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 Post subject: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:02 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Well the long anticipated return to KTP has come and gone, leaving behind a head full off memories a heart with more love for the place and hard drive crammed with images. Having booked and paid few months ago, it was a bit of a dilemma when my son was invited to go on a rugby tour at the same time we were due to visit KTP. I extend an invite to a formite, who was unfortunately not able to join me. So decision made....I was going solo. But what would it be like not to have company in the vehicle for 9 day? Would I still enjoy it? Time would tell.
So with all preparations done, I started packing the last bits soon after the alarm went on Tuesday 29 March. It seems I was too much in a hurry as I forgot to pack my pillow and 3 water bottles from the fridge. Small matters...main thing is I was on my way. Then I hit the fog and the roadworks. The fog was so thick from outside Somerset West, that it eventually took me 2 hours to do 136km. The first stop and go was between Stellenbosch and Malmesbury. Here I waited at the red light, and waited. I could hear a walkie talkie squacking somewhere from with a small cabin next to the road. I eventually got out and found all 3 attendants fast asleep in the cabin. After a huge fuss and threats I was let on my way through the fog on a raod with no white lines. Wow, how hard is that! It eventally cleared and as I rose litterally above the clouds going up the Van Rhyns pass I was into a beautiful sunny day. First stop as usual was Calvinia for a fuel stop and then onwards. I had time to make up as I wanted to get into the park for a drive that afternoon. Next stop Upington for more diesel and a few bottles of water which I would refill over the next few days from the 20 liters of water I took along. The stretch off road that really gets me and tales forever is the last 60km from Molopo lodge to the reception at TR. Well 11 hours after setting off I was in reception with my paper work and shortly therafter at the pumps for a fill up with diesel and to deflate the tyres.
I popped in for a quick chat with KG in his office. Nice to see you again Jannie. Then straight off to the park. I will come and unpack later after the gates close. Can't waste time faffing around in the camp. KG said to go to Samevloeing as there were 5 lions resting nearby under a tree. That said, I was off and promptly found the lions.

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Ok, so they weren't going anywhere and I headed to Leeudril for a recce. The road was very quiet with only some Springbok and a few Gemsbok hanging around under the trees. Sat at a Leeudril a while and then headed back down to Samevloeing. On the way a Secretary bird caught my eye and suddenly in front of me out popped this beautiful rock monitor. A first for me.

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Also making an appearance in the riverbed was this family of Ostriches and the first of many Kori Bustards.

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On the way to Samevloeing I stopped to shoot a tree :sniper:

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Sitting at the waterhole waiting for the cats to rise, I saw this Marico Flycatcher and the Crowned Plovers.

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Another first for me in the park was this Dusky Sunbird.

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Over the next 8 days the Red-billed Quelias would provide many photo opportunities. This one just coming out of the bath :redface:

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The 5 lions did eventually wake up, but moved off in the opposite direction, not making any shots possible. While I was sat at the waterhole, there were 2 other vehicles pulled up next to each other and a woman and young boy out of the vehicles. I was really miffed, but did not want this to ruin my trip. As luck would have it one of the rangers arrived and immediately spotted the culprits. He spent the next 30 minutes or so writing both of the drivers R500 fines. Don't people realise that they are suppose to stay in their vehicles.
After that it as off to the bungalow for a well earned rest after a looooong day in the saddle.

tbc.

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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:41 pm 
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Thanks all.....looks like we have a few people following the report, so I will get right into the second episode which was a Great day. Hold on to your popcorn :D

The day started at about 04:00 when the air conditioner in my unit decided to overflow and dump the overflow water into a plastic bin placed under it but right next to my head. Got the fright of my life. The dripping continued so I just stayed up and had a few cups of coffee and some breakfast. Once the light was on a lone bat decided to swoosh around the room. I was packed and ready at TR reception to receive my permit for the drive up to KTC which was going to be my home for the next 4 nights.

Out the gate and on to Samevloeiing where I sat for a few minutes in complete silence. What a privilege to be here. I started driving towards Leeudril and stopped for this Lesser Grey Shrike.

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I didn't see much on the way to Leeudril and even there I couldn't even see the waterhole with the height of the grass being more than knee height. On the way back I spotted a Martial Eagle in a thorn bush trying to break off some dead branches I presume to use as nesting material.

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The bird was quite aggressive with the poor bush, but when it had a small branch, I was fortunate that it decided to fly right towards me.

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I was really pleased with the shots I got off as it approached and then flew off. Further on I spotted the family of Ostriches again, although I only managed a few young ones in the shot.

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Onto the dune road at a very pedestrian pace to try and spot some more feathered friends. Here another first for me, a Fawn-Colored Lark and a Ant Eating Chat.

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Here I found another family of Ostriches and a Sabota Lark.

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So into the Auob riverbed where a few cars where gathered to watch 5 lions in the distant grass on the right watching a herd of Springbok and Wildebeest on our left. This was going to be a long wait and I was really keen to move off and find more subject in the early morning light. What struck me straight a way was the length of the grass.....spotting animals was going to be a real challenge. I drove all the way to Auchterlonie without seeing much else except a herd of Wildebeest with a number of calves.

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After a quick pitstop I was off again and soon came to a halt with a pride of 5 lions lying in and around the road. The pride was made up of a mom, dad and 3 young ones. These two really caught my eyes. The one lying in the road would walk up to all trailers and try to have a little taste of the tires.

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And here's daddy.

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This brought me to about midday and much more to follow for the rest of the day. But more of that in the next episode.

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KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:37 am 
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Thank you very much for going on this on this journey with me again :D Once is never enough. When I came accross the lion family and they were lying in th epartial shade I was worried that I would be able to get some nice shots, but the results really surprised me. The butterfly lion and the Martial eagle are becoming some of my favourites of the trip. I will try and get the next episode out tonight. .....mmmmm did I say predators :wink:

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KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:36 pm 
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Well I left the cute lions behind to taste test the tires on the trailers and continued north. Short stop at Kamqua picnic spot for a pitstop and a bite to eat and then northward. It was 12:15 when I entered the Dertiende Boorgat loop and saw her approaching in the riverbed.

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I quickly turned around and for the next 2 hours followed her south. She was on a mission and the only Springbok in the riverbed knew something was up and continued south as well. At times I nearly gave up as I didn't see her in the long grass and then just as I was about to leave, I would spot her again. I was really hot and I new getting decent shots was going to be a challenge. She closed in on the prey and I positioned myself for my first cheetah kill. Super excited :dance: Everything checked and ready..shutter speed on max. At this point I didn't see her anymore and was expecting her to close in on the Springbok from the front. The next moment all hell broke loose as she launched her attack from the opposite direction and they both set of south in a race for life. She had covered the ground so quickly that it was impossible to predict her approach. At this point I was reversing furiously and lost sight of the chase close to a huge tree next to the road. Just when I thought "where was I going to find the kill in the tall grass?", the duo exploded into the road and the Springbok went down in a cloud of white Kalahari dust with the Cheetah at it's throat.

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After the kill she tried briefly to drag the prey off the road and up the verge, but she was too tired and went to lie under a tree to regain some energy. As the kill was close to a bend in the road, I asked the other vehicle to stay where they were and drove around the kill to warn any oncoming vehicles on the hazard in the road. Wouldn't want the Cheetah to be run over.
She tried twice more before eventually succeeding in dragging the Springbok up the steep verge and into the long grass next to the road.

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I waited next to the kill which was less than 2 meters from the road and virtually invisible in the long grass. She did look up and give me shot I was waiting for.

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By the time I left her, 3 very exciting and fulfilling hours had passed.

Maybe someone can help me id her.

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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


Last edited by Touareg on Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:23 pm 
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Hi Touareg,
What beautiful pics! :clap: :clap:
She will be appearing again later in my trip report but nut such great shots!

We saw her on three separate days in March and the cheetah researcher told us she has five cubs who were 6 weeks old stashed away so some lucky person is going to have a great sighting in a few weeks time......


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:35 pm 
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Thanks for taking the time to comment, it is much appreciated :D Next episode in a few hours.

@granjan...I understand that all the cubs of this mom have been killed by leopards and lions. I read this somewhere on the threads. Very sad if it is true. She is an awesome warrior and has been a very successful mom in the past.

@fotomaljohan.. The road is still closed past Leeudril and I wouldn't hold my breath on the completion date. Even saw some of the contractors being ferried to the job in AVis rented trucks. What does that say about resources and infrastructure of the contractors? Not sure, but can't be good. I think we nee some Japanese engineers and crew on site given the speed at which they are repairing the infrastructure after the tsunami.

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KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:11 pm 
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It was now around 15:00 and I have 8 fantastic hours so far…but wait there’s more :D. I only had to be in the Kalahari Tented Camp by 19:00. Another 4 hours..woohoo!! So far I was managing this solo thing quite ok and wasn’t starting to laugh at my own jokes yet or disagreeing with myself. Well not all the time anyway.
I set of northward and was really amazed at the size of the numerous Springbok and Wildebeest herds.

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I followed the rest of the loops with the intention to do them again if I came to Craig Lockhart and there wasn’t much going on. As I was driving I would keep an eye on the GPS which was programmed with KTC as the destination, just to ensure my estimated arrival time was still before 19:00. The loops were relatively uneventful and I eventually pulled up under the tree at Craig Lockhart. Here I started my attempts to get some nice images of the Shaft Tailed Whydahs which were around in numbers. They seem to be extremely territorial and kept chasing each other about thus making shooting them a real challenge.

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As I sat there I all mayhem broke loose at the waterhole as the numerous birds scattered in all directions in an attempt to evade the swooping Lanner Falcon. On the first few attempts the juvenile Falcon came quite close but I was nowhere in trying to focus on the bird as it was hunting. It is so hard and I think even the best cameras battle with the speed of the bird against a busy background. Any advice would be appreciated. The Lanner would seemingly disappear and allow the birds to return to the water hole in numbers and them out of nowhere swoop down. It came down so low and fast that a Cape Turtle Dove flew up right into its path and they both went down a few meters on the other side of the water hole. Here is the bird in question.

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Here are a few of the shots shortly after the hit the ground.

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The first bite was too the back of the neck, killing the prey immediately. All the time while it was feeding, it had its wings extended to hide the kill from other predators.

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Here is a shot from under the tree at Craig Lockhart. Notice the height of the grass. Btw my car was set to offroad and I would imagine at my eye level that it is around 1.75 meters off the ground. So in a normal sedan viewing the waterhole will be a challenge.

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I was thrilled to bits seeing my second kill of the day and this was only day 2 of 9. I stayed at the waterhole until the Lanner flew off with the last bits and then on the insistence of the lady inside my GPS, moved on towards KTC. On the way I stopped for this confused Springbok :? who wasn’t sure if he was a trying a new camouflage, a Rasta or part of the latest fashion trends. Whatever it was, wasn’t working for him as he was totally on his own in the river bed. He would have to rethink his trategy if he was going to stay alive or get any :wink:

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I also stopped briefly for these vultures.

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KTC…what can I say. Lovely setting. I don’t like the fact that the sleeping and kitchen areas are separate. I don’t like the gazillion moths and other insects that dive bomb ANY white light within milliseconds.
This shot was taken on an earlier trip and shows a fraction of the moths that get drawn to the light.

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This makes sitting outside a non event and can only be done in complete darkness. Now being on my own and sitting in a wilderness camp in complete darkness…kinda didn’t feel totally comfortable. Once inside the sleeping section, the nightlife disappears and you can enjoy the sounds of the desert. On the first night I didn’t have any neighbours and I was alone on that part of the camp (unit 14 with a clear view of the water hole) so it was 100% devoid of any human sounds. I was to be here for 4 nights and for those of you that love the camp and always struggle to find accommodation here, you will have one less person competing with you in future :)

Tbc…….

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KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:25 pm 
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I woke up to a very quiet KTC having no neighbors. As I was staying a few nights, packing for the day was very quick after a quick breakfast of cornflakes and muesli. I pack my cool box with cold drinks, fruit, biltong, sweets, chips, sausages and braai left overs from the previous evening's meal. I took along a whole box of grapes which went down a treat along the day. My fruit and veg last about 4 to 5 days and then I am on canned fruit and protein. Yes please!!. I watched the day break in the absence of the nasties of the previous evening. What a beautiful place.

OK so I was in the car permit in hand and the day had begun. Rough plan was to keep on driving between Craig Lockhart and Kamqua for the next 12 hours. No planned return planned until the mandatory return in the evening. What will the day bring?

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Coming out of the Dalkieth loop, I stopped next to this BBJ who was having a real feast on the leftovers of this kill. The grass was too long to see much.

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He was a beautiful specimen.

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Then my attention was drawn to the road to the right where I managed to get off two shots of this Badger after I exchanged cameras. I set off immediately to try and get closer, but this was not possible in the long grass.

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In the Veertiende loop I gave this little one a bit of a freight as I snuck up on it.

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I also passed this single Gemsbok in the riverbed..

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Before 3 beautiful lionesses came walking down the road towards me. A quick revers and turn around to watch them come walking by and promptly collapsing in the road for a snooze. One of the females caught a whiff of the Gemsbok and walked in the grass to get a bit of height to spot the prey. As she was sitting there, I was talking out loud, saying "please look at me so I can get the sun in your eyes, please please.." Going nuts...talking to the models already :tongue:

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The lionesses disappeared into the long grass towards some trees for the day long nap and I headed off towards Dertiende boorgat to keep the birdies company. Great start to the day having the Badger and lions ticked off.

tbc

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KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:23 am 
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The long grass was a bit of a hinderence when trying toi spot animals. I compared some of my pics to April 2010 and the grass is significantly longer. At most of the waterholes there wasn't a clear view of the waterhole or immediate surrounds. You can imagine the surprise then when working so hard in spotting animals in the long grass and then they come walking towards you in the road.
Bush Baptist maybe I should start taking one or two people on a photosafari of KTP.

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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:44 pm 
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I headed down to Dertiende Boorgat where the waterhole is right next to the road and I have seen a lot of Lanner action there in the past. The smaller birds drop down from the bushes first and then the Turtle doves follow. If the birds are down at the water in numbers and you hear the Sandgrouse int he air you know that it won't be long before the Lanners start hunting. Here a Sand Grouse approaches at speed.

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A number of different species use the low thorn bushes close to the water as staging points before decending in numbers. Red-Headed Finches, Red-Billed Qualeas, Shaft-Tailed Whydahs and Namaqua Doves to name a few.

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Just a quick drink and to wet the feathers and then off again. The Sand Grouse are the only birds that can carry water in their feathers back to their chicks in the hot desert somewhere.

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It wasn't long before the Juvenile Lanners started harassing the birds, but without any success on this occasion. At speed they must be some of the most challenging subjects for any camera. This one took his foot off the throttle a little and allowed me to take a few shots.

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Also turning up was this Rufous-faced Warbler (I think). Another first for me.

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I decided to take a slow drive back north and do the loops again. Nothing much on the way, but this Gemsbok on his knees, pretending the grass was long (just kidding :-)

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When I approached Dalkieth I saw a large bird at the water and crept closer slowly to find this Brown Snake Eagle.

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The sun was in and out between the clouds so i made the job a bit difficult to get great pics. What was interesting was that there was a Cape Crow just behind the Eagle which kept creeping closer and then would pull its tail feathers.

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After doing this a number of times the Eagle had had enough and chased it off.

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I the flew off into the low branches in a tree near the water. As the light was really not good, I decided to move north again and stopped to shoot this Weaver in its nest. Well it was in its nest as a pressed the shutter button :D

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I stopped again for this Secretary bird in the grass as I thought it made a beautiful image.

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Another of the Wildebeest regrouping before night fall.

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Two final shots of the end of the day.

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Just before the KTC turnoff these 3 Gemsbok came over the dune...The Good, the Bad and the Ugly :shock:

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O yes, my cds for trip were Lady Antebellum and Adelle 21. Lady Antebellum had by now been relegated to the glove compartment and I was probably on the Adelle cd for the 5th time of the day. (this was the only music I had brought along...or so I thought. I discovered my ipod with about 9000 songs on in one of my boxes when I unpacked back home :wall:

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KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:01 pm 
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Thanks for all the great comments and the time you take to comment. Nice to know someone is out there. So you can thank icurrie for the next episode :D

After another interesting night with the moths and bugs and nothing else I was packed and ready to leave by gate opening time. The plan again was to do the loops and try and find the obvious and then to slow down and try and find the critters hiding in the grass. Nothing at Craig Lockhart but nearing the waterhole at Dalkieth I was greeted by 3 beautiful ladies and an old battle hardened male.

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The male with the broken jaw was at the waterhole trying to empty it by himself while the ladies were lazing about.

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When eventually he had had enough and walked over to the ladies he was properly inspected.

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And this lovely whispering sweet nothings in the warrior's ear :D

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Two of my favorite images of the trip were of these two females grooming each other. So much love.

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The old guy went for another drink and them came walking straight towards me before shaking his head wildly.

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For the bird lovers...sorry, cats only this episode. Your patience will be rewarded later :D

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KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:38 pm 
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The ladies and gentleman decided to have a rest so buoyed with these new lion images I took off south towards Veertiende Boorgat. As I approached the waterhole there was a stationary car about 50 meters from the waterhole. And this is what greeted us under the tree on the left. The same tree under which I took a lovely siesta in December :D.

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There were two of them and they were quite relaxed for a while. I had too much lens for the subject but was afraid that they would move off so I kept on shooting.

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This is the other youngster. Are they the kids of the mother I photographed earlier?

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They didn't stick around for long and headed off towards higher ground and of course the long grass.

Wow! Wow!...what a great start to any day. I headed south towards Dertiende and came across this puffy.

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And a large herd f Springbok..

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I stopped at Dertiende and enjoyed the birds bathing in the absence of the Lanners. Maybe they had already been successful this morning. So I thought :D

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This single Sand Grouse arrived briefly.

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The next moment a Lannner came screaming over the grass...birds scattering in all directions and my camera battling to focus on the Lanner. This is what I got after the mid air hit...a cloud of feathers and drops of water from the prey.

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And here the Lanner flies off with its prize what looks like a Cape Turtle Dove.

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I was really enjoying the day and felt that if this is all that the Kalahari showed me today that I would be content...tbc

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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:08 pm 
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As its a public holiday here in SA and Icurry is on his/her way to SA on Friday I thought I would get in another episode.

@Dreamer...agree its great to share a sighting and I missed the extra eyes to help find the animals and birds.

After the wonderful Cheetah sightings I decided to head south to Kamqua to the picnic stop for a leg stretch and some brunch/lunch. Just after the exit to Dertiende the remains of the Cheetah kill were lying in the road and it felt great to know I saw the whole thing. For the squeamish please look away now...lol.

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I was driving slowly up the hill near the Urikaruus wilderness camp turnoff when i caught sight of something in a small thorn bush. I didn't know the bird I was looking at and at first thought it was a Black Harrier. I was later informed that it was in fact a melanistic form of the Gabar Goshawk. (As per Wikipedia...Melanism (also known as melanosis; from Greek μελανός, "dark-colored") is the occurrence of an increased amount of dark pigmentation (as of skin, feathers, eyes or hair) in an organism, resulting from the presence of melanin. It is the opposite of leucism and albinism, which occur because of a lack of melanin or other types of pigment.) Ok enough with the school work. here are the images of the Goshawk raiding weaver nest.

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It came out empty handed, although I was hoping it would get a meal somewhere.

It eventually flew off, but I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

I had a nice break at Kamqua watching the other people chatting away. I was still OK being alone and actually enjoyed the selfishness of being able to stop and go as I pleased.

Back on the road I spotted this Brown Snake Eagle near Dertiende.

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At the waterhole again I shot this Red-billed Quelea.

These Finches watching the sky.
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And this guy going for a bath.

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I saw these butterflies everywhere but have no clue as to what they are called. :hmz:

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I decided to head north as the clouds were gathering. I had to make a quick stop to get this Secretary bird in flight. A first for me. A little shaky, but I will do better next time.

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Some of the beautiful scenery before the rains come.

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A shot of Dalkieth.

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On the way to KTC I stopped to take this pic of the rain.

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The rain came down in buckets and my wipers were doing there best to clear the windscreen but were failing horribly. Little rivers and puddles were forming in every low area. It was wonderful to see the rain in the Kalahari. To celebrate I chose Adele's hit "Set fire to the rain".

Back at KTC, the ladies were going around to the tents, mops in hand drying out the tents that needed it. It rained for most of the night and I slept well :D

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KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:45 pm 
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The rain came down most of the night, luckily the tent stayed dry ..well mostly. The nights are looong as I go to bed relatively early and can't wait for daybreak and more importantly 07:00 so I can hit the road. Afte a great cup of coffee and some corn flakes I packed the food and drinks cooler box and hit the road. Same routine ...go south young man and find the obvious first. There was so much water around and being the first on the the freshly washed roads it was like driving on a tarred road. I spotted the old warrior in the distance all by himself and wondered where the ladies were this morning.

In the Dalkieth loop I saw a European Roller for the first time.

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Then a real Gabar Goshawk and a pair of Red-necked Falcons sharing a tree.

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With all the water around the birds were having a great time. Here a Goshawk takes advantage of the sweet rain water to take a bath.

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With all the water in the veld and on the roads, I came to the conclusion that sitting at waterholes today was going to be a futile excercise.

Thus far on the trip I hadn't seen many Bee-eater, so I was excited to spot these two drying out in the early morning sun.

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This little fellow caused a big silver wag on to come to an abrupt stop, reverse, enjin off, camera out the window (all in one not so smooth movement :D ). :sniper: .ooooops sorry Micetta :cam:

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I drove further and pulled over at Dalkieth. What I saw there was incredible...lol...just kidding. I was witness to the Ground Squirrell Ninja Academy. This is highly classified material.

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The tickle move...very sneaky but extremely effective.
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Wax on...wax off...wax on...wax off...
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The "bugger digger" move. Used more by the younger ninjas but still an eye watering move.
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All the while the judges were conferring...is that Jay Lo in the middle?
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This one was really apologetic for pulling the bugger digger on his girlfriend. Not cool man!
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Beg for forgiveness you $£@$^!^%$@
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"She still loves me...she loves me not...she still loves me....."
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All the while these guys were busy, a young Lanner was buzzing them when it missed the birds at the waterhole.

tbc.....

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[b] Another day in paradise.

KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Touareg: KTP April 2011 - Solo effort
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 8:16 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Somerset West
After the wonderful time spent with the Ninjas, I drove down to Kamqua for a rest stop and on the way was a Striped Kingfisher for the first time. Another exciting moment on the trip.

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At the site of the Cheetah kill tow Lappet faced vultures were hanging around in the trees. I decided to sit with them in the heat in the hope they would go down to the carcass, but with the passing cars every now and then, they lifted off on a air stream and disappeared into the distance.

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After a stop at Kamqua, I headed south for a two waterholes, but turned around as the road was in a shocking state and the last enamel was being chipped off my teeth. Nothing much to be seen through the loops and I ended up at Craig Lockhart to while away the afternoon. The Shaft-tailed Whydahs were at it again and provided a lot of entertainment in trying to get them in flight.

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Looking around I spotted a beautiful Tawney Eagle. I wasn't sure when it had arrived or if it had been there all the time.

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Now I was ready for the take-off. I removed the 1.4x extender and checked all my settings. From experience I know that when these guys open their wings, you don't need as much lens. It eventually took off..right at me and then veered off slightly to the right. I was be a contortionist in the front seat trying to keep the bird in my view finder. Sheesh! but these lenses get heavy quickly. I hope the next 500mm is significantly lighter.

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An assortment of birds turned up to bathe in the water accumulated in the puddles in the parking area.

Here is a Glossy Starling.
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A yellow Canary
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A Shaft Tailed Whydah. A tricky bird to get the correct depth of field for as it has a loooong tail.

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Another shot of the Red-Billed Quelea. I enjoyed shooting them in their breeding colors. I'm sure this guy would be getting some action :D

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And the ever present Red-Headed Finch (male)

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The couple of the day.

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I eventually had to leave on the insistence of the GPS. Close to the turnoff to KTC I saw these guys again. There was 4 of then, who I saw every morning and most afternoons. I drove forward slowly and they kep trotting ahead in the road.

Late afternoon shot so a lot of noise present.
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One off the Batties tried to get off the road and into the long grass and gave a huge leap straight up into the air. Upon closer inspection, this is what gave him such a fright.

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Looking at my pics later on that evening in the tent, I was pleased with the variety of images and very thankful for what the Kalahari showed my again today. :D They days, just pass much to quickly. The night is just a necessity to get to the next golden hour :D ....tbc

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KTP: 09 Dec 2012 - 18 Dec 2012


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