Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Seeing spots before my eyes............



Leopard - Panthera Pardus
The largest of the spotted cats in Africa, sleek and solitary, the leopard is a stealthy nocturnal hunter, silently stalking its prey using acute night sight and hearing.  Trees, rocks, long grass and water courses provide cover for the stalk and safe rest during the daylight.  Deceptively strong, leopard have been known to drag the carcass of a young giraffe up into a tree for storage.
 

The lions roared and the hippos snorted during the night and sleep had been fitful.  Morning game drive started out cold and breezy but soon the sun was warm and our guide got the radio call that there was young male leopard in a tree watching a large herd of impala, the usual one male with his 20 or so ladies!  We hurried through the bush for a glimpse of our first spotted cat. Talk about impressive......this magnificent cat held us spellbound for almost an hour while he just watched and made no attempt to go for a kill.


These are photos taken while we waited.........our guide ST drove around the tree to enable us to get good shots. The guide makes sure everyone in the Land Rover gets good views during a game drive, and fortunately the animals are not easily disturbed as the vehicles change locations.


When several vehicles are parked for a viewing, the first ones move off to allow space for new arrivals.  We left, went for a morning bush coffee break, returning about an hour later just in time to see the leopard make a decision to vacate the tree. 


Once on the ground he crossed in front of our vehicle, away from the herd, crouching low.........

............and was obviously not interested in taking down an impala for lunch.


Being a young male he was probably just learning about hunting procedures and was more likely to return after dark for a kill.

This handsome leopard was definitely one of the most beautiful animals I viewed while in Africa.

14 comments:

  1. Mary, what an incredible sight that must have been. What a regal animal it is. Can you imagine anyone wanting to make a coat from him?

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  2. How beautiful. Your photos are so amazing Mary! I would have been shaking from excitement so much the picture would have been a blur!

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  3. Such a beautiful creature! I would have been thrilled to observe it as well.

    xoxo
    Jane

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  4. He is soooo beautiful! I like him the best so far.

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  5. Stunning. What a magnificent creature! Your photos are wonderful, Mary.

    xo
    Claudia

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  6. Words cannot describe the beauty of this animal. He is truly amazing, gorgeous, and so delightful to see. I can't even imagine sitting there and watching him. What a treat!

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  7. What gorgeous pictures of the magnificent animal. Wow!

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  8. Hi dear! Wow! I'm speechless... all those images are amazing... it was so great seeing you and chating and getting to know more about your wonderful trip. Hope you're having a lovely evening. Love, Vanessa

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  9. Mary, I get chills viewing these amazing photos. Those eyes on that leopard are incredible. You are a pro! And such a wonderful, dear friend to share each of these with us. Love it! ~ sarah

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  10. Mary, I have been so enjoying your photos from your trip. I can't believe you came so close to those leopards and lions. What magnificent beasts. I loved your "camp" and the beds with the netting. I thought it would be much rougher. Certainly a trip of a lifetime and I can see why you want to go back - perhaps with hubby this time?

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  11. Hi Mary, you are right the leopard Is beautiful. How close were you to get these amazing photos? Your accommodations look gorgeous. Were they nice throughout your trip?

    I am so glad your trip was so wonderful.
    Love, Jeanne

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  12. No wonder I like leopard print! To be so close to that leopard, to see the power in it, fantastic!
    Take Care!
    Ulrike

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  13. Maravillosas fotos adoro este animal es majestuoso esta en peligro de extinción lo amooo abrazos y felicitaciones por tu lindo blog

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