Verreaux's Eagles mob Cape Leopard
in the Cederberg Mountains
Once again birders have provided
valuable information on Leopard sightings to the Cape Leopard Trust.
Birders spotted another Cape leopard. This time it wasn't mobbed
by Pied Crows, but by a Verreaux's Eagle!
A few days after our trip
report appeared on our
blog, about two American participans on a Birding Africa tour
spotting a Cape leopard, we sent a message to CapeBirdnet asking
all birders in the Western Cape to be on the lookout for leopards
being mobbed by eagles.
Shortly afterwards, Quinton Martins of the The
Cape Leopard Trust contacted Birding Africa with this amazing
story! He received an e-mail from Charmaine and Derick Oosthuizen
saying they were watching a Verreaux's
eagles high in the Cederberg Mountains, when it dive-bombed
a male leopard (one Quinton knows as Max). Charmaine comments: 'Very
special for 2 lovers of birds and nature who only expect to see
leopards in the Kruger National Park!' Scroll down to read
the full story.
The Oosthuisen's had been staying at the Algeria
camping site, 250 km north of Cape Town, for the weekend. On
the morning of 15 May they drove in a South Easterly direction from
the camp to do some birding. The weather was cool after a week of
rain. At 11h15 about 10 km from Algeria, they were approaching the
turnoff to Driehoek
Tourist Farm when they noticed a pair of Verreaux's Eagles soaring
high in the distance above the peaks. Stopping to look at these
magnificent raptors, they heard them calling and spent some time
watching them, as they were expecting an aerial display to follow.
Suddenly one of the eagles started to dive down, and the next moment
it called out loudly again. It was only then that Derick noticed
the leopard lying on the rocks in the distance and that it was being
'dive bombed' by the eagle. The eagles continued harassing the leopard,
allowing Derick to capture this unusual image of an encounter between
eagle and leopard in the Cederberg mountains.
Driehoek is one of several
farms in the Cederberg district that has Anatolian shepherd dogs
working with their sheep and goats to protect them from leopard,
an initiative sponsored by the Cape Leopard Trust after livestock
were taken by these opportunistic hunters. The years of working
together with farmers in this area are now paying off.
To find out more about how you can
help Cape Leopard :
visit the Cape Leopard Trust website: http://www.capeleopard.org.za,
sign up for the newsletter, ‘adopt
a spot’, or help sponsor a camera trap
– as Birding Africa did.
P.S.: The mountains known as Cederberg are also known as Cedarberg
(with an "a"), called after the endangered Clanwilliam
Cedar (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis), a tree endemic to
the area. We have adopted the most commonly used spelling, Cederberg,
which is also used on South African maps.
About Birding Africa
Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company
customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders.
We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and
other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's
most diverse birding destinations. Our guides'
knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength
and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations
with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent.
We've even written two acclaimed guide
books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds.
Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated
to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and
unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours
in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small
birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation
Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and
consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the
BBC Natural History Unit.