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 Post subject: Noel - B.B.B.B.B.B - KNP January 2013
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:38 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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I guess I had better get this TR up and running, otherwise I might just forget everything that I saw & experienced Still have'nt even finished editing half the photos.
For those of you wanting to know about the 6 B's.
Bonkers
B-my surname starts with a B so you can fill in anything you like (just not Baboon, though that might just be
appropriate :lol: Brainless would also be appropriate )
Birthday (early January)
Bonanza
Bash
Bliksem!
Binocular-less in KNP :oops: (can you believe it, I forgot the Binocs :rtm: )
Bonkers B Birthday Bonanza Bash Bliksem and Binocular TR. Or, Beetles, Baboons, Black Shouldered Kites, Black backed Jackals, Blue Waxbills and Bushbucks (some of which I did not get to see).

Some introductory notes.
I had a terribly difficult and tiring December/early January, and knew that i would be needing a holiday pretty shortly and desperately. So in the middle of it all, I logged onto the Sanparks websites, checked out the availability, and next thing you know, my bank account is a lot more empty than it should be.
1 Night Pretoriuskop
2 nights Lower Sabie
1 night Pretoriuskop
2 nights Lower Sabie.

By the time I got to leave I was exhausted, and wondered about the wisdom of going to KNP for 6 nights, as all that driving can make you pretty tired. But I was desperate to get away, and off I went, at least this time I did not forget the 500mm lens, but instead forgot the binocs. Well the 500 lens would have to do + x2 teleconverter should be enough.
So i'm off by 05:30, on the 7th January, travelled without incident to Nelspruit, and took the advice of some forumites and went via Schoeman's Kloof, a delightful drive, except for the traffic cop with his Camera. Not that I would be speeding anyway.
Off to Pick 'n Pay for the usual supplies of foos, the now traditional koeksister, which they do not have, so opt to have something else instead, then its off to Numbi Gate, where I will have some coffee and the replacement of the koeksister, plus a prayer of thanksgiving for safe travelling and another prayer for a much needed time of de-stressing. Add some requests for special sightings.

Must say, the road to Numbi gate was terrible, the potholes have been multiplying at an enormously fast rate, and someone should have a serious talk to the road about the birds and the bees, and birth control. Good grief, some of the offspring were much larger than their parents whom I had met the last time I travelled on this road.

It was a really good time in the Park, I enjoyed it immensely, despite that the Camera's focusing mechanism began to give trouble :sniper:, it was overcast/raining for 4 of the 7 days I was there, so not the best for photography, but great for animals, especially raptors. Relaxed and relaxing in an enviroment as only KNP can give, I set out to simply enjoy the beauty of KNP, and was simply not going with the intention of wanting to see this, that and the the other. I even swam on a few occasions, something I rarely do. It was more like swimming in a warm tub of water. Refreshing nevertheless. This I think, was the 2nd longesst period I have been in the Park, the other longest occasion was also my birthday present many moons ago when I turned 25 :lol:

Saw no Yellow Ribbons, no matter how hard I looked. I had some lovely sightings, and as before, I try to gauge my visit with the guidelines given here on the Forum. Was it a "breathtaking experiencë" and the answer is yes. I even saw a Civet, though it disappeared before my troublesome focusing mechanism could get into gear, so no photograph of that special sighing. Besides, I was keeping my eye on an elephant not too far away, which if you did not know, gets my adrenalin flowing and much more besides :lol:-a thing called phobia! Well I must say they behaved splendidly indeed!

First up- the obligatory Sunrise in Mpumalanga.
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This served to remind me why I am going to KNP.
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While having some coffee a few quick shots:
Wasp
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That pest which I thought I left behind?
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And some beauty
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:13 pm 
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Time to get moving, we have 7 days to finish. I'm off to Lake Panic and back again (crazy I know- that's the Bonkers part of the 6 B's) via Shitlave and Transport Dam. And as with all of us, the anticipation of what we will see first is exciting. Will it be an impala :hmz: No, turns out to be those cuties of the KNP.
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And a white winged Widow Bird. Don't recall seeing one of these before, so i'll tick it off as a first. Real show bird this one.
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And my Drongo friend is always there to welcome me back.
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The white faced ducks were in a shy mood today.
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And this stunner, my first raptor of the trip :dance: :dance: . Not 100% sure but I think its a Steppe Buzzard. HELP!
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Here is the "cleaned up" version.
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Kruger's beauty!
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:28 pm 
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Zebra- with some little legs just showing behind mom
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A display of shyness
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and then out in the open'
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Transport Dam had some beauty of its own-this is that extension road where a small pond forms after heavy rains.
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And
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A lizard on the shy side-but on the lookout for some grub.
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:25 pm 
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I shall never forget this elephant. He arrived at Transport Dam with gentle steps, but when he got sniff of the water, he broke into a gallop, plunged into the water like a teenager, and promptly had a romp. It is said that no animal enjoys water as much as an elephant, and this one certainly did. I am just sorry I did not capture him as he plunged into the water, it was quite something to see. real joy there and immediately submerged himself, understandably so too, as it was very hot. In any case, those of us who were there were treated to a wonderful spectacle.
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:13 pm 
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Moving along to Lake Panic. That bird, a serious tempter in my psyche :whistle:
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The local chairman of the welcoming comittee was there to make sure I was comfortable and happy.
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And yet another dragonfly-this one I call "helicopter Dragonfly". if you watch it, it looks like a helicopter.
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:55 pm 
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Lake Panic is always wonderful, always has something different to show off, that is the reason I simply love going there. This time, it had the nest of a Great Reed Warbler close to the hide itself, close enough to reach with a hand. Well that ID is according the Lake Panic Sightings Gallery thread. But it could be a Tawnyflanked Prinia, which, having looked at Roberts bird book which describes the former to be the size of a Robin, it was too small to be a Great Reed Warbler. These LBJ's. They're gonna cause a wildlife war one of these days :doh: . In any event, it made for a wonderful photo opportunity, and just about everyone was delighted to get in on the act as it flew to and fro getting grubs for its brood. It can be very secretive, but also, as Roberts described it, "very tame". It certainly was not put off by all the camera's and people.
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:41 pm 
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A few more from Lake Panic. my favourite bird.
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The Water thick knee was playing hide and seek.
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oops, I 've gotta upload some more.


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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:17 pm 
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Thanks Philip and Heksie. A quick post before I go sleep. I am having such trouble with Photobucket, now that they have gone and changed the way things are uploaded and edited.
En route back to Pretoriuskop.
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Road block of the kind I do not like. Guess you can see how far back I am in the queue.
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 4:11 pm 
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Moving along at last. My apologies, Photobucket are messing things up a bit with their new format.
Still en route to Pretoriuskop
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Steppe Eagle I think?
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Giant Kingfisher @ De Laporte Windmill
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For once the Quellea were sitting still
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:19 pm 
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A quick post before I hit the sack.
Onto Transport Dam, and I see a lot of birds-unusually many, so stop and have a look. Wattled starlings, which I read in Roberts that they can sometimes number several thousand birds. This flock was about 100 plus. A lovely sighting for me, but what made it even more exciting is that the bulk of these birds were fledglings, and I am sure the parents were using the opportunity to get them to fly a bit more, as they were flying from one tree to another in quick succession. The parents always with grub. Well you know, grub and teenagers-they'll surely follow. When I was there the second day, they were still in the area, and parked the car for a photo shoot, a very young fledgling flew from the tree and settled on the gutter of my car, right above my head. I was like WOW. It was obviously too young to make too long a flight, so opted to use my car. Fumbled to get a smaller lens and by the time I did, it had flown off to join its siblings in the tree nearby. Crumbs, imagine having so many mouths too feed. But the parents were doing well, and I regularly saw them with grubs. What a wonderful experience this was. Hope the photos tell the story. Forgive me for posting a few, I have so many.
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On the lookout for mom with Grub
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:26 pm 
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Yea, here's mom with grub
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The youngsters were not quite adept at eating these worms yet, and a few times the grub was droppe, with mom after it like a flash of lightning.
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Hungry teenagers
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And more grub
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Another fumble with mom in hot pursuit.
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One youngster finally got it right. Now you see it
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Now yo don't. Gone!
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Good night and hope ya all have a wonderful weekend.


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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:52 pm 
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Thanks everyone for all you comments. Much appreciated. Time to get this TR moving along and fisnish the day. First though, let me wish you all a wonderful week ahead.
Transport Dam had little activity.
Some Waterbuck
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A malachite Kongfisher, far away-too far even for a 500mm + x2 teleconverter
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The white faced ducks were less shy
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A green Backed Heron skulking amongst the rocks and shrubs. Could barely see it.
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And a Tortoise on the road-plenty plenty of them on this visit.
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:04 pm 
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Nape Boulders road had very little (for once) and Shitlave Dam had even less, and by now I was tired, and headed to Pretoriuskop, checked in, found my bungalow, and began to unpack. Except, the sun had other ideas, and as I got out of the car, headed to the boot, this beautiful sunset greeted me. How can an oke possibly resist not taking a gazzilion pics.
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Perfect end to a wonderful day in paradise :thumbs_up:
Supper, shower, download the photos to the hard drive and its of to snore land!


Last edited by noel on Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:59 pm 
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Day 2-8th January.
A rather late-ish wake up, taking it easy, coffee, rusks, shower. I'm not in the -I wanna-be-out-the-gate-by-04:30 mood. First photo taken at 07:44. :big_eyes: :rtm: Not the way to enjoy Kruger. How much did I miss in those early hours? Ah well, this is Kruger and I am quite happy to take what she will give me anytime today. Kruger=no stress zone :thumbs_up: So finally get all the stuff packed in to the car and I'm ready to rumble, except I discover I have a passenger.
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How it got there I'll never know, but there it was, on the inside of the car, on the passenger side. So afte a quick photo shoot, I shoo it out, lest I be accused of breaking the rules of Park :tongue:

And the first animal- same as day 1.
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And that White Winged Weaver- My apologies for the bit of grass that makes the bird look yellow-not interested in even trying to remove that blades of grass.
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 Post subject: Re: B.B.B.B.B.B
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:40 pm 
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Making my way slowly to LS where I will be for the next two nights-usual routine- Shitlave Dam, Transport Dam, Skuks and Lake Panic, and try to be at LS by 14:00 to check in, unpack and make sure the golden liquid is cold for the evening sundowner.

Ladybird at Shitlave
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and that pest-just practicing some Macro phtography
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Heksie mentioned the high grass- this will give you an idea. Too high for my liking too, especially when it can hide an elephant.
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This is more like it
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This time I seemed to think there were more European Rollers than LBR's.
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And that bird that is a delight to all bird lovers.
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Zebras were enjoying the greenery along the way.
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