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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:12 pm 
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Thanks again for taking the time to read my report. The comments help to turn the page....actually I have worked out what everybody is up to here. :roll: If you make comments the page gets turned and then I have to get on with the report...so actually it is just the same as "nagging" :lol:

So...
3 January ( cont)
Mata Mata to Urikaruus
.

We left Mata Mata at 11h30. It was getting hot and I needed to cool down in the Kombi :lol:
It was pretty quiet...just a couple of wildebeest lying in the shade of the trees. We had no sooner left Craig Lockhart when we saw quite a large herd of springbok up ahead. There were also three cars parked amongst the springbok that were on both sides of the road. We did not really know what everybody was watching. We stopped and we looked and we looked some more :roll: ...and then we saw it :lol:
Oh yes....a springbok was starting to give birth. Seeing that this sighting was on SO's side I jumped in the back armed with camera and video camera. We could not believe our good luck.....
I will let the photos and video clips tell the story...
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=2b1id2&s=3
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http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=2r3y0c9&s=3
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http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=e9heti&s=3
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http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=fe4h1u&s=3
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This whole process had taken 1 hour and 35 mins. In the meantime the herd had moved on...and mom seemed to be stressed by that fact. She kept on walking away from her baby in the direction of the herd but each time she came back to it. It was truly amazing to watch that little thing get up the stony ridge.
Once the two of them had disappeared over the ridge I suddenly realized how hot it was. We had been sitting in the Kombi for an hour and a half...the temperature was 42° C and it was midday...but boy oh boy....it was worth it. :clap:
We continued towards Dalkeith
( to be continued)


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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:47 pm 
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3 January 2008( cont)

We continued to Dalkeith but it was very, very quiet...no giraffes..nothing :cry: On to 14th Borehole where everybody had had such wonderful sightings...nothing ! :twisted: We were just about out of the loop when I did spot something. :clap: At last a lilac breasted roller! The one and only sighting on this trip. There were actually two in the tree and they were sqabbling with starlings. There seemed to be an argument over a certain spot of a branch. I couldn't really see what was happening but I was wondering whether there was a nest in the branch.
Of course it was pretty useless to try and get a decent pic of these LBRs

Image

Of bat eared foxes and cape foxes there was neither sight nor sound....I still think a certain forum member was having me on :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
We continued to 13th Borehole and yet again a black chested snake eagle put in an appearance. We also saw a little steenbok but it disappeared very quickly. I am not sure where these animals get their energy from in that heat. :shock:
We dawdled onto Urikaruus waterhole....I was just beginning to think that our excitement for the day was over when yet again I yelled " Stop ". The usual conversation followed...
What ?
Cheetah and Cub !
No ways ! :shock:
Oh yes!!!! :dance:

There she was ...the mom and her cub that we had seen leaving Urikaruus camp that morning. She had been busy because next to them was a springbok carcass...quite a big one at that !
What absolute sheer luck. Yes this sighting was all our own and it was pretty close to us as well. Because the sighting was on my side it was SO's turn to jump into the back. SO was using my old camera and was soon asking me for my 500mm lens :twisted: Then he wanted the flash :twisted: :twisted: Anyway I shared like all good :littleangel: s should...but he did not manage to get my new camera out of my little paws :tongue:
Mom and cub were very relaxed....I didn't think she would be going anywhere while that kill was still there. They were quite active...eating, then lying down for a while and then back to the kill to eat some more. I think she had killed the springbok not too long before we got there because there were just a few nibbles out of the hind quarter. The cub was too delightful..it is the best 'small ' cheetah cub sighting that we have seen in the park. :dance:
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=2iapmxk&s=3
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=el8u3a&s=3
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=2iapmxk&s=3

Image ( SO's photo)
Image ( SO's photo)

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Ah yes, the circle of life. First a birth and then a kill..what more can I say!


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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:02 pm 
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Soon the inevitable happened...some cars joined us. Seeing that we had this sighting to ourselves for at least 40 mins we decided to move. Instead of going back to Urikaruus camp we went onto Kamqua picnic spot. We arrived at 17h00 having left Mata Mata at 11h30. It had taken us 5½ hrs to drive 61km...don't plan on going anywhere in a hurry in KTP. We stretched our legs and I had a good look in all the trees for owls....but yet again, none to be found.
Seeing that the cheetah and cub were only 900m north of Urikaruus waterhole we decided to go and have one more look before going back to camp. They were still there with a line of cars so we left them to it and headed for camp.
This was the only time that we got back to camp before gate closing time.
We relaxed over a drink and watched a herd of Wildies walk up to the waterhole. They did not spend much time drinking, as a matter of fact some of them did not drink at all. They seemed to have some other plan of action. They left as quickly as they arrived.
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http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=1z6zl81&s=3
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=30m066f&s=3


They might just be blue wildbeasties ( as we call them) but it was such a breathtaking sight. The sun was beginning to set on the beautiful green riverbed.......sigh. Sometimes I just wish time would stand still !!!
SO decided to light the fire ...early for a change!!
As he was pouring the charcoal out of the bag( making one hell of a noise I might add) I noticed a spotted hyena walking past. Obviously noise from the camp does not bother them. He followed the same procedure as the night before. Walked to waterhole, had a drink, sat in the water and then walked off.
Soon no 2 arrived and then no 3...they all did exactly the same thing! This was magic..the previous evening we had seen one spotty and it was quite dark by then. This was way better ...I just love Urikaruus :dance:
Image
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http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=2lxbiq8&s=3
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=wsr0k0&s=3
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=2ikwg9l&s=3
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=dz796q&s=3

We enjoyed our braai....by now we had learnt how to handle the moths. They seemed to have a penchant for my sherry though. :twisted: Everytime I looked there was another one floating in my glass :roll: I often wondered why there are cups and saucers in the chalets....to me a mug is just fine !!! Well thank goodness for saucers...it enabled me to enjoy a moth free sherry! :dance:

We sat up in the hopes of seeing the leopard ....but that was not to be....we could not complain though. We had had the most incredible day........


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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:13 pm 
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I can just imagine the 'thrill' of having a Hyena stroll past to the water, fantastic. Does the infrared filters work for the moths and are there many Bats that feed on the moths?

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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:20 pm 
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Nyala wrote:
I can just imagine the 'thrill' of having a Hyena stroll past to the water, fantastic. Does the infrared filters work for the moths and are there many Bats that feed on the moths?


Yes Nyala...using the infrared filter on the spotlight does not attract as many moths.....as for the bats....not sure about that one. But if they do feed on moths then either they were on diet or on a hunger strike....because there were still far too many moths around!
It was a huge thrill...that hyena practically walked under our chalet! :shock:


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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:22 pm 
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Wow Michele :dance: :dance:
I'm sitting here wishing " if only that was us there witnessing all those amazing sightings", but then, it's so hot here today, I don't know how I would have coped with that heat :shock:
Those spotted hyaena were very clever :lol: :lol:
Thanks for all the time and effort in doing this amazing report :clap: :clap:
Do you think there would have been more than one collared Cheetah in the Urikaruus to Dalkeith area?
In Sept last year we watched this one for quite some time, seen between Dalkeith and 14th.

Image

Not the best of pics because it was as fair distance away and taken with about 300 zoom. Also notice the difference, dry, dry, dry compared to the lush green in Dec.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:33 pm 
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Dreamer wrote:
Wow Michele :dance: :dance:
I'm sitting here wishing " if only that was us there witnessing all those amazing sightings", but then, it's so hot here today, I don't know how I would have coped with that heat :shock:
Those spotted hyaena were very clever :lol: :lol:
Thanks for all the time and effort in doing this amazing report :clap: :clap:
Do you think there would have been more than one collared Cheetah in the Urikaruus to Dalkeith area?
In Sept last year we watched this one for quite some time, seen between Dalkeith and 14th.

Image

Not the best of pics because it was as fair distance away and taken with about 300 zoom. Also notice the difference, dry, dry, dry compared to the lush green in Dec.


Not sure Dreamer, but I have tried to compare the inner leg of your cheetah to mine and I am still undecided. Your cheetah has a large stomach...pregnant or recently eaten ??? Your guess is as good as mine. :lol:
Yip that heat was almost unbearable sometimes....nevermind you will be there soon and then it will be the cold you will be moaning about. :dance: Heat/Cold...yet we still go there!!!!


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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:09 pm 
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Oh my goodness I see the page has turned..you peeps drive a hard bargain !!!

On with the report while we have electricity...

3 January 2008

It was time to leave Urikaruus :cry: and move onto Kalahari Tented Camp. Seeing that we could only check in at 12h00 we decided to drive south first and then backtrack to KTC. We first wanted to check to see if the cheetah and cub from the previous day were still there. We fully expected to find both them and the kill gone but luck was still on our side :clap: ....they were still sitting under the exact same tree. We could now see the ribs of the kill, but not those of the cheetah. :shock: Her stomach was huge and baby's belly was not much better. They looked rather uncomfortable. The kill had attracted 5 jackals but they were keeping their distance. We spent half an hour or so watching the antics. Baby cheetah was such a copycat... followed and mimicked mom all the time....too cute for words !

http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=2mqvmeg&s=3
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=jj1w5d&s=3


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By now another car had joined us so we turned around and headed south towards Kamqua.
Just before we got to Kamqua we saw the following...this to me was just as good as any leopard, lion or cheetah sighting. it is not the best of video clips but it may give you some idea of this awesome sighting.

http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=344cg8h&s=3

Beautiful pronking sprinbok. This is always so special to watch...especially in the early morning. Eventually this huge herd of playful springbok disappeared into the dust so once again we moved on....


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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:44 pm 
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Thanks Dotty, Jose and anne -marie...yes pronking springbok are sometimes quite difficult to get on camera. ...that is why I was so thrilled with this sighting! :lol:

Ahah...we still have electricity..best I try a bit more.

As it was still quite early we did not need to stop for breakfast so we drove past Kamqua picnic spot and onto Rooibrak. We first noticed a martial eagle in the tree and then my eye caught sight of a bird taking off from the waterhole. He landed not too far away so we drove a little further so that I could get a better view of it. Out with bins and to my delight it was a black stork....a first in the park for us!!! :dance: The stork was not in the mood for standing still so we had to reverse and then drive forward a few times. I was desperate to get a photo of this stork ! As SO was looking in his review mirror he saw something walking in the road....towards us.
"What ?" I said
"Leopard !!! " he said. I spun around but I could not see the leopard anywhere. SO was getting quite exasperated with me …eventually the leopard walked out of the road and then I saw him. He was walking towards the waterhole. We were gobsmacked!!! Another leopard.The leopard crouched down at the waterhole and started to drink.
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Just then we noticed a car coming towards us. SO flashed his headlights and beckoned to them to come closer. They did not budge and we thought this was strange. :hmz: We beckoned again but still nothing so we continued to watch the leopard. We just presumed that the driver was happy with his view of the leopard and that he maybe did not want to come closer in case he disturbed the leopard. A good few minutes passed and eventually the car pulled up next to us. SO wound down his window so that he could chat to the driver.
The conversation went something like this:
The man (very excitedly)"Isn't that a beautiful Martial Eagle in the tree. It is the first time we have seen one." :dance:
SO ( astounded) "Yes, but what about the leopard ?"
The man ( shocked ) " Leopard? What Leopard ????
SO ( even more astounded ) " The leopard drinking at the waterhole !!! "
The man's face was an absolute picture. In all the excitement of seeing the Martial Eagle they had not noticed the leopard. :roll:
Thanks to the stork we saw the leopard :dance: but the exact opposite happened to them...thanks to the Eagle they almost missed the leopard. :roll: The joys of Birding!!!!!
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=iz87ld&s=3

With that the leopard stood up and walked towards the kombi, crossed the road in front of us and disappeared over the rise.

http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=2rpzdz7&s=3
I managed to get a photo of the stork in the end...not a very good one at all... :cry:
Image
All in all we saw a martial eagle, black stork, kori bustard and a leopard at Rooibrak...all in the matter of 10 mins!!! :dance:
Yet again the unexpected had happened. :wink:


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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:18 pm 
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Peter Betts wrote:
Michele wonderful pics and report....Interesting to see that the Cheetah only has 1 small cub left...they give birth to 3-4 so as per true Kalagadi style she is down to 1...in her case its probably predation by competitors like Lion, Leopard and Spotted Hyena...wheras kalahari Lion cubs loose over 85% of their numbers before adulthood from starvation. I see its one of Gus's study cheetah. Love the leopard pics but you are like me in exciting events like this where I do stupid things at the beginning until I calm down...in your case the tail at the drinking is cut off but doesnt deter from a great sighting

Oh to be able to drive up and down those roads with a camera again when i think how hard it is to get stuff in this Addo bush :shock: The Kalagadi is like take aways in comparison ..always was and always will be the best photographers locality..Love your report


Thanks Peter
Actually ....you are spot on with the cheetah cubs. I later learnt that this cheetah mom had 3 cubs but the lions killed two of them :cry: I do hope the remaining one lives to maturity....
Oh look.... I found a leopard's tail.... :lol: :wink:
Image

Don't get bored with Addo Peter... I have yet to see a caracal...anywhere!!!! And you have stunning photos of a caracal :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:53 pm 
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:shock: message just in from Michele.... :shock: :shock: :roll: Eish-kom is load shedding in her area, so very very sorry, but no hope for more on the trip report tonight!! :roll:


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:26 pm 
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GavinW wrote:
Hi Michele, just a quick question. In order to get so lucky in the KTP, how fast do you drive? We usually go between 20-30km/hr. Is that too fast in your opinion?



That is probably the speed we travel as well Gavin...maybe we are at an advantage though because the kombi is quite high and it also has huge big windows....but you know Gavinw...I think it is all to do with being in the right place at the right time !!!!! One little hint though..look behind you as well. Our leopard and cheetah/cub I spotted while looking back ...if I had kept my eyes up front I would not have spotted them! :lol:


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:14 pm 
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Thanks again everybody for your comments....I must admit this electricity story is really getting on my nerves :evil: but we all know it is no good moaning about it so before it goes again..let me try to get on with the report. :lol:


4 January 2008 ( cont)

We turned around and headed back to Kamqua picnic spot...nothing like leopard spotting to give one an appetite.:lol: We met up with our neighbour from Urikaruus...he had moved onto KTC....he was so fed up that we had seen another leopard. :roll: He had really great camera equipment and I can imagine the stunning photos he would have taken of that leopard. He just glared at me when I said that...here I thought I was paying the man a compliment !! Actually he was just joking and we spent a pleasant hour chatting to him. SO was getting all the advice in the world about these fancy sturdy tripod goodies that go over your window.....dream on, Michele.... they are one heck of a price !!!! :roll:
We left Kamqua at 9h15 after upsetting quite a few people with our leopard sighting :clap:
There were quite a few birds around kori bustards, ostriches and tawny eagles.
The cheetah and cub were still lying under the tree but the jackals had obviously given up on getting a taste of the kill and had disappeared. There were quite a few cars in attendance so we continued on our way.......we stopped and watched a PCG hunting .....
Image
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...he never did catch anything.
Some gemsbok next. To our amazement we had seen very few gemsbok on this trip ...so I tried a few photos.
Image
I think gemsbok are really beautiful antelope. :clap:
Next was an agama perched on top of a bush but by the time I managed to get the camera out he was starting to move away. :twisted:
Image
As I was putting my camera down I noticed some movement underneath the same bush....and there was this little fellow posing for me..he was a lot more obliging. :dance:
Image
I am not quite sure what kind of a lizard it is ...any ideas anybody?? We continued through 14th Borehole and I prefer not to mention 14th Borehole :twisted: ...yes you guessed...nothing, absolutely nothing to be seen. :twisted:
We continued through the Dalkeith loop and apart from a couple of big raptors in the distance there was not much happening there either.
Just as we were approaching Craig Lockhart we saw a group of about 20 springbok. This was where we had witnessed the springbok birth and we were wondering if the baby and mom were with this group. Sure enough we noticed one tiny baby but oh my goodness me there was some strange behaviour on the go!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:
http://tinypic.com/player.php?v=2nsz71i&s=3
This behaviour went on for quite a while......poor baby was getting no peace whatsoever and mom didn't seem to be able to do anything!
We arrived at KTC just on 12h00.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:24 pm 
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C. O'Dee wrote:
:lol: a blue headed red chested lizzard maybe? :lol:


Oh the "inventiveness " of my dear friend C O' Dee...it is almost as good as her spelling !!!! :wink:


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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 9:42 pm 
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Pikasso wrote:
Michelle,the cheetah with her transmitter and her cub is the one we spend a few hours with last week (not in our trip report yet, as we want to keep some suspence :roll: ...!!!).

Did you notice some skin problem with the cub back then?


Congrats on your pics :clap: ...


Thanks Pikasso....actually no I didn't notice a skin problem. What did you notice or should I wait for your trip report !!!!


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