March was yet another successful month at Banoka Bush Camp. We have seen the tell-tale signs of the approaching winter months as we received very little rainfall and most of the grass species have now turned a golden yellow colour. We still experienced high temperatures and this, coupled with the drying of surface water, resulted in lots of wildlife congregating along the larger water channels.
Fairly large herds of buffalo were seen wallowing in the drying waterholes as well as feeding on the lush grasses along the permanent water sources. The month was also characterised by the sound of rutting impala rams, as all of the adult males as they begin battling for mating rights. The impala rutting season is always exciting to watch, as the rams do not stop fighting, running, herding and vocalising. This is a great time for predators as the rams are preoccupied with reproduction, thus becoming easy prey.
The highlight for the month was the return of cheetah to the area. Cheetah have been absent from our area of operation for the last eight months as last year’s annual inundation displaced them. These incredible felines have been seen hunting on the eastern side of the concession now.
On the feathered side of the scale, the birding has been rather good too. Most of the summer migrants have already left for warmer climes and it seems that Levaillant's cuckoo may be the last to leave, as we saw them daily in March.
The drying waterholes attracted huge numbers and varieties of birds, as the low levels of water have trapped and exposed a myriad fish and aquatic organisms to an avian onslaught. On would often find marabou storks, black egrets and slaty egrets feeding energetically at the fish traps.
A highlight for the month included a sighting of western-banded snake-eagle, which is quite rare for the area.
Newsletter by Chris Nyame