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 Post subject: Duke Ellieton Still Driving Miss Sharifa Dec 11 Jan 12
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:35 am 
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Rewind to 01 January 2011. It was our last day in Kruger and as we were driving towards the gate:

Duke Ellieton wrote:

Sharifa: So what you doing next December?

Duke: Why do you ask?

Sharifa: I need a driver

Duke: I’ll take the job

Sharifa: By the way, you also get to…….. :wink: :lol:


Well I still got the job - only thing is I am driving Miss Sharifa to Augrabies, KTP and Mokala this year.

23-25 Dec: Augrabies
26 Dec - 5 Jan: KTP
6 Jan: Mokala

Join us on another drive through some of our national parks.

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:05 pm 
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Award: Angel of the Year Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year (2012)
It was barely two months ago that we were on this road, on the way to the same destination, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. I just love South Africa and driving through our beautiful country.

We saw many raptors on the way and driving to the KTP made me think of the, “I am an African”
speech by Thabo Mbeki, below I quote from that speech.

I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land.

My body has frozen in our frosts and in our latter day snows. It has thawed in the warmth of our
sunshine and melted in the heat of the midday sun. The crack and the rumble of the summer thunders, lashed by startling lightening, have been a cause both of trembling and of hope.

The fragrances of nature have been as pleasant to us as the sight of the wild blooms of the citizens of the veld. The dramatic shapes of the Drakensberg, the soil-coloured waters of the Lekoa, iGqili noThukela, and the sands of the Kgalagadi, have all been panels of the set on the natural stage on which we act out the foolish deeds of the theatre of our day.

At times, and in fear, I have wondered whether I should concede equal citizenship of our country to
the leopard and the lion, the elephant and the springbok, the hyena, the black mamba and the
pestilential mosquito.

A human presence among all these, a feature on the face of our native land thus defined, I know that
none dare challenge me when I say - I am an African!


Our Holiday started in the Augrabies National Park.

23/24/25 December 2011

We arrived at Augrabies at 4.00pm on the 23 December and after unpacking headed straight for the falls. Some of the photos we took during our stay.

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we were lucky to get a storm with a rainbow

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and a beautiful sunset

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Sanibonani(isiZulu), Molo(isiXhosa), Thobela(Sepedi), Dumela(Setswana), Lumela(Sesotho)
Abusheni(Xitsonga), Sanibona(siSwati), Avuwani(Tshivenda), Salibonani(isiNdebele), Hello(English), Hallo(Afrikaans)


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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:58 pm 
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Thank you MM, anne-marie Puppy, p@m, Dreamer, flying cheetah, RayK, hilda, wanderw, forestgump :thumbs_up:

Did not see any Mountain Zebra forestgump :(

Miss Sharifa at Ararat getting ready for a days work

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we did find a Verreauxs Eagle at Ararat :D

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On the dassie/klipspringer trail you will see, well dassies :lol:

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and klipsringers :wink:

The pale winged starling was saying giddyup

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stop, we need to pick up my mate

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let him get on

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this is our stop :lol:

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Actually the pale winged starling feeds on ectoparasites on the klipspringer similar to oxpeckers on pachyderms.

Also saw this guy that I am struggling to ID. Not a hare, more like a rabbit but not sure which one :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:21 pm 
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More pictures from Augrabies

a three banded plover

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southern masked weaver

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Another one to ask Augrabies Guru - these pale winged starlings had colour coded tags so must be some reserach going on

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the twin falls from Arrow Point on the Dassie Trail

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The rainbow (flat) lizard

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Tomorrow we move on to KTP :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:38 pm 
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Award: Angel of the Year Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year (2012)
Thank you Rookie, p@m, CB, MM, hilda, Elsa, WendyA :thumbs_up:

KTP - Introduction

We had a holiday booked in the KNP for this December period. I had such a wonderful time in KTP in October that I decided we needed to go back there. Once I had the booking, I had to convince Duke. He was not too thrilled and kept muttering something about ellies and rhinos and Pels and racket tails. Mutter, mutter………… :tongue:

So I reminded him of his own famous words, “The best place on planet earth for cats and raptor sightings is the KTP.”

This proved to be the case again

Like finding a Majestic Kalahari Lion in the early morning light

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A cheetah on the road.

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The colourful and elegant raptors.

Bateleur

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Lanner

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The KTP is more than cats and raptors

A cute little critter

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Or two

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Or you can just sit at a waterhole and watch the drama unfold

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and maybe just get to witness a life and death race

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Driver is not muttering now...join me on this wonderful drive :D

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Sanibonani(isiZulu), Molo(isiXhosa), Thobela(Sepedi), Dumela(Setswana), Lumela(Sesotho)
Abusheni(Xitsonga), Sanibona(siSwati), Avuwani(Tshivenda), Salibonani(isiNdebele), Hello(English), Hallo(Afrikaans)


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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:32 pm 
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26 December 2011 – Setting the Scene

We arrived at Twee Rivieren at 9.00am and got in touch with the always amicable Jannie to sort out some business. We were soon on our way north

Our first sighting was an Ostrich

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and later an ostrich family with little fluff balls.

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Before Rooibrak we met forestgump :yaya: who told us about the lion at Rooibrak waterhole and the 5 cheetah at the intersection of the upper dune road

The lion is dozing

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and a secretary bird shares our sentiments about him :lol:

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The first of many swallow tailed bee-eaters

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and we get right beneath this BSK

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and also find his younger sibling

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We get to the turn for the upper dune road - must be five cheetah I reckon :D

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Too True Rookie :thumbs_up:

At the upper dune road intersection was Lisette and the 4 cubs - she had moved south since October

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They sat in the shade and it was hot with not much action so we decided to move on.

BorderPatrol told us there were two cheetah at 14 borehole and we immediately thought our two males from the October trip :D

A pigmy falcon :dance:

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and Barnabas the barn owl was still at the southern entrance of 14 borehole :dance: with a new brood of chicks :dance: :dance: very little compared to the ones in October

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At 14 borehole we found this fella exactly where BorderPatrol had said

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and he was eyeing these guys

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but we could not see a second cheetah..........

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:06 am 
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So the cheetah stood up slowly advancing to a shrub between it and the bokke.

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but the secretary as PA's tend to do told him he was wasting his time. It was just too hot and the bokke sensed he was there

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Then we saw the two little tigers further in under a tree :dance: :dance: :dance:

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Yep, we had found The Huntress and the little tigers. So Miss Sharifa was very happy as within 4 hours of entering the park she knew all the cubs from October were doing fine. A cheetah has it tough though and there must be many close calls fo a cheetah especially one raising cubs as you will see later (another tease moment MM :wink: )

We got to Kalahari tented camp unapcked relaxed for a while...it was good to be home :D :dance:

That afternoon we found a spotted eagle owl in a tree and two chicks in the undergrowth at the base of the tree

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There are 3 sets of eagle owl chicks on a 2km streth of road between 12 and 14 km from Mata Mata (more about them later)

and this juvenile PCG that was carrying something whick I think was a bone

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:35 pm 
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Thank you kdu :thumbs_up: That lion is one of those magic moments that draw us all back to KTP :D

We found a dead jackal at Dalkeith :hmz: that seemed to have bite mark on the throat

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we continued to 14 borehole and The Huntress and little tigers were now at the waterhole and they looked like they could do with a meal

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:32 am 
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As I have alluded to and many of you have commented, there is a boom of owls at the moment and I am now going to do a chapter on the owls we saw between Sitzas and Craig Lockhart on this trip.

Firstly there were the 2 spotted eagle owl chicks at the base of a tree about 14km from Mata Mata

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There was also this juvenile Verreaux's Eagle Owl

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TBC

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:48 am 
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There were also 4 Spotted Eagle Owl chicks barely a km away from the other 2 chciks. These four came down from the tree every evening and were a great attraction :D

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Video of Spotted Eagle Owls


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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:15 pm 
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Thank you Elsa, RichardJ and Pumbaa.

Just got a PM from Augrabies Guru who identified this guy as a Red Rock Rabbit

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and on the tags on the pale winged starlings his reply:

Part of the study on the starlings is to study the links between the vocal and social characteristics that may help understand how social pressures may have influenced the evolution of vocal communication.

Key species of african sturnids, identifying through earlier fields studies, constitute the basis of this research at two levels.
- Comparison of phylogenetically close but socially distinct species (same genus:Onychognatus mono/O. nabourop,different genus:Lamprotornis/Onychotatus.



- Comparison of same species populations living in different areas/habitats and hence different social structuring in order to examine direct effects of social characteristics on vocal patterning (e.g.dialects)

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:36 am 
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Thank you Rookie, Crested Barbet and flying cheetah the red rock rabbit was a first for us too :D

On the way back to KTC we found this couple at Sitzas

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The sun disappeared behind the clouds

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and a lilac beasted roller saw us safely into our tent

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It was a magic first day in KTP - the scene is set :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:58 pm 
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27 December 2011 - Lucky 13

To date we have not seen anything of note at 13 borehole - that changed today. The sun that disappeared behind the clouds the previous evening started reappearing

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and then we had this wonderful sighting

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It was very quiet. Sitzas came and went. Craig Lockhart too and Dalkeith :hmz:

Nothing at 14 borehole :(

We get to 13 borehole and it looks deserted. We stop at the waterhole. A raptor appears and catches my attention - it is a PCG,

Miss Sharifa says there is a leopard in the grass, I cannot see anything. It is on the far side below the tree in the grass. I look through the binoculars and it is a leopard :dance:

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It is Khomani and she is busy grooming herself. We watch her and she eventually gets up and strolls away

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Near Urikaruss the black chested snake eagle is still doing the rounds and :D and gives us a photo opportunity

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 Post subject: Re: Still Driving Miss Sharifa
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:37 pm 
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Thank You CB, Rookie, FC, oddesy :thumbs_up:

Further on we found a Tawny Eagle

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and some cute critters in the riverbed

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and then stopped for a pygmy falcon

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and seems like we got the attention of this guy as we had not seen them at all sitting on the dunes on the opposite side

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notice the one on the right

there were 6 in all

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