Moremi, Day Two – Leopard and Impala

Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve, which adjoins the Okavango Delta, can be swampy. These water birds are hunting for food.

great egret, yellow-billed stork, and African spoonbill
great egret, yellow-billed stork, and African spoonbill

This side-striped jackal paused briefly before trotting off.

side-striped jackal
side-striped jackal

We stopped to look at the mother blacksmith lapwing and her two babies. At first the babies were walking along the shore. Then the mother started squacking and the babies froze. The mother continued squacking while walking away from her babies. Based on the time codes from photos, the babies didn’t move for the four minutes — remarkable. We marveled at the discipline shown by the lapwing babies and noted that our children could learn something.

blacksmith lapwing
blacksmith lapwing family

This crimson-breasted shrike is out in the open.

crimson-breasted shrike
crimson-breasted shrike

As we approached Third Bridge, our guide stopped. Third Bridge is the wooden bridge on the other side of the water. The approach to the bridge is flooded, and the bridge is narrow, so he has to make sure he doesn’t swerve as he approaches the bridge, like the warden did yesterday. Otherwise, we’d wind up in the water under the bridge! Third Bridge is made of mopane logs, which are strong but not straight. The bridge surface isn’t uniform, so you have to drive carefully. The warning sign to slow down on top of the bridge, but hitting your brakes in the water could be tricky. We made it across the bridge.

Third Bridge
Third Bridge

We got more excitement just before lunch — a leopard in the brush.

leopard in the brush
leopard in the brush

The leopard is a young female, two or three years old, when she is first striking out on her own. She has to kill to eat, and she isn’t strong enough to drag an impala ( a medium-sized antelope) up a tree to protect her kill from stronger predators.

leopard returning to the kill
leopard standing over impala (click to enlarge)

She is standing over a male impala, which has a tan body and black, curved horns. Dominant male impala gather harems of females and wait for the females to enter estrus, reaching a peak during a full moon a month after our visit. Most male impalas are bachelors, hanging out alone, waiting for a female to wander by and stick around. For prey like impalas, there’s strength in numbers against predators, and this lone bachelor didn’t make it.

larger image
leopard crouching over its kill (click to enlarge)

Back at the camp, this goliath heron is the largest heron in Africa.

goliath heron
goliath heron

On our afternoon game drive we saw this woodland kingfisher.

woodland kingfisher
woodland kingfisher

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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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