Friday, 12 September 2014

Aborted crossing

Masai Mara

There are two rainy seasons in the Mara. The short rains are usually between September and October. Which means it rains for a short period, around half an hour a day. The long rains are in April and May which is also mosquito season. We are here in September and they had rain for about two weeks just before we arrived. Each day the rain builds and we have bets each day to see who can predict if it will rain and if so, what time! Simon our guide obviously has local knowledge on his side and he wins every time!


Spotted Hyena
Leopolds store their kill in a tree to keep it away from other predators

This lion was eating a kill but his girlfriend was walking away. What to do: did he leave the food, take it with him or let her go? He tried to take it with him a few times but in the end decided to follow his mate. That's when the vultures move in aka the clean up crew.

Waiting for the lion to leave his kill

Some of the new animals we see here that we haven't seen in the other areas are African Eland, Topi, Wildebeest, Maasai Giraffe, Ruppell’s Griffon vulcher, White Backed vulcher, Hooded vulcher, Maribu stork, Lappet Faced vulcher, Spotted Hyena. I call the vulchers 'the cleanup team'. The Topi's stand on mounds to keep watch for predators while the others eat or sleep. I call the ones on little mounds Topi's in training and often one will be standing next to one on guard - that's waiting for their turn - 'changing of the guard'!

Ruppell's Griffon Vulcher

Day of no crossing!

We had lunch brought down to us at the Mara River as everyone were sure the wildebeest would cross. Most of the Freeman cars were there. The wildebeest are extremely frustrating dumb animals. They all follow each other, head for the river and then turn around again, often with no apparent reason. Then again sometimes there is a very good reason, we saw a lion one day jump out of the bushes and run at them, but he was young and did not have very good hunting skills and only managed to scare them all off. We have waited on a number of occasions and each time end up giving up.

The wildebeest gather at the river, we think they are going to cross, but they just turn around and leave.

Newborn gazelle calf

Bee Eater
The third species of giraffe are the Maasai Giraffe, each one has a distinct pattern unlike the others.

Massai Giraffe
We saw pictures of Serval before we arrived and I was waiting in anticipation to see one. This one was hiding in the bushes looking for a hare that was around the other side but the serval couldn't see him.

Yellow-throated Longclaw

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