No drama today. Boring!
The truth be, I didn’t go looking for any massive adventures today. Although I suppose any day with elephants is an adventure.
Needless to say I didn’t get to spend much time with any today. Some elephants were feeding on tubers near the airstrip and then ducked off into the hills.
Banyini was full of plains game as usual. Giraffe, zebra, impala, wildebeest and eland. Always a pleasure to see all this wildlife in a small area. Why don’t the lions hang out where all the prey does? Hmmm……ask the lions!
With all the rain over the last few days the pans in the bushveld have filled up. This means the game is no more concentrated around the main water points. This will be the case for the next 4 to 5 months.
The Long-tailed Shrikes were loving it on Banyini this morning still stuffing themselves on flying ants. The clouds of them that were out last night were still making their new homes this morning and it is these late starters that were being gobbled up by just about any bird or animal on the plains.
That was me done for the day. Then back to piles of office work. Interviews for the Series we’re working on. And getting ready to travel to see my daughter’s tomorrow. That’s an 11 hour drive!
10th November 2000
With an early start this morning Lindy woke up as I was leaving and with one of those can’t refuse voices asked if she couldn’t come with me filming.
The roads were a muddy mess after all last nights rain with some areas just not passable. And the rainy season has hardly even started.
Working daytime again I am wanting to pick up on general animal behaviour in the daytime, but more especially to get more material on impala and a birth.
Right up in the north we found a small herd of impala with a youngster that had just been born. Still wet but walking. Probably no more than 15 minutes old. But too late for what I wanted. In the same herd I noticed a female with her tail held away from the body. Usually a good sign that they’re ready to give birth. Twenty minutes later she moved away from the herd. For the next 4 hours we followed her as she stretched, repeatedly, tried to urinate, nibbled occasionally but not really keen to eat. All good signs. Then she started lying down for short periods. Eventually the front feet appeared. She then lay down and got up repeatedly. Each time she was down she would have major concentrations. About 15 minutes after the legs first appeared the baby was out. Mother stayed lying down while the lamb struggled for a while to get to its feet. Then mother got up and started licking the youngster. She also ate the afterbirth. And then the miracle, not even 15 minutes old and the impala was running off with its mother, although initially rather wobbly.
What a great event to witness. Only the second time that I’ve ever seen it and Lindy was lucky enough to see it too. Not too sure if she understood it all, but seemed to have a handle on it.
I sure was happy to have this in the can already.
It was already after 13h00 when we left the impala on the way back to camp. We came across some more impala and I asked Lindy if we should wait for another female to give birth. NO! She wasn’t keen, although she’d been very good all day.