|Camera trap at Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve|
When I first came across the boulders it really struck me as an atmospheric place. Naturally I wanted to see what animals visited this place.
|Common Duiker (Duiker - Sylvicapra grimmia) checking out the camera trap|
It turns out that boulders can be tricky places to camera trap.
It is hard to find a good spot that does the landscape justice. Then the next problem is that the animals can come from any direction, because there isn't really a clear path in and out of the boulders.
As a result I got rather few photographs at this location. There was however two photographs that made it worth the effort.
|Large Grey Mongoose (Grootgrysmuishond - Herpestes ichneumon) sneaking past the camera trap|
The Large Grey Mongoose visited the boulders at 10:31 am. I don't camera trap these guys often, so it is always a pleasant surprise when one shows up. It is also a valuable addition to the reserve's species list. I saw one in person a few weeks before this photograph was taken, but having a camera trap photo is much beter for record keeping.
Precisely 24 hours later, on the dot, I got another unexpected photograph.
|Spur-Winged Goose (Wildemakou - Plectropterus gambensis) mother with chicks well in line|
Those chicks look awfully young to me. They must have recently hatched, very close by. This makes me wonder about two things.
Firstly, was the mongoose in the area because it knew the chicks where busy hatching?
Secondly, what are they doing so far away from water? These boulders are almost 1.5 km away from the nearest farm dam, and even further from the larger catchment dams. I did some reading and apparently the Spur-Winged Goose is know to breed up to 1 km away from water, so 1.5 km sounds plausible.
They will have a long walk down to the water and some might not make it if that mongoose is still in the area.