Beyond predators in Mashatu

This is the last post from our recent trip to Mashatu with friends and offers a gallery of images showing the variety of sightings other than predators which you are likely to see in Mashatu. The birds shown are just the winter residents. In summer, the migrants dramatically swell the numbers and variety.

“It is the marriage of the soul with nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination.”

Henry David Thoreau

White fronted Bee-eater nesting in a colony in the bank of the Majale river.

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These Bee-eaters were very busy digging out their nest burrows in the river bank with nosy, noisy neighbours causing a tussles very now and then.

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Sunbathing and dust bathing, both of which remove mites from these Bee-eaters.

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Being winter is was cold in the mornings. This Lilac-breasted Roller was perched and in hunting mode. It was all fluffed up against the chilly wind.

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The Lilac-breasted Rollers are ubiquitous in Mashatu and positioned on the bushes like sparkling gems.

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While you do no see in Mashatu the huge flocks of Namaqua Sandgrouse that you will see in Kalagadigadi or Etosha but you will find small groups of two to four birds all over. This female was searching for seeds in the sand and keeping her head down due to the chilly wind.

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The female Namaqua Sandgrouse is cryptically coloured and very easy to miss when scanning the area.

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Grey Hornbill with its distinctive call. You often hear it before you see it. I love the marmalade colours of Mopani leaves in winter.

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Yellow-billed Hornbill. You will also find the Red-billed Hornbill in Mashatu in winter.

“An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfilment.”

Sir David Attenborough

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This female Saddle-billed Stork was hunting for fish in the pools of water remaining in the Majale river. It was cool and the sun had just risen so the colours were unusually soft. With such contrasting colours this bird can be tricky to expose correctly.

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The female Saddle-billed Stork is identifiable by its yellow eye-ring and no yellow wattle under its bill.

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A Burchell’s Coucal hunting in the undergrowth on cold early winter’s morning.

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Kudu bull walking along the edge of a croton grove down near the Majale river, accompanied by a pair of Yellow-billed Oxpeckers.

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Sparring young Kudu males. The dominant bull was watching these two probably assessing where his next challenge was going to come from.

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A pair of young Warthog which had climbed up out of their burrow and were slowly waking up in the warm, winter morning sun.

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Having warmed up it was now time to spar and play.

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Young dominance rituals

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The Majale river at the bridge close to Mashatu Main Camp.

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For some reason these Impala would not run across the road but jumped clear of the road showing their incredible jumping ability.

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High fliers despite some really stoney ground to land on!!

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Low and fast. This is typical of the bush. You are driving slowly early in the afternoon. You see a few Impala on the right hand side of the road – nothing unusual. The next minute something spooks these Impala and they take-off across the road in front of us. Many of them jumped clear across the road with much room to spare.

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Anyone who has been to Mashatu will recognise this scene – iconic.

“Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher.”

William Wordsworth

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Early morning sun was rim lighting these baboons as they sat warming up in the weak winter sun.

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It was quiet. Most of the troop had come down from the Mashatu tree and were sitting on the ground just warming themselves.

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Early morning family time before the hustle and bustle of the day.

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A few Blue Wildebeest on a ridge creating a silhouette.

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Young Giraffe with its mother.

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Teaching her youngster which bushes to feed on.

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One of the troop making his way down the great Mashatu tree (otherwise called the Baboon’s bedroom) first thing in the morning.

“The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.”

Claude Monet

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It was cold and windy. The animals do not like the wind as it messes up their smell and hearing senses. This was a large congregation of Impala which had clustered due to the wind. There must be safety in numbers.

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A few playful Zebra.

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A touch of striped sparring.

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Striped horses in the bush.

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A family of Klipspringers on the rock outcrop alongside the Majale river.

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The Klipspringer is an unusual buck in many respects. It has a thick and dense, speckled “salt and pepper” patterned coat which provides effective camouflage in the rocky outcrops where is it usually found. Its thick, coarse hair is hollow, which aids them in regulating their temperature.

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A pair of Klipspringers. The male has the horns. They stand on the tips of their hooves and are extremely agile on rock faces.

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This is the last post from our trip to Mashatu in July. We had some wonderful sightings and got to meet really interesting people travelling around the reserve such as film maker, Kim Wolhuter and C4 photographic safari professionals Kyle de Nobrega and Ruth Nussbaum. This is one place I can never get enough of. I will be back again and again. The photographic opportunities are exceptional.

“Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its interconnectedness and let it be.

Have fun,

Mike

2 thoughts on “Beyond predators in Mashatu

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