OK, you guessed it, we had the most fabulous sighting of a leopard today. It was truly amazing, completely unconcerned, not minding at all about us or our car. We were over in Tsavo West National Park, visiting our friends, Danny who is the Senior Warden there, his wife Nana and daughter Chloe.
On his way to meet us for a drink at Kilaguni Lodge, Danny had seen a young zebra which had been badly wounded by a predator, and was lying down, unable to move. He asked us whether we would be willing to take the young zebra home with us, clean up its wounds and try to nurse it back to health, then raise it as an orphan. Needless to say, we said we would be delighted to do so, but sadly – upon getting back to the poor little thing, it had already succumbed to its wounds. Upon looking at it more closely, it was clear we would never have been able to save it anyway, for the puncture wounds in its neck and underparts were too deep and too severe. It looked like it had been attacked by jackals, which had bitten at it from below, and then probably had been chased off by the mother zebra, for there were no jackals to be seen anywhere nearby.
Completely by chance, as we approached the little dead foal, we suddenly saw the leopard. Even more surprising was that it was totally disinterested in the dead zebra, ignoring it completely, and intent instead on eyeing up a herd of nearby impala. It was obviously not a very hungry leopard. We stayed with the beautiful beast for half and hour or more (during which time it completely ignored us), but eventually, with the fading light, and a long drive home, we reluctantly left the magnificent cat to himself. We passed a small herd of five or six elephants in the grey twilight, which was lovely, and when we got home, Jean-Genie (the name we have given to our genet cat) was catching bugs on our balcony.
Bull elephant in grey fading light
Earlier in the morning, a Falcon was hunting along the river – flying low over the water, and trying to catch smaller birds as they flew up startled from the sandbanks. He also did several fly-bys of the house, whizzing by at eye level and even beneath me so I got some fantastic views of him. That’s the advantage of having such an elevated vantage point from the balcony – much of the bird activity occurs at eye-level, if not down below you. At one stage, the Falcon started chasing a Hadada Ibis, and pursued it for a long way down the river – this was the most extraordinary thing to watch, for the Ibis is about four times (or more) the Falcon’s size, is a more cumbersome flyer, and could hardly be confused as prey for a Falcon…but perhaps it was just something between them that we’ll never know about!
Believe it or not, the Bauhinia are flowering again…it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on this year in terms of the weather and the flowers and trees…Lots of other plants are fruiting, like this creeper with the most extraordinarily red berries growing up behind the house.