Buglette and I have travelled together often and she is incredibly organised, so it was no surprise that she had packed the electric braai and we put it to good use - the steak was divine. One thing we are never short of is good food when we travel and so it was supper and dessert to be enjoyed.
After a good night's sleep, we atacked our last working day with renewed vigour and on the way made our customary stop at the Loerie tree...pity we were not as good at seeing them as we were at seeing the tree!
Now you would think that it would be easy to get a decent picture of at least 1 of the 7 which were running up and down the tree. Yes, I said running! They would flit from tree to tree, land on the lower branches and then proceed to run along all the branches, with us chasing them like idiots, with our eyes glued firmly to the viewfinder!
As one of us would get a bird in focus, the other would move and oops, there the bird goes again. I have the patience of Job, but seriously, it was wearing thin by now. I have tinted glasses and as soon as I go in the sun, they go dark and I can see diddly squat, but if I take my glassses off, I can see even less.
I did manage to get 2 fairly decent shots
but, seeing as Buglette was capturing the one so close to her, I stayed well away, so that we would end up with at least some pretty piccie of these beauties as she posted in her report.
With work done and dusted, we had earned a break! Stop laughing as it seems that all we did was have a break, but I promise, we really did do some work.
Loving all animals, it was not really a hard decision to take a trip to the Elephant Park in the time we had available to us. Buglette covered this wonderful visit in her report, so suffice for me to say that it was a humbling experience to be next to these gentle giants. Their skin, although rough was soft and squishy and very warm, the low rumbling communication vibrated through my body and I soon realised that, if they wanted to, they could swipe at me and lay me out flat in no time. I just wanted to hug them!
We bought a bucket of food for them, but it is not so much a case of us feeding them, as them taking the food. Large pieces of pumpkin were sniffed up their trunks in no time and while you are getting covered in elephant gob on the one side, the other partner in crime, had its trunk in the bucket, hoovering up the apples, carrots and whatever else was there. At least I managed to hold onto the bucket.....the lady next to me was not quite so lucky...she was nearly sucked up with it!
We stayed there for as long as we could and then headed home, happy with our experience, decided that we would splash out and have supper at the local restaurant and on the way home, picked up a nightjar in the headlights - just why do they sit there and only move as you are about to run them over! We looked at each other, a bit perplexed as we never expected to see one there and it took a while to register its ID, so, ja, no photo!
We planned our trip home and it was defintely going to include as visit to the Gallinule Hide, armed with the key this time!
It is a pleasant walk down to the hide and we were the only 2 there which suited us fine.
As usualy for the area, there were darter, white breasted cormorants and reed cormorants, yellow billed ducks and red-knobbed coots.
This reed cormorant thought it was playing the lead in Titanic - "I am king of the world!"
While we obviously wanted to see a Gallinule, the other bird I really wanted to see was the Kingfisher, not the Pied, as we had already seen a number of those, but the Malachite. We were really disappointed that we would have to leave without seeing one.......until I downloaded the photo of the yellow billed ducks!!
There, in the background, was a little Malachite, hanging on the reeds....and totally out of focus! If I had realised, at least I would have tried to get a reasonable one.
On the rock to the right of the hide, was an Egyptian Goose and a stunning Grey Heron.
I then spotted a rarity....a Buglette on a rock! She has crept round the side of the hide and over the rocks to get a better view!
We watched a large Heron coming into land, but it was not in the mood for giving us a clear show. 10 points if you can see what it is.
It might not be a very good picture, but it was a tick on the list - our first Purple Heron.
As I was watching these duckies skiing into land,
I noticed a bundle of colors in the reeds.
"What is that?"
"A Gallinule" squeeled Buglette. You have got to be joking!
It then proceeded to tease us and stayed semi-hidden for ages.
It turned its tail towards us and played semiphore or morse code with goodness knows what, but the white patch on its tail flicked up and down in a rhythmical pattern.....I did not understand the message.
I have 84 photos of this little creature and probably only 5 that are actually identifiable!
Were we happy, you bet!
We could head home having learned so much more and ticked many birds off our list. The Wilderness is a great place to be, early birders or not!
Thanks for joining me on our journey and hope you enjoyed it a much as we did.