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 Post subject: Jay spends time in Kruger.... Jul 2007
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:09 pm 
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Hmmmm..... as you all know Jay has gone up to their place at Sabie Sands for a holiday... and 'pops' into Kruger :mrgreen:

Sms this evening:
Quote:
Just watched crocs hunt quela @ Mopani


...you a bit far from home???

Quote:
Tonight in Mopani, tomorrow in Letaba - just for fun. Amazing drive up here!

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Last edited by DinkyBird on Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:03 pm 
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Oh and Jay sent me a lovely mms of Pioneer Dam.....

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:19 pm 
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About 10mins ago:

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LIT


That's all I got.... :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

So, I asked.... hope you got nice pics?

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Yup, got nice pics!

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 Post subject: Jay in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:26 pm 
For her "LIT" means "Lying In Totality".

Please send my regards and tell her I'm rampaging through the forums while she's away!

(Just Joking)


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:40 pm 
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RP... I passed on your message.

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Tell RP not to be so jealous. I will post gorgeous pics when I get back *eg*

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 7:14 pm 
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Jay wrote:
Saw three otters at river and 4 cubs near Satara.


Wonder what kind of cubs :?

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 7:18 pm 
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DinkyBird wrote:
Jay wrote:
Saw three otters at river and 4 cubs near Satara.


Wonder what kind of cubs :?

Jay wrote:
Lion cubs...too cute!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:22 pm 
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:shock: ok ok ok :lol:

Well I figured one of the ways to get over my Kruger blues is to start the trip report.
We (as in family and friends) stayed at the bush house next to Kruger and travelled in and out each day. On the first day I took my friend (whose sweet hubby allowed her to venture on her first “solo” trip) to Lake Panic. Just inside Paul Kruger gate we spotted a gang of vultures finishing off an impala kill; the poor birds were really left with the scraps this time!

White-Backed Vultures
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Lappet-Faced Vulture
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Hooded Vulture
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Lake Panic was as per usual a treat. I took my usual Darter on log pic and watched a lazy hippo “float” in the water. A Pied Kingfisher hovered and dove for lunch and I marvelled as a family (of people that is :wink: ) with 4 little children whispered to one another, all rattling off bird’s names.

Image

I interrupt my story at this point to somewhat sheepishly admit that it had not crossed my mind that my friend was not a fellow birder…I mean EVERYONE loves birds…right? :| I discovered her total unfamiliarity with the feathered variety when she haltingly asked just exactly what bird a LBJ was the day before she returned home a week later. But I did convert her: she is now a keen amateur birder :D...oh ja I promise this report will not be only bird pics :P :lol:


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2007 4:51 pm 
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On the way back to the gate we sat and watched these cute monkeys playing and chasing one another. It is amazing how far they can fall and how rough and tumble their games are without (seemingly) anyone getting hurt! My nephew and his friend also accompanied us and it was wonderful to watch the friend’s reactions to their antics as it was his first time in a national park (other than TMNP)! I think the monkeys may have been aware of this and were showing off :wink:

Image
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The following day I took my friend to Lower Sabie. We spotted a piggie not far into the park and then a…erm…Tawny Eagle? (the pros will have to confirm this) feasting on something very bloody :|

Image Image

(I spotted a huge amount of raptors on this trip, whether it was due to the more open veld or perhaps typical for this time of year, I am not sure.) The usuals were also spotted, with impala’s numbers being quite astounding; kudu also peered shyly from the dense riverine bush and another interesting thing about this trip was the amount of usually shy bushbuck we spotted. The river road to Lower Sabie was hectically busy with tourists, as to be expected in holiday times. Fortunately we did not get stuck in any “ear jams” that day, but eish a few days later…. :shock: :shock: :shock:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:59 pm 
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and the prelude to the saga :wink:

So my friend and I are booked into Skukuza for one night as we are doing a morning bushwalk. We drive into the park later in the afternoon and check in at reception. We quickly dump our stuff in the rondavel and head out on the river road to Lower Sabie. We take a leisurely drive, stopping to say hello to all the impala, spot bush buck yet again, and plenty kudu. Then we spot a few cars parked ahead, we approach slowly and see a magnificent fish eagle in a dead tree.
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It throws its head back and out comes the sound synonymous with the African bushveld. I can’t help the sudden tightening of my heart. Some cars drive on by the beautiful bird, others stop to admire it as it perches regally above us. I can’t help noticing that many who stop poke huge lenses from their car windows. Are many photographers birders or is it the other way round.

On the way back to camp we spot the Marabou Storks roosting just outside of camp; the same place they have been roosting since I was a child.
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Back at camp I realise 10 minutes before the office closes that I forgot to ask what time the walk starts! We go flying off to the office and thankfully arrive before it closes. “5;15 am” the nice lady tells me. On the way back I spot a genet in the fading light as it slips through between the fence separating the visitors area from staff quarters.

We sleep through the alarm clock and I am woken by a frantic friend. I get dressed and walk in the pitch dark, while tripping over speed bumps and find the truck while stil fast asleep. There is some confusion among the walkers as they are a large group split into 2 walks and they want to separate my friend and I so that they can divide their group to please them selves. In my fast asleep state I take on 14 tourists and 2 guides. I win! And this before I have even sniffed my first cup of tea!


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:20 pm 
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Actually jonty1 we drove around in little circles until the sun came up :lol: At least it gave me time to wake up...a little :? When we finally came to a stand stil it was direcctly in front of a the huge gaping jaws of a hippo in a dam. Please dont ask me which dam :roll: it was in the Kruger somewhere near Skukuza...I think :| :lol: Thankfully the guide, whose name was Bishop, drove round the dam and stopped faaaar away from that scary set of teeth :shock:

We set off in the veeeeery chilly morning air at a brisk pace. it soon transpired that Bishop loved his birds and he rattled off names at an impressive rate. Peering into the bush he named Longbilled crombec, Black-Backed Puffbacks and Chinspot Batis; a bird party he calls it.

We proceed along the dung strewn path when suddenly both guides halt and motion to us to be dead quiet. They proceed cautiously whispering to one another. Then they turn to us and whisper "rhino". They motion to follow siletnly and we creep behind the guides. We stalk the rhino into ever denser bush then stop. There in the thickets we spot the outline of a rhino. but they take us no further, it is too dense. Honestly I consider this to be quite close enough :lol:

We also come across a Grey Duiker and some kudu as well as impala, all are skittish and dash away as soon as they become aware of us.

Bishop shows us how Rhino have rubbed a tree stump to a butter smooth rounded post. The earth around the tree stump is well trodden, this is obviously a favourite spot.


Last edited by Jay on Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 5:47 pm 
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Walk continued….
So we stop for snacks on top of a hill.
Image
I have realized by this time that, besides my friend, my fellow walkers expect the big 5 and aren’t too pleased with a glimpse of a rhino, bokkies and birds. I also notice the hill we are atop is quite bare of trees...odd. Bishop tells us later that it was once inhabited by people, ah that explains it! He then shows us a grind stone used by those people. I am so excited ( studying archaeology as part of my degree) but everyone else looks mildly bored while I fire away with my camera. For me it is a very special sighting!
Image

Bishop leads us back and I am most impressed when we arrive back at the vehicle. I am of course hopelessly lost by this time. Bishop tells me you can drop him anywhere in the bush, he will find his way back. Well do the same to me and I would stil be wondering round in the same circle….well until a hungry kitty finds me.

On the way back to camp I find out Bishop can call birds! Man I wish I had known this while we were walking..although in hind sight I reckon my fellow walkers may have throttled me and left my corpse for those hungry kitties :|

And now I get to my saga :wink: The rental car had to be returned to KMIA airport. So we left the park, my parents driving in the kombi we leave at our bush house, me and friend in rental car. We drop the rental car off and spend the day in Hazyview doing odds end ends, then head back through the park at Phabeni gate intending to exit at Kruger gate, carefully timed so as to have enough time to stop for sightings and get out the gate before closure.
We drive in Phabeni gate and I swear not even 2km down the road the kombi rather unspectacularly dies, no jerking, no sputtering, just dies! We try restart but no luck. We phone the emergency number on the form given at the gate. They are busy rescuing someone else and will only get to us in 1.5 hours! After gate closure! So we phone the section ranger who leaves a message at the gate…we hope!

Eventually our rescue arrives, hooks us up without a problem and off we go….stopping a few metres down the road for a group of cars, I stick my head out the window as we creep slowly past and ask what they are seeing. A leopard had walked over the road, we just missed it :( This was to happen to me another 2x before I finally spotted that elusive cat!

We are towed to the gate along the Sabie River road, I must add it was the most pleasant towing experience of my life, what an excellent tow truck driver! We spot ellies and three very bemused hyena before we get to the gate where, thankfully they let us out.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 8:17 pm 
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seeing as you asked Elsa :wink:
the bush house is thankfully only 1km from Paul Kruger gate so they towed us home. THEN the next day I called my knight in shining armour, Nicholas(2nd time he has come to my rescue), at the car rental in Skukuza, he brought me a car (yup can you believe such service?) and the guys set out to to Nelspruit to get spares for the kombi. It was quite a struggle to get the parts and get the kombi going again but luckily my dad and BIL are both old hands at working on car engines :wink:


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 8:19 pm 
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jonty1 wrote:
it must be so cool to be able to call birds


I would LOVE to able to do that, reckon you must be a real bush soul to be able to though :wink:


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:34 am 
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Bird-calling is not the sole domain of the real bush-crafty individuals as you imagine! It is an art that many birders practice successfully and it can be learnt by anyone. The easiest way would of course be to find a master at the art of bird-calling (someone that knows his clicks from his hoots and hisses :lol: ) and get him to teach you. But it is not a difficult skill to master and one can teach oneself too.

The sounds used as a tactic in finding birds in trees and undergrowth by, quite literally, coaxing them out from cover to investigate the noise is called “pishing”. It consists of a collection of sounds, mostly made by sucking or blowing through the teeth, rapidly (or slowly) saying “psshh-psshh-psshh”. Variations on these noises include tone, loudness, raspiness and length of each “syllable”. Pishing is further complimented by other sounds, not considered part of the “pishing repertoire”, like clicks and hoots. The strategy works best in dense growth like one would encounter in forests or sometimes wetlands. You have to enter into the thickets and remain dead still as you try to coax the birds closer to you.

These sounds stir a sense of curiosity among birds within earshot and they respond by approaching the source. A plausible explanation why they do this is that they suspect a predator has been located and the 'psshh - psshh' is an alarm call coming from another bird mobbing it. Mobbing behaviour is commonplace among potential prey species, but not reserved for birds of prey only as some hunting mammals and snakes can often be seen surrounded by an entourage of irate small birds intent on signaling the threat and trusting on safety in numbers as a means of protecting themselves.

The trick is to attract one bird by pishing, the first birds to arrive often announce their presence by also calling. In turn this stimulates others to join in the commotion. Views may be close and very exciting but does the trickery cause distress? The answer is no. Birds are not stupid and, while they may be drawn initially to the sound's source, they are more than capable of telling a human intruder from a predator. So they quickly melt away once they realise they have been duped. So, enjoy the spectacle while it lasts!

In starting out, don’t try out all the different sounds all at once. The best is a prolonged, unhurried and even-toned note with a drawn-out raspiness. Birds need to become interested enough to reconnoitre the incessant, repetitive calling which has to arouse their natural inquisitive instinct.

Next time you go bird watching, consider giving pishing a try. It may seem a little unorthodox, especially to people who stop and stare when you pish at the shrubbery in your neighbourhood park. If someone does ask what you are doing, just don’t say: “I'm just pishing.” :twisted:

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