Emulating ducks in flight

22 12 2011

After plenty of rain and then cool fresh air, we’re now back to blistering temperatures and of course all this has a bearing on the pride’s activity levels. But on the afternoon of the 21st the lions were in rather spritely form.

We found Zulu firstly sitting alone near the boundary road close to pan 3. We couldn’t see any of the girls but Leya, Kwandi, Temi and Rusha’s signals were very strong and likely coming from just inside the treeline behind him. Kela and Loma’s signals led us to water pan 2 – but again we couldn’t see them.  Moving around the Bwizu area we almost completed a full circuit when lo-and-behold we saw the pair drinking from the water pan.  Minutes later the rest of the pride showed up and there was plenty of bounding at one another and greeting.

They settled down at pan 2 – but not for long and soon were heading into the tall grasses of Sahara. We were able to track their progress through this area from the boundary of the section but had to wait for them to emerge at the top near Tsavo. They were walking in quite an intimidating V-formation with Rusha at the helm – except for Zulu who was milling around at the back in whichever direction took his fancy.

The five impala sheltering from the sun in the shade of a tree on Tsavo soon had the girls’ attentions. As they reached the road which bisects Tsavo and Sahara they stood briefly, most in full view – it was as evident that the impala had seen them as it was that the lions had seen the impala. But Temi who we’ve watched countless times take up this position, slunk off to the right – briefly followed by Zulu for all of about 10m. The rest of the girls kept walking directly towards the herd – holding their attention as Temi slunk further and further out onto the flank; perhaps the plan being to panic them into fleeing straight into their waiting comrade.

But the plan went wrong when the impala ran off to left and into the Acacia boundary rather than in Temi’s direction.

Leya seemed torn between “is it really worth it” and “must kill impala” thoughts, but eventually set off after them at a half-hearted trot. Kela, Loma and Temi followed, while Rusha, Kwandi and Zulu found a nice spot to rest in the shade. The better part of 20 minutes later and the lions’ ambush line had pretty much fallen asleep.

This morning everyone was back in Kariba sleeping. The hot weather and the big move yesterday afternoon seemingly taking its toll as the most activity we saw all morning was Leya fixing her beady eyes on some vultures flying overhead. But even that was too much in the end and rest was quickly resumed.

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