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 Post subject: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:29 pm 
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I'm stunned!! I'm overwhelmed with joy! :dance:

I was incredibly sad when our holiday had to be postponed for the second time this year. New date April 2010 - so long to wait! :(

All that changed with one phone call.
"Hi, what are you doing?" I could hear something was up...

"Hi, busy on the forum... posting pics" (multitasking :wink: )

"Want to share a little secret with them?" Uh - oh :roll:

"Secret??" Flippin' through mental files ... no secret I'd like to send around the world :wink:

"Do you want to tell them you're going to Kruger?"

"WHAT? You're pulling my leg... right?"

He wasn't! The guy was dead serious :shock: SC doing the ramba, mamba, samba or whatever it's called ... sorry, no pics :redface:





.... so, a formal anouncement is in order! We're off to Kruger! only 3 more sleeps :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:04 pm 
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Hello everyone :D Thanks again to all who had wished us a super time in Kruger. Unfortunately all good things come to an end :(

Thanks for posting Elsa, I really appreciate it. The connection was sooooo slow, at times nothing at all :evil:

It was a wonderful surprise to get two extra nights in B&D. The guy really knows how to work miracles - and in December, nogal!

It turned out I had to sacrifice "my Spotties" for doggies :wink:


Just a peek through the grass, making sure he has our attention :lol:
Attention he got!!! So did the rest of the pack ... but they will have to wait for there moment of fame.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:08 pm 
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Let me start at the beginning ….


When I answered the phone and “The Guy” told me that we were going to Kruger, I felt like a kid receiving an early Christmas present. Totally unexpected! I always thought that it would be impossible to get accommodation at such short notice during the busiest time of the year! And in our favourite camp! 4 nights in CB, almost too good to be true ….I prefer to call it my own little miracle :D

12 December 2009


I have read in some of the TR’s that the low water bridge to CB camp was under water. Later reports stated that it was open again, so to be on the safe side, SO checked the web for the latest news the evening before we left. No indication that it was flooded, so it was quite a disappointment when we arrived and found it closed. No surprise however to see the bridge that’s still under construction, swept away …. AGAIN! :evil:
Note to self – in future, phone the gate to check the status on the day of arrival, as conditions can change in a matter of hours.

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Nothing could dampen our holiday spirit, so after quickly rearranging the contents of cooler bags to make space for perishables bought at Komatipoort, we were on our way to Malelane Gate.

It was our first ever summer visit to KNP and we both fell in love with it all over again! We couldn’t believe it was the same route we had travelled so many times in the past. Patches of different kinds of wild flowers adorned the otherwise bleak and sometimes burnt winter landscapes we have become so used to. Although winter has an appeal of its own, we were captivated by the change that summer has brought to our beloved Park.

The S25 was in a very generous mood and we were treated to one of the best sightings we’ve ever had! :dance: Bless the flooded bridge! (For a few hours anyway) :wink: If not for that, we would not have been “forced” into taking the dirt road … and would have missed out big time!!

Not the first animals we've seen, but the first of the big ones - Rhinos

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A Three-Banded Plover
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Lilacbreasted Roller
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Red-crested Korhaan
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Juvenile Marshall Eagle
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Also seen were Giraffe, zebbies, wildebeest, water buck, buffalo and a breeding herd of ellies – and my first lesson in summer sightings. The beautiful lush, green bush can also pose a biiiig problem when it comes to taking pictures. Patience would be sorely tested in the days to come and Lady Luck would often take a detour, missing us completely :( :roll:

But on our first day in paradise she was patiently waiting at the side of the road......

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:29 pm 
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Suddenly, as we rounded a bend ….
Painted dogs everywhere!! :shock: Right next to the road!! :dance: They were very relaxed and it gave us the opportunity to really enjoy the sighting without fear that they would disappear at any moment.

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They would rush up to each other, greet with high pitched yelps, a lot of sniffing and then move on again

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:22 pm 
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We counted 21 dogs, but were told there are 26 in the pack .... :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:32 pm 
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Thanks Kamadejo, last ones coming up - :wink:

While we were entertained by one group, the others were milling about a short distance away ....

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:40 pm 
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MM - You were there the Sunday and Monday if I remember correctly? Were they still around then?


...... and last pic of the day :lol:

Sies, SC!! No laughing matter!! Not all are destined for centre stage.

Silently rolling by while everyone gawked at the doggies 8)

Image

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:22 pm 
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MM - hopefully we'll see a lot of little doggies around soon :wink:

oddesy - Thanks! Glad you are enjoying it and it's a pleasure to share with fellow Kruger crazies :lol:


end of day one .....

More cars arrived. It was getting late, time for us to move on. We reached camp just before gate closing time and were glad for the opportunity to get out of the car and stretch our legs.
It wasn’t busy at reception and formalities were quickly taken care of. With a big smile on his face, the man behind the counter handed me a card with my name on it … and a lovely message written inside :D
RosemaryH, thank you soooo much for the lovely gesture! It touched me deeply!
And a big thank you to Paul, the hospitality manager at CB :D


It was a long day, it was hot and we were eager to get everything unpacked and then relax with a glass of wine while the fire danced to the sound of the bush.

Absolute bliss! Until ..... :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:36 pm 
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OK .... back to the "serious" stuff :lol:

Absolute bliss until .....

Now please, bear with me. For most of you this may not be such a drop dead catastrophe, some devotees may even call me a heretic ... but for me bliss turned nightmare :shock:

Armed with a cake of soap, bottle of shampoo and a wash cloth, I was just about to step into the shower .... but something was terribly wrong! I froze in midstep. I wasn't alone!
The scream of all screams died on my lips! There he was :shock: Hanging upside down, downside up ... in my numb state of shock it didn't make much of a difference anyhow.

I grabbed a towel to cover myself, not because of modesty ... those ugly little beady eyes followed my every move :naughty: .... no, because I needed protection against an imminent attack from either a bloodsucking vampire or a stupid bat that did not even have the good sense to stay out of the one room I could not avoid. :evil:
If he had jumped out from behind the curtain and grabbed me by the neck, the result would have been the same ... height and distance made no difference. Pleeezzzee, I need another little miracle. Just go away, move to your bat box and STAY there :pray:

My inner voice croaked in my ear - SC! get a grip on yourself! you're a big, brave angel. Retreat s-l-o-w-l-y, slowly .... right, slam the door!!
Now what :doh: I can't sit all night and wait for the little blighter to go out hunting :evil:
Eventually, very tentatively, I braved the bat(h)room again. Stood shivering under a very hot shower (maybe steam is a deterrent) and only opened my eyes when I stepped out again.

Kept the bat(h)room door closed all night and slept with a torch under my pillow. I survived one shower .... 3 more to go :big_eyes:

ps -Sorry Batmad and club members :redface: I decline your offer to join :tongue:

The next installment will be "normal", I promise :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:07 am 
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anne-marie wrote:
:lol: :lol: nice story :D
Have you seen this one who slept on my pilow... with me :shock: at Nossob ? (in The Paradise... where English is not under controle) I take a picture and put it outside :?


:shock: I found it!! My worst nightmare!

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:02 pm 
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14 December 2009



The gates open an hour earlier than we are used to in winter, but that did not stop us from being there on time. :whistle: Temperature a very moderate 20°C

Fifteen minutes into our first morning drive, another fabulous sighting! But alas, no pic to prove that Mr Badger took his Honey for an early morning jog. The couple crossed the road rather hurriedly and no matter how hard we tried to find the spot where we thought they disappeared into the grass, there was no sign of them. I would have loved to get a pic :cry:

5:30am – two male lions right next to the road and not many cars around :dance:

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If ever you have seen a warrior, this one is it! What a brave heart he must have, what a fierce defender of his pride …. I’m sure each scar has a story to tell and as you can see, some of them not yet healed. I watched him and could not help wondering how he would fare against a young, up and coming contender. . :|

His nose must have been torn up real bad at some stage :(
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We were then treated to a magic display ... the king, scruffy looking as he is, has not relinquished his power yet. The roaring, so close, made me hold my breath!

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We spent close to an hour with them and after listening to a last, vibrant duet, we decided to move on …. It was also getting crowded as more and more cars arrived.

Lion duet
View My Video

To be continued….

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Last edited by Spotted Cat on Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:35 pm 
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Loved the lions in the video.. thank you .
I have a fruit bat in my avo tree SC Do you want him He is a pretty little fellow??

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:11 pm 
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Location: Where hippos, crocs and sharks meet ...
......... continued



We left the lions behind, but the awesome moments were locked away in our hearts and minds. What a fabulous morning! After all the excitement and special sightings we had, I thought we’ve had our fair share of spoiling for the day …. But not!! :wink:

We were in no hurry, the day was still young. We “snailed” along, just enjoying the smell and sound of the bush when a vehicle coming from the opposite direction, caught my eye. Red and yellow ribbons tied to the mirror … of course! Martie (Mgoddard) who is living her dream in Kruger, and her Silver Slug. Another great sighting! :dance: Great to have seen you again, Martie!

With the CB low water bridge flooded, no day visitors could enter the park and the roads were relatively quiet. The usual suspects, B-Z. Baboons, impalas in numbers, other general game … and zebbies. :lol:

First bird pictures of the day - Green Pigeons

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Pretty twins
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The old familiar scene at Sunset Dam reminded us of how extremely privileged we are to be living in a country where you can enjoy breakfast in the company of hippos and crocs.

We were not the only ones having a bite to eat :lol:

Diederik Cuckoo’s

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The gal

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The guy

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Be careful!

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Oops! Got it!

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Breakfast delivered ....

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Pheww! That was close!

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.... not too bad :wink:




Watching the cuckoos going through their courtship ritual, I was filled with a sudden sadness. I remembered the words of my nephew spoken a few weeks ago after returning from a trip to East Africa. “It took me a while to realize something was amiss in the area where we were working. Birds …. There were no birds” :(

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:25 pm 
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To continue *********

I found my first YR of the trip in the parking lot at LS and left a note under the windscreen wiper saying SC was there. Wonder who I missed? :hmz:

The Guy buys me a new book on every trip and my collection is growing nicely :D
“What’s that Bird?” by Kenneth Newman, is ideal for a novice like me. A starter’s guide to birds of Southern Africa, it offers the budding birder an easy entry into the often bewildering world of bird identification.
It was the first trip that SO really got into the “birding” thing and I was pleasantly surprised by his patience and good spotting skills. We could identify 98 different species :dance: of which only three were id’ed by call … the Greyheaded Bush Shrike, Puffback and Klaas’s Cuckoo.

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Fish Eagles

An ellie right next to the road, friendly and relaxed enough to photograph

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I have a healthy respect for elephants and I’m usually very nervous around them. Our Duke meeting in September 2008 was a totally different experience. He was within three meters of our car and I was totally, completely at ease. There is something different about this gentle giant. Difficult to describe, impossible to understand. It felt as if unspoken words were passed between us. In recall, the magical spell he cast upon me, the awesomeness of being in his presence, will be moments I’ll cherish for as long as I live! Another little miracle in SC’s life :dance:

We spend quite some time scrutinizing the area around the dry riverbed and rocky outcrops just before the S28 turnoff to CB, where Martie had often seen the leopard and cub that she had mentioned on her blog. She was also on her way to check up on them when we met her on the road that morning, but no luck! We slowly worked our way back to camp.

A leopard with a difference
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A pleasant surprise awaited us at Ntandanyathi hide! Lots of water! What a difference since our last visit when we had witnessed the suffering of hippos trapped in the mud. A heart wrenching experience :(

Then....
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and now ....
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The rains changed all that and it was pure joy watching them! Big round bellied submarines emerging from time to time, grunting and snorting messages that only hippos understand.
Unperturbed, a Grey Heron went about his business of finding something to snack on.

Grey Heron
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The road to camp was fairly quiet. By then most animals were seeking shelter and were resting in the shade. Birds were out in numbers, but not easy to take pics – unless they allowed me too, like this juvenile Martial Eagle.

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Black Stork
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A light lunch, and after a much needed power nap, we were out the gate at 4:00 pm. Temperature had risen to 34° C . Our idea of game viewing is with windows open, wind in your hair and the smell of bush in the air, but within seconds the aircon was going. We heard about three male lions that were seen on the S28 and hoped that the often seen cheetahs were also planning an afternoon stroll … so we eagerly set out on a cat hunt. 8)

Zebras and wildebeest were returning to wherever they had set their minds to, impala grazed next to the road and a warthog family were down on their knees, the little bacon strips too cute for words!

The only photo opportunities, two rhinos
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…. And an elephant with promising tusks – maybe a future gentle giant? The end of his tail is missing, can help to id him....
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All of a sudden the wind changed, whipping up dust. The temperature dropped and pewter coloured clouds were rapidly spreading across the sky. Ahead of us we could see a car driving very slowly. They were obviously following something …
By the time we reached the spot, the centre of attraction had already left the stage and we could only get glimpses of the cheetahs moving further and further behind a curtain of bush. The lucky couple had the cats all to themselves for almost half an hour, so glad for them! :clap: So sorry for myself! :cry:

Like soldiers out on patrol, we scoured the bush for any sign of our “targets” but without any success. Mission failed– no cats! They had disappeared ….. and we had to do the same if we were to be back in camp on time.

Good intentions, but thwarted by a nasty old bull ellie blocking the road! Ag nee!! I could feel the blood drain to my feet. :shock: He was full of nonsense – a cantankerous, solid mass of instant trouble. He kept shaking his head and flapped his ears … stomped his foot and purposefully moved towards us.
Enough already!!!! I am no elephant whisperer, neither is SO. We were pushed back time and time again. SO, seemingly calm, displayed his skill in exploring Kruger through the rear window. I clung to the dashboard with running commentary on our progress or lack thereof :?
It seemed like forever before the old geezer decided he had enough of the unmatched duel and moved off into the bush, stopped, flapped his ears and disappeared in the thickets.

By then it was almost dark and we were glad we weren’t too far from camp. Even so, we arrived late by 5 minutes or so. Another little miracle :D the gate was still open!
What an experience! PLEASE not to be repeated … :pray:

But my troubles were not over yet – I still had to face the Image room!

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 Post subject: Re: I Do Believe In Miracles ....
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:49 pm 
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Continuing from previous installment….
But my troubles were not over yet – I still had to face the batroom! :pray:


I did some “extensive” research and this is what I found ;

Bats are of the order Chiroptera and are often divided into two major groups, usually given the rank of suborders, Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera….. so I can, with absolute certainty, say I had a Mega big-bat bat(h)room brawl of the first order :evil:

14 December 2009 – Day 3 …. The day Lady Luck took a detour

The weather change of the previous afternoon brought rain and thunder overnight. The constant dripping of water from the thatch roof had worn out little craters in a perfect circle around the bungalow.

It was still overcast, the temp 19°C and at six in the morning, the early birds were long gone. We had slept in, not something that happen very often.

We again took the S28. Not many animals around, and it turned out to be an extremely quiet morning drive. A big herd of buffalo was scattered in smaller groups amongst the trees some distance away, but a few stragglers were reluctant to move on. Next a few zebras ….

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Even Sunset Dam seemed deserted. :? We had breakfast, then made a quick stop at LS and decided to go and see if we could find the master of the buff pie club at Nkuhlu.
Wacktazz, it was a pleasure meeting you! :D The buff pies were finger lickin’ good!
Compliments to you and your staff! We found the picnic area and toilet facilities well kept and clean – thanks!

We didn’t see much on our way back to camp –21°C and still overcast, but patches of blue were showing through the high drifting clouds.
These two ladies didn't dawdle and quickly moved deeper into the bush

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A splash of colour
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We arrived back in camp just before 3:00 pm. A warthog mom and kiddies were mowing the lawn in front of our bungalow when we got out of the car. Ideal opportunity to get a few pics, but just at that moment a group of people with young kids walked by , the children ran towards the “piggies” and suddenly her demeanor changed. She trotted in our direction, stopped and stood between us and her offspring, making sure that we kept our distance. Not nice! We were not the ones making the racket, but were clearly the target of her annoyance.

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After giving us the “evil eye”, she turned and led her offspring to safer ground . Some had to sprint to keep up :lol:


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While SO took a nap, I meandered through camp looking for birds to add to our list. I’m really clueless when it comes to trees and plants found in Kruger. Most of the trees have little “name tags” that helped a lot. I now have a “face to face” tree list! :whistle:

Mauve Chinese Hats with beautiful small pink flowers

Small-leaved Sickle Bush …. and Bushveld Natal Mahogany

Common Cluster Fig…. and Common Wild Fig

Tree Wisteria…. and Quinine Tree

Wild Mango…. and Common False-Thorn

Knobby Fig ….and Weeping Boer-boon

Mock Marula…. and Buffalo thorn

Snuff-box tree and a few more, some not tagged.

A flock of green Pigeons were busily feeding on the fruits of a Common Wild Fig tree, right at the entrance to the camping area. Black-collared Barbets were getting their fair share too. Unfortunately no pictures ….

High in a tree in front of the shop, another Diederick Cuckoo couple was busy with their courting ritual. I now truly belong to the “Stiffneck” club. Literally! 8)

A pic of the flooded bridge – this time from inside the Park

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**Next post - bird pics of the day **

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