My March moments

Sabi Sand | March 2016

Our best summer rains this season really fell in March. As always after receiving good rain the vegetation started to come alive again. Insects, reptiles and amphibians start to emerge in large numbers commonly around the seasonal pans. Usually after the rain we see evidence of the foam nest frog due to the white foam hanging on the branches overhanging the water. We had passed a few of them and talked about them before, but this particular nest of the foam nest frog (Chiromantis xerampelina) was hanging from the base of a large
communal red-billed buffalo weavers’ nest. While we talking about the advantages of this nest, and looking at it with binoculars, a big lizard called a Nile monitor appeared from it and moved toward the nest of the foam nest frog and stayed there for while. We were wondering and debating what was going to happen, and then the lizard’s tongue “nibbled” at the frog nest several times and then stopped. My guest asked why this lizard had stopped eating. I knew from experience that the foam of the nest does not have much flavour. After a few minutes the Nile monitor moved back to the buffalo weaver nest and disappeared within it. This was my first time to see a Nile monitor tasting this foam.

We have had few cheetah sightings, and they are always treasured. Here one of these graceful felines lounges in the long grass.

The Kashane male leopard poses perfectly on top of a termite mound. Well known for his lengthy trails along his vast territorial boundary, we were fortunate to find this male resting briefly during midday in the shade, overlooking his claimed land.

It is not unusual to watch leopards moving during the midday period, particularly after the rain and during cool conditions that prevail throughout the day.

With bountiful insects emerging from the soft soil, this becomes a feast for many, including this very well camouflaged tree agama. This one was fortunately viewed in an open area of soil feeding on termites, before turning back to being invisible, blending itself into the tree bark.

With the recent spate of rain, during the evenings frogs have been actively calling and thus this is a fair sign of good available food for a number of reptiles that move within the areas of the small pans of water. During an early morning game drive, Kenneth stepped down from the tracker seat to have a closer view of lion tracks in the sand. Surprised to hear a hissing sound, which at first we thought was from a predator nearby, we found out that we were almost standing on a small puffadder lying in the grass! As a sluggish and slow -moving snake these reptiles hiss loudly in defence. This was an exciting find on a cool overcast morning and as it slowly moved off we all clambered out of the Land Rover to have a closer look at this impressive reptilian predator.