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Lynne, bucky & boys - KNP middle & up : Dec '06

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bucky
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Lynne, bucky & boys - KNP middle & up : Dec '06

Unread postby bucky » Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:39 pm

Hi all , posting from a very hot "hingwedzi.

All i know is that this place needs rain , it still looks like august , with brown grass and shrubs .
many of the dams are dry , and the shingwedzi is not flowing .

lots of good viewing though awith leopard today , plus lions on dead hippo and crocs on another dead hippo in luvuvhu today .

almost 10 new ticks today trumpeter hornbill,lizzard buzzard,wattle eyed fly catcher , tropic bobo .

nice broadbill roler and european bee eater also .

cheers , and lets hope these clouds bring rain.

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Unread postby KNP Spokesman » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:44 am

Hi Bucky

Skukuza had a huge thunderstorm last night with a few spots of rain.

You should get good birding at this time of year at Kanniedood Dam.

Have a great time and remember to drink LOTS of liquid and use lots of sunscreen.

Kind regards
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Kruger National Park
110 Years of Conservation Success - Now isn't that worthy of a Celebration!

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bucky
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Unread postby bucky » Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:20 pm

hi all.
highlights of today where a pair of sadlebills preening in open view from the shingwedzi bridge on the far side of red rocks road .
on the way back to camp we have seen a huge tusker , possibly masakadzi ? this was absolutely awesome .

still no rain .

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Unread postby bucky » Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:55 pm

checking in from orpen .
lòng drive down today , after leaving shing at 4.30 .

moz spitting cobra , leguaan , andafter a whole night of rain in the north .
44mm at letaba .
ellie was deff mazaghadzi , although no great photos thru the mid 40 deg heat haze .

2 good ticks today with eurasian hobby and lesser blackwinged plover .

it looks like a few of the smller rivers where flowing well , so hopefully no more hippo haslles.

cheers till back in jhb on fridayy

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Unread postby bucky » Sun Dec 31, 2006 2:49 am

Lots of photos there are , as Lynne was also trying her hand at photos this trip .

Well , we had a great trip with 1 big tusker ,5 Lion sightings , crocs feeding , 2 leopards and a good start to our official bird tick list with well over 150 confirmed (Yes ,we checked the books) ticks , some of them pretty unusual .

Most of the days were in the upper 30's , with 2 insanely hot days in the upper 40's .
Luckily this seemed to kick start the rain , and we enjoyed the much needed rains and the coolness they brought, but not as much as the animals .
The elephants where all looking so happy that the rains had arrived , that even the musth bulls did not cause us any issues .

We decided to go the Polokwane , Tzaneen , Phalaborwa route for a change , and it was a very nice drive up on good and quiet roads , so if anyone is considering going in at phalaborwa , I can recomend this route .

The road from Phalaborwa down to Olifants did not produce anything in the "wow" bracket , although I think we where just glad to have made it to the park on time after both myself and Lynne having a mad rush to finish our work years , so we were just enjoying the cruise down to camp , and being in the park without any major spotting effort going down .

Please feel free to correct me on any mistake bird I.D's , especially of the raptors as I deff need a detailed and specialised raptor book .

We saw a fair bit of game along the Phalaborwa to Letaba road , especially near the water points .
This pair of tawny eagles presented us with our first decent photo opportunity .
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A big herd of around 50 ellies was on its way to drink at this dam , unfortunately we did not have time to spare to wait for them to get down to the water .
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A little further along we came across a nice herd of buffalo enjoying this very bright spot .
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There was a lot of game in both the Letaba and Olifants rivers , with us feeling a little concerned that the bush was still so dry at this time of the year .

Just a quick report to get the ball rolling , more tommorow .

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Unread postby bucky » Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:11 am

15th December .

Did not set the alarm for to early , but we still woke up in time to get out pretty early at around 5:30 .
We decided to head down to satara to catch a birthday brekkies for me :D (Can you think of anything better to do on your birthday than drive to Satara for brekfast?).

We headed out and along the river towards Balule , this stretch of road is 1 of my Kruger favourites .
The road helped us kick of our bird tick list with some great bird sightings , and I think we knocked up about 30 ticks before getting to the tar road.

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Brownhooded kingfisher.

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Whitefronted bee eater .

We had fairly decent game viewing on the way down to Satara with plenty of game , and lots of babies which is 1 of the real bonuses of hitting the park at this time of the year .

Satara was great as usual , and we picked up a lot of bird sightings in the camp , with the fig trees in the parking lot proving to be mini aviaries .

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Blackheaded oriole .
There was a good amount of plum coloured starlings , but the shade proved to dark to show up there irridescent plumage properly .

We also saw this woodpecker , but I am not sure which one it is . it seems to be a mix of all the woodpeckers in my book :lol:
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We decided to head out past Msemani dam , and then northwards up to Timbavati for the road home , but at the dam got told about some male lions on a buffalo kill towards orpen , so off we went to check it out .
By the time we got there , they were lying up in deep shade , but there appeared to be 2 big males , plus a couple of females .
We ended up stopping in at Satara for lunch after this lengthy detour .

The road back to Olifants proved to be very fruitfull with some surprising mid afternoon sightings .
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This Yellow billed kite was listening to its partner whistling from bellow the bridge somewhere , and apparently is not to bothered with vehicles , as we were able to park pretty close to him after a slow and steady approach .

Just after the bridge , we came across what was to prove a very stinky yet good draw card for Lions !
I am not sure what happened to this hippo , but the wound on its back seems to suggest a tusk wound by another Hippo .
These 2 young male lions had come across this carcass at around the same time that we got there , and they were just exploring the carcass to find a way in .
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We did not spend to long at the sighting , as we needed to get back to camp after the long drive , and had allready decided to return here for our afternoon drive as we knew the lions would not be leaving this find in a hurry .

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Unread postby bucky » Sun Jan 07, 2007 10:32 am

Part 2 , 15th dec .

As planned and after a short snooze , we headed back out for a short afternoon drive to the lions .

By the time we got back there , the 2 young males like any decent muskateering Lions had called there moms and sisters to the feast .
Of course this back fired on them , as they were no longer welcome on the kill :lol:
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This left them to go sit on the other side of the road pulling faces .
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This was of course watched by the obligatory flock of vultures waiting there turn .
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I was amazed at how few people actually noticed these 2 males , and only were looking at the females .
Luckily nobody decided to hang out there windows .
Somebody even drove off from the kill , and the 1 lion had to literally jump out the way of him or he would have gone over him .
These poor muskateers day had really turned sour on them :lol:

On a side note , to the person in the grey merc , if you are reading this .
Thanks for making a total idiot of yourself , by first pushing and moaning at everyone to let you have the prime spot (Even though there was a steady movement of cars to and away from the kill as the smell could not be stomached for to long) , and when you leave after 2 minutes , you have to hoot like a maniac because for some reason you felt that you deserved to go ahead of everyone who got there before you.
You definitely won our "gimp of the trip" award .

After that , back to the camp for a couple of cold ones on our balcony with a magnificent view over the river .
what a great day we had to toast .

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Unread postby bucky » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:03 am

No I wasnt at st Andrews , and thanks for the compliment.

I am not sure of an easier way to add the copyright , but I added the text onto the photo , and then to get the © symbol , you press and hold alt , while you use your number pad to type in 0169 .

Any idea on the woodpecker ?
I suspect cardinal .

MM , would you argue with your mom if she was looking like this :lol:
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A Lionesses "bad hair day"

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Unread postby pardus » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:13 pm

Sorry Jose! :redface:

Bucky - :redface: please look for Sable's trip report on Kruger - you will get the link there - it was the December photo of the month.

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Unread postby bucky » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:31 pm

I found her report , certainly looks possible , although that was a month earlier .
I wonder if it roamed about for that long :?:

Might explain the smell , that hippo died of a bad case of septasemia from that wound on the back by the look of things , although I still don't think that the male lions could have caused such a puncture wound .

Maybe it got injured in a fight , then the lions got hold of it at ngotso , then it roamed back to the olifants river and eventually died .
A saga indeed .

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Unread postby Jose » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:37 pm

Agree bucky, this is clearly a different hippo.
Don't you just love them tuskers? 8)
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Unread postby bucky » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:51 pm

Whatever the case , it sure will be interesting to try figure out what happened .

I doubt it could have laid in the summer heat for a month before something discovered a free meal .

The thing I found odd , was that there was always a hyena den pretty close to the spot the hippo died in , yet at the kill we found no hyenas .
I was really looking forward to a good ol fight between them and the lions at some stage .

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Unread postby bucky » Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:59 pm

16th Dec .

We planned on getting out the gate as it opened , and down to the Lions to try catch some photos in the early morning light.

There were now more lions at the kill , numbering around 10 , but no big boys around which we had hoped to find.
The first shot was taken on arrival , Just on sunrise and we still needed the flash to get a decent pic.
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And then the lights were switched on .
I wouldn't suggest you click on the pictures to enlarge them if you are eating :twisted:.
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The young males seemed to squeeze in a spot , being allowed to chew on some of the tougher bits .
The lionesses were only just tolerating them as can be seen by all the growling .
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We also got a new tick as far as yellow ribbon sightings go with Carmine cheetah (Im sure thats the nick) and fam .
Sorry we rushed off without a proper goodbye , but my poor SO could no longer stomach the smell and thought she was going to loose it :lol: .
We were really hoping to see you on the bridge for a proper chat , but you guys have obviously got stronger stomaches than us (Not that looking at the kill closely through a big lens helps things)

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Unread postby bucky » Tue Jan 09, 2007 8:33 pm

Part 2 .

We had a great break from the car on the Olifants bridge , just enjoying the early morning coolness , the view , the sound of the river and everything else that is Kruger .

A little help with I.D. here , I don't know if it is a juvenile martial or crowned eagle (Or something else).
Taken in the trees next to the river.
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Being able to stand outside your vehicle on the bridge , and with no obstructions sure makes life easier to snap birds flying .
Our photogenic friend , the Olifants bridge Yellow billed kite .
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After the bridge we headed back to camp via the sand road along the river and the low level bridge near balule (Did I mention I love this road :lol: ).
The bridge dod not dissapoint with some great bird sightings .

We got quite exited with this pied wagtail sighting , thinking they were rare , but on reading up we found they are common .
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Shows you how much extra you can miss out on if you don't worry about actively learning the birds and checking up on the little ones .
We had great fun building up and doing our first official tick list .

We thought this grey heron was going to get chomped by a croc in the pool he was fishing in , but the heron spotted , then hissed at the croc and he backed off :lol:
I suppose they could be a bit feathery and boney to eat .

None the less , the bird treated us to catching his own fish in the pond .
Talk about getting eye to eye with your prey .
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Next time , please stand clear of the reeds :D .

This croc had seen better days , I wonder if this is yet another sign of an impending drought , or simply natural causes .
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After such good viewing along the oasis called the Olifants, we really wished we had another night here , but none the less ,after a nice brekkies on the balcony we headed up to shingwedzi .

We saw various game on the way North , with 2 lionesses at a waterhole north of mopani , and loads of buffalo and ellies .

We just went for a short afternoon drive in our costumes after cooling off/warming up (Im not sure which) in the pool at shing .
This proved fruitfull with some more low level bridge bird sightings along the back gate road .
I really liked the way this openbill had the sun behind him , as it makes for easy viewing of his beak shape .
It was nice to see him eating these surprisingly large freshwater muscles.
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Unread postby bucky » Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:12 pm

And as promised , some snaps from the SO .

If she keeps on getting shots like this , she is probably going to claim my photo kitt :shock: .
Luckily she says the 30d and 400mm are to heavy :lol:

The lion pics really show some of the rivalry between the young males and lionesses .

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Lynne was happily snapping the heron with its first catch , without telling me that there was some action on her side of the car lol .
It took some getting used to with both of us taking photos this time .
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