Rangers Diary 11 July 2014

By Samara on July 11, 2014

Snow on Samara!

Friday 11 July

Clad in blankets and panchos with hot water bottles we made our way out of the lodge. The sight that greeted us was simply breathtaking. Mt Pleasant was covered in a sprinkling of brilliant white snow; quite a sight in the usually arid Karoo. Herds of eland and kudu warmed themselves in the morning rays and paid little attention to us as we bumbled along. 

As we reached the mountain grasslands atop Mt Kondoa we spotted this striking bird.

The Cape Longclaw Macronyx capensis is an endemic resident to the grasslands of southern Africa. Nests, constructed by the females, are made amongst grass clumps at least 45cm off the ground. Eggs are laid throughout the year with peaks in spring. 1-4 eggs are laid per clutch and incubated by the female for 2 weeks. Both parents feed the chicks which leave the nest after 3 weeks. Pairs feed within a distance of 15m from each other in search of beetles, termites and grasshoppers. Grass seeds are also eaten.  Birds offer a good indication of ecosystem health and their presence or absence is used in determining this. They are a suitable candidate as birds can move between certain habitats depending on local conditions.

July marks the month of the Blue Crane Antropoides paradiseus. This majestic national bird of South Africa can be seen on the Camdeboo Plains on Samara Private Game Reserve. The Blue Crane is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN  Red Data List of Species for southern Africa. The Blue Crane is under threat from habitat loss, indiscriminate poisoning and collisions with power lines. Come and view these magnificent birds in their natural habitat here on Samara.

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