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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 3:52 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Thanks Sharifa.

OK, let's see if we can fit in the best part of my trip, before I go home.

Magnificent is the only way I can describe this sighting. Have not seen one of these so close for a while now- a juvenile was seen about 18 months ago-but not a full adult, a majestic speciment like this one. I enjoyed this, sitting for a long time, alternating between the camera and the Binocs-taking in the splendor of this bird. Could not understand why some people came, saw me watching this bird, take one o two pics and then move on. Not me-just watching it scan the ground, the surrounding area for potential prey or danger was enough to satisfy my love of raptors for a long time-at least until my next visit (hopefully July). Forgive me for posting so many of one bird-it was simply fantastic, despite the angle -it was high up in a tree, so if there is some distortion- blame it on my excitment. My favorite raptor :dance: :redface: :redface: :redface:
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 10:32 pm 
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Thanks Pumbaa.

Still on the S3- after that beautiful sighting, this ugly thing spoiled the day :) . Daffy in his TR thinks this is a Mopani-and having just googled Mopani Worms, I can confirm this is not one. Any ideas of what it could be.
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A lone Dagga boy
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And cannot resist or get tired of this beauty
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It struck me as I came to Paul Kruger Gate, that in the 30 years I have been going to the Park, I have never entered or exited this gate, and had no idea what it looked like. Usually I see cars speeding as they head to this gate from Skukuza. So I thought I would have a look, nature was calling too. I was pleasantly surprised to see this massive statue of Oom Paul.
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So onto Lake Panic for another visit, before I makae my way to CB. Some beaituful flowers were there to greet me with a smile
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Some folk were leaving as I arrived, telling me there was nothing to see other than the frog inside the hide. There was one other gentleman there, so it was pretty quiet.
The white faced duck was in aweary mood, and did not trust the black things that were protruding out of the hide. She had reason to be weary-if you look carefully, you'll see her chicks hiding just behind the grass. She just pretended they were not there.
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The dragon flies were there.
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So now I had this from on the brain. Better try and find it, so while the other fellow was waiting for things to happen at Lake Panic, I set about, quietly of course, to find this frog. Before I fount it, I found this lizard hiding in a corner-had to use a flash to get him on camera
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Eventually found the frog, just above the window ledge above where I was sitting. I'd probably have had a heart attack if it had jumped from there onto me. Or as we sometime say- if it was a cobra, I'be be dead already. Anyway, there it was, and I got some photo opportunties- Any help with ID would be appreciated. I think it is a Foam nest frog, in which case this is the closest I have ever come to one of those. My other "silent"companion in the hide was not even interested in what I was capturing, or perhaps he already had taken some pics before I arrived. He eventually left, leaving me alone, and not too long afterwords, a mom and pretty teenage daughter arrived, and I quipped to the teen "there you go, (pointing to the frog), a frog prince. One kiss from you and you'll have a handsome young prince for the rest of your life". A short giggle, one look at the frog and a definite "NO" came from her mouth. The problem with young people these days-they just don't believe in that kind of thing anymore. Ipods, Ipads, Tablets, you name it, they'll kiss that any
time :slap: :whistle:
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 1:39 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Oops, this is gonna take LOOONG. My apologies for this stop-start TR. Lets see if we can get it going at a faster rate.
Thanks Hilda, Charinda, Barryels and MM.

Some more images from Lake Panic. Such a wonderful place, and I must say that I had a satisfying dose of the place on this trip.

This fellow had success-that poor fish was pounded to a pulp.
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And then my hitherto silent companion pointed his camera at something, started clicking away. Well, no way I was going to be left out of the party. A beautiful Brown Hooded Kingfisher.
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He also joined the party and caught an insect
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I could look forever at the patterns of Dragonflies wings-intricate and delicate
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The Jacana's were also enjoying the peace and quiet
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Lovely to see them working alongside of each other rather than chasing each other around the lake all the time.
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My companion left, leaving me some moments of quiet, eerie it is too, but so enjoyable. The silence is just the best dose of medicine for such an urbanite. And then to be blessed with these coming out of hiding :dance: :dance:

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A tender kiss for an younger sibling
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Time to get moving towards Croc Bridge where I was to0 spend this night.

Camouflage failure
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A creche'
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Teenage Bull :whistle:
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Croc on S79
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And then this beauty of an Elephant. At first he did not move much, staying in the riverbed, so the first shots I got were blocked by some trees.
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And then he started moving and I could get some more decent pics. A real beauty!
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 9:36 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Thank you for your kind comments, Hilda, Crested Val, Sharifa and Pumbaa. Sharifa, no mention of your interest in frog princes will be made to Duke. :whistle:

Let's see of we can finish this 4th day.
One more of that magnificent Tusker.
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And onto Sunset Dam, always a hive of activity, both human and animal.
THe denizen of African Waterways.
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That BIG fellow of Sunset Dam
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Love this bird
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The graceful Black Winged Stilt
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The fellow was there too, but stayed pretty much in the shadows.
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Some Giraffe came for a drink, wary of the Crocs, but they were far away to pose a danger.
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The most famous heron was there
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Close by a Hammerkop was sitting pretty
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When I arrived, it was time for preening
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A troop of Baboons was on the Bridge over the Sabie River
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As was this Kingfisher
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On the Mativuhlungu road (S82) I nearly killed this Chameleon-I would have been devastated.
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Also the African Hawk Harrier, but it was far away, and also in the shade, but I was glad to have seen it, as I have not seen one in many a year. These are the best I could do with the photos.
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More coming up


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:05 pm 
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Hilda, you may be right, this is not a Pygmy Falcon, but eastern red footed Kestrels. My apologies, but I am learning. Now you've made me refer to my Roberts again.
A quick excursion onto the H5- seeing that I had some time-this impala has had it good. I do'nt think I've seen an impala look quite this big before.
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And a bird I had seen far too few times on this trip
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These fever trees just looked beautiful
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Coming to the end of a day nothing could be sweeter, to fill your dreams with music.
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And this madam too
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And thanks to Hilda, my Roberts Bird book tells me that these would not contribute to the musical notes, but see if I cared. just seeing them is music enough.

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The last sighting of the day follows.


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:15 pm 
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Hip hip hurray, last post for this day coming up.
Vultures, settling in for the night
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And then this-Forgive me for posting so many-it is done in memory of all the others who lost their lives to human greed. At the rate they are dissapperaing, every sighting becomes even more special.
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A Juvenile Fish Eagle was also present, but it was far away, and besides, it had to take second place.
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And also a Pied King fisher, but with fading light, it was more of a silhouette than anything else.
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Good night.


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:11 pm 
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Thanks everyone for your kind comments, Hilda, Barryels, MM and Sharifa.
Day 5- 25th March
Up early as I hoped to catch some of those elusive lions and leopards on this road to LS.
First up-Buffalo in the riverbed.
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Sunrise is always special in KNP
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The usual suspects were about as well-I wonder if these birds ever sleep
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A dung beetle was already hard at work
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The vultures were still there-on the other side of the road from last night. ANd they seemed to be having a problem with balancing-Babalaas :hmz:
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The Orb Web Spider was catching some early morning sun
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The oxpeckers were looking for breakfast
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Or catching some sunlight
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 12:16 pm 
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Thanks Crested Val, Pumbaa and Hilda. My apologies, I did try posting another dose loast night, but internet problems prevented.

A visit to Duke's Waterhole was on the cards-on the way there came across this Hyena, tense and ready to run from a female which was sitting in some water. She was so much bigger than him, so that was a wise move. She may have been pregnant.
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She eventually trundled off with him watching her closely before also following her at a distance.
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A lot of Hyena in the area, and while watching them skulking in the long grass,keeping out of sight, whoi should make an apperance, albeit briefly. There was one other car there, and they were so excited to see this. Guess a lot of people feel for the loss of our beleoved Rhino's.
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This LBR was there to wish me good morning
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As were some Warhogs
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In the far distance I could make out a White headed Vulture- I so wished I could see these closer. Of all the vultures, this is the most beautiful.
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Nthahdanyathi Hide was on the cards. I have not been to this hide before, so it was quite exciting and full of expectation that I went there. A few weavers and this Heron were all that was there.
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Heading back to LS, this Long Tailed Shrike was there to spoil me
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And some Red faced Mouse birds were just warming up in the morning sun. No activity from these hard-to-capture birds.
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A kudu bull before LS, very shy, and kept to the shrubs and trees. He knew I was desperately wanting to take a pic of his magnificent horns.
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On this road between LS and Croc Bridge, I came across quite a few spots with some plants/flowers that attracted a lot of butterflies. That will get me going
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There was even a wasp amongst them
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 12:53 pm 
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While the going is good.

Sightings from the Bridge over the Sabie River.
Familiar to so many forumites.
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Red Billed Teal :dance:
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 2:02 pm 
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Thanks Hilda ad Crested Val.
More sightings from the Bridge
This common Sandpiper was foraging amongst baboon droppings. I has gone down in my estimation :whistle:
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This I think is Kittlitz's Plover
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White Fronted PLover
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3 Banded Plovers
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A quick trip to LS- this fellow was flirting amongst the cars. At least most saw him and allowed him some space to get where he wanted to be :thumbs_up:
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And of course that bird bath at LS is a must visit, and here i was allowed to see tand capture this other never-sit-still bird
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Last edited by noel on Thu May 17, 2012 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Thanks Hilda and Pumbaa.; Hilda, I seem to think its an Agama Lizard.
The going is good at the moment, so lets get going with some more-this was probably the best day for birding.
Another Agama lizard at LS.
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Sunset Dam was where I decided to haev my Brunch, with a hope and a prayer that no elephant decided to join me while I was pouring hot coffee.

These two best of friends had a dispute, resulting in a stand-off
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Then they kissed and made up.
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This I think is a Greenshank
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Yellow Billed Storks came flying past.
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Settled Down
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And began to show off
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Any commotion will get this guy interested. But there was no way I was going to share my ham and cheese sandwich with him
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 4:43 pm 
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Thanks Hilda, MM, Heksie, Welsh_Ash and Sharifa. Welsh_Ash, more birdies coming up. And I see I have posted a wrong pic under "this never-sit-still- bird at teh Bird bath at LS. I have rectified it. Lets see if we can finish this day, still so much more to post.
The plan was to do te Mlondozi Loop and Muntshe Loop, with a hope and a prayer to see those cheetah's that have made regular apperances on these TR's.
Another Brown Snake Eagle
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Simply gorgeous
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These elephants that sleep with their heads against a tree always intrigues me.
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And then blessed to see this, which I think is a Blackcrowned Tchagra- please correct me if I am wrong. I thought it could be the Threestreaked or Southern Tchagra, but those do not have the black cap. So happy to see this-my birding list is getting longer. Maybe I should join the Stiffnecks club :hmz: . Except I get stiff necks from the way I sleep, so I don't want to make it worse.
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This Lark was singing the morning glory
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That bird again
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This shrike was displaying its awesome beak
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Just a nice view-a stream runs through it.
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This one will give you an idea of just how tall the grass still was at this time of the year.
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Cheerio for now


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 9:21 pm 
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My apologies Pumbaa. My only defense is-These TR tend to do that. Even I am feeling like I need another trip.
Moving on.
A few vultures in a tree-looked and looked to see if there was something that attracted them, but could not find anything.
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And then the sighting of the trip-saw this one coming in to land, and it flew of as soon as I arrived, so switched the car off, and waited, and rewarded with it coming back for a photo session. I was in awe of this bird, it is such a beauty. I may not have sen the cheetahs or lions and leopards, but this more than made my day.
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Immature Gabar Goshawk-in hunting mode, but he never caught anything while I waited and waited. Eventually left it still searching.

Did see another Rhino, but briefly, it was in no mood to show itself.
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Back towards LS, and this magnificental male was in posing mode.
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A quick pit stop at LS and the blue agama lizard was charming some overseas visitors-they were fascinated by it, video camera's rolling as he moved up and down the tree. Quite refreshing to see actually-the overseas visitors I mean :hmz:
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This Terrapin outside LS looked like it has a problem with its shell
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For the extra 2 hours or so before gate closing time, I decided I would do the road between LS and Skuks, still hoping for some leopard and Lion.
The N'watimhiri causeway, usually so rewarding, had little except this heron
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 9:43 pm 
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This grand lady graced the road
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Windscreen visitor
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Not even gonna try id'íng this one-LBJ ia what we'll call it.
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Heading back, this handsome hunk was munching away peacefully, oblivious to all around him. I had seen him on the way towards Skuks, but he was on the road, and I watied until I could pass easily, and dared not stop to take a pic or two. Now he was a bit further in the bushes.
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And then a road block- I should say of epic proportions, and knowing it was one of the cats, I opted to join the queue. Nothing could be seen, and I was told it was leopard. Patience was rewarded when Mr Beautiful decided to mount the tree trunk and give us all a bit of a view. I was so excited that forgot about focusing :lol: but eventually calmed down.
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Then he showed us how he felt about all of us around
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And again a 2nd time.
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And he was gone. I felt sorry for the other late arrivals, as they had little chance of seeing him after that. Maybe they did, but for me, I was happy that I had got a better pic of a leopard than that one I saw on the first day.


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger in a sombre mood in March
Unread postPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 10:35 pm 
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Yea, getting to the end of day 5.
Sunset dam, a magical place to just sit and watch the sun go down, hippo's become active, other residents trying to find a spot for the night, crocodiles lurking all around the water's edge. Found myself a spot and watched. Next to me a couple were enjoying sundowners-glasses of white wine and snacks. Thats the way to do it, though some forumites reckon it should be Amarula. I had neither, but that was not going to spoil my time here, on the last evening. Lots of cars arriving and finding spots to watch the unfolding of life @ Sunset Dam.
You'd think I had enough of this bird-No way
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And then got the fright of my life when this bird decided it liked my car windscreen wiper. Apparantly they do this often, triggered by the reflection of their own image in the window. This then becomes a territorial battle ground, except this one did nothing other than pose for me.
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This one looked like it might try one more time, but no such thing happened
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Hippo's were stretching their jaws left,right and centre
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Impala were browsing at the wayers edge
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And the sun went down
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I had a wonderful day, full of birds and a leopard. I slept very well that night.

Good night.


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