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 Post subject: Two day KTP visit
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:14 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Cape Town
One knows that you have become a true KTP addict when you plan to visit the park for two days only. Well, I had to be in Upington for a business meeting on Monday, so it made complete sense to fly up on Friday afternoon, hire a car and drive up to Molopo Lodge on Friday evening and be at the new KTP entrance gate at 7:30 on Saturday morning.

Fortunately I was able to get accommodation at Tweerivieren for Saturday and Sunday nights. My meeting in Upington was scheduled for 11:00 on Monday morning so there was ample time to drive from TR to Upington.

I had not been to KTP in Winter for some time and I remembered that it could get cold, well it did, on Saturday morning it was -7 degrees and it never got more than 20 degrees. Pleasant enough.

The new entrance gate is rather impressive, but seems a waste of money in my opinion. I don't think the park really needed a new entrance and there are many other projects in the park that need finance.

Of course, I could not waste any time waiting for my chalet to be cleaned, I hit the dune road and immediately felt at home. It was surprising that there was not much to be seen, even right up to Houmoed. Just past the waterhole, I saw a couple of lions against the dune, but they quickly disappeared over the dunes.

Stalking Lion
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Inquisitive Lion
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Later the typical KTP scenery began to unfold:

Blue Widebeest against the dune:
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Namaqua Dove:
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Yellow Mongoose:
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At Kamqua picnic place I was amazed at seeing that the giraffes had migrated this far south.
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Had a comfort break in rather cold conditions and enjoyed the fresh KTP air. Ready to head towards Mata Mata. I was traveling in a rented Toyota Corolla and not my Prado, and the roads do seem worse in a saloon car. In fact, certain sections were pretty bad. I subsequently heard that the roads were going to get graded on the following Monday.

More to follow.


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 Post subject: Re: Two day KTP visit
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:14 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Cape Town
Thanks for the interest in this short account of a weekend in paradise. This TR can never be as exciting as the recent TR's posted by Moose and Caracal, but I thought it might be interesting for those who might only have time for a 2 day trip.

When I had opportunity to speak to my neighbours at Tweerivieren, I was told that lions had killed a Gemsbok right next to the fence of the camp on the previous day, very close to the road! I saw some photos and it was amazing that the next day (Saturday) there was nothing to be seen.

Well, on my way to one one of my favourite waterholes (Craig Lockhart) I had some good birding opportunities, although I did not see one bee-eater during the two days. Do they migrate? Maybe it was just too cold.

Tawny Eagle
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Black-shouldered Kite (so many around)
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Purple Roller (saw a couple)
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Marico Flycatcher
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More later.


Last edited by mybs on Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Two day KTP visit
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:14 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Cape Town
Some more birds seen along the way:

Another shot of the Tawny Eagle that posed for me
Image
Pygmy Falcon
Image
Kori Bustard
Image
Image

More later.


Last edited by mybs on Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Two day KTP visit
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:14 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Cape Town
Thanks for turning the page Pumbaa.

Now I can post some more.

Not sure of ID raptor, I presume another Tawny Eagle
Image

At Craig Lockhart there always is a lot of bird activity, normally some Lanner Falcons and Tawny Eagles. This time they were not to be seen, but I did see this Golden-tailed Woodpecker making a hole in the large tree at the waterhole. This is the male bird, the female was there as well, inspecting the hole from time-to-time. The hole is very visible from the parking lot and should provide great viewing to anyone visiting KTP during the next few weeks.

Image

Also seen was this Fork-tailed Drongo posing nicely.

Image

One the way back to TR, the bat-eared foxes were out in force and I managed to capture a few in the open.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Thanks for looking, hope you enjoy. More later.


Last edited by mybs on Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Two day KTP visit
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:14 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Cape Town
Thanks once again for the comments and encouragement.

Some more bird images taken at Craig Lockhart:

Marico Flycatcher
Image

Sociable Weavers
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Golden-tailed Woodpecker
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Crimson-breasted Shrike
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On the way back to Tweerivieren:

Pygmy Falcon on the attack. The bird just dropped, no wing movement. I waited for some time, but the bird did not return to the perch so I have no idea what he caught.

Image

LBR
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Yellow-billed Hornbill
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The scenery also did not go unnoticed.
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Not much seen during the rest of the day, but I was satisfied with just being there and experiencing the sounds and the smells. Had an almost bad experience with a huge fuel truck returning from Mata Mata at one hang of a speed. I was driving at around 40 kms/h and he caught up with me in no time with a huge cloud of dust. There was no way that he could stop in time for anything. Also noticed some park officials passing me at abnormally high speeds. Not good examples. Made me wonder if they really wanted to be working in the KTP, some of them seem to have no appreciation for their environment or respect for the regulations. However, there are so many who do and are wonderful ambassadors for the park.

More later.


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 Post subject: Re: Two day KTP visit
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:35 am 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
Posts: 3634
Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
Your pygmy falcon photo is amazing! :big_eyes: Just how do you do that?!? Is it a composite of several frames? Or ... ?


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 Post subject: Re: Two day KTP visit
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:51 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:14 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Cape Town
Thanks for comments.

Arks, yes, it is a composite of 3 images.


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 Post subject: Re: Two day KTP visit
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:14 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Cape Town
Thanks for comments. O-dag, most taken with Canon 1D Mark 3 and 600 f/4 lens. Some shots with Canon 40D and 70-200 f/2.8.

The next morning I left early and scanned the area up to Samevloeiing for leopard and maybe cheetah, but to no avail. Once again, the dune road was quiet, but I did manage this rather nice shot of a posing steenbokkie.

Image

The usual collection of wildebeest, springbok and gemsbok made for an enjoyable slow journey down to Craig Lockhart for the second time in the two days. Saw no suricates, but plenty bat-eared foxes, ostriches, a few jackals, but no cats, honey badgers or hyenas.

The birdlife always makes for interesting viewing and this Rock Kestrel posed nicely:

Rock Kestrel
Image

Driving back later in the afternoon, had the best sighting of a red-necked falcon on a kill (some birdie). Now and again he would jump up on this perch and pose ever so nicely in perfect afternoon light, a photographer's dream.

Image

Image

Image

More to come.


Last edited by mybs on Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Two day KTP visit
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:14 pm
Posts: 84
Location: Cape Town
Thanks once again for all the nice feedback.

BasDutc, I was driving a red Toyota Corolla rental car during the 2 days. What vehicle were you driving? Enjoying your TR by the way!

Driving back to TR later I saw quite a few Black-shouldered Kites (more than I have ever seen in KTP before) and managed to get a few shots.

Image

Image

The afternoon drive proved to be uneventful (I was searching for bee-eaters!) and I normally never drive up to the look-out points, but as I got to the look-out point near Munro, I saw a traffic jam and realised that there was something up there.

At first it was difficult getting a glance at what they were all looking at, but a friendly lady indicated that there were some lions on the ridge. Edging past some big 4x4's I managed to see a couple of humps which moved from time to time. From a photographic point of view, it was most challenging as one was shooting right into the setting sun.

I managed to get some shots which kinda work OK and I can offer this tip. When shooting against the light, always try and find a darker background for the subject, in this case, the dunes (in shade) on the other side of the river. The shots taken with the sky as background are not usuable, whereas these are quite interesting, in my opinion. Different angle for lion images in KTP.

Image

Image

The tiff
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Reaction
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Hurt pride
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Image

The victor and still crown prince
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I was hoping that the lions might go down to Munro to drink and I parked there waiting for the shot(s), but unfortunately, they would not oblige.

Soon it was time to head for camp over the dunes and so came to an end the quick 2 day sojourn into paradise.

There's always a next time to get those other shots ... like 2 weeks in November.

Thanks for looking and being so encouraging.

Regards, Mybs


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 Post subject: Re: Two day KTP visit
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:19 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Somerset West
Quote:
Not sure of ID raptor, I presume another Tawny Eagle
Image


not sure about the ID on this pic...two main givaways are firstly the red, and slightly barred tail...along with the facial features.
look at the size of the toes, and tarsus if you look carefullt you can also see that it has small features

i ID this bird as a male Jackal Buzzard (buteo rufofuscus) in its first moult into its adult plumage

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