Weather and grasslands
For February we had cloudy, often overcast skies in the early mornings, with shallow pockets of early morning sunrises. Since the 1st of the month, we had 140 mm of rain, and by the 11th and 21st we had two days of heavy rainfall which kept the grasslands lovely and green and the Musiara marsh flowing evenly. Average temperatures in the early mornings were as low as 14°C, with midday temperatures being as high as 30°C.
Low lying mist as seen from Governors’ Balloon Safaris – photo credit Alex McCafferty
Along the river banks, some of the Warburgia trees are still fruiting which continues to draw elephants into the woodlands and therefore into the Governors’ camps – mainly at night. The Mara River had risen quite high on the 12th and 22nd of the month and has since dropped to a low level.
On the plains
Elephant herds were in good numbers for February, with many being seen within the Musiara Marsh and its environs. There are many bulls who are either travelling on their own – or older ones being escorted by younger males. Some of the older dominant males are in ‘musth’. There are also many young calves in these breeding herds; a great wildlife spectacle is of elephants and their calves, when they are crossing the Mara River!
Elephant herds in February – photo credit Will Fortescue
We had an extraordinary sighting on the 3rd of the month; an Aardwolf was seen in the early hours, north east of the Musiara gate. The Aardwolf is rarely seen in the Mara, since they are mainly insectivores and feed off termites (commonly the larger Harvester termite). An Aardwolf is often termed as a ‘myrmecophagous feeder’ which basically interprets that they feed mainly on termites and ants.
Olive baboons and Impala are being seen in large numbers with the baboon troop seemingly extending with many young infants in January and February; the recent rain has certainly induced favourable feeding opportunities. Warthogs and their five-month-old piglets are being seen more readily on the shorter grass plains – those that are within the Bila Shaka and Musiara plains are being preyed upon by the resident lion.
Impala females and fawn – photo credit Will Fortescue
Giraffes are also now being seen in larger numbers since the Teclea (as well as the Warburgia) is also fruiting; these little red fruit bring in many different bird species including a flurry of the violet backed starlings. Many Thomson’s gazelles are being seen in scattered herds near Bila Shaka and Malima Tatu plains.
Masai giraffe – Photo credit Moses Maduku
Big cats of the Masai Mara
Three of the Marsh Pride of lionesses, namely, Dada, Kabibi and Kito are feeding off Topi and buffalo calves near the hippo pool in the east Musiara plains, while lionesses Yaya and her two daughters Pamoja and Nusu Mkia are staying together in the north marsh areas and as far as the top open plains of the Mara north Conservancy.
Two of the Marsh Males, Chongo and Kiok, have been spotted a lot at the Toyota site, while the other three males, Koshoke, Doa and Kibogoyo, are on Topi plains and as far as Rhino ridge. They have been feeding off mostly buffalo and on one occasion that we witnessed, a vulnerable hippo below Rhino Ridge in the croton thickets; a hippo this far away from a water refuge can only be an injured or sick hippo.
Chongo spends time with the Paradise Pride females – photo credit Moses Manduku
The two roaming male lions Half Tail and his companion Logol were also in the east marsh grassland plains for much of February. Females Spot and Little Red, together with their two older offspring (a male and female), were seen around the Toyota site of the Mara river, and also as far as the southern grasslands of the Bila Shaka area.
Logol with hippo carcass – photo credit Moses Manduku
The Topi Pride is hunting on Topi plains and as far the Krie riverbed; however, three lionesses from this pride have moved into the Olare Orok conservancy. We have also had great sightings of the Paradise Pride females and their lovely cubs.
Paradise Pride cubs – photo credit Will Fortescue
The female leopard Romi, is being seen daily near to the Little Governors’ Camp river crossing and her two cubs (a male and a female), who are estimated at about five months old, have remained mostly hidden as they are still very shy. The Kaboso leopard and her one, eight-month-old cub, are hunting and habituating around the Olare Orok River.
Romi – photo credits Moses Manduku
Female cheetah Imani and her two remaining cubs which are about five months old now, are being seen hunting in the south Ngiatiak river plains areas and also near the Murram pits. Tano Bora, the five male cheetah coalition were seen hunting Thompson’s gazelles in the Maji ya fisi area in the southern Reserve; on the 25th they had killed a Topi on the relatively short green grass plains, which is the prime habitat for Topi.
Tano Bora with with Topi kill – photo credit Will Fortescue
Masai Mara weather and wildlife for February 2021 is written by Patrick Reynolds, courtesy of Governors’ Camp Collection. Read other blogs by Governors’ HERE.
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