Addo Elephant National Park: Wonders of Rain Hot

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Recently, wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick had the privilege to spend 10 days in the Addo Elephant National Park. During this time it rained virtually continuously and this brought an unexpected hive of activity of seldom seen species and animal behavior that provided excellent photographic opportunities. Flying ant emergences provided the most spectacular viewing with many species making the most of this seldom occurring event to feed on the nutritious ants.

The Addo Elephant National Park is one of the most diverse National Parks within South Africa and covers seven biomes that range from the Zuurberg Mountains through to the Algoa Bay Dune Fields and to Bird Island. It is possible to view African Elephant, Lion, Humpbacked Whales and Dolphins all in one day. This park has some of the most relaxed populations of African Elephant.  

Rain falls across Addo Elephant NAtional Park by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick    
1. Rain falls across the spekboom and grassland plains of Addo Elephant National Park  

Large land snail by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

2. A large and well marked giant land snail emerges to search for food after heavy rain

Karoo Bush Rat by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

3. Karoo Bush Rat families made the most of the cool wet weather to gather food larders that would be eaten in safety later.

Scrub hare by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

4. Normally crepuscular and nocturnal, scrub hares fed throughout the day, making the most of the overcast and wet weather.

brown locust by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

5. Brown Locusts were common throughout the park and adults were snapped up as food by numerous bird species

Brunsvigia by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

6. The colours of the Brunsvigia (Giant Candelabra) became particularly vibrant after rain had fallen on the pink petals.

Speckled Mousebird by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

7. A Speckled Mousebird clambers to the top of a spekboom to sun its belly during a break in the rain.

Black-Headed heron with shrew by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

8. A Black-Headed Heron holds a large shrew that would normally be nocturnal in its long bill. The shrew was repeatedly beaten on the ground before being swallowed head first by the heron.

Flying ants in spiders web by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

9. Flying ant alates that became trapped in a spiders web, hang in wait for the spider to feed on them. With the rain, thousands of flying ants emerged from the ground with many of them quickly becoming food for a large range of predators.

Red-Necked Spurfowl by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

10. A male Red-Necked Spurfowl attracted to emerging flying ants quickly gorged himself near the entrance to the ants nest. 

yellow mongoose by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

11. A Yellow Mongoose also made the most of the emerging flying ants and scampered across the veld after them before standing up again to watch where the next nutritious morsels landed. 

Bushveld rain frog by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

12. Bushveld Rain Frogs timed their emergence from underground to coincide exactly with the emerging flying ants which were quickly fed upon.

Southern Boubou with praying mantis by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

13. A Praying Mantis that was attracted to feed on flying ants became prey itself to a Southern Boubou

Lanner Falcon by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

14. Lanner Falcons braved the heavy rain to launch from perches and catch flying ants which were then nimbly transferred from their talons to the mouth whilst on the wing.

Black Backed Jackal by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

15. Black-backed Jackal pairs hunted together throughout the day when rain fell, feeding on large beetles, small rodents and even flying ants. 

Burchells Coucal by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

16. A Burchells Coucal emerges to sun itself at the top of a bush during a lull in the rain and when the sun broke through the clouds

African Elephants playing in the rain by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

17. Even these two African Elephant bulls made the most of the cooler and wet weather and spent long periods playfully jostling with one another

Flightless dung beetle by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

18. Flightless Dung Beetles quickly gathered dung from the elephant dung piles and rolled them off to be buried in the moist soil and where there single egg would be laid.

Lion lifting his head to the rain by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

19. A lion stretches upwards and grimaces as the rain falls on his face

Black Rhino by wildlife and conservation photographer peter chadwick

20. With the cooler weather a Black Rhino walks in the open and finds where the lion pride was lying. Instead of backing away from the lions, the rhino actively chased the lions until they entered thick bush 

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Hello Peter ,such thrilling creature moments with nourishing of rain! I would LOVE to chance see Breviceps sp. Did you go in the peak-rain season of March month or April?
Joys
Cam
Commented by Cam Forest August 10, 2017

Miss

Hello Peter ,such thrilling creature moments with nourishing of rain! I would LOVE to chance see Breviceps sp. Did you go in the peak-rain season of March month or April?
Joys
Cam

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Thanks for the great read, im an ex-game ranger from the Eastern Cape region and visit Addo often. Stunning images, especially enjoyed the Jackal portrait and the amazing Black Rhino image, had a lovely sighting of one myself recently... Keep well and happy snapping ;)
Commented by Jonathan May 21, 2012

Great Read

Thanks for the great read, im an ex-game ranger from the Eastern Cape region and visit Addo often. Stunning images, especially enjoyed the Jackal portrait and the amazing Black Rhino image, had a lovely sighting of one myself recently... Keep well and happy snapping ;)

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These images are absolutely awesome! Aspiring to take photos even half as good as these! Thank you so much for sharing!!
Commented by Tersia marais May 20, 2012

Stunning photos!

These images are absolutely awesome! Aspiring to take photos even half as good as these! Thank you so much for sharing!!

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Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: http://www.peterchadwick.co.zaEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
About
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.