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Game Report October - November 2013

12 November, 2013

Weather and grasslands

Over the last month the grasslands have become short due to little rainfall of 24.5mm and also the many wildebeest and zebra that passed through. Mornings were still cool with mid-day temps being warm until late evening. Strong winds from the north east would pick up late morning and this brought in heavy dust clouds that filtered through the riverine forest.    

game drive in sunset

Photo courtesy of Nick Powell

General game

Wildebeest and many more zebra crossed the Mara river at Kichwa Tembo during mid-month and passed though the north Masai conservation areas, staying in the Musiara area for days only before they were on their way to Paradise Plains. There were some good sightings at the crossing points with large numbers of zebra crossing during the day, some wildebeest crossed at night. The Marsh Pride of Lion took many wildebeest within the Musiara and Bila Shaka grassland plains.

wildebeest

Photo courtesy of Bill Roe

The main Cape buffalo herd were on the Bila Shaka and East marsh plains while the resident bulls were being seen on the west marsh grassland verges and near the riverine woodlands. A few buffalo were taken by lion particularly in the Bila Shaka area with one of the large males being killed and eaten in the marsh area of north of the swamp. Giraffe in good numbers were being seen within the woodlands and camp wooded areas with many of them coming through at night. There were also many young male giraffe with Musiara Marsh and these could be seen sparing between one another. There are young calves in crèches of varying age groups with mothers being not too far away. Giraffe are not the best of mothers. Topi females gave birth to more calves this month although many were also born in September. Warthogs are also being seen with Bila Shaka and Musiara, there are sows with many piglets which the resident lion have been hunting. 

giraffe

Photo courtesy of Nick Powell

Impala and baboons are regularly seen within the camps and wooded areas of the Marsh.  Few impala females are being seen with fawns and likewise Thomson Gazelles who are on the short grass plains, these gazelles can have up to two fawns a year with only a short gestation of 5-5.5 months.

Elephant in small family units are also being seen within the riverine woodlands and also the Musiara Marsh. There are small herds of eland will up on Topi Plains, Paradise and in the Masai conservation areas. Large dimorphic bulls’ are scattered across the open grassland plains of Paradise, Rhino Ridge and Bila Shaka. Serval cats have also been seen frequently, with regular sightings of one particular female near Bila Shaka.

elephants

Photo courtesy of Craig Wiltshire

Lion

Sila: has three cubs born latter half of October. She is at present near Bila Shaka.

Kinny: is also lactating near the windmill side of the marsh, she was seen on the 10th November going into the reeds.

Marsh pride with their 10 cubs of varying age groups, Bibi, Siena and Charm and the four musketeers. Sikio hurt his paw earlier on in the month but seems to be a little better as he has shown interest in a lioness at Paradise which is where the other three males are at present. They moved again down to the Paradise region later on in the month. The Marsh Pride have been feeding on wildebeest, zebra and buffalo. Red, one of the male sub adult cubs has got a lot of attitude and will go a long way, he has very short whiskers for a cat so is well recognised. The four males look well fed considering wildebeest and zebra have been passing though, there are also many Topi here. The paradise females had split up earlier in September when the Musketeers went in, now there are three lionesses and four cubs which two that are 9 months old and the two are over a year old. 

lions

Photo courtesy of Nick Powell

Leopard

Romi and her one year old male cub have been seen very infrequently this month. Where they have been seen is near the BBC camp and also close to IL Moran camp. The male near the mortuary crossing points was being seen quite frequently and also the large male leopard at the bottom end of Bila Shaka, this male will also be seen near Il Moran so he covers quite a home range. The female leopard with two 5 month old cubs was seen a few times near ‘Kwa Nyoka’ on the west Rhino Ridge fan that leads into Paradise Plains they both were seen crossing the dry river bed and then moving into a croton thicket.

leopard

Photo courtesy of Michelle Thearle

Cheetah

The two males that were being seen near Bila Shaka/Rhino ridge have been since seen in the Mara North Conservancy, these are two large male cheetah and will cover large distances from the conservation areas in Masai conservation areas as far as the double crossing.

There is a young female Cheeath who has three cubs that are 4-6 weeks old near Joseph’s tree on the western fan of Rhino ridge where there are a few large Ficus trees and some croton thickets in high rocky ground, she is being seen in this area.

 cheetah

Photo courtesy of Nick Powell

Walking in the Mara North Conservancy

Weather was perfect for walks this month, with cool mornings to start the day off. Many wildebeest were seen moving through this area and then filing towards the Mara Reserve. Good numbers of zebra were also being seen on the plains above the ‘flyover’ and also on the eastern plains which were getting very dry. Spotted Hyena clans are evident on the eastern plains there is a large clan, on the plains above the ‘flyover’ there is also another large clan. All are prominent predators of wildebeest, zebra and topi.

There is a large male leopard that haunts the ‘fly over gorge’ he has been seen three times as he walks through the Euclea Divinorum thickets. It is a huge bonus to see a leopard in good view while on foot and this we have to say was the highlights of the month. Excellent sightings of giraffe throughout the eastern plains near the Acacia Gerrardii woodlands. One morning on the 7th we counted over 43 giraffe and six calves of varying age groups. Black Back Jackals were also being seen with three of them seen hunting Thompson Gazelle fawns on the 20th they were not successful as the mother Thomson was very active. Elephant were evident in the acacia thickets, they appeared to have come across from outside of the conservancy in the early mornings and then spent the day in the conservancy, and some large breeding males also accompanied these breeding herds.

Comments

Submitted by Doreen Soulsby (not verified) on

We both read all your Game Reports and particularly interesting this month was the birth of lion, cheetah, giraffe and warthogs. We are getting close to our next safari on the Masai Mara at the beginning of April staying at Little Governors' Camp which has been arranged by Julius Tact Safaris. Your reports whet our appetites more and more as we get closer to our visit.

Looking forward to seeing you all in April.

Doreen & Wayne Soulsby
Hexham
Northumberland, U.K.

Submitted by Pam Clark (not verified) on

Thank you to all who contribute to the wonderfully detailed reports. August 2014 can not come quick enough as I will be staying at Governors for the second time.
Your reports provide an insight into what I have to look forward to.
See you in August 2014!
Best Wishes Pam

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