-ringed Blue Crane on Loskop Farm seen from the Wattled Crane Hide.


The bird was very far away which made it very difficult to identify the colours of the rings and which leg they were on, but we eventually managed to get the right combination.

  • Right leg: Big Blue
  • Left leg: Red over White over Yellow

We immediately sent the photograph and ring combination on to Tanya Smith of the Endangered Wildlife Trust and she confirmed that this was the Blue Crane which was ringed on Ren and Britt Stubbs’ farm in the Karkloof on the 3 February 2011. She also saw this bird in a flock of 54 Blue Cranes on a farm in Hlatikulu on the 24th April 2012.


It was very exciting to see that our locally produced Blue Crane is still doing well – let’s hope for more sightings!

Dargle Wildlife Sightings – August

Spring has brought a myriad of things for us all to look at. Beautiful blooms appearing on the trees as well as new leaves starting to shoot, loads of animal and bird life out and about, as well as a rain spider desperately trying to bring us all some respite after these dry few months. Here’s hoping the rain comes soon…

Brandon Powell – Bukamanzi

This month I haven’t seen anything very LARGE except for this mad rain spider (Palystes) – he hadn’t heard about us not having had any lately.  He crept out of my watering-can after I had done about ten trips with it overflowing its brim. Hopefully he’ll stick around and devour some of my jumping spiders?

rain spider

Things are looking very sad and khaki except for Jenny Stipcich’s proteas and new grass shoots struggling through the fire-breaks.

brandon's cottage

On the Conservancy’s camera I caught several clips of wonderful, leaf-munching duiker, usually alone but once in a pair. A very beautiful foxy-faced genet has also been cutting ’round the place. I’ve scrubbed down my door-steps with clove oil in the hope that one doesn’t have any melodramatic snake sightings as winter draws to its close!

brandons cottage dam

Ashley Crookes – Copperleigh Farm

Wild flowers that have now started popping up all over the place. Ledebouria

copperleigh ledobouria


copperleigh helichrysum

Senecio speciosus

copperleigh senecio speciosus

We also had about 16 Guinea Fowl appearing back on our farm aound the sheep camps after disappearing for a good few months. They were also calling the rain and are welcome back!

Nikki Brighton – Old Kilgobbin Farm

Saw the first Yellow-billed Kite on 19 August.  Afternoon walks are a real delight where paths are mown through the tall golden grass.

winter grassland trail dargle 088

This magnificent Yellowwood on the edge of the forest can be seen for miles.

winter yellowwood

Interesting reflections in cold pools, where there is just a little water left.

J themeda in pool

N3TC brought a group of media people to visit the Midlands and we took them for a walk in the forest. Barend had them enthralled.

forest walk Barend

Anita Heyl said “I absolutely loved, loved, loved the time spent with your group! Oh, my goodness what a special piece of paradise. I do hope to visit again soon and spend proper quiet time there. If I was Winnie-the-Pooh that would most definitely have been my part of the forest.”

forest walk Penz

Our forest even made the morning news on SABC! Watch the film clip here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3yIKpWoRxs

Anne and Mike Weeden – Hopedale Farm

The other morning at around 11 o’clock we spotted an African Striped Weasel on the fire break close to the house. We walked to within about 5 metres of it and it was totally unconcerned about our presence. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me but it was definitely a weasel rather than a polecat as it had a solid white patch on top of its head and lacked the white markings under its eyes.

Pat and Sandra Merrick – Albury Farm

Dr Amy-Leigh Shuttleworth (nee Wilson) came to the farm during the month and Pat took her to 4 burrows. Unfortunately, they all seem to be empty of aardvarks. The one we had last year has vanished perhaps due to lack of termites in the area where he dug.


Have seen a number of reed buck this month. One evening as many as ten on the burn, just driving up to my house in an area of 1km. There are always 2 males.

more reed buck

One stands some distance away and the other one mingles with the females and youngsters. These are the same 2 that were fighting some months ago. A number of male and female duiker.


Seen female oribi quite often. She seems to keep to the long grass and on occassion see her nibbling the green burn.

female oribi

Saw and heard a pair of jackal buzzards – their cry reverberated for an hour one morning. Our 2 blue crane arrived at the dry dam one morning. Haven’t seen them since. Hear them occasionally. Saw 2 yellowbilled kites for the 1st time on 10th August. Saw a pied kingfisher pick up a frog from our pond. He flew to the dead tree where he pounded it to death with his beak and then swallowed it.

pied kingfisher frog

A pair of gymnogene flew over the house early one morning. Heard a very loud peeu cry one morning – went on for ages – I eventually tracked it to the hollow pole next to the  gate where a red throated wryneck was calling for attention. This is the second one we have on the farm. The other one is in a hollow pole half way down our driveway.


Early one morning, Pat heard a freckled night jar in the trees behind the house. The siting of the month for me was seeing and photographing a spotted eagle owlet and adult – not sure if male or female, but I am sure someone will advise me.

sptted eagle owlet

Pat had been walking around the gum trees looking for the sparrowhawks when he heard a loud hooting from the ground. On investigation it looked like the owlet had fallen out the tree and one of the adults was on the ground with it and the other was hooting high above in the tree.

spotted eagle owl parents

Pat left them as had the dogs with him. The next day he again went looking for them and found the owlet in the fork of a gum tree and mom/dad nearby on the branch of a tree. Pat phoned me and told me to come post haste with my camera which I did. Got some lovely snaps. The adult was not too happy and screeched loudly, while the other one which I could not see was hooting higher up. We left them after a few minutes. When I walk down through the gum tree avenue I see one of them flying through the canopy.

.Back view of owlet

So now its egyptian geese, black sparrowhawks and spotted eagle owls flying through the canopy.

Our sparrowhawks left the nest on 26th July. A pair of egyptian geese took over straight away. Early in the mornings and late afternoons would see the sparrowhawk youngsters sitting on a dead gum tree probably waiting for their food, as saw three sitting on same tree late one afternoon. But for the past 2 weeks they have been flying around the canopy of the gums. When I walk around that area, they fly through the canopy and screech loudly. We have seen the adults fly past the house from Dargle side late in the afternoons carrying a bird. Quite large, so presumably a dove.

Dr Ian Little of the EWT Threatened Grasslands Programme commented on my sparrowhawk story last month. I was wrong about a number of things. This is his letter:

Just a quick clarification on Pat and Sandra Merrick’s wonderful sightings with the Black Sparrowhawks. The Male is not rufous coloured, they were in fact looking at one of the juveniles, the male is the same colour as the female but smaller. He delivers food to the female to take to the nest and hence is not often seen at the nest. Thanks for the great pics, now to answer your questions:

How old would you say they are now and is it possible to tell if they are male or female? They must be about 6-8 weeks now, They leave the actual nest at about 35-40 days after hatching. Juveniles are both rufous the only way to tell the sex is by their size. By 30 days they are fully grown and the males are almost half the size of the females. Your confusion is that I think your two youngsters are both females and hence same size.

Are they still being fed by the adults and how long does that go on for? They are fed by the adults for another 1-2 months so yes at this stage they are still being fed by the adults. You very seldom see both adults at the nest as the male provides most food but he will clean the food (remove feathers) away from the nest and then pass the food to the female who brings it in to feed the young.

There is also one more bit of confusion that can crop up. Black Spars (as I call them) come in two colour morphs. What you have are the standard colour morphs but adults can be pitch black with no white on the stomach and juveniles can be pure white with black flecks as opposed to the rufous colour which you have seen here. Anyway, no need to add further confusion. Basic rule of thumb, if it’s rufous it’s juvenile, if it’s Black and white it’s adult and females are almost twice the size of males.

These 2 youngsters grew so quickly.  Just after this snap they both flew off squealing in delight

Other birds we have seen include: Black headed Oriel

black headed oriel yellow eye

Common Stonechat


Drakensberg Prinia


Gurneys Sugarbird


Malachite Sunbird


Olive Thrush


Southern Grey-headed Sparrow (passer diffuses)

what bird is this

Yellow eyed Canary

yellow eyed canary

Lots of scat amongst the rocks – doe this belong to the wild or Natal Red Hare?


Gilly Robartes – Wana Farm

I’ve been taking pics of this Scadoxus puniceus (I think that’s the correct species) over the last 2 weeks. It was the first one that I saw – since then, loads have popped their pretty little heads up. The dates are shown. It changed quickly over the first few days.

gilly scadoxus

Not the best pics – (with my Blackberry )That’s the best I can do!

gilly scadoxus puniceus

Learn more about Scadoxus https://midlandsconservanciesforum.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/midlands-wildflower-for-august-scadoxus-puniceus/

gilly scadoxus again

I also saw a little black otter playing in the river. A few others have spotted it, but it’s the first time I have.

Dieter Setz – Wakecroft

The nicest thing about August was the sight of Spring putting and end to Winter…

he nicest about August was the sighting of Spring putting an end to Winter at Wakecrof

The resident pair of Egyptian Geese are also happy about the end of winter

The resident pair of Egyptian gees are also happy about the end of Winter

A Raven also “changed his tune” sitting on the fence outside my studio window

A raven also did change his tunes sitting on the fence outside my studio window

Charles Robinson – Hebron Nguni Farm

Buck sighting was on 2nd September 2014 100metres from the main house around 9am.

Hebron Nguni Farm

Reedbuck along Petrus Stroom road, taken on cell phone.

River Bend Estate 29 Agust 2014

There is also a pair of Owls, sighted on the Hebron Nguni farm, but not photographed. They do not yet seem to have a nest,  should we put an owl nest up? Ed’s note: Come to Shane McPherson’s talk on 5 November at Tanglewood – he has just started an owl box project.

Please can you advise, we at Hebron Nguni farm have a monkey problem, who can we talk to for advice? Nikki suggests the following reading:

Kathy Herrington and Wayne Lourens – Aloe Ridge

Kathy writes: Whilst enjoying an early evening walk – I heard our ridgeback Murray excitedly barking and turned back to investigate.  There was a cacophony in on the edge of some tall grass – a growling, thumping and loud crackling noise which I had not come across before.  On getting closer I saw a very large porcupine, holding his head very low and growling/howling, whilst thumping hard with the front paws and rattling his considerable quills.  Our other dogs then appeared and our ridgeback and german/belgian shepherd withdrew circumspectly, as they have had (painful) experience with this species before!  I only had to remind our intrepid jack-russell type hound to stay back, whilst I attempted to take a slightly closer photograph of the spectacular animal using my phone, for the Dargle sightings!

I approached a couple of steps talking quietly in what I hoped would be a reassuring manner – but my ‘animal whispering’ is clearly not up to scratch, as he/she took one look at me – growled and charged – leaping forward and spinning to show off the fearsome array of very sharp quills.  Suffice it to say, I withdrew hurriedly and assured the beast that taking clear photos was not THAT important.  I, and the dogs, then continued on our perambulation and left the porcupine to its own devices.

NguNgumbane by Small Dam JPEG 1200dpi

Wayne writes:

Just after 8am on the morning of 22nd August, Kathy and I were on our way to Mount West with our two young horses for a Classical Equitation Clinic held by our German friend, when, with the horse trailer in-tow behind the Land Rover Defender (Kathy in with the 2 young horses on the dirt roads to keep them settled), right in front of me on the Hopedale main access road, was a Serval. Completely owning the roadway and parts of the verge!! Hoping Kathy was looking out of the horse trailer window, I gestured for her to look, and at the same time I grabbed my phone camera. So, while creeping along at the sedate pace that was suitable for the young horses on bumpy roads, I followed the Serval as it made its way along the roadway just ahead, not in the least bit intimidated by the looming Land Rover and horse trailer. At the same time I managed, with one hand on the wheel keeping the Defender & horse trailer on the best parts of the road, and the other setting up the camera on the mobile phone, and managed to take a few shots of the Serval as it sauntered down the roadway for about 100 metres, between 5 metres and 10 metres ahead of us. To me it seemed as though it was a sub-adult female, but that was just my intuition at the time. She playfully tapped at pieces of larger stone aggregate on the roadway along the way, and eventually found an interesting run, probably made by the resident flock of Spurfowl (formerly known as Natal Francolin), down which she disappeared from my view.

Serval 2 JPEG 1200dpi