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Category: Moremi Crossing

Moremi Crossing Camp, February 2024

We enjoyed observing two different packs of African wild dogs this month. One pack had 22 members, while the other had 13. 

The pack of 22 was spotted chasing impalas around the now-dry waterhole. One impala escaped by running into the camp, but the show continued as a lion attempted to hunt the impala instead! However, the lion was just as unsuccessful in its attempt.

We observed some interesting pack behaviour, such as one female dog regurgitating its meal and rolling over the vomit, with another dog mimicking the action. This behaviour suggested the presence of a dominant or alpha pair within the pack.

We also spotted five magnificent leopards: two females, a curious cub at six-and-half months old, and two impressive adult males. 

Lion Limp Saga: Following the Trails of Rivalry

One evening, a lion’s contact call echoed near the Moremi Crossing Camp in the dead quiet of midnight when everyone had retired after dinner. The next day, our off-road game drive became a quest for the lions, and we successfully spotted a pride of 14 lions resting on the western side of the airstrip. Later, two resident male lions responded to the roars of the nearby nomad lions, and we followed them at a respectful distance. We noticed that one of the males bore a limp, which was a testament to a recent clash with rival males.

Lion Moremi Crossing Camp

The nature walks have been a highlight for guests. In-depth explanations of termite mounds and tracking interpretations always proved fascinating. 

We saw approximately 21 spotted hyenas across various locations, and a resident cheetah provided another spotted highlight. 

Throughout the year, Moremi Crossing sustains a remarkable wildlife diversity, and February was no exception. Buffaloes, zebras, tsessebes, warthogs, wildebeests, impalas, baboons, greater kudus, common reedbucks, and giraffes were all seen, with sightings of steenboks and bushbucks being common too.

Smaller mammals such as servals, small spotted genets, honey badgers, African wild cats, African civets, banded mongooses, large grey mongooses, and porcupines were also observed, especially on the night drives returning to camp.

Avian Adventures: From Cuckoos to Cranes

Birdlife has been exceptional, with a multitude of summer visitors and familiar residents, including Diederik cuckoos, black cuckoos, Jacobin cuckoos, rufous-checked nightjars, woodland kingfishers, red-breasted swallows, and Southern carmine bee-eaters. Large flocks of vultures, ostriches, Southern ground hornbills, and secretarybirds were also spotted. Additionally, globally threatened species such as wattled cranes and Pel’s fishing owls were frequently seen in the area.

Reptile sightings were limited as they sought shade. The region has experienced very hot weather due to changes in rainfall patterns, and the drying up of rivers has impacted vegetation and crocodiles, with some possibly dead or in hibernation. However, the Okavango Delta scenery and trees remain incredible.

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the precise location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Moremi Crossing Camp, January 2023

One pride of three lions, often seen around the camp, exhibited the unique behaviour of catching African wild dogs in Moremi Crossing camp this month. 

Further to these crazy sightings, we tracked African wild dogs hunting near the water hole. As the wild dogs were about to snatch up an impala, the antelope took refuge in the waterhole with its tenantry of grumpy hippos. The hippos confronted the impala, who chased it out as it splashed into the water. 

Locating lions on game drives at Moremi Crossing

Various prides of lions were spotted in the concession, likely due to summer’s gift of abundant food. The Moremi boys, two male lions who were previously absent, returned to the area, and unfortunately, one lion from the pride of three fell victim to a warthog attack and passed away. 

Lion game drive Moremi Crossing

Following the dry spell of the Boro River, the focus shifted from water activities to thrilling game drives. One day, as the sun began to set over the Okavango Delta, guests were treated to a remarkable sight near Moremi Crossing Camp when a mother leopard with her cub was located feasting on a freshly caught kill. 

Guests were mesmerised as they watched these majestic predators in their natural habitat and could observe the intricate details, from the leopard’s powerful jaws and razor-sharp claws to how their spotted coats blended perfectly into the surrounding environment at Gunn’s Private Concession. The mother carefully guarded her cub as they enjoyed their meal.

As the rains commenced, the elephants dispersed with the surplus of food available. Still, the great buffalo numbers remained stable, and the concession continued to be rich in kudu, zebras, common reedbuck, impala, and more. Small mammals sighted included scrub hares, springhares, ground squirrels, and various rodent species. Banded mongooses were frequently encountered foraging in the area, which bloomed with fantastical flowers and plants, including devil’s claw, grapple plants, and pink water orchids. Wattled cranes, southern ground hornbills, Southern yellow-billed hornbills and various other bird species were logged.

Crocodile Okavango Delta

Water lizards and crocodiles frequented the waterholes, but the hot January weather conditions caused these ponds to slowly dry up at the edges. This situation became challenging as these creatures were displaced by territorial hippos concentrating in the remaining water. 

Two more African wild dog sightings marked this month, capturing the excitement of our guests. The wild dogs passed by the main area in one particularly thrilling event. No denning activity was recorded.

Distinctive hyena calls echoed throughout the night at Moremi Crossing, and exceptional sightings were noted, especially with young ones. Night skies offered their usual celestial spectacle with visible galaxies, the Milky Way, the Southern Cross, and Orion’s Belt. 

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the precise location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Moremi Crossing Camp, December 2023

On our most memorable safari drive this month, we spotted one resident leopardess and her adorable four-month-old cubs near tent 17.

On another morning activity, a male and female leopard were seen near the camp, assembling a romantic pair.  

In December, guests were treated to spectacular sightings of African wild dogs. On the 7th, a game drive revealed a pack of 23 wild dogs in action, feasting on note one, not two, but three impala kills! A week later, another pack of 15 wild dogs stole the show on Sedudu Island.

Tracking lions at Moremi Crossing

One morning, we tracked down a group of four lions attempting to bring down a zebra but were unsuccessful. However, a pride of seven lions, consisting of five lionesses and two males, was spotted on Sedudu Island, and another group of ten lions was found in the east. Guests were thrilled to witness their relaxed demeanour.

During the day, the air was filled with the sounds of the broad-billed roller, the chorus of carmine bee-eaters, the woodlands kingfisher’s song, and the graceful flight of European bee-eaters. At night, guests could hear the calls of side-striped and black-backed jackals, adding to the nocturnal melody around the camp. A serval, honey badgers, a small spotted genet, and the elusive porcupine were spotted during night drives, while banded mongooses, large grey mongooses, and vigilant water monitors added to the nocturnal spectacle.

Despite daily temperature fluctuations ranging from a cool 27 degrees Celsius under mostly cloudy skies to a warmer 36 degrees Celsius, regular rain showers in the early mornings and evenings delighted guests with a pleasant coolness. These rain showers also nurtured the growth of green pastures, contributing to the well-being of the ecosystem.

We were thrilled to see large flocks of pelicans, juvenile bateleurs, pairs of saddle-billed storks, the regal tawny eagle, and the striking black-chested eagle. During nature walks, guests were fascinated to learn about termites and their intricate ecological role in sustaining the Okavango Delta environment. Nature walks also revealed other captivating sightings of insects, from the artful antlion to the loud cicadas, emperor moths and hard-working dung beetles.

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the precise location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Moremi Crossing Camp, November 2023

In the dry Boro River channel, a pair of cheetahs graced our sights this month.

Relaxed around safari vehicles, these magnificent creatures provided guests with breathtakingly close encounters, allowing for stunning photographs.

The riverbed’s dry spell opened new avenues for the lion prides of the Gunn’s Private Concession, transforming their hunting grounds and home.

A triumphant coalition of three robust male lions expanded their territory northwards, reaching the edges of Moremi Game Reserve on the northern fringes, extending far into the east. Tensions rose as the lions fiercely defended their newfound lands, leading to dramatic conflicts and territorial disputes that we witnessed during game drives.

Lions of Moremi

Veld fires swept through the golden grass, turning the landscape into a sea of flames. Two weeks post-fire, vibrant green grass emerged, attracting a multitude of grazers, including buffaloes, zebras, tsessebe, red lechwes, steenbok, and elephants. The resulting influx of herbivores has, in turn, drawn predators, offering guests an extraordinary show of wildlife.

Neo, the resident female leopard, continued her motherhood journey on the western edges of the camp. The hidden hollow of a fallen tree served as the ideal sanctuary for her young cub. As the sun set, creating a golden hue, guests were treated to the magical sight of Neo calling her cub out for an evening feast.

The African wild dogs of Moremi Crossing

The African wild dogs painted thrilling scenes throughout the month. Every three days, we saw the same pack, which was new to the area.

One remarkable evening in the Vantage area, we witnessed a pack of nine dogs tearing apart a pregnant impala. Chaos ensued when a hyena attempted to snatch the spoils, resulting in a fierce confrontation. Though the hyena managed to seize one of the dog’s pups, the dogs retaliated, leaving guests with a riveting tale to share around the firepit after dinner to the nightly serenades of spotted hyena calls. Spotlights during dinner reveal their curious visits.

The skies echoed with the calls of summer visitors, such as the distinctive calls of lesser spotted eagles, steppe buzzards and European rollers. Despite the dry channel, the remaining pools in the river continue to host swamp birdlife, featuring elegant pelicans, storks and sandpipers.

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the precise location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Moremi Crossing, October 2023

Often spotted between Tents 8 and 9, guests revelled in the rare sighting of a feathered basso.

Much like a soprano, but with a bass voice or vocal part, the Pel’s fishing owl is a large and striking bird that boasts dark brown plumage, a broad face, and calls with a low, deep hoot that’s audible from 3km away.

Pel's Fishing Owl MX - By Leslie Robert Edgar
By Leslie Robert Edgar

The Pel’s fishing owl thrives in riverine habitats characterized by slow-flowing or still water, such as lagoons, swamps, and riverbanks, making the Okavango Delta’s water channels and lagoons (as found near Moremi Crossing Camp) an optimal environment for habitation.

The predators of Moremi Crossing Camp

Two prides paraded the Gunn’s Private Concession — one flaunting five lionesses, the other a formidable six-member crew victorious in toppling buffalos. There are also dominant males, the Moremi Boys. Lions share the Okavango Delta with other predators, such as leopards, cheetahs, and African wild dogs. Interactions between these species, including competition for prey and conflicts over territory, contribute to the dynamic ecosystem of the delta. 

A resident leopard revealed her covert life with a newborn cub in the shadowy realms. Leopard cubs are typically born in a litter of one to three cubs and remain with their mother for an extended period because she is solely responsible for hunting and providing food.

The Matsebe pack of 15 African wild dogs made several appearances. The group included seven playful puppies and eight seasoned adults who had no trouble felling a red lechwe during one unforgettable afternoon drive. African wild dogs are highly social animals, living in packs led by an alpha pair. These packs can vary in size, typically ranging from 6 to 20 individuals, but larger packs have been observed (for example, 29 animals in the Kwara Private Concession). Social bonds are vital within the pack, and they exhibit cooperative behaviours such as communal care of the young and group hunting.

Mma Leitho, a hyena matriarch, nurtured four fuzzy companions in the southeast, but their den site remained a secret cocoon. Dozens of Peters’ epauletted fruit bats hung like living chandeliers from the main area, a fascinating spectacle for our enchanted visitors. 

Walking Moremi Crossing

Our safari guests, seekers of connection, found solace in nature walks on Chief’s Island. On the wide-open floodplains, elephants, zebras, lechwe, impalas, tsessebe, warthogs, giraffes, and buffalo were easy to spot from a distance. Animals gathered at the last reservoirs in this flat geography as the Boro River’s water levels receded further in response to the relentless October sun.  

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the precise location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Moremi Crossing, August 2023

At Moremi Crossing, a highlight of August guests won’t soon forget was witnessing the intense battle between a leopard and a monitor lizard.

Water levels at Moremi Crossing

The Boro River had less water than previous years during this flood season. After an initial flush of water, the river’s level gradually decreased, indicating an earlier dry period for September. Despite this, the receding waters revealed a thriving habitat for hippos and fish eagles (whose calls resonated across the riverbed) and more extensive game drive networks for tracking animals.

On a single excursion, guests often spotted highly sought-after species: sightings of lion kills and hunts, observing the stealthy movements of leopards, and witnessing the swift elegance of cheetahs. The area also boasted an impressive variety of reptiles, including crocodiles, water monitor lizards, a diverse array of snakes, water scorpions, giant bullfrogs, thick-tailed scorpions, and petite and strikingly colourful Angolan reed frogs.

Lion on game drive at Moremi Crossing
By Francesco S

The Moremi ecosystem teemed with diverse insects such as stick insects, grasshoppers, and ants, each playing a unique role in this thriving habitat, such as feeding the contented insect-eaters. Birdlife in the area was diverse and thriving.

This period marked the arrival of yellow-billed kites, carmine bee-eaters, magnificent great white pelicans, vibrant swallow-tailed bee-eaters, glossy ibises, spoonbill storks, red-billed teals, and the majestic broad-billed roller.

August also brought the stirring promise of spring to Moremi Crossing. Mornings arrived with a refreshing coolness that slowly yielded to the day’s warmth by late morning. The evenings were serene and calm, accompanied by a return to cooler temperatures, prompting the donning of jackets and huddling around the campfire.

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the precise location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Moremi Crossing Camp, April 2023

We observed a coalition of two male cheetahs resting near a termite mound in the western part of Sedudu.

Another alliance, consisting of two brothers, captivated us in the southwest direction of Sibanda’s Island. Many of our guests had their first-ever glimpse of these magnificent creatures and were truly enthralled!

From gentle morning showers to evening drizzles, the ever-changing atmosphere of April brought a refreshing coolness to the Gunn’s Private Reserve.

The lions and leopards spotted at Moremi Crossing

Lion encounters began with a thrilling sighting of two male lions forming a powerful coalition near Rra Lopang’s island.

A pride of nine lions showcased their hunting skills as they pursued an impala. We also observed three lions leisurely roaming near the camp. Another memorable moment occurred when two male lions engaged in a fierce battle with a rival coalition over a kill. It was fascinating to witness their dominance. We discovered that these territorial conquerors were the same pair encountered in previous months.

Landscapes of Moremi Crossing

We spotted six magnificent leopards. One memorable sighting involved a male leopard near a towering tree, focused on a young red lechwe. As the sun set, another leopard emerged, displaying its grace and stealth. Our resident female leopard revealed herself while a male leopard embarked on an exhilarating hunt in the east. Witnessing two male leopards enjoying an impala lamb kill was a true highlight. Another magical moment occurred near Nxaraga Crossing, where two male leopards enchanted guests.

The energetic and social African wild dogs made their mark on our safaris. A pack of eight was spotted during a morning drive and we marvelled at their synchronized movements. We witnessed their impressive hunting skills several days later as they devoured an impala kill. Another sighting occurred in the east as the pack of eight traversed the landscape toward the hippo pool.

Spotted hyenas, side-striped jackals and black-backed jackals were frequent sightings during our morning and evening drives. Hyena calls created a captivating nocturnal symphony around the camp every evening.

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the precise location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Moremi Crossing, November 2022

The Boro River (which feeds this game-rich Moremi Crossing area) was almost at its lowest before the summer rains arrived, but November showers brought new life as the Woodland kingfishers called out their song and serenaded the new baby warthogs and impalas.

With the river waning, we covered greater distances than any other time of year. The night drives and offroad options yielded great sightings of leopard, African wild cat and the elusive yet most awesome of predators: the black-footed cat!

Weighing less than two kilograms but able to jump over a metre into the air, this fantastic (yet fluffy) sighting is perhaps one of the most lethal predators we know of in the bush, with a hunting success rate that rivals the African wild dogs.

Little lions and birding splendour

The principal lion pride in the area numbered around ten, including their young and boisterous cubs. The cubs practised their tree climbing skills, which came with mixed results, including a couple of heavy falls and sibling rivalry. After several hard knocks, they returned to basics and rehearsed on fallen trees instead – much easier to climb! The two big pride males ruled this territory, and their displays of brotherly affection made them a firm guest favourite.

We saw them regularly, sunning themselves before and after the storm clouds rolled in. When we didn’t locate them during the day, their calls often punctuated the night as they patrolled their territory and occasionally joined the hunt.

Over three weeks, the bush went from dusty and dry grasses to a beautiful green with myriad trees and bushes flowering. The birdlife was excellent, and spending time at one of the many large waterholes allowed birders to tick off dozens of species. The pelicans, storks, geese, herons, stilts, and many colourful species created a string of humming coffee stop spots to admire the scenery. The plentiful hippo population was always on hand to give a photo-grabbing yawn.

Pel’s fishing owl still roosting among us

The resident Pels fishing owl has found his favourite roosting spot high in a Jackalberry tree near the central area. He regularly hunted in the channel before camp, giving lucky guests some splendid sightings every week.

The hyenas were also very active. We often found them close to the airstrip first thing in the morning as the adults brought back breakfast for the youngsters, who steadily grew bigger and stronger. They kept a wary eye as the two pride males patrolled not far from their den. For now, the lions mostly kept to the other side of the river, which kept the peace, but it won’t take much for these two eternal foes to lock horns.

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Moremi Crossing, October 2022

The water levels over the Boro River that snakes around Moremi Crossing Camp dropped drastically. However, it was a time of prime game viewing bolstered by an influx of handsome migratory birds.

A crocodile kill viewed from camp

Plenty of general game, including elephants, buffalos and giraffe, zebra, warthog, reedbuck and troops of baboons, was viewed straight from the camp. One day, during a delicious and unforgettable brunch, guests even witnessed a kill when a baboon slaking its thirst was killed by a crocodile!

Lion Moremi Crossing Camp

With the river so low and prey, such as lechwe, assembled at the shores of the main channel near camp, we enjoyed many lion sightings. Lions were spotted taking advantage of the antelope concentrations almost every two days. The waste department division was busy as a result and we watched many Marabou storks and vulture species peck at the remains, cleaning up the lion leftovers.

Pelicans likewise exploited the shallow waters hunting fish trapped in the dwindling ponds. They have flocked in their hundreds and make for an impressive sight when they take off. We’ve enjoyed seeing them soar through the skies, especially at sunset.

A female leopard was discovered near neighbouring Gunn’s Camp, harbouring her little cub in the peaceful trees while the camp remains out of operation. Cheetah sightings were rewarding too. One morning, we saw a female cheetah with two cubs; another day, we located two subadults stalking prey through the grasslands of Chief’s Island.

Pel’s fishing owl in residence

A Pels fishing owl took up residence in the trees close to the main area and we were thrilled to find it fishing one evening, splashing into the river right in front of the dining room! On another eventful evening, we located a serval cat from the main area with the help of a spotlight.

Dragonflies and damselflies were also spotted hovering above the water, albeit during the day.

Plenty of spotted hyenas, side-striped jackals and back-backed jackals were seen in the early mornings and strutting their stuff after dusk. Honey badgers, banded mongooses, large grey mongooses, and porcupines were also witnessed.

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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Moremi Crossing, September 2022

African wild dogs, serval, black-backed jackals, lions, leopards and spotted hyenas graced outings at Moremi Crossing throughout the month. It was especially fascinating to have easy access to the Spotted hyena den near the airstrip, and guests loved watching the stunts of the pups as they emerged, blinking from the den into the bright spring sunshine. 

We also had regular sightings of a leopardess with cubs. Late one afternoon, returning from sundowners, we located a leopard on the stalk. She crept into position with incredible poise. Once within a few metres, she successfully ambushed a red lechwe and pounced to nab a suffocating hold on the struggling antelope.

The lechwe slowly succumbed to the bite, but before it was complete, the leopard released the animal (by now unconscious) and encouraged her young apprentice to complete the act. This did not go well in the first few attempts, but the youngster finally earned a firm grip and finished the task set for her. This critical life skill ensures the future of this young cat, and we’re delighted that Moremi Crossing provides such an excellent schooling environment!

Crocodile Moremi Crossing

In camp, we saw banded mongooses and small-spotted genets and during mokoro rides, guides noticed reptile life bounced back with the warmth. Frogs, snakes, crocodiles and water monitor lizards were added to the roll call, and the Okavango Delta waters began to drop from their peak. 

As we slowly moved into summer, trees showed their colours, with the Combretum and Sausage trees all flowering. Although they are pollinated by several birds and insects, it is at night that the scent of the Sausage tree flower really flourishes, bringing a fragrance to the night air. (As well as pollinating bats!) 

Beautiful birdlife at Moremi Crossing

The arrival of the summer avian migrants added beauty to the bush. This month we saw African fish eagles, White-backed vultures, Saddle-billed storks, African jacanas, Blacksmith lapwings, Red-billed hornbills, Verreaux’s eagle-owl, Lilac-breasted rollers, Squacco herons and Spur-winged geese. It was especially exciting to have vultures nesting in camp. Over the past few years, many vulture species have fallen victim to poisoning and poaching throughout Southern Africa, and we are thrilled they chose Moremi Crossing to build a home. As one species that helps to “clean up” in the bush, their importance cannot be overemphasized.

Sensational stargazing

Evenings warmed slightly, and we hosted awesome star-gazing sessions on the open airstrip allowing guests to wrap themselves in the universe and learn more about the stars, their stories and the various legends. Here in Botswana, we call the Southern Cross constellation the Dithuthlwa, which means “the giraffes”. Some cultures also believe the Milky Way is a footpath for their ancestors to walk along.

Moremi Crossing Camp Boating Okavango

Speaking of the people of Botswana, we celebrated Independence Day at the end of September. We hosted a surprise sundowner for all the guests with Botswana flags and a few traditional snacks, which included waterlily tuber, or Tswii. A local delicacy in the Okavango Delta. 

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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