November 2016

The Raptor is what YOU make it so please do keep sending all the sightings and information through.
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In This Issue
Rain at last! Late October brings very welcome showers
Zebra Manicure An equine shearing
Behind the Wire Nesting Natal Spurfowl
Did You Know? Interesting Wildlife Facts
Interesting Sightings Observations from our residents
Photo Gallery Great results from our photographers

Rain at Last! Cat Earnshaw, RV236
river flow

Late October brought very welcome and much needed rain to the Estate. This southern drainage line runs in front of our house and it was a joy to see it flow for the first time (for us). The photos below are of Guineafowl Dam at the birdhide taken at the end of October taken before and after the rain. The early November rain has added nicely to the total and suddenly the estate is turning green with new grass sprouting everywhere.

dam dam

Zebra Manicure - RV Management Team
On October 19 Dr Pete Rogers and his Provet Wildlife Services team assisted in clipping a zebra's "toe nail". This zebra had an elongated hoof - presumably from an old injury; and the then current dry conditions and supplementary feeding program provided an ideal opportunity to dart the animal and clip the hoof shorter. Provet is a pleasure to work with and as always we are very thankful for their assistance.

zebra zebra
zebra zebra
zebra zebra

Nesting Natal Spurfowl - Lovelle Henderson, RV213
eggs 8 September 2016 - A delightful surprise awaited us when we arrived home from an extended trip away - a Natal Spurfowl nesting against the wall of the cottage securely securely tucked away behind an aloe that was protected by a kudu-proof chicken wire cage. That evening, as she left her nest , 5 little eggs were exposed and we thought "how clever to select a spot in the sun on the driveway pebbles which would retain the heat for her while she feeds and goes walkabout". What really astonished me was that 5 years ago when we came to visit our stand, right where we planned to build our house was a spurfowl sitting on a nest. I am not sure what happened to that nest but this nest is almost in the same spot. It made me wonder why…it is about memories or do they want to be near their ancestors?

10 September - this was a busy day with plumbing work going on but she sat stone-like throughout. Later that day, I tried to take my first photograph of her but by then she had had enough and rose vertically into the air, complaining loudly, and took flight – I did get a lovely picture of the nest and eggs. Sometime later, thankfully there she was back in her “trance” sitting on the eggs.

Tuesday 13 September - our departing evening guests were requested not to shine their headlights on our little celebrity for fear of disturbing her.

Wednesday 14 - the eggs were all broken! For two days I refused to look at the empty nest – in total denial.

Saturday 16 September - as we sat on the deck enjoying a sundowner she arrived to show us her beautiful, minuscule chicks! We were thrilled - and feel privileged to watch nature unfold.

Did You Know?
millipede Did you know millipedes are also predators?
We have all seen millipedes eating the remains of insects, other millipedes and a wide range of small critters, all of which are dead. However, in mid-November we witnessed this millipede actually wind itself around an alive and kicking rather large mole cricket. Killing it and then consuming with enthusiasm!
Hugh & Julie Marshall, RV243

Interesting Sightings on the Estate
leopard kill
It was amazing to wake up in late October and see a leopard kill in our backyard! The leopard came back that evening and moved the carcass another 5 meters into the bush; it is very exciting to know such a wonderful creature is living around our house! Cat Earnshaw, RV236.

Warthog investigating the carcass - Cat Earnshaw, RV236.

owl eggs
We are thrilled to have nesting Spotted Eagle Owls sitting on 2 eggs - finger's crossed for a successful hatching and rearing. Sarah Solomon, RV254 (with thanks to Hugh Preston for the owl photo).

lily lily
“Snake lilies” are abundant right now after the rains, although not many of them seem to be producing flowers at the moment, maybe as a result of the drought? We did see a specimen flower coming straight out of the ground with no leaves – rather unusual, we thought. (left image). The second picture shows the normal lily with leaves and a flower about to come out. We also found it interesting that the flower appears to come from the side of the plant rather than the centre. Hugh & Julie Marshall, RV243

star chestnut monitor
Star Chestnut Flower - Joan Arnestad, RV230 Curious Monitor - Cheryl Nel, RV277
pot shards
These pot shards were found by Dave Berry, RV65 with thanks to Lee Gutteridge, RV12 for the following information - "this is linked to the Doornkop Tradition - it is Early Iron Age - estimated at about 900AD".

flower flower
Hairy Puzzle-bush, Ehretia obtusifolia flowering late September near the causeway. Sarah Solomon, RV254

Mopane Pomegranate, Rhigozum zambesiacum. Ours flowered for the first time this year but all blossoms picked and consumed by monkeys in less than an hour! Sarah Solomon, RV254

buzzard porcupine
Flushed African Harrier-Hawk
Joy Fosster, RV241
Porcupines scratching around a Tambotie Spirostachys africana. Rod Topham, RV264

Mating monitors. Maryke & Gerhard Redecker, RV100

spider spider
Finding a Baboon Spider hole is always interesting. They normally seem to be on flat ground and often in very hard soil – we sometimes wonder how they manage to excavate their burrow. On a recent walk we found this one in a termite mound – a first for us. Hugh & Julie Marshall, RV243

starling mantis snake
Nesting Gloss Starling
Sarah Solomon, RV254
Praying Mantis
Maryke & Gerhard Redecker, RV100
   Marbled Tree Snake
  Joff McLean, RV163

Photo Gallery
Tree Agama - Hugh Preston, RV288

Young Nyala - Rod Topham, RV264

Common Duiker, Dave Berry, RV65

Please send your notes and photos to the editors (Derek & Sarah Solomon) on