With the cold front past, the morning was really chilly but with clear skies, lovely clean light (no haze), the sun was out and by midday we were cooking again. And Bandama was the place for us. Having left the wild dogs soon after sunrise when they returned from an unsuccessful hunt, we headed east.
We continued on to Bandama and hadn’t been there more than 5 minutes when this Blacksmith Plover approached the vehicle and lay down about 10m away. Ah ha! It must be on a nest. And sure enough after searching carefully we found 3 eggs camouflaged lying on the ground in a small depression.
The adult came back again soon after we moved off. And about an hour later its mate came over and they traded places.
But in the meantime a herd of elephant had arrived and were drinking close to where the nest was. The mother sat tight on her nest as the huge beasts moved past only meters away. One wonders how they survive trampling when they nest so close to a waterhole. Most plovers kick up a real fuss around their nest and do all sorts of displays and will even dive-bomb an intruder. But not this pair.
We’ll keep monitoring the nest every few days and keep you updated.
On leaving the pan the elephants did find themselves in a rather embarrassing situation when they were spooked by a family of warthog trotting in to wallow. The 3 little piggies weren’t in the slightest bit phased at these huge pachyderms thundering by close to them. The way they strutted on by looked like they had planned this whole coup in order to give them the freedom of the mud wallow.
A couple of loan buffalo bulls had joined the elephant earlier in a wallow. And then the usual compliment of zebra and impala came to drink.
But the best surprise was a herd of 16 Sable Antelope that were the last to drink while were there.
These are such great looking animals and the dominant bull is a truly handsome dude. With those long curved horns I’ve seen a bull keep 2 lions at bay as he went down on his knees and swept his horns at the lions each time they tried to approach. The stalemate ended with the bull saving his own life as the lions moved off.
Back into dog world, the adults had again managed to sneak off before sunset without any of the pups. BB had stayed behind again as part of the decoy (well probably to quickly suckle her pups) and joined the rest of the pack about 10 minutes later.
For the last 4 months while following the dogs I’ve been hoping they would travel along the ‘old airstrip’ (which is an open area) so I could get ahead of them and have them running in single file towards camera. And today they did it! In the daytime! And not just that but there were zebra and giraffe in the area watching the dogs trot on by.
Not far onto the burn we had lost the dogs and then found one trotting ahead. And just then we saw a male leopard running after it. Well so it looked. As they disappeared behind another bush, as a single unit, the rest of the pack came streaking through and they all chased the leopard into a tree. With the dogs jumping at the base of the small tree the leopard bolted and the dogs were again onto him, all disappearing into a donga/ravine. That was the last we saw of them as the sun was setting.
A leopard could easily kill a wild dog but outnumbered the way this guy was, he would have been lucky to get away with his backside in one piece. (This could even be the same leopard that stole the wild dogs kill a few days ago. This interaction took place not far from that site)
So for now the wild dogs rule!