Weather and Landscape
Although temporarily darkened by fires, the plateau should be back to its green splendour very soon (especially with the expected rains on the approach). We've been experiencing some incredibly hot days on the Nyika, but it does get significantly cooler by dusk.
Leopards on the Nyika have not been spotted as often as usual this month, but eland and roan antelope sightings have continued to be brilliant.
A clan of hyaena on the northern loop of the plateau have been seen with a new addition - their young cub. In spite of their reputation as scavengers, spotted hyaena are incredibly interesting and intelligent. They are thriving on the Nyika and have in many instances come away as the apex predator in many situations. They are efficient hunters that can bring down large prey such as zebra. Females provide only for their own cubs rather than assist each other (the way lions do), while males display no paternal care at all. We hope to keep everyone updated on the cub's progress and are keeping our fingers crossed for many more sightings.
Some of the highlights for the month included the following:
A checkered-elephant shrew was spotted running through the undergrowth close to Juniper Road. This intriguing mammal is not a real shrew - it's more closely related to aardvarks and hyraxes. This particular species, despite its minuscule size, is a swift runner and can make leaps of almost three feet. Its keen senses of sight, hearing and smell serve it well by alerting it quickly to danger.
We spotted two serval hunting in the fields near Chelinda Bridge, and a few days later a lone serval was also seen near Nganda Road (close to the airstrip). Serval lead solitary lives and come together in pairs only for a few days when the female is in heat.
In the middle of the month we spotted a leopard walking through the bracken ferns near Sangule. This is the only leopard sighting we've had for the month, but we're sure that summer will bring on many more sightings in the next few months.
Finally, two side-striped jackals were seen hunting near Chelinda Bridge (close to Dam 3).
Birds and Birding
This month we've spotted the following special birds: white-starred robin, Schalow's turaco and white-tailed eliminia in the juniper forest. Our guides also spotted a wattled crane feeding in the grasslands near the juniper forest. Other birds you can expect to see on the Nyika at this time of year include Malawian batis, bar-tailed trogan, African cuckoo hawk, Montague's harrier, mountain-yellow warbler and evergreen-forest warbler.
Newsletter by Sam, Apollo, Whyte and Stanford