Rangers Diary for November
As we reach the end of the month and start compiling the notes for this month's report, I am short of words to think how I can possibly describe how amazing it has been. October saw the African sun live up to its scorching reputation, pushing mid day temperatures to the high 30's and low 40's. This heat certainly started the beginning of all the changes that we experienced in November, with the first rain falling in the beginning of the month giving hope that the rainy season is here. At the end of November we have had nearly 68mm of rain, which has changed the golden brown October to a luscious green November.
Change has come in many forms. Visually everything is greener and where you look there are small pools of water all with some form of life, from warthogs wallowing in the mud to frogs getting on with the most important task of reproduction. All the antelope species' which have been "with child" the last couple of months are starting to drop. We saw the first impala lamb around the 16th and now and there's more than one ca count. Most mammals we've seen in the last couple of days have all had young from wildebeest, zebra, and giraffe to warthogs, baboons and monkeys.
Also Returning for the summer were all our feathered friends. Woodlands Kingfishers are back from East Africa, Steppe Buzzards have completed a remarkable journey all the way from Russia and Red Backed Shrikes make a return from the Czech Republic. This is to mention but a few.
But to come down to a bit of business, regarding the BIG animals that everyone wants to hear off. Updates on the mammals ofÂ Thornybush.
First and foremost, our leopard sightings have increased remarkably due to two main factors: a couple of females have cubs ageing roughly around 8 months old. The mothers had to kill more often to satisfy the appetite of their young, and that also lured the territorial male of the North giving us numerous occasions the privilege to have mom, dad and babies together. Something one normally rarely experiences.
The Black Dam pride of lions is all healthy, with three cubs there's never a dull moment. The father made a full recovery after suffering a painful puncture from the horn of a buffalo. The Â Monwana pride in the north remain as big as ever and have finally given in to Marvin, the new territorial male in the north. After taking over the territory more than a year ago the females have only allowed him to lay with them in the beginning of this month.
The Cheetah sightings have been frequent and recently we have found a female with cubs, seven of them! Remarkable, we can only hope that she is successful in raising them.
We also found den sights for Hyena and Side Striped Jackals around the central area of the reserve, the sightings were initially closed due to the fact that the pups were very youngÂ but is now open and we estimate their ages around three months or so.
With regards to the big grays, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino, sightings have been plentiful the buffalo herds have split up a little, all going after the new grass growth. After the rain we found that the elephants have started moving more North coming for the sweet marulas. The Rhinos are everywhere we have seen both black and white regularly especially the one female Black Rhino has been showing off her 4 month calf.
I could go on and also go into more depth but this is just a general overview. Sufficed to say Thornybush Game Reserve is as healthy as ever. We welcome back the rains with open arms and watch in awe as the circle of life continues to turn as it has since the dawn of time.
The Thornybush Ranger Team.