The Orpen-Satara Road (H7) was, again, very rich in sightings:
A mixed group of Burchell’s Zebras, Blue Wildebeests, and Impalas, 3 Black-Backed Jackals (Canis mesomelas
), including a cub, 1 Cape Turtle-Dove (Streptopelia capicola
),1 Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbill (Tockus leucomelas
), 2 Warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus
), 1 Red-Billed Oxpecker (Buphagus erythrorhynchus
), 1 European Roller (Coracias garrulus
), 4 male Kudus (Tragelaphus strepsiceros
) mixed with Impalas, more 8 Warthogs, 1 Red-Backed Shrike (Lanius collurio
), 2 Lesser Spotted Eagles (Aquila pomarina
), 1 more European Roller, 1 Golden-Breasted Bunting (Emberiza flaviventris
), 1 Baboon troop, 1 Saddle-Billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
) , 2 Little Grebes (Tachybaptus ruficollis
), another Baboon troop mixed with Impalas, 1 Speke's hinged tortoise (Kinixys spekii
), 2 dung beetles, and 1 unidentified snake, unfortunately killed by a car, showing why we have to drive slowly in the parks.
First, just because I love them, some Zebra’s pictures, the second with lanscape.
We found these BBJs quite close to the road, allowing nice pics like this.
A good sleep for us.
Then they moved.
There was a ranger car nearby. See how small this BBJ looks like in front of the car!
Then to bed somewhere else.
BBJs are classified as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, showing stable populations. Good news!
Here you can see a map of its distribution: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=3755
They have two disjoint geographic ranges, in southern and east Africa. A large part of this range is not within protected areas. This disjunct distribution is similar to that of other endemic African species adapted to dry conditions, such as the Aardwolf and the Bat-eared Fox.
Black-backed Jackals are relatively unspecialized canids. They are very adaptable, with their opportunistic lifestyle, which allows them to live well in a wide variety of habitats. They are persecuted for killing livestock and because they are rabies vectors. But population control efforts appear largely ineffective, only temporarily and locally reducing their numbers.
Warthogs are always fun to find. This was a large specimen, quite beautiful.
He gave a good look at us.
A Red-Billed Oxpecker was working on this Warthog.
Even in the face of the Warthog!
A Warthog butt for the calendar!
Finally, this wonderful animal in the landscape.
Later we found a larger group of Warthogs, a little farther in the savana.
I was marveled by this blonde mane. So, I cropped it.
I loved the mixing of the horns of Kudus and Impalas in this scene.
And then the Kudus for a solo.
The Red-Backed Shrike is a lovely bird. It is a pity it didn’t stay long in the perch, and just a few pics were possible
Here you can hear their nice calls: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?sp ... ed+Shrike+
Several recordings, from all around the world. This bird is found in Eurasia, where it breeds, and southern Africa, non-breeding populations. Its populations are not threatened (classified as least concern by the IUCN), but its numbers are decreasing.
We also found Lesser Spotted Eagles in this road, two of them. Here are pics.
Hear their calls here: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?sp ... tted+Eagle
This eagle breeds in Eastern Europe and migrates south to the non-breeding season in Africa. It arrives in southern Africa in October and most of them depart in March. In southern Africa, it is common in several regions, preferring savanna and open woodland and avoiding mountainous and densely wooded areas.
Here is the geographical distribution of the species: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=106003530
The Lesser Spotted Eagle is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List, with unknown population trend. In some sources, I found the information that its population appears to be decreasing sharply, possibly due to radioactive fallout from Chernobyl, hunting and habitat loss for agriculture. In the IUCN website, however, we find the information that the population trend is in fact unknown, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach extinction thresholds. This source is regarded as reliable.
A curios is that it mainly eats termite alates in southern Africa. It can forage on the ground or capture prey from a perch.
Here is a pic of the Golden-Breasted Bunting we also found in the Orpen-Satara Road. Indeed, a nice golden breast!
And here is the bird calling.
This bird is classified as Least Concern, with stable populations in the IUCN Red List. However, this species is not described as really common, even though it is one of the most widespread African buntings. It is regularly captured illegally for the cage bird trade, something that needed to go. Why keep birds in cages?
The distribution can be found here: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=106008956
It is fragmented in some parts, but broad, what helps its survival.
It prefers savanna, especially Acacia
, Burkea africana
(Burkea) and Colosphermum mopane
(Mopane) woodland. It is also common in dry woodland along dry rivers, tall shrubland on rocky ground, edges of croplands, exotic plantations and gardens.
You can listen to it here, including a recording from KNP: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?sp ... d+Bunting+
Diderick and Jacobin Cuckoos parasitize its nests. It mainly eats seeds, flower buds and insects. Foraging can take place on the ground and in the foliage of small trees and shrubs.
That's it for the moment.
The most interesting part of the trip was in fact beginning. Many things to happen! Next, many Baboon troops, many elephants, amusing and threatening us...