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 Post subject: Johann's Sightings : KNP 8 to 10 Oct 2005
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 7:53 am 
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At last, my report on my latest trip to KNP 8 – 10 Oct 05. It’s very long so I’ve split it into 3 sections, day by day. I like too much detail, will have to learn not to share everything with you guys :lol:
Sat 8 Oct
Left very early from home on Saturday morning. Reached Croc Bridge just after 7. Crossing the bridge just before entering the gate we see Impies, Waterbuck and Grey Heron in the riverbed. Three Kudu feeding on the riverbank. Check in at the gate and while getting my camera ready checking out the birdlike in camp. Marico Sunbird, new tick on my list.
Take the H4-2 to Lower Sabie. Starts of well, Impies, Ellie, White-backed Vulture, Long-tailed Shrike, Grey Hornbill, Giraffe, Burchell’s and Glossy Starling, Marabou Stork, Red-billed Hornbill and Brown Snake Eagle before Gezantfombi Dam. As I drive across the bridge an immature Fish Eagle comes out of the water with something unidentifiable in its claws and sits in a tree up ahead. On the other side of the road there are some Brown-headed Parrots, another new tick (Missed it last time being in the toilet :lol: ) Lots more birds on the way further on, 2 Pearlspotted Owls, Gabar Goshawk and some Brown-hooded Kingfisher worth mentioning. Melba Finch is a new tick. At more or less the same place I saw the mating lions three weeks ago there is major traffic jam. This time it is 3 lionesses having a snooze about 20m away from the road :lol: Other sightings include Giraffe, Impies, Kudu, Ellies and some Vervets.
Have breakfast while sitting at Sunset Dam watching all the activity. Warthogs, Impies, the usual big Crocs, loads of Hippos. Yellow-billed and Marabou Stork, Hadeda, Egyptian Geese, Grey Heron, Lesser masked Weaver, Helmet Guineafowl, Pied Wagtail, Three-banded Plover, Blacksmith Lapwing, Burchell’s Starling, Chinspot Batis and Common Greenshank (I think, still have to confirm).
Hit the H10 toTshokwane. On the bridge I stop to shoot some Wire-tailed Swallow feeding their young ones. Also present some hippos, African Darter, Jacana, Pied Kingfisher and one Baboon. A very friendly guy tells me to reverse 10m with him and he’ll show us something exciting. There he is, a huge male Lion. Never even saw him, never even looked his way :redface: Rest of the way the usual Kudu, Giraffe, Impies, Steenbok and Waterbuck. Huge herds of Wildebeest and Zebra on more than one occasion. One of them, 100+ Wildebeest and 250+ Zebra. Fantastic. Saddle-billed Stork pair in Hillside wh area. 3 White Rhino at Muntshe wh. Other sightings: Ostrich, Baboon and Klipspringer. At Nkumbe lookout 2 new ticks: Southern Boubou and Scarlet-chested Sunbird. Further on and what I believe to be a juvenile Gymnogene/African Harrier-Hawk (will post pic for confirmation) and bit later Yellow-billed Kite. Turn on toH1-3, stop for quick look at Impies when I see just a tail disappearing into the grass at the bridge over the Munywini. Move quickly forward and there she stands in the shade. Female leopard. She looks at us for a second or two and then she suddenly realise what she’s looking at and off she goes, disappearing into the bush, not to be seen again. Seems like WTM’s theory about leopards could be true, this was at 13h44. Quick pitstop at Tshokwane.
Back onto the H1-3 to Satara. 2km from Tshokwane some 15 Buffalo and that’s the Big Five done (Ja, I know it should be Black Rhino). Rest of the way all the usual sightings. Visited the Southern most Baobab again, still haven’t seen GP’s leopard in the trees there. Booked in at Satara.
Quick afternoon drive down the S100 just before 17h00, ignoring WTM’s No-entry sign. Usual antelope and Ellies on the road. At 10km, our turn-around point, we some cars ahead. Reaching them we see the male lion having a sleep under a little bush about 50m in. Get back to camp and have great sleep. Would have liked to walk around in camp looking for some nightlife but forgot flashlight at home :(

To be continued

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 Post subject: Re: Johann's trip 8-10 Oct 2005
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 8:36 am 
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Johann wrote:
Seems like WTM’s theory about leopards could be true, this was at 13h44.

Aaahhh good ole leopard time. Approx 14:00, saw my last leaoprd again at around 14:15 near Pkop.
Johann wrote:
Quick afternoon drive down the S100 just before 17h00, ignoring WTM’s No-entry sign.

What? :shock: I will have to report you for this transgression.

Good bird sightings!! You have learned well. Tell me, the melba, was it the common green-winged one?

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 9:57 am 
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@WTM I suppose it's the common one. Will post a pic and you can decide. It was quite a good looking bird with its red head and red butt. Practicing really hard for our birding trip in Jan.

@Bert Sounds like a good idea! I'll show you some cats and you can give some photography tips.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:41 pm 
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Part 2

Sun 9 Oct
Leave camp when gates open. On the H1-4 to Letaba. Some Steenbok, Ellies, Kudu, Wildebeest, Giraffe, Impies, Common Duiker and pigs. Mentionable: Kori’s Bustard, Secretary Bird, Lappet-faced Vulture and herd of 300+ Buffalo. People stop us and tell us about pride of lions at Ngotso Dam. Get there but they have gone :cry: Only White-backed Vulture and one Saddle-billed Stork left. More of the same rest of the way. Between Ngotso and N’wamanzi lookout: Red-breasted Swallows and 20-30 Banded Mongoose. At the Olifants bridge, lots of birdlife but little water. Yellow-billed Kite swooping over us about 5m above our heads. You can feel the air from his wings and can see every little detail on him. That’s till I take my camera out and he flies away to about a 100m and stay there till we’re back in the car. Really camera shy :D N’wamanzi lookout: lots of birdlife again. Worthwhile sightings rest of the way to Letaba: 2 Klipspringers and off course a YR, Dinkybird. Didn’t see her though, very naughty hanging the YR over the rear-view mirror like that. They had to turn around and chase me. Very nice to meet a fellow YR though :lol:
Letaba camp: Redheaded Weaver, Kurrichane Thrush and Pale-winged Starlings. Have breakfast while watching two Ellies in the river. Amazed at the amount of Bushbuck in the camp. Counted in the region of 30 of them when walking around in camp. No wonder the leopard thought it easy prey.
Take the S46 and S93 to Olifants. Very quiet road, only a few Impies, 3 Kudu, 1 Giraffe, Ellie and Steenbok each. Lookout at camp again shows how dry this area is. Very sad.
Take the S92 and S90 back to Satara. Much better road, sightings wise. Impies, zebra, wildebeest, ellies, kudu, steenbok, Kori’s, buffalo, giraffe and ostriches. Black-winged Stilt and White-fronted Bee-eater at Balule bridge. He didn’t like my camera much, he flew right at me and hit the lens with his beak. Maybe he was after the YR. Big herd of elephants at Gudzani wh. Remember seeing them last year as well, herd was 97 members strong then. Not that many here this time though.
Quick stop at camp and then down the S100 for a bit. Much the same sightings as Saturday except for the lion. A real Bert-like day, no cats today :cry:

To be continued

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:11 pm 
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Mon 10 Oct
Going home today, driving to Skukuza and leaving at Kruger gate. Take the H7 towards Orpen from Satara. Some antelope on the way. I’m driving in front having left camp first and everybody is behaving properly, we’re all keeping to about 40km/h. One idiot though decides to overtake everybody else (3 cars) at once. Just as he passes me we round a bend and there they are :!: Two huge male lions walking in the road. The guy barely looks at them and races off (Lions distracted me from getting his registration nr). This is about 8km from camp just before Nsemani Dam. They move of into the veldt but are on their way to the dam. I remember the gravel road to Timbavati ahead, they will have to cross that if they stay on course for the dam. Get to the gravel road and there’s another big one crossing the road. 3 in total. Beautiful! The other 2 are coming straight to us and I get to shoot a few pics. Spend a few more minutes watching them drinking at the dam but they are quite far away. Time to continue. Another exciting catch, Pearl-spotted Owl.
Onto the S36 towards Muzandzeni and then Nhlanguleni. Looking for them Sable again. Usual Impies, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, kudu and couple of Ellies. Ground Hornbill, Kori’s Bustard, another Pearly, Secretarybird, Brown-headed Parrots and Black-crowned Tchagra also seen.
Breakfast at Nhlanguleni while some Impies and warthogs are joined by a giraffe for early morning drink.
More of the same the rest of the way until about 1km before Manzimhlope wh when I notice a Sable cow in the bush to the right. Count 4 of them. Just when I want to reverse to find a better angle this magnificent bull comes walking over the road. Even better that the lions in the road :!: At the waterhole itself there is a Martial eagle that seems to be stuck in the mud. Nothing we can do about that though :(
Back onto tar road, the H1-2 to Skukuza. Quick look at the Elephant wh. Big traffic jam! 2 male lions having a snooze in the shade and what seems to be a week old hippo carcass. Usual impies, giraffe, waterbuck and ellies rest of the way.
Lake Panic not as busy as three weeks ago. Seems like the terrapin, black crake and hippo haven’t moved though. Still doing exactly what they were doing then and in the same place. 7 Bushbuck feeding around the hide. The usual lot of birds. The Grey Heron on the nest we saw three weeks ago is still there. Can see it is busy feeding the chicks and you can hear them (it) but unfortunately can’t see the little ones. Find a heron hidden away in the tree to the left of the hide having a good old snooze. Will post pic for some help on ID.
Leave Kruger gate at 14h00 and as a last goodbye we see 4 Ellies in the water as we cross the bridge driving out. Home safe and sound but sad and happy at the same time. Sad for having to leave and happy for being able to visit at all.

The End (till January of course) :wink:

Will post some pics later in the week I hope. Off to play some golf tomorrow. Back on the net on Wednesday.

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Last edited by Johann on Wed Oct 19, 2005 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:49 am 
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Best area at the moment for animals is between Lower-Sabie and Tshokwane. Sure Fevertree will agree with me on this. That's of course till the rain comes, after that they will probably scatter in all directions.

The S36 is the best place to look for Sable. On the last four times I've taken this road I've seen them three times. My grandfather did the same road three times in September and found Sable on 5 different occasions. Definitely the place to look for them. Especially in the Lugmag and Jones Dam areas. Also seen at the Shimangwaneni Dam further north towards Muzandzeni.

Working on the pics, will get there soon.

@Bert You must have done something terrible to some cat because they're all running away scared when they hear you're on your way :twisted: Sure you will have better luck next year.
And my mugshot is up at all gates already so they know to let all the animals out their hiding places when I'm there.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:04 pm 
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Finally adding some photo's.

Immature Fish Eagle at Gezantfombi Dam and really lazy and typical lion on the S100
ImageImage

Secretary bird on H1-4 to Olifants and White-fronted Bee-eater seen from Balule bridge.
ImageImage

Crested Francolin :?: and a Pearl-spotted Owl near Satara
ImageImage

Two of three brothers seen at Nsemani Dam near Satara
ImageImage

Sable :!: specially for W@H again, seen near Manzimhlope wh on the S36
ImageImage

White-breasted Cormorant and Heron at Lake Panic. Could somebody give a hand on the Heron please, don't know which it is :?:
ImageImage

Lake Panic really is a photographer's dream setting. Always lots of action and the light is always perfect.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2005 4:56 pm 
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