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Duba Plains: A day for Bird Photographers and a Hunting Lioness
From Ben Cranke
As always, the first rays of morning light found us in the orange - golden mist on the Plains, photographing the beautiful predawn, with lechwe and tsessebe silently and eerily appearing out of and then and disappearing back into the mist.
Our intent this morning was to try to find Silver - Eye. Everyone has concentrated so much on the actions of the other pride for a few days, that none of us had time to track her and her pride. However, even the large pride had moved away from their buffalo kill, and although we could hear them, we did not see them this morning. Vultures galore again provided some excellent photo opportunities. Today they were able to attack the buffalo carcass without interruptions.
The buffalo herd have moved onto Paradise Island, and the lions are probably staying as close as possible to them.
We could hardly believe our luck when we again spotted the Pel's Fishing-owl. And again we were able to get really good images as he again appeared quite unfazed by our presence.
Beautiful Kingfishers had us busy for some time as they repeatedly dived, on their fishing expeditions. Then we came across a roosting pair of Giant Eagle Owls.
After lunch, we set out again and quickly found a lioness. She was alone and clearly hunting. She had not eaten when the large pride ate a few days ago and appeared determined to make up for this. We followed her for some time, getting action images of her seeking prey, stalking and running. She crossed different water channels, providing wonderful images for us! She continued hunting for quite some time, but as she had no success she eventually returned to her two large cubs.
As we were returning to Camp this evening, we again saw the roosting Giant Eagle Owls. This time they had moved out from under the sheltering canopy of the tree, and we were able to get lovely shots against the dramatic sunset.
This evening, as we sit out under the glimmering stars, the sound of lions seem to be all around ...