It was my favourite time of the day at Shinde, high tea! Everyone gathered on the deck for our famous homemade lemonade and freshly baked cheese scones – We were all very relaxed and looking forward to what I hoped would be a fun afternoon game drive. I tilted my head up toward the canopy of trees and a red headed weaver caught my eye, they are very hard to miss with their strikingly vibrant red plumage around the head and neck area.
I noticed he was in the beginning stages of building a nest, as I watched him I couldn’t believe how industrious he was and in the short space of time he had created the main structure of the nest. The beginning of spring and the warmer weather marks the start of breeding season for many species of birds; the male red headed weaver will build his mate a nest, once he is finished she will come and inspect her future home and if it is not up to her standards the male will build a new one.
The red headed weaver, unlike many other weaver species, builds his nest out of sticks instead of grass sometimes making for a less aesthetically pleasing design however the skill lies in the building and creation of the structure.
My guests and I made our way to the vehicle and all I hoped was that the female approved of the nest!
Blog story and images by Bonolo (Professional guide at Shinde)
Winter has brought with it an abundance of sightings in the bountiful Footsteps area! Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. Opie, specialist guide based at Footsteps and all round guru of the area has updated us on recent predator activity and with the update came excellent news that there are new additions to our resident families, read Opie's account below:
Wild Dogs Denning with Nine Puppies
We have been following this pack of five Wild Dogs for some time now and have seen a few failed hunting attempts but mostly successful ones. During one sighting I noticed the alpha female was heavily pregnant in June and I kept my fingers crossed that they would decide to find a den within the Footsteps area. My prayers were answered recently when we were on a drive looking for lions but happened to stumble upon three members of the pack, they were mobile so we decided to follow them.
In the distance I noticed the rest of the pack and as we approached I saw the den and counted nine puppies! The puppies are about one and a half months old. We watched them for a long time interacting and playing with one another, everyone in the game drive vehicle was speechless, it was a truly fantastic sighting!
Click here for a link to a video of the puppies playing at the den site
Just when we thought it couldn't get better having Wild Dog puppies denning nearby, our resident lionesses have blessed the Footsteps area with these lion cubs! One day I noticed vultures circling around an island so I decided to go and investigate, on arrival I saw the pride including the three cubs, all with very full bellies! There are two male cubs and one female and they are getting stronger and bigger by the day and hopefully they make it to adulthood without being harassed by the wild dogs, hyenas or the leopards.
Blog story and pictures by Omphile Kaluluka (Specialist Guide)