As our explorations continue to lead us to secretive places, Odzala shares its secrets like the sunlight that penetrates the forest canopy on an early morning.
Weather and Landscape
In terms of weather, the order of the month was unusually clear skies, coupled with high humidity and high daytime temperatures which would often be followed by windy evenings. The ‘dry’ season is usually characterised by overcast conditions, but this was not the case this month. Despite this, the Ngaga area still received a total of 117 mm of precipitation this month.
In terms of the vegetation and landscape, many trees and plants are still fruiting in the forest, providing the wildlife with some good food to eat.
A western lowland gorilla was born in Odzala last month! Neptuno's family is growing with the birth of Cuba’s (an adult female) baby. Currently the baby is too small to know the gender and only after a few months Dr Bermejo will be able to sex the young primate.
A few changes have also been observed in Jupiter's group. Two of his daughters, adult enough to choose their own paths in life, left the group to find another silverback with which they will create their own families. The good news is that they did not go far, as they have been seen amongst one of the other groups that we find around Ngaga Camp.
Jupiter and Neptuno have concentrated their movements east and south of Ngaga Camp where there are a number of fruiting trees at the moment.
Chimpanzees are active again. We can hear different groups screaming early in the morning or late during the night from different directions. They have occasionally been seen by the research team while gorilla tracking.
Putty-nosed monkey, crowned monkey and grey-cheeked mangabey have been seen in big groups all feeding together where trees are fruiting in the Lango area. In the process of feeding, quite a bit of fruit is dropped onto the ground, attracting some of the elusive duiker species out into the open. This resulted in five sightings of Peter’s duiker and a yellow forest duiker too.
Lango Bai has produced some incredible sightings too, with the highlight being the red river hogs. Two different saunders have been seen coming onto the bai to feed, each family consisting of around 20 individuals.
Whilst doing a night trail in the Lango area, we had our first sighting of an African palm civet! This incredible creature was seen moving slowly through the tree canopy, allowing us a good look.
Driving along the M’bomo Road during the evenings still presents the chance of seeing serval. This is not the only predatory feline to be seen along this road. We had a really good sighting of a male leopard walking along the road marking his territory before disappearing off into the long grass.
Birds and Birding
Birding this month was nothing short of great! We had some incredible sightings of the more elusive forest species – many of which are residents and can be seen year round. These highlights included black guineafowl, plumed guineafowl, blue-headed bee-eater, blue-breasted kingfisher, naked-faced barbet, long-crested eagle, bat hawk, Latham’s francolin, chestnut wattle-eye and white-crested hornbill.
The snakes are out as the weather conditions are perfect for these cold-blooded creatures at the moment. We had a number of sightings of a water cobra, a young python and a few green snakes belonging to the Colbridae family.
We also had a surprising sighting of a forest monitor lizard, which ran out in front of us while on a trail.
As we have been spending much time exploring the area, searching for more trails and unique forest landscapes as well as any wildlife gems which pop up, we have developed a new dry forest trail which has been highly productive in wildlife sightings. A new bai has also been discovered in the Ekessi Forest.