Curiosity (almost) killed the dikkop

24 09 2011

The lions were on the move this morning (23rd Sept) moving through Kariba towards water pan 3. After a brief stop Temi and Rusha both seemed restless to get going again and moved off about 50m before returning to the rest of the group for a few of head rubs and a drink. After a couple of minutes, Rusha got up again, with Temi trailing and Loma bringing up the rear. Kela, Kwandi and Leya remained at pan 3 as we followed the trio through Puku Dambo and up into Bwizu.

Loma would stop every so often to see if her sister and the Ks were following but there was no sign of the rest of the pride joining in the move, until we reached pan 2 when suddenly the other three appeared from nowhere!

The pride carried on marching until Leya split off by herself into the Acacia boundary while the rest of the pride veered South towards the closest available thicket. The humidity and temperatures have been soaring in Livingstone over the last few weeks, and no-one could blame the lions for wanting the best spot of shade they could find; even by 8am this morning the Dambwa Forest was decidedly sticky.

As the five settled down in various spots of shade it took Leya a further 20 minutes to realise that no one was coming to join her and she made her way over to join the others.

But there were a couple of extra members of the group today… and they didn’t exactly fit in.

Not long after the lions had fallen asleep two spotted dikkops entered the scene. At first they seemed oblivious to the lions but once they saw these sleeping hulks they moved in for a closer look (more than likely, one of the lions was sleeping on their nest!). On several occasions, they got to within a couple of metres, would realise how close they’d got and then run away. Once finding a happy medium of about 10m or so, they both settled down to watch these new curiosities.

By afternoon the lions were still sleeping, and the birds were still rapt with the pride; coming over every so often to check on them – they’d observe them for a bit, then waddle off (a bit like us). But when Kwandi finally stirred for a bathroom break disaster almost struck… After doing her business and making her way back to rest she spotted the birds and immediately went into a stalk. Instead of making a run for it, the birds opened their wings and stood as tall as they could – which was like a red rag to a bull; Kwandi went into a charge.

In a flash of feathers they managed to get out of the way and after expending all that energy Kwandi quickly lay back down before she fell down.

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