Mountain Zebra had no 3G connectivity folks so sorry for no postings from there – some posthumous notes… First bird I saw as I drove into the park was a Secretarybird – always one of my favourites as it strode purposefully through the veld. The early morning action this morning had a different set of role players from Addo. The two busiest performers were the Cape Weavers and the White-browed Sparrow-weavers who seemed to wage a gang warfare with a hype of sizzling and chirping. Acacia Pied Barbet, Mountain Wheatear (the males were the grey-backed form), White-backed and Red-faced Mousebirds all had little cameos, while Neddickys, Bokmakieries and Southern Boubous were back for repeat performances. After an early morning meeting I decided there was just enough time to pop up to the plateau and do Rooiplaats drive to see if the cheetah were around. No joy there, but Large-billed and Clapper Larks were in full voice. The commonest bird was Cinnamon-breasted Bunting with small and skittish flocks flying in front of the vehicle pretty much the whole duration of the loop. But you think the little blighters would pose for a photo? Not too much else – wrong time of day I suppose – a couple of corvids (Pied Crow and White-necked Raven) and a Pale Chanting Goshawk, plus displaying Wing-snapping Cisticolas and African Pipits. A fair amount of game though, but no cheetah! Just as I was leaving the gate to return back to Addo a Ludwig’s Bustard lumbered into the air on the right and flew over the road and landed hidden once more on the left – a nice send off.
Back here at Addo I checked into a chalet this time (was in a cottage on Wednesday night). The unit might not be as posh, but the view is better as now I’m on the fenceline. A group of Elephants were there to welcome me back including one and perhaps 2 of the 3 Kruger bulls that were released here about 5 years ago. Two unexpected surprises at the chalet were Brimstone Canary – a pair foraging at the roadside verge and an Olive Bushshrike (I’ve seen them at Matyholweni Camp before but I don’t think at Main Camp) in the bush in front of my unit. Then it was down to the boma for cheese and wine, speeches and an amazing series of slide shows by Barry Wilkins and his partner whose name escapes me. Some of the hardcore participants and guides have gone on a 3 hour owl hunt/night drive into Nyathi, but with a 4 am start to be ready in time to go birding (I’ve chosen the Sundays’ Estuary). Anyway I bid you all goodnight and hope to bring exciting news tomorrow.