Archive for July, 2010

Our final morning was spent in the Hluhluwe section, in a heavily forested area normally inaccessible except to staff. This survey produced many new species not found in the drier and more open sections surveyed already.

Common Bush Brown Bicyclus safitza.

Common Mother-of pearl Salamis parhassus.

Large Flat Celaenorrhinus mokeezi.

Blue-spotted Emperor Charaxes cithaeron.

Natal Acrea Acrea natalica.

Surprisingly we saw few reptiles on the trip. We did spot this specimen in the middle of a gravel road:

Giant Legless Skink Acontias plumbeus.

While the trip concentrated on butterflies, I did manage to see at least 15 new bird species, including this Crowned Hornbill Tockus alboterminatus:

There were some interesting invertebrates as well:

Unidentified Giant Pill Millipede. Sphaerotheriidae family.

Giant African Land Snail Achatina sp.

In total we saw 125 species of butterfly, and the true park total is probably closer to 200.


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6 months later I’m finishing off my account of a survey trip to the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve. Days 3 & 4 saw continuing emphasis on the Umfolozi section of the park.
Hluhluwe Umfolozi also has plenty of larger animals and on an early morning drive to our survey site we spotted a pack of African Wild Dog Lycaon pictus. There are probably less than 5,000 of these left in the world and I had never seen one before, so it was a very special sighting.

One early morning stop near Mpila Camp found this African Ringlet: Ypithima asterope

Mpila Camp also produced this cute mother Warthog Phacochoerus africanus and her twin hoglets:

We saw only one Lion Panthera leo on the trip, this lioness resting in a tree:

We climbed the 370m Mantiyane Hill and found a number of species not found elsewhere. Here the armed ranger Joseph who accompanied us each day, with trip leader Steve Woodhall, survey territory from the top of Mantiyane:

Spotted Joker Byblia ilithyia.

Mating Cupreous Blues Eichochrysops messapus.

Grass Jewel Blue Chilades trochylus

Pale Ranger Kedestes callicles

We found over 30 species of butterfly on this hill. We also found this bizarre looking Owl Fly:

On the very summit we had an unexpected sighting: the threatened Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus. These vultures are massive, with a body length of 95-115 cm (37-45 in), a wingspan of 2.5-3 m (8-10 ft), and can weigh up to 9.4 kg (20.7 lb). Unfortunately this juvenile specimen was injured and unable to fly and would have died soon after, being unable to find food.

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