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 Post subject: Leeukos Is it a Bird in the Bush...? July 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:12 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
Life these days is so materialistic, that we believe our happiness lays in the items and things we own. Buying these things is also not enough, we need to keep up with the latest and greatest, hence we need to regularly upgrade.

We believe we will achieve happiness when we upgrade to the latest cellphone, or that new camera lens that can zoom that 50 mm extra. We justify the need for these new products by coming up with excuses why we need to buy them and how the quality of our life will increase with the purchase of these items.

A wise man once said: "Ask yourself, is it a nice to have or must have?"

Don Tour Guide, Valkoog (Hawk Eye) and I were on our way back from Satara Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park to Tambotie Tented Camp. As usual we were looking for the elusive Leopard or Pangolin, but after a very poor day of sightings in the Kruger, I would have stopped for an Impala. There were not a lot of them either…

For us any wildlife sighting is a special one, and if there is movement we will stop. We didn't stop a lot that day.

About 15 kilometers from Tambotie tented camp, we saw a Volkswagen Polo parked on the wrong side of the road. A camera lens, as big as the Hubble Telescope, was sticking out of the car's window. With a lens like that, you can look back in space-time and see the Big Bang unfold.

(Personal Note: Upgrade Camera Lens...)

We slowly approached the parked car, as not to scare away any rare sighting or to infuriate the owner of this magnificent camera lens. While approaching the car, we could see the shape of the person in the car taking form. We were all shocked to see it was a young woman sitting all alone in the car, just staring at the open savanna in front of her.

Now there is nothing wrong for a young beautiful woman sitting alone in a car in the middle of the Kruger National Park; however it is not something you come across every day. You might have a better chance to see the Stormers win a Super 15 final...

She just gave us a glance as though we are infringing in her space. It was clear that she could see what was lurking in the grass as she did not once look away. One could see the tension of her grip on the camera, ready to take the photo.

Focused.

She was like a Wild African Cat, ready to pounce on her unsuspecting pray.


We clearly could not see what she saw, and then looked back at our own rare, special sighting of the day. And what a sighting it was I must add.

(Personal Note: Upgrade Don Tour Guide ...)

All of a sudden we could hear the distinctive call of the "Red-crested Korhaan". At once the three off us had cameras in hand ready to take a photo. The only question was:

"Where is the bird?"

Don Tour Guide decided to start communicating with her and asked in his best Sunday English with a strong Afrikaans accent, and lack of vocabulary.

"Do you saw a Boskorhaan?"

Image

(Afrikaans speaking people just can't get those tenses sorted.)

"Excuse me..." was the ice cold response he got from her.

Don Tour Guide realized his mistake for not knowing the appropriate name of a "Boskorhaan" in English, and muster up the last of his courage which was quickly fading.

"Is it a bird in the bush?" he asked with a look of dismay.

"Sorry, do you speak English?" she responded at once with a look of amazement.

By this time Valkoog and I were rolling on the floor of the car laughing. We also tried to hide away as to not be associated with Don Tour Guide.

Why she after all this commotion still showed us the African Wild Cat, I will never know but I believe it is because she has that natural qualities a Don Tour Guide should have. Or was it out of pity...

We quickly took some photos of the African Wild Cat and decided it is time to make a run for it.

Image

The last 10 kilometers back to Tambotie was the longest in Don Tour Guide’s life. Valkoog and I recounted the dialog that took place a number of times. We kindly reminded him of his failed attempt at courtship. We also swore that when we got back home, we are going to look for an upgrade on our current "Tour Guide" model. We prefer the new model series that was released. At least if there is nothing to see the whole day, you can look at your Tour Guide.

Later that night the three of us sat next to the fire trying to stay warm. Even with my new upgraded, top of the range cellphone, I struggled to talk to my wife, Patatjie, who stayed at home the weekend. It is always at night in the Kruger that I miss her the most.

It is then that I realized that you do not need fancy gadgets or upgrades. All you need is friends and people who care and love you for who you are.

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


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 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:41 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
Thank You All for the nice comments. I do appreciate them all.

I have a lot of stories about Don Tour Guide, and will tell all of them in good time. :lol:

I would like to share some of the photos of my recent visit to the Kruger with you.

The trip started with myself (Leeukos), my wife (Patatjie) and of course the legendary Don Tour Guide. So we entered at Malelane Gate and we were on our way to Gardenia Hide.

Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
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 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:47 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
As mentioned before, when something move, we stop. Saw this Fork-tailed Drongo and had to take a few photos...

Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:48 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:49 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:23 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
So Don Tour Guide, Patatjie and I arrived at Gardenia Hide. We always plan our trips to visit a different hide on each trip. For some reason, Don Tour Guide mentioned that he heard via the bush telegraph that some people found a poisonous snake at one of the bird hides recently in the Kruger. He forgot the name of the hide and I am sure that he was just winding us up.

Image

So walking down the path to the hide, I can’t help but think what awaits us once we are in the hide. I am hoping to get a wonderful sighting from the hide. It feels like going to the movies. We have talked and debated what time will be the best to come and see the Gardenia Hide. Different movies are showing at different time slots.

Image

I have heard such wonderful things that people have seen here, and now I can’t wait anymore. I must stop myself from running down the path to get to the hide and see what she has to offer. So will it be an action movie today? Maybe we will see the sequel to “Battle at the Kruger” or maybe a Love Story …

Image

“Silence Please.” This is something that seems almost impossible. I don’t know why, but for some reason my footsteps sounds like thunder when I walk on those wooden planks in the hide. Even worse than not making a noise in a bird hide, is finding a seat. There is the camera bag and lenses that all need to find a place. So by the time I am settled in with as little noise as possible I look out and see…

Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:24 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
Nothing. It is truly a beautiful view here from the hide, but there is nothing. The smell of the water and mud runs on the slight breeze blowing through the hide. Apart from our self, there is not a lot animals making any sounds. I am sure there must be something wrong with the “Surround Sound “ as I can only hear the leaves move in the wind. Rustling.

Image

And then, as if Mother Nature first wanted to me to settle down, and take in the scenery. She started to let the animals out one by one. Like a movie, she introduces the characters to me one by one.

Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:08 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
The first characthers I noticed in the movie showing at Gardenia hide was the terrapins. They are the extras in the movie. They were already in position from the beginning and like any extra in a movie, I did not see them, though they play a very important role. They are there to feed on aquatic insects, tadpoles, frogs, crabs, worms, snails and fish. So while the terrapins are basking in the sun, the scene is staring to unroll as Mother Nature directs the next character.

Image

If you look carefully at some of the photos showing the view from the hide, you can see the terrapins ...

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:09 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
The Blacksmith Lapwing enters the scene. She walks up and down the river bank looking for something. She keeps an eye on the terrapins and nervously keep searching for something. The silence is broken with a sharp “tienk… tienk … tienk …”. The sounds echo over the water as she is clearly distressed and looking for her companion I presume. I keep watching her through the camera lens. I can feel the tension as though some is about to happen.

Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:13 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
The Slender Mongoose enters the scene. He scrathes around in the ground and then quickly moves to the tree branches lying on the ground. Insects, reptiles, small rodents and birds all form part of hies diet. The hunger cravings seems to get the better of him as starts to stalk some unbeknown prey.

Is this possibly why the Blasksmith Lapwing is so nervous?

She still calls out to someone… “tienk … tienk … tienk …”

Image

With a sudden flap of wings the Hamerkop enters the water with a big splash. The Slender Mongoose runs back to his hideout behind some rocks which now takes him out of view. I think the Hamerkop just saved the hatchlings of the Blacksmith Lapwing, as the danger for now is averted.

Image

The Hamerkop might have saved the hatchlings of the Blacksmith Lapwing, but now he is on the prowl for food himself. With a fast precision strike, his head shoots forward and catches a small crab still fighting from the grip the Hamerkop’s beak. With a quick movement of the head, the crab is swallowed as the first fatality of the movie occured.

Image

An impala walks slowly to the water. Nervously he approaches the water as he desperately needs to quench his thirst. As if he somehow knows what happened here some time ago. The memory of a fallen companion still in the air…

Death …

It is everywhere … It is woven into life here in the Kruger.

Image

The thirst is getting the better of his fear … He must get some water…

Slowly he approaches the water.

Always listening...

Ready.

One can feel the tension as if there is something lurking in the water. Was there perhaps some other reason the Blacksmith Lapwing was so restless.

Her voice still echos in my ears…. “tienk… tienk… tienk…”

Image

“Leeukos!!!!”

With a jerk I turned around and saw Patatjie and Don Tour Guide laughing. I was so caught up in my own world that I did not hear them get up and call me the first few times.

“It is getting late, we have to go…” he said.

I quickly look back and see the noise we just made cleared the waterhole. The impala was gone. I hoped he got some water before fleeing…

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:20 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
Firstly, thanks for all the nice feedback. I do appreciate all the nice comments, and also the lesser nice ones... :D

So Don Tour Guide, Patatjie and I left Gardenia Hide. We were on our way to Skukuza and had still a long drive ahead.

On our way we saw a Lilac-Breasted Roller. This is probably one of the most photographed birds in the Kruger National Park. I have myself taken a number of photographs of this exquisite bird, but for some reason I cannot pass the opportunity to take another few shots…

Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:21 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:14 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
Hi LindaS, lion queen, hilda, kids@camping, Sharifa, barryels, saraf.

Thank you for all the comments on my travel tale. I do appreciate the feedback about the photos and also my good friend Don Tour Guide.

He is really a classic and to experience the Kruger with him is truly an amazing experience. There are so many adventures and stories I want to tell about Don Tour Guide and my wife Patatjie. I will reveal them all now very soon.

Something to tease ... I saw something in the the Kruger. Some Kruger Veterans say that they have gone to the Kruger for more than 20 years and never seen one. :dance:

Don Tour Guide saw it and quickly showed it to me. I have prove. Will post the photos soon ...

And now, back to my story...

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:15 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
We also saw a Dark Chanting Goshawk on top off an old tree branch overlooking the open savanna field. We stopped to take a few photos and hoped he will take off to catch a rodent or anything.

Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Is it a Bird in the Bush...?
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:15 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am
Posts: 848
Location: Under African Sky !!!
Image

_________________
"A roaring lion kills no game."
"Until lions start writing down their own stories, the hunters will always be heroes."
"If you kill a tree, you are killing a bird."
“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”


Top
 Profile  
 
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