Tubu Tree Camp – May 2013
Weather and Landscape
March was characterised by lovely warm days with even better evening temperatures. The cooler weather of autumn has crept up on us as the month neared its end, with crisp cool mornings. A fe w drops of rain have fallen during the month, but not even enough to wet the soil. For the last few days of the month, we were blessed with beautiful thunder clouds and even better lightning, but still no relief from the dust.
Where to start? Well, the leopards have been keeping us thoroughly entertained with all their escapades.
Tubu Female and her two youngsters have been ‘patrolling’ around Tubu Tree Camp and Little Tubu – it seems that they are quite happy with what has been happening, as they have been here almost daily, and of course not disappointing us in their performance. They have been seen crossing the floodplains during the day, stalking red lechwe in the setting sun and walking through the camp in the late afternoon or in the early mornings. One evening we saw the young male walking on the edge of the camp, marking his territory as he went; he also decided that marking the door of the manager’s tent was also part of his duties.
Upon returning to camp, the guides mentioned that they had this great sighting of all three leopards, so Eloise decided, with another manager, Steve and training manager Henco, to see what was happening at the sighting.
When we got there we had a glimpse of a leopard, as he/she disappeared into the undergrowth, but there was no leopard feeding on the carcass. There was a very large hyaena enjoying the meal. We sat there with only parking lights on and a torc h, and while watching the hyaena ripping the carcass to shreds, we saw something move behind the hyaena.
Less than one metre behind the hyaena was a leopard, inching closer, barely moving a blade of grass. She moved so close to the hyaena, that every time the hyaena stepped back to pull on a piece of meat, the leopard had to lean back to make sure that the hyaena didn’t know it was there.
This month we have also been blessed with many great elephant sightings within the camp, as the marula trees in camp are all in fruit, attracting the big pachyderms to c ome and enjoy their favourite food, while the guests are sitting on the decks of their rooms or on the main area deck – even when we are having our meals, they will join for theirs.
One afternoon, with only one vehicle out on drive, the guests came back smiling from ear to ear. Upon asking them what they saw, they had a naughty grin and replied, “Two male lions.” Enough said – we haven’t seen lions on the island since December last year and all of a sudden right under our noses and a mere 30-minute drive from camp, two male lions had killed a blue wildebeest. They had fed on the carcass and not much was left. The next day we went looking but couldn’t find them, only their tracks.
Over the following two weeks we would find their tracks and even had a couple brief sightings. Hopefully the two young animals will settle into the area.
General game sightings have also been incredible, as we have enjoyed large numbers of lechwe and giraffe around the concession.
Birds and Birding
We were lucky enough this month to have a wonderful sighting of a pied avocet at Kalahari Pans, brief as it was, it was lovely to see nonetheless.
This month, we participated in a Botswana bird count (along with many other camps and lodges in the country) and managed to tick quite a fe w great species off, including large flocks of wattled starlings, European swallows, and broad -billed rollers in addition to the resident species.
Big flocks of wattled cranes have moved into the floodplain area in front of camp, which is a highlight for any birder that visits us.
Staff in Camp