TWO ZEBRAS

These pictures were taken in the Addo Elephant National Park and speak for themselves.

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MONKEYS

We seldom come across Vervet Monkeys in the Addo Elephant National Park and so were surprised to see this one as we rounded a corner:

It had obviously rained a day or so before our arrival for there were puddles all over the veld, most notably where the dirt roads were. A little further on we were met by this sight:

Drinking from the puddles in the road.

 

Note the baby tucked under its mother.

TEN BIRDS IN THE ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK

This Southern Masked Weaver met us at Domkrag:

Other residents there included a Cape Weaver:

A Cape Sparrow:

Fiscal Shrike:

Several terrapins on the bank of Rooidam watched this Spoonbill working its way through the shallow water:

Could this be an African Pipit seen along the Woodlands road?

A flock of Cattle Egrets cooled off at Carol’s Rest:

One of several Ostriches inspecting the veld in search of food:

This Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk posed obligingly:

A Hamerkop kept a close watch out for food at Hapoor.

DUNG BEETLES

An iconic sign along roads in the Addo Elephant National Park is this one:

It depicts a dung beetle rolling a ball of dung and warns motorists to watch out for dung beetles in the road – very few are actually rolling dung at this time of the year, but the strong implication is that drivers should also avoid driving over mounds of dung as there may be dung beetles harbouring within.

Dung beetles remain in a torpid state during winter and are generally more visible during the warmer weather, especially after the first rains.

This is a typical view of a dung beetle on the road:

They can also be seen in the veld, such as this one:

It would be too much to expect it to actually face me for a portrait shot! I hope to get one later during the summer when there are more of them rolling balls of dung.

LEOPARD TORTOISES IN ADDO

The Leopard Tortoise is also called a Mountain Tortoise in direct translation of its Afrikaans name, Bergskilpad. According to the SANBI, the genus name Stigmochelys is a combination of the Greek words stigma meaning ‘marked’ and chelone meaning ‘tortoise’. The specific epithet pardalis is derived from the Greek word pardos meaning ‘spotted’ after the spotted shell.

These are the largest tortoises in South Africa and are always a joy to see in the wild. The Addo Elephant National Park is an excellent place to come across them – a visit there hardly seems complete without seeing at least one Leopard Tortoise. We have been fortunate to see several on our recent visits.

A light sprinkling of rain, gives this Leopard Tortoise a newly washed look as it crossed the tar road. Because of the absence of a nucal shield, these are the only tortoises able to raise their heads – and the only ones that can swim!

Here a Leopard Tortoise was making the most of the new green shoots of grass to emerge after the recent rain in the Addo Elephant National Park.

While they are mostly herbivorous, Leopard Tortoises have also been known to gnaw bones, and to eat carnivore faeces to obtain calcium for shell growth and the development of eggshells. This one appears to have damaged its horny beak, giving it a gap-toothed look – although they are actually toothless.

Even though they derive some liquid from their diet, Leopard Tortoises drink water readily when it is available. This one was making for the waterhole at Carol’s Rest at considerable speed!

BLOOMING IN ADDO

We were too early to witness the full flush of spring flowers in the Addo Elephant National Park. The first rains have wrought a beautiful change nonetheless. See what a section of the park looked like in March 2015:

This is what it looks like now:

The Erythrina lysistemon at the Main Rest Camp provides a bright introduction to spring blooms:

Banks of the Common Gazania (Gazania krebsiana) line the roads:

Very beautiful splashes of yellow are also provided by Rhigozum obovatum:

Then there are Felicia aethiopica, also known as Bloublommetjie:

Along with Felicia filifolia, known as Draaibos:

Pretty (as yet unidentified) flowers include the following:

If any of my readers is able to put a name to them I would be grateful.