The morning drive was packed as usual with new birds, old mammals and glorious equatorial sunshine. First up were two Ground Hornbills fighting over a Lizard, followed by breakfast overlooking a hippo-filled river with weaver nests dangling over the edge. Very pleasant indeed, but incredibly frustrating to capture with a heavy camera and no tripod.
After breakfast we caught up with Mrembo and ‘Manky-Eye’ getting stuck in to an impala kill with an audience of a few White-Backed vultures up in the trees. Within ten minutes or so, the vulture numbers had swelled to over 30 with more landing every time you turned to look. Soon the nearby tree branches were full and the vultures began to occupy ground space, getting closer and closer to the cheetahs. A Hyena eventually turned up chasing the Cheetahs away and running in to steal the carcass only to come out with a vulture instead! – she spat it out and waded back in through the carpet of ugly feasting birds for a second attempt. A brown hairy mass, carry a blood soaked lump and a flurry of feathers was all I saw as the Hyena dashed into the trees with her swag, but I will never forget the smell. As soon as those vultures had punctured the intestines the smell was everywhere. Truly rancid.
The vultures stripped the carcass in minutes and took to the air in a mass swirling column that moved as one across the plains. It was time to head back for lunch.