Vumbura Plains – May 2014

May 31, 2014 Vumbura Plains
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Climate and Landscape
The month of May saw winter settling in quickly at Vumbura Plains. The temperatures steadily dropped, with two particular cold fronts ensuring we donned fleeces and beanies! There have been highs of 31° and lows of 9° Celsius with no recorded rainfall.

May also ushered in the first wave of the inundation for the year. The water levels rose, and then dropped drastically, presumably as a result of the last few months’ heavy rainfall which then receded. It was only much later in the month that we saw the Delta waters steadily trickling in on the roads. Many of our roads are now waterlogged, with regular sightings of wildlife crossing varied depths of water to get to dry land.

Visitors have been thrilled to see some pretty exceptional animal sightings. Wild dog, leopard and hyaena cubs have all been spotted regularly.

The most notable sightings this month have all occurred around three cheetah which have come into the area. This young group comprises two males and a single female travelling together. One particular game drive saw them chase a fully-grown male red lechwe into the water. There was then a fairly lengthy stand-off between the animals, when the lechwe eventually decided to turn the tables and chased the young cheetah around. The cheetah scattered and, due to their inexperience, were unable to capitalise on the defensive gaps the lechwe left open.
Vumbura Plains Lechwe and Cheetah stand-off

Birds and Birding
May has provided very good bird sightings in the Kwedi Concession. A Verreaux’s eagle-owl was spotted on a number of occasions, providing some great photographic opportunities. A pair of wattled cranes has also been seen in the wetland area close to the camp.

There have also been some phenomenal sightings of marabou storks around some local ‘fish traps’. These fish traps are created when the water recedes, leaving any fish in the water stuck in a puddle, making for easy pickings for the birds.

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