09 September 2022

Return to Leadwood

06 August 2022 - Leadwood; Day 2

It had been almost a year since we last caught up with our good friends Simon and Jenny at their home in Leadwood Big Game Estate in Hoedspruit. We arrived in the late afternoon yesterday and in time for sundowners and a long overdue catch-up on the deck as the sun set.

Today, the girls slept in and Simon, my son Jaden and I were out for an early morning drive, that started off crisply but warmed up later. It wasn't too long before we came across 3 White Rhino walking slowly down the road on the way to a waterhole for an early morning drink. Although the calf was big, it was still suckling from its mother.

White Rhinocerus (Chiromantis xerampelina)

Whilst watching the Rhino drink, a troop of Vervet Monkeys watched from the trees above during some family grooming time.

Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus)

Birding was still a little quiet, but there was a smell of spring in the air. Stopping at another waterhole later in the morning, we found a cracking Black Stork feeding in the shallows - the early morning sun really showed off the iridescence in its dark feathers.

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)

At the same waterhole, a Grey Heron was motionless in the shadows

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Whilst a Blue Wildebeest came down to drink

Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)

We checked the site where Striped Kingfishers bred last year and found one in attendance

Striped Kingfisher (Halcyon chelicuti)

It was time for brunch, so we headed back to the house where we had a flock of Cape Vultures passing by overhead, just before parking the Landy

Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres)

After brunch, we chilled on the patio for most of the morning and enjoyed the passing parade - a Bushbuck coming in to drink

Male Cape Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus)

Followed by a pair of Purple-crested Turaco's

Purple-crested Turaco (Gallirex porphyreolophus)

A Spotted Eagle-Owl in the riverine canopy

Spotted Eagle-Owl (Bubo africanus)

Yellow-breasted Apalis feeding in the Weeping Boer-bean

Yellow-breasted Apalis (Apalis flavida)

We also enjoyed the two statue-like or motionless Foam-nest Tree Frogs on the deck fence and one in amongst the cushions that we relocated to a tree. Interesting that the one in the full sun was white, whilst the one in the shade changed to a darker colour.

These arboreal frogs have developed several adaptions to live away from water for months at a time which includes a water-loss resistant skin that changes colour in response to temperature. Individual frogs can change their colour from chalky white to dark brown, as can be seen in the below images.

When they are dark, their body temperature follows air temperature more closely, it is common for them to do this when the air is below 36 °C. The white coloration helps them to maintain a temperature below the ambient temperature by reflecting heat away.

Grey Foam-nest Tree Frog (Chiromantis xerampelina)

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