A stroll on the Sishen Golf Course….

KUDU… I do love this animal with its steady stance and twitching ears that give it away…

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Gotcha…. a successful track, find and stalk…

A favourite past time of mine when visiting Kathu, is the tracking, finding and stalking of the kudu that live near the golf course. They are not tame but are not as skittish as others I’ve tracked…

It is still a huge thrill to firstly find the fresh spoor (tracks) and then to quietly follow the tracks of the animals… and when you find them – spot them first and then stalk them to get as close as possible before they take flight… and here is the photo evidence of my morning entertainment…

First the spotting before the stalking… I see them but they not me…

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They know I’m out there, they hear me, but can’t see my statue like posture… camera to eye naturally…

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Then it’s time to move off… away from the danger they sense…

And then on the way home to find a scene like this…

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Kudu Portraits….

If there is one antelope I love to see it is the Kudu. They are so gracious in their movement, their poise and composure. Their grace in flight with the loping canter and almost casual stance when watching your movement, all goes to making them a favourite of mine…

Here’s a few more photos I took recently… the male strolled across the road and the female stood posing with little to no concern of our proximity….

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and now our lady poser…

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Mission Impossible… Should you accept…..

Your mission, should you accept, is to proceed to the Sishen Golf Course before sun-up, ignore your normal avian friends, then to search and photograph the Kudu.

If you are successful, chocolate will be the reward, should you fail…… a kick in the arse should be administered, as you have lost your touch…

and the result…. proof it is before sun rise…

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and the sun rises…..

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Following fresh tracks I manage to find them…. light is not good, but the mission is successful… covered in grass seeds and ticks from sneaking in long grass to get captures….

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They are actually so well camouflaged… this one didn’t even know I was there….

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and then I found the bull and had to do a bit of creeping around before he saw me to get these captures…

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He knows I’m there somewhere, but as yet has not seen me… then he does and the result a pleasant goodbye…

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and then around the next bush I find one of his offspring… the youngster….

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Now this was a good mission that gave me some confidence that I’ve not lost it as yet…. now for the chocolate….

Kudu and their camouflage..

I came across these photos I took a while back to illustrate the camouflage of the Kudu. These where fairly close but yet can so easily disappear within the bush they are eating from…

Look how he blends in with the tarmac… and car for that matter… (now that got you calling me an idiot..)

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And here he is in the bush.. (he was really close…)

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And this Mother and Youngster kept disappearing in the bush they were feeding on..

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If it wasn’t for their ears you’d have trouble seeing them…

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Below there is the Mother in the back ground… can you see her.??

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Kudu..

Greater kudu, Tragelaphus strepsiceros

Following on yesterdays post (one that was done for a quick post) I hope to enlighten you a bit more, with photos I’ve taken over time…

The Kudu bull is a solitary animal and only usually joins a herd for breeding.. their fights for the right to breed are normally just a show of size and hair raising, but if they do, it is a clash of horns. This clash has been the demise of some as when those twisted horns interlock there is not always a way out. At Skukuza camp in the Kruger National Park there is a bronze life size depiction of such an encounter.

Kruger National Park - March 2009Statue of kudu bulls with horns interlocked, Skukuza

These magnificent antelope can so easily blend into their surrounds, which is acacia bush or densely forested areas.. they are not often seen in the open savannahs of Africa, this is to avoid the predators.. but as they are browsers, eat leaves, they will be found in the shrubbery of their choice… How’s this for camouflage..????

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There are two females eating in there…..

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The males are much bigger than the females.. and more vocal..using low grunts, clucks, humming, and gasping.

Males weigh 190–270 kg (420–600 lb.), with a maximum of 315 kg (690 lb.), and stand up to 160 cm (63 in) tall at the shoulder. Females weigh 120–210 kg (260–460 lb.) and stand as little as 100 cm (39 in) tall at the shoulder; they are hornless, without a beard or nose markings (don’t have to shave).

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The following two photos I took very quickly.. older males that don’t stand around to see what the Bulldog is going to do next.. so these were LUCKY captures and are not quite as sharp as I would have liked.. but that is the result of us surprising each other…

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The above photo I had actually stopped to light a cigarette when I spotted him before he spotted me.. he was walking towards me and I squatted down and sat still, there is no zoom here and he almost walked right into me before he turned and ran.. the camera probably frightened him when the shutter sounded.. I must admit I nearly dirtied my pants with joy of this capture.. never been so close to one so big in the wild before, without it having been shot as a trophy.

And for the final photo… one I just love.. don’t ask me why.. I just do… it might just have something to do with the horns.. this is an old bull, one that has survived the twists and dangers of life in the Kruger National Park.. a magnificent pair of horns …their large horns with two and a half twists, which, if they were to be straightened, would reach an average length of 120 cm (47 in), with the record being 187.64 cm (73.87 in).

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Kudu Cows Drinking…

These cows were drinking at a dam… I was on foot and was actually surprised to see them… the one heard me.. I stood dead still and quietly took the photos…

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She has heard me or heard something, but cannot see me… the other two have no idea and unless the one gives a warning they will carry on regardless..

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She has not seen me and has decided there is no imminent danger so she continues to drink and I continue to take photos…

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And for you that don’t know what their bull looks like here’s a taste of things to come…

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