16th May – Friday
We awoke to a beautiful sunrise this morning, and were out the gate first thing again determined to find the Cheetah and cubs. We spent 2 hours plus driving up and down between Cubitjie Quap and Kwang, which is where they were regularly seen, with no luck.
It did give us chance to witness many of the smaller creatures and different small birds which tend to swarm in flocks to CQ waterhole. We sat on the roadside and watched Brants Whistling Rats and Gecko’s.
Brant’s Whistling Rat
This reminds me of Bucky’s avatar !
Brant’s Whistling Rat
As we were slowly driving South we met a Bateleur on the road with a fresh Gecko kill. We stopped to take pics as it hopped around, swinging the unfortunate gecko from it’s beak. Once it had finished it’s prey it lumbered towards us and slowly took off as only this big bulk of a bird can, flying straight towards us as if it were going to actually torpedo into us ! Great photo opportunities, it was too close to fit in the lens !
Bateleur with Gecko kill
We saw more Eagles in flight, Secretary birds dancing around at Kwang, other Bateleur, a Vulture skipping along before taking off.
drinking Secretary Bird
Whilst parked up at Kwang watching the lazy goings on around the waterhole we watched a pair of Lanner Falcons, occasionally attempting to catch the doves that noisily flocked down every so often.
Lanner Falcon in flight
Bucky was determined to capture a Lanner killing a dove in mid-flight ! right ….
I saw a Jackal approaching in the distance head-on towards the waterhole and locked onto him with my lens. I don’t think Bucky is quite so fanatical about taking Jackal pics as me LOL. As I watched the Jackal through my viewfinder, he suddenly made a speedy dash towards us, I started to release the shutter on rapid bursts. I was now quite excited at his approach, kicking up dust and at full stretch . I yelled to Bucky to not miss it, “Look, Look!” Bucky replied, “Got it, Got it” and we were both firing away , hmmmm
Then the Jackal suddenly veered around in a rapid arc and shot off to the side. I forgot to stop firing enough for my camera to realise I was locking onto a sideways moving target and not an oncoming Grrrrrr.
It all happened so fast, and then I saw the Jackal was actually chasing the Lanner , which was flying close to the ground. This was even more exciting as I got Lanner and Jackal both in the frame – I was trying to contain my excitement. Even more so when I realised the Lanner had caught a dove ! The Lanner had to release the dove or get caught by the Jackal and the Jackal managed a swipe at the birds before they both escaped. The Jackal actually had a feather in his mouth when the chase ended.
This all happened in a few seconds.
I was still reluctant to take my focus off the Jackal as Bucky was by now yelling at me to look at what he had taken and I said NO, wait ! His insistence eventually paid off and to my disgust (LOL) he had the Lanner in flight with the dove in it’s talons, in focus !
Neither of us realised we were both focusing on a different subject until it was all over. As for me, because of the sudden change in direction of the Jackal I did not get one in-focus shot Grrrrrrr. Well done though Bucky ! I really hope you wake up and post that shot on here, and please include the “joint effort” LOL
We again looked for the Cheetah on our way back to camp with still no success. She was not sighted by anyone today. We saw a very large herd of Red Hartebeest.
book ends (Red Hartebeest)
Back at the camp hide we watched a couple of White-backed Vultures and an Abdim’s Stork
We got nice Abdim’s Stork in the tree near to the hide – a first sighting for us both.
We had a quieter evening today and enjoyed a natter and drinks over the braai with our neighbours, billyf – nice to meet you both billy! We had an early night, was much warmer tonight.
SueJ - Sand Rover !KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpasteKalahari Tapas 2010
Kagalagadi Wheat Fields TR 2008