The Raptor is what YOU make it so please do keep sending all the sightings and information through.
In line with current eco-trends and aiming for a 'greener' lifestyle this is an e-newsletter - it does not conform to traditional page sizes and is not designed to be printed.
The tens of thousands of Red-billed Queleas that descended onto the super-abundance of grass seed at the beginning of January were phenomenal. While the name Ďred-billedí is perfect for the male bird, particularly during the breeding season, the female in breeding plumage has a yellow bill and eye-ring. The noise of whirring wings as the birds fly up and move to another spot is equally impressive. Recognised as possibly the most abundant bird in the world, in one study the population in Kruger National Park was estimated to be around 33.5 million birds. Their movements seem to follow rain fronts (Roberts Birds of southern Africa) as was the case here in January. They favour Acacia woodland for breeding and few years ago there was a huge breeding colony on the S140 a short distance from Orpen Gate. One wonders where our January birds went to breed?
with thanks to Lawrence Morgan, RV283 for the photos
Woodland Kingfisher - a breeding success, Lawrence Morgan,RV283
We were thrilled to have our pair of Woodland Kingfisher return late last year for the second year to breed in a sisal nest box in our boma. The eggs have hatched and the fledglings are thriving and very vocal!
Warthog Rescue, Jenny and Chris Lombard, RV115
This young male warthog had been hanging around our home at RV115 for a couple
of days late last year; we noticed his lameness and discovered he had a plastic jar cap
ring solidly embedded around his pastern.
After an SOS call to our terrific
wildlife team and Dr Hamish Currie the duty vet, measures were taken, he was
successfully darted and the plastic ring removed, as seen on the photo it
was horribly deep and necrotic. He was treated with antibiotics, pain
killers and some local antiseptic.
After he spent some time in the recovery
room (aka our garage), he took off rather giddily. Needless to say he has
not returned to this one particular "emergency room".
Thank you so much Doc Hamish, Tinus and Dirk for helping him.
Did You Know
Did you know that a single adult Pangolin eats about 200,000 termites per day? This equals approximately 73 million termites per year. Sadly an estimated 100 000 Pangolins have been poached in Southern Africa since 2011. This means there are likely to be way more termites in the eco system than there should be, causing an imbalance in natural vegetation. Hugh & Julie Marshall, RV243
Interesting Sightings on the Estate
Spotted Bush Snake and what looks like a hapless Turner's Thick-toed Gecko. Wiltrud and Herbert Peter, RV167
Giant Land Snail - it is absolutely incredible that creatures like this can survive drought like we have recently experienced, but must have evolved resilience enough to endure. This one went walkabout on a cool and damp morning after lovely rain. Dave Berry, RV65
This scorpion - looking rather like an 80's fluorescent disco poster was found using a ultra violet torch - a very useful implement for this very purpose! Gerhard & Maryke Redecker, RV100
The Giant African Land Snails donít seem to interact with each other except for when they are going to mate. They donít produce any sounds, and they spend their time moving, eating and resting.
They can survive cold winters by hibernating inside their shell, slowing down their metabolism, so they donít need to eat or move.
Sometimes, these snails aestivate (a state of torpor or dormancy) in the summer months to avoid hot conditions. They keep moist by creating a barrier with a thin layer of mucus that their bodies create. Eds
Spotted Hyena caught on our camera trap.
Joel Roerig, RV142
A tiny young duiker hiding at our front gate. Gerhard & Maryke Redecker, RV100
Wild Sesame in the riverbed.
Sarah Solomon, RV254
Wild Dog have been spotted several times through our fence line - these photos from the RV Facebook page are from sightings on Leadwood in late November and on a kudu kill on Khaya Ndlovu in late December.
Our camera traps not only snap wildlife - here is the RV team on the refuse run in late November when it was 42C according to the inbuilt temperature gauge!
Florian Meppen, RV286
A Plated Lizard peering at our office window. Derek Solomon, RV254
Juvenile African Goshowk Derek Solomon, RV254
A large Leopard tortoise seen after the January rains. Simone Braun, RV255
Cardinal Woodpecker (male) Derek Solomon, RV254
Please send your notes and photos to the editors (Derek & Sarah Solomon) on firstname.lastname@example.org