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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:01 pm 
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Welcome aboard SG & all of you.

We saw a few Ludwig's, and maybe some more of Barcud's target birds. Wait & see!

KDU, I am following your sightings on FB.


Previously "We packed up in good time to meet the other trailists at reception at 9h00, and introduced ourselves to our companions for the next 3 days or so."

The next part of the trip is covered here. - I forgot to post the link.

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:12 pm 
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Thursday – Post Nossob 4x4 eco trail.

On the last night of the trail, the wind blew our main tent over and damaged the poles, but the decision to upgrade to a chalet had already been made by Right Said, and nobody had argued.

On the way back to 2R we came across a reasonably fresh (not honing yet) oryx carcass 250 metres from the gate. We marked the spot on the side of the bakkie and headed off to unpack in our unit. :roll:

The other guys very kindly removed a bed from one room to the other and gave me my own private room. Nice of them hey..... :tongue:

The swim was great but the refreshing feeling didn’t last long. The rock martin doing the African skimmer impersonation entertained us as we swam.

Since we had returned from the trail via the Nossob river, our afternoon drive was over the dune road into the Aob valley in search of Barcud's outstanding bird wishlist.

We had been told of a big lion at Auchterlonie so we set off to look for him. At Gemsbokplein, a small group of springbok gave the 2 ‘sleeping’ hyenas a very wide berth, and at Auch, we eventually saw this log type shape on top of the dune. He WAS big.

Back near camp at the carcass, the killers were present, and one female was eating. As gate closing time drew near, the pride, with another huge male, went to the waterhole to drink. Just about all the trailists were present including KG who said that this was the biggest male he had ever seen.

The teamwork had improved daily on the trip and by this time we were (almost) a well oiled machine. The braai went off well and we were even able to communicate with the outside world. WW3 had not started, the government hadn’t fallen, our SOs (those who had one) were surviving – or better, and BIL was able to make an appointment to sort out a wayward filling.

It didn’t rain for a change and we sat outside star gazing as we consumed mellowing liquid. Does it get better than this?

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:13 pm 
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Welcome Back Son godin, hope you had as good a time as we did. Great to meet the three of you on the 4x4 trail. Hope the SO is feeling better, he looked in a bit of pain the last night we saw him. We only saw Spoonbill outside of the park, but as BB said, several Ludwig's. Looking forward to hearing about your extended trip and seeing your photo's. :thumbs_up:

Glad you could join us KDU. :thumbs_up:

Mi, the light is so good in KTP, you get to see the birds colours really well. I'd not noticed the intricate markings on this bird before now.

Thanks again to everyone else for following and commenting. :thumbs_up:

.............So, after looking at a dead Gemsbok for a few moments, we headed for our comfortable chalet, moved beds around so BB could have a room to himself as the other three of us kept him awake at night snoring :tongue: :tongue: :tongue:

I did comment once when we were camping that after a particularly loud thunderstorm at night (see Weskusklongs video on the 4x4 TR) that there were competing decibel levels that night and I wondered which was the louder?????

The swim was a welcome cooler for us, and the Rock Martins performed acrobatics next to us spectacularly. Right said had a butterfly land atop his head, whilst I had one of the small red damselflies land on mine. Not sure if they were after a drink from our wet hair or the salts? It was funny to see though.

After a very welcome ice cream from the shop, we headed back to see the Lions.

A lone Lioness was on the carcass.
Image

Image

Image

The big male made his appearance and headed for the waterhole. It was at this point that someone in the bakkie exclaimed "Ah, great, there's a Cape Wagtail, in front of the Lion." I'll leave it up to you to guess who said it. :roll:

Image

Another Lioness was already at the waterhole quenching her thirst.

Image

The big male sauntered over. We noticed that he was branded, and Jannie told us that the mark meant that he had once been a problem cat. Not sure what his misdemeanours were though, maybe Jannie can find out for us. He was an impressive beast though.

Image

Image

He took a few slurps of water before moving into the shade of a nearby tree.

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While the Lioness that had been feeding also made an appearance at the waterhole.

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As we sat ouside that night, enjoying a cold one and looking at the night sky, we all though "It does not get any better than this."

Image

But it did get better, much, muh better. But that, as they say, is another story...................

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:30 pm 
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Micetta wrote:
Quote:
Not sure what his misdemeanours were though
Maybe leaving the reserve without permission and not coming back when they called him :hmz:


Precisely Micetta.

BTW, I forgot to say how good it was to meet PRWIN & Son Godin on the trail. SG is now 'mom', as she admimistered the drops into my sore eye.

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Last edited by Bush Baptist on Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:27 pm 
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Seems like Jessie is asleep or Christmas shopping as well :lol:

Ok, rewind a moment to where BB mentioned the Hyaena and the Springbok......

The Hyaena was cooling itself in the waterhole while three Springbok nervously gave it a wide berth.

The Hyaena takes an interest in the passing game.
Image

The Springbok try to blend in with their surroundings and creep pass.
Image

An Ostrich is also a bit nervous of the predator at the waterhole.
Image

So they team up and go into stealth mode to creep pass.
Image

The Hyaena is obviously fooled as it suddenly looses interest and becomes a birder to watch an Ashy Tit in a nearby tree.
Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:31 am 
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Looks like I am being pressured for another bit.

Welcome aboard all of you who have just joined. It gets even better.....

Ah well,

Friday – To Mata Mata and back

Right Said decided to have a day in camp, and the other 3 of us were first out of the gate.

Yesterday’s lions were in the first no-entry road to the left and we watched them disappear over the rise as the male marked his territory from time to time.

By now Barcud was getting a bit restless regarding some of his target birds. On top of his list were pygmy and red necked falcons.

He had made me stop for each and every raptor we saw. He would contort his neck at funny angles, to see through his binos, only to exclaim sadly “Lanner”.

I had told him that the Aob river side was where we had seen the pygmy, so he was in serious anticipation mode.

We passed a hyena sighting and a couple of ‘dead’ lions and you can imagine the relief/joy when Barcud shouted “Red necked falcon!” from behind his binos.

The mood improved and we were told of a nest of white faced scops owls – another on the list – so as we were looking for it on top of a tree was...yes... a pygmy falcon. WOOHOO! We also found the WFSO nest as well as a barn owl nest.

Barcud was as ecstatic as BIL was bored! But he did take notice of the ground – or was it tree – agama.


There is enough photo material to keep him busy for a while

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:49 pm 
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A coupla my pics before Barcud gets going...


Image


Swallow tailed bee-eater

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:54 pm 
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Oops, now it's me who is behind with my bit :D Thought we'd lost you for a moment there BB, I was starting to fret a bit :D

Thanks anne-marie, p@m, ruthp, Lionspoon, arks, hilda, wanderw, Mi (how was the flight?) & lion queen :thumbs_up:

arks - that was a typo error rather than an id error on this one :redface: (ask BIL and Right Said about the long lecture BB & I gave them on the splitting of Northern & Southern Black Kohraan's in the bakkie if you can keep them awake long enough to retell it :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: ). Thanks for the heads up though, I'll go and correct it now. :thumbs_up:

Nice pics BB :thumbs_up:

By the way anne-marie, it I'd birded how I wanted to, we would never have left Twee Rivieren as I wanted to spend a couple of hours with every single bird we saw, even if we had just seen that species a few meters down the road. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: I'm suprised the others put up with me for so long as it was - I did get a tad excitable whenever we saw a PCG or other raptor :dance: :dance: :dance:

OK, off for my tea, be back later with some pics.........

(It's chicken curry by the way - yum).

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:37 pm 
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..........So we left Right Said to his own devices for the day and headed through the gate. At the first no entry turn off, the pride was heading slowly up the hill in the gathering light. I took a few blurred pics of them before they vamoosed out of sight.
Image

A juvenile Pale-chanting Goshawk sat atop a bush, taking a keen interest in the exitement it was causing to the guy in the passenger seat of the red thingy below.
Image

A pair of Greter Kestrels sunned themselves on top of a dead tree, but I could not get both into the same photo.
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Further along, a Crimson-breasted Shrike quip-quipped his whistling song from the top of a bush.
Image

And how can I visit this amazing country of yours without an obligatory pic of a Lilac-breasted Roller?
Image

The excitement started to mount when a Red-necked Falcon flew across the front of the bakkie, but did not stop and headed for the horizon at breakneck speed. Great to see, but sad it did not stop to say hello for longer :(

"STOP!"

"PYGMY FALCON in the tree."

"Forward a bit BB."

"Too much, back a bit."

"Left hand down a touch."

"OK back a smidgen."

"Good, thats perfect."

"WOW! - what an absolutely amazing little raptor!"

BIL - "Zzzzzzz, zzzzzz splutter - what's going on, what's all the fuss about?"

Image

"Oh fy nhad, edrychwch ar y dderyn yma. Bendigedig!"

BB & BIL - "You what????"

"Ardderchog."

BB & BIL - "Is he swearing at us?"

Image

and then, to cap it off superbly, my third most wanted bird of this trip, White-faced Scops Owl - Whooo-hooo :dance: :dance: :dance:

Image

BIL - "Excitable chap isn't he."

BB - "Not half."

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:37 pm 
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Mata Mata was hot, windless and almost deserted in the middle of the day, and while Barcud and I swam, BIL caught 40 winks.

The pool area is rather curious. The shaded area is not paved, but sandy, and the paving around the pool edge braais your feet as you hop around trying to put your footwear on under the blazing sun, much to the amusement of the resident fork tailed drongo.

It was pleasing to see evidence of work being done to restore the waterhole to its rightful position in front of the hide.

It had been a great decision to braai our remaining kebabs as well as the scheduled steak last night and they went down very well – cold - for lunch.

On the ride up to MM we had been told of a cheetah sighting (a mother and cubs on a kill), but we didn’t see it. Some friendly people – as most are – showed us where it was on the way back. Later we reciprocated with the owl sightings.

I don’t quite know how we managed to miss the cheetahs on the way up, maybe because the family of 5 was lying flat under a sprawling tree, owing to the stuffed stomachs, but we certainly enjoyed our best cheetah sighting on the trip to date. The owls hadn’t moved and once again peered back at us from within the nests.

We also had the now customary hyena sighting, and the odd lion comatose under a tree. We also came across a few distant giraffe sightings that were not there on the way up, and a far off Verreaux’s eagle owl as well as the usual variety of birds to keep us occupied.

Once again, on a balmy evening, the braai and ambience rivalled last night’s, before we retired for the night, to the call of the pearl spotted owl.

Next: Saturday – Anticlockwise dune road loop and a fitting climax.

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:03 pm 
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Thanks Pumbaa, Tobieo, anne-marie, hilda, Rookie, wanderw, Meandering Mouse, lion queen & Micetta. :thumbs_up: Glad you are enjoying this TR.

A bit out os sync, but as you liked the owls so much.........

Image

Image

So, after a marvellous swim in Mata-Mata, we dined scrumptuously on cold kebabs, along with the staple lunch of the trip, crackers with cheese and jam. You would think that one would get fed up of the same each day, but I always looked forward to this for lunch. Sitting at a picnic bench, chatting to the team about the morning's sightings and watching the local wildlife around wherever we were stopped.

Here in Mata-Mata, a pair of Secretarybirds soared lazily overhead. Gaining height so quickly that they soon disappeared into the ether.

Image

....and a White-browed Sparrow-weaver was on the lookout for dropped crumbs (but went hungry I'll hasten to add).

Image

On the way back South, a Blue Wildebeest stood motionless at the roadside.

Image

A sublime looking Swallow-tailed Bee-eater perched nearby.

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While a majestic Tawny Eagle eyed us suspiciously.

Image

"There they are." Came the cry when we finally found the Cheetah.....

Image

And there they indeed were :dance:

(more pics to come of these).

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:21 am 
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My owl pics


Image


Image

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:23 pm 
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Thanks again all of you for your comments.

Micetta, any time, but I don't come cheap. :twisted:

Saturday – Anticlockwise dune road loop and a fitting climax.

There was not much to keep us occupied except for the resident stunning juvenile martial eagle near Leeudril, until we saw a stationary well used vehicle with a cheetah poster in the back. I had seen this vehicle on a previous trip and re-introduced myself to Dr Gus Mills. Now when Gus is stopped it only means one thing – cheetah, and sure enough, he pointed them out to us on a far ridge. They were very far, and we decided to press on.

As we approached KijKij on the Bots road, we stopped for good Cape fox and bat eared fox sightings. At KK were 3 tired lionesses that changed positions in the shade occasionally. We headed off to Melkvlei for breakfast and once again I was disappointed that there was no ‘action’ there, except a gecko in the loo window mesh. I have seen pics now for years with lions and leopards sheltering in the shade and even inside the loos, but I have yet to have the pleasure of seeing them for myself.

One thing that amused us was that the folks in the unit next to us at 2R arrived, and had completely missed the KK lions that were still under the same tree when we got back there. (OK, I know we missed yesterdays cheetahs first time.....)

We were still on the climb up the dune road when we saw 2 PCGs in a tree looking on interestedly at a black ‘spot’ nearby. It was a honey badger busy with earth excavation. After a few seconds, it wandered off in the general direction of where we had come from, but we couldn’t find it again.

We were hoping for some ‘new’ larks on the dune road but they were all of the common fawn coloured variety. Back on the Aob river side, we had the obligatory lion and hyena sightings and we arrived back at camp for a midday braai, as we wanted an early night for an early start home tomorrow.

Right Said took it on himself to do the braai, which was about the best we had had all trip, and we relaxed in the chalet and the pool until it got cooler.

We had planned another dune road loop but it needed at least 4.5 hours and at 15h00 nobody really wanted to go out for that long, so later Barcud suggested we go later and try to find the morning’s cheetahs. It turned out to be an inspired decision.......

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:01 pm 
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Thanks once again for all your comments. :thumbs_up:

I'll be running behind BB for a while, as I have lots of pics to catch up on here. :dance:

Meanwhile, back at the Cheetah's South of Mata-Mata, we collated our entire knowledge of Cheetah behaviour to deduce that.........

they were curious.
Image

had recently made a kill (blood on flanks).
Image

had recently eaten a sizeable meal (look at that tummy bulge :big_eyes: ).
Image

and were now sleepy.
Image

Image

We left them to sleep off their meal and headed South once again to enlighten Dr. Gus Mills with our discoveries. :roll:

Joking aside, it was a fantastic sighting for me and I got to take my first photos of these enigmatic felines. :dance:

A nearby White-backed Vulture was waiting patiently (a big hint that we had overlooked on the way North. If someone tells you in future that there's a kill of somesorts in a certain area and you see a Vulture, keep looking in that area for the kill. :lol: :lol: :lol: :roll: ).

Image

A stately Giraffe fed on a nearby tree.

Image

and a daytime moon was captured as we drove on South.

Image

Was this to be out lucky charm? Would our sightings get any better than this?

Oh yes, oh my word yes................

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:10 pm 
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Kij Kij lionesses

Hey Gladys, there's nothing interesting over there....

Image

Come back to bed.

Image

Oh all right, since there's nothing better to do.

You need your beauty sleep. Charlie will be around here soon and you will want to look your best.

Image

They don't have a clue. All he wants is for me to catch his breakfast...

Image

All this boring talk is making be very sleepy.....

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