Day 6–WOW! A GIRAFFE KILL AT NDUTU

Our second day at Ndutu we have another magnificent African sunrise. 

7_ndutu_sunrise

We heard lion roars around camp all night long.  Some seemed just beyond the lighted area outside our huts!  As we begin our daybreak drive, we see why.  A large pride on males, females and cubs has taken down a young giraffe. 

7_lion_kill

For an animal this size, our guides say a male leaps on its back and is able to bring its neck down.  Then the pride takes over.

7_lion_pride_at_dawn

We watch the animal interactions at the kill site and get some group portraits. 

7_giraffe_kill

It’s a big prde.  We count 3 males, four females and five or six cubs.  And the males definitely are in charge.

7_male_lion

The cubs are allowed to feed last and they are a grubby mess.

7_cub_and_giraffe

Moving on, we finally find a bat-eared fox posing out in the open.

8_fox

And an “African cocktail,” a name we use when mixed species gather together.  Here an elephant herd wanders through Grant’s gazelle and a Coke’s Hartebeast.

7_cocktail

If I was painting a geometric, I couldn’t come up with anything better than a zebra.

8_zebra

On the savanna we find a warthog family at breakfast.

Warthog_family

Several hyena are stalking leftovers at the Cape Buffalo kill.  They must wait until the lions cler the area.

7_hyena

The ubiquitous—and beautiful—superb starling lights on an acacia bush.  How’d they get so lucky to get the pretty one while ours is such a drab black?

8_superb_starling

A Tawny Eagle leaves a tree and flies overhead as we head back to the lodge.

8_tawney_eagle

In another clearing we stop to watch a herd of elephants strip bark from trees to eat.  Elephants can do a good bit of damage as they move across an area decimating trees.

8_elephant_pulling_bark

In another tree we find a wild bees’ nest. 

9_wild_bee_hive

We aren’t walking in the area, but tribesmen on foot sometimes come upon a honey-guide bird.  This bird will sing to lead walkers to a hive.  As a reward, the tribesmen leave the bird a honeycomb.  Tribesmen get a sweet treat and the bird gets a reward he couldn’t obtain without help.  This developed from man watching the long-standing practice of the bird leading the honey badger to bee nests.  The bird cannot access the honey by itseld and the badger has trouble finding nests.  The bird can eat its fill once the badger is done.  A great example of a modern-day symbiotic relationship called mutualism.

We pass by a group of banded mongoose looking over the plains at dusk as we end our last full day at Ndutu.  

9_mongoose

Ndutu has certainly lived up to its reputation.  I can’t get any better than this.

 

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