What better place to celebrate Earth Day than to spend time away from a built-up environment: we chose to visit the nearby Addo Elephant National Park. Some visitors had close-up views of lions, spotted hyenas and even a black rhino. We didn’t draw that card, but observed a number of interesting things nonetheless.
It is the rutting season for kudu. Large herds of kudu does accompanied by one or two males appeared in several sections of the park we drove through, especially around Rooidam. Our attention was drawn to a loud hollow-sounding ‘thunking’ noise close to the road: two kudu bulls were sparring; kicking up dust as they locked horns and pushed each other this way and that.
What magnificent horns they sported. This is the victor of that encounter.
The heat drew herds of elephant to the bigger waterholes. We watched a group of four adults and two youngsters approach the small Marion Baree waterhole. They sprayed themselves with water on arrival.
They then moved to the mud hole next door, where the elephants scooped up balls of thick mud to throw over their backs.
By then the water in the concrete-lined dam had settled so a few drank before watching patiently as a youngster claimed the shallow dam for its own fun.
One has to watch out for dung beetles crossing the road at this time of the year.
Zebras with their painted faces did not disappoint.
Several came to quench their thirst at Domkrag.
A large flock of Pied Starlings came to join them.
A Karoo Scrub Robin came to investigate.
An inquisitive Egyptian Goose approached our vehicle at Hapoor.
Several Fork-tailed Drongos kept an eye on us at the Rest Camp water hole.
As did some Cape Glossy Starlings, looking magnificent in the late afternoon sunlight.
My bird list for the day:
Karoo Scrub Robin
Common Ringed Plover
South African Shelduck
Greater Doublecollared Sunbird
Cape Turtle Dove
Southern Black Korhaan
Pale Chanting Goshawk
Cape Glossy Starling