11 May - Talamati - Satara - Talamati
This morning is very
cold, which has me wondering, first, why is it so much colder here at Talamati than it has been elsewhere, and second, why does it seem that early May in KNP is overall colder than I remember it being in July 2000? Is May perhaps the coldest month in these parts, rather than the midwinter months? Curious ....
In any case, clearly the warmest place to be is in my car with the heater going, so since the gate is already open when I arrive, I leave camp a bit before the legal gate-opening time. Before long I encounter a small family group of elephant and while I am watching them, a hyena appears and sets off down the track where two ellies are browsing — and all hell breaks loose as one of the ellies trumpets and charges the hyena, repeatedly. I quickly move out of their way and watch the action in my wing mirror, as the ellie chases the hyena out into the road behind me and then off into the bush. Despite the rising sun behind them, I have some dramatic video (but no stills) of this early morning action.
About 20 minutes later, still on the S140, I met a breeding herd of ellies, which blocked my way effectively for some time until a larger and more impatient car arrived from the other direction. Later I had a really up close view of a warthog, which dashed across the road in front of me and dove into his roadside burrow, an old anthill. I backed up and waited a bit and was rewarded when the warthog re-emerged and gave me a fine photo op before again crossing the road and disappearing.
After a stop at Satara for coffee and snack, I headed south and shortly after turning into the S37, I had one of my very few negative encounters with jeep jockeys. Two trucks bearing the same logo sped past me in quick succession, clearly going well over the 40km speed limit and leaving me in their dust. They were going far too fast for me to read the company name, I could only note that the logo was a circle with script-type writing and a series of what looked like four off-white steps, shortest to the left and tallest to the right. So far I've not been able to determine what company this is, so if anyone has any ideas, I'd be delighted to know. I had another encounter with these okes racing past me again several days later, but I can't report them if I don't know the company name!
Later on, as I came round a bend farther along the S37, I was just in time for a glimpse of the backside of a very large leopard, as he crossed the road and disappeared into thick bush -- so close that I might almost have hit him! Again, no pix, and not even video this time as the sighting was really over in a flash of a few seconds. This road also produced one of the largest groups of zebra I've ever encountered, definitely more than 100 altogether, spread out along both sides of the road for a considerable distance, seemed to go on for ages!
: family group of ellies, hyena, kestrel, breeding herd of ellies
: giraffe, warthog, Burchell's coucal, impala, doublebanded sandgrouse
: ?mystery plover, impala, baboon, Egyptian geese, whitefaced whistling ducks, ?mystery duck/goose
: giraffe, whitebacked vulture, zebra, redbilled oxpecker, redcrested korhaan
: ostriches, Cape buffalo
: zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, bull elephant
: Namaqua doves, zebra, purple roller, wildebeest, impala
: impala, African jacana, terrapins, waterbuck, crocodile, ellies, steenbok, leopard, purple roller, wildebeest, yellowbilled hornbill, warthog, many (100+) zebra, crowned plover, 2 more ellie bulls
: waterbuck, impala, woolynecked stork, whitefaced whistling ducks, ?mystery ducks, bull elephant
: wildebeest, impala, zebra, giraffe
: dwarf mongoose
Can anyone ID this plover, please?