23 November 2021

Action at the Waterhole

26 September 2021 - Leadwood Big Game Estate; Day 4

All too soon it was our last day, so the 3 boys were up early for a game drive. We were fortunate to connect with the 3 male Lions again, resting up on the side of the road. I only had my big glass with me, so portraits were the only option

Lion (Panthera leo)

Here is one of them in a typical Matchbox Lion pose

Lion (Panthera leo)

A little further on, we came across some two raptors that had roosted in some dead trees overnight, first up a returning Wahlberg's Eagle

Wahlberg's Eagle (Hieraaetus wahlbergi)

Followed by a much larger Tawny Eagle

Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax)

We made our way to one of the many waterholes on the Estate and found the biggest flock (20) of Marabou Stork's that Simon had ever recorded on the property. Almost all of them were young birds

Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer)

Whilst watching the Storks, we had Black-chested Snake Eagle overhead

Black-chested Snake Eagle (Circaetus pectoralis)

along with a couple of Black and Alpine Swifts that must have come down from the Drakensberg

Alpine Swift (Tachymarptis melba)

In the mix were a few Lesser Striped Swallow

Lesser Striped Swallow (Cecropis abyssinica)

Whilst watching the Storks at the edge of the dam, we noticed an agitated Three-banded Plover running amongst them - not sure if it had a nest or young, but it wasn't happy. Next thing we heard this whooshing sound as a Lanner Falcon stooped out of nowhere and tried to snatch the Plover from between the Storks. The Falcon quartered as it gained height and was attacked by a second Lanner - what a fantastic and unexpected spectacle

Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus)

I thought the Plover had been taken, but when checking my images could see no sign of it in their talons.

Lanner Falcon (Falco biarmicus)

Not long after this, a Yellow-billed Kite came to investigate and also made a few swoops between the Stork's but without success, from what we could see.

Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus aegyptius)

All to soon, we had to head back for a quick breakfast, pack the car and hit the road to Jozi, this time via our more familiar route of Lydenburg. It was another relaxing and great weekend with Simon and Jen and look forward to our next visit in the new year.

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