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 Post subject: Miros’ (ongoing) Trip Report: KTP Feb-July ‘12
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:01 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:06 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Hello all!

I’m Graham, and I’m one of the new Field Guides working out of Twee Rivieren (the other, of course, being the wonderful Moose!). I thought I’d open up a thread here to tell you a bit about myself, and to record all of my adventures during my next 5 months in the Park.

I’m currently a student participating in Ecotraining’s 1 year Professional Field Guide course, and am thrilled that I get to spend my apprenticeship here in the most beautiful park in South Africa!

I’ve spent the past 5 months in training out near Kruger (at Selati, Karongwe, and Makuleke) and across the Limpopo in Mashatu, learning the basics of guiding, the bush, and all of the amazing animals within it. In addition to that, I’ve also spent a little over 3 months in the KTP as a visitor prior to beginning my new role here, first visiting back in the winter of ’07, and most recently in July/August and December of this year.

Prior to starting out on this adventure, I was living in Toronto, Canada, working in the banking industry, on a team of amazing people who I’m sure are never irritated or envious when I send them back updates and pictures of my amazing adventures. That these updates tend to appear around 9am Monday mornings in Toronto is entirely incidental. ;)

As a guide here, my main duties will be running co-pilot on drives out of Twee Rivieren with Moose, walking Backup for Kgalagadi Guru on walks, as well as running the Nossob 4x4 Eco Trails. I’ll be posting occasional updates on my adventure and sightings in this thread, while my experiences on the Nossob 4x4 trail will primarily be in a separate thread (found in the Arid Parks forum, here).

I do have a flickr account on which I post most of my photos, but – go figure – the internet connection way out in the bush isn’t exactly fast. I’ll work with KG on getting some of the highlight pictures posted on the forums here, and will get the bulk of my pictures uploaded once I have access to something high-speed and un-capped. Of course, I am still trying to edit the best of my 5000+ photos from the xmas trip, not to mention the 7000+ from the July-August trip… whoever invented the digital camera should be thanked, and then soundly kicked in the shins!

In any case: Hi! I Hope you enjoy reading about my adventures as much as I do having them!

_________________
"...I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not..." - Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Miros Photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbfootprints/


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 Post subject: Re: Miros’ (ongoing) Trip Report: KTP Feb-July ‘12
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:06 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Thanks all for the welcome!

@icurrie: I do miss the snow, every so often... especially when it's +40 and humid ;)

I depart on another 4x4 Eco trail tomorrow morning, so you'll likely not hear from me until Thursday. To tide you over till then: pictures!

An itty nest and egg Moose and I found while exploring TW:
Image
TIMG_5717 - Potential by Miros Photography, on Flickr

A lion (and lioness) I found at the Cheleka waterhole while driving back to TW from one of the 4x4 trails:
Image
TIMG_6249 - Gazing by Miros Photography, on Flickr


I also posted a bunch of pictures over in the 4x4 thread, which you can see over here:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=59856&p=1650867#p1650867

_________________
"...I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not..." - Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Miros Photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbfootprints/


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 Post subject: Re: Miros’ (ongoing) Trip Report: KTP Feb-July ‘12
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:17 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:06 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
On Saturday, Moose and I headed out from TW with guests on a morning drive. The couple we were driving out with had been in the park for a few days, but hadn't managed to see any of the parks' predators, so we proceeded out the main gate and up the Nossob road on Predator Detail.

We headed to the Leeuwdril waterhole, were I'd seen 3 male lions the evening before, and were successful in finding a set of lion tracks! We followed them for a short while, before we came to the realization that they were heading over towards the Auob road, and that the tracks had been laid down sometime late the night before, as we could see tracks of antlions and millipedes on top of the lion tracks, "aging" them for us nicely.

After a quick discussion, we decided to backtrack and head over to the Auob road to see if we could reacquire their trail.... and boy am I ever so glad we did.

Not long after crossing the dunes and descending into the riverbed we found a fresh set of prints - but instead of lions, this was a Brown Hyena that had ambled along the road! We followed these prints for only a short while before spotting the hyena crossing the riverbed, and managed to get a nice view of him as he emerged from the long grass on the far side of the river before he walked up and over the dunes and out of sight.

We continued along the road, and saw a car stopped beside a tree just 50m north of the Houmoed waterhole. When we pulled up alongside, we spotted this:

Image
TIMG_6468 - Leopard on kill in Tree by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Both Moose and I were thrilled at this sighting - both for ourselves (this is my first ever Leopard-in-tree sighting!), and for our guests! We had been hoping to find lions to show off the KTP's beautiful supply of big cat, and finding a leopard just put it over the top... not to mention one who was a) in a tree! b) on a kill! c) extremely close to the road, and d) so very, very photogenic!

Image
TIMG_6470 - Yummy by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6472 - Om Nom Nom by Miros Photography, on Flickr

We were able to identify this leopard as a female, and the kill as an ex-springbok (it took some time to spot the horns, which had been twisted under what remained of the body. We debated springbok-vs- steenbok for a good 15 minutes), and spent the while admiring her as she ate and fielding the occasional question from our guests.

Eventually, she ate her fill and moved down her branch a short distance to rest and clean herself. We hardly had to reposition our vehicle at all to get a picture-perfect view of her!

Image
TIMG_6495 - Malevolence by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6506 - Alert by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6494 - Liiick by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Every so often she'd prop herself up and look down the riverbed south, and eventually Moose figured out why: the brown hyena we'd spotted earlier was beck in the riverbed and slowly coming our way! The wind was in it's favour, and it had likely been able to smell the leopard and/or her kill, and was on his way to investigate!

The leopard seemed to get somewhat more agitated as the hyena came closer, and when it was still around 1k distant, she moved down the tree to be closer to the ground - at one point giving a guest's car a good couple warning snarls when they got too close to her point of safety.

Image
TIMG_6540 - Warning Snarl by Miros Photography, on Flickr

After telling them what she thought of their parking job, she moved around to the back side of the tree trunk, and propped herself down maybe 1.5m off the ground on another branch - sadly this time out of good viewing position.

Moose and I, however, were far more excited at the prospect of a brown hyena / leopard face-off to lament the poor viewing position, and we sat with baited breath hoping beyond hope that the hyena would come to the leopard's tree and give us the sighting of a lifetime.... and thankfully, the hyena didn't disappoint!

Image
TIMG_6555 - Leopard Observing Brown Hyena by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Image
TIMG_6557 - Leopard Observing Brown Hyena 2 by Miros Photography, on Flickr

The leopard was very obviously focused on the hyena as it approached, at one point standing back up to turn around and keep it in sight. The hyena, on the other hand, didn't look at all concerned about being in such close proximity to a potential rival. It walked straight up to the tree and began sniffing around its base - investigating the grass and looking for scraps - as well as peering at some of the guest vehicles (they really were a bit close, but thankfully the hyena didn't seem to mind).

After satisfying himself that there was no food immediately at hand, the hyena turned and scent-marked some grass immediately below the leopard's resting spot, leaving a creamy-white pasting behind as it turned and disappeared back into the river and into the dunes.

It continues to amaze me the calmness the hyena portrayed. It didn't acknowledge the leopard's presence at all, not looking at it or in any way reacting as though it was there - even though with its excellent eyesight and smell it must surely have known the leopard was there.

Once the hyena had left, the leopard seemed to decide that she had had enough with the morning's activity around her tree, and that it was time to move elsewhere. She moved down the tree, and gave us quite a glare - apparently, even though we were on the far side of the road, she wanted to cross and we were blocking her path! I got as far as starting the landie - worrying about a possible charge - before she turned and ran across the road in front of our vehicle, making her way up the dunes and out of sight.

Image
TIMG_6566 - Leopard in the Long Grass by Miros Photography, on Flickr

I'm sure this drive will stand as one of the most exciting of my entire stay here in the Kalahari, and an event I will be reliving in my memory for years to come!

_________________
"...I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not..." - Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Miros Photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbfootprints/


Last edited by Miros on Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Miros’ (ongoing) Trip Report: KTP Feb-July ‘12
Unread postPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:06 pm
Posts: 36
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
I've had a chance to go through some of the photos I've taken recently. Here's what I've been seeing over the last few months!

Image
TIMG_6962 - Cheetah in the Shade by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Image
TIMG_6945 - Successful Kill by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Image
TIMG_6924 - Cheetah by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6910 - Jackal by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Image
TIMG_6886 - White-backed Vulture by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Image
TIMG_6871 - Juvenile Martial Eagle by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6842 - Juvenile Martial Eagle 2 by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6725 - Part of the Pride by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6716 - Lioness by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6707 - Lion in the Dawn by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6700 - Lioness by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6697 - Lioness 2 by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6690 - Caution by Miros Photography, on Flickr

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TIMG_6629 - Life and Death by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Image
TIMG_6606 - Spotties in the Shade by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Image
TIMG_6585 - Newborn Springbok and Mother by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Image
TIMG_6407 - Licking Lion by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Image
TIMG_6406 - Mr. Serious by Miros Photography, on Flickr

Image
TIMG_6391 - Sloth by Miros Photography, on Flickr

_________________
"...I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not..." - Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Miros Photography on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gbfootprints/


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