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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 10:34 am 
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JvR, the legend.

Thank you for the kinds words and lovely report of our meet. It was such a special time, and for us too, just too short ... and hence why we totally forgot to take a pic or 3. I would love to have one to put on our wall of fame 8)

Thank you (and all) for caring about our 'situation'. It is under control ... but still very damp. How easily our material possessions can be destroyed. Makes one realise what is of true value in life. Fortunately our most precious possessions, the photos and videos of our family life together are not affected. The rest, we can replace. We were lucky compared to our neighbours, we live on a corner without a wall around half of our property, so the water did not dam up and reach the depth as with others, but it was deep enough to cause damage that means we need to move out of the house for a month while the builders repair it. But only next year. Until then, we will 'camp' in our home. And maybe visit Kruger and hopefully it will be when you are there and we can arrange that photo shoot :D

(Did you really have to destroy my image that I do not serve musketeers and spill the beans that I managed to carry a tray?! :twisted: )

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:50 am 
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yoda wrote:
JvR,

Where did you see the Reedbuck?
(Sorry to go off topic)

Great photos. :cam:


Not off-topic at all... It was quite close to Tshokwane, yoda. Thanks for adding your presence to this thread.

DinkyBird wrote:
Did you really have to destroy my image that I do not serve musketeers and spill the beans that I managed to carry a tray?! :twisted:


:hmz:

I had no idea you were trying to foster an Iron Lady image, DB. To me Hawk looked totally comfortable with you running between kitchen and table, tray-n-all! :twisted:

Jokes aside, I thought you were an angel in every sense of the word, going out of your way like that to make sure the little time we had together turned out so very special. If he does not get to see this in person, please convey my gratitude and admiration to Hawk for his easy way with which he made me feel at home...

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:21 pm 
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Johan van Rensburg wrote:
BB, the photo-thingy is not high on my priority list. Can you show one with you, WTM and me? :twisted:


There is no camera known to man that could take that sort of punishment Joh. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:44 pm 
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Congratulations with winning the best bird sighting of the year Johan! :clap: :clap:

That Kudu has an impressive set of horns! What a beautiful animal! :clap: :clap:

Awesome close-up of the Reedbuck ewe! You were lucky to see her so close with no grass or branches to spoil the picture! :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:48 pm 
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hilda wrote:
Congratulations with winning the best bird sighting of the year Johan! :clap: :clap:


Totally unexpected, hilda... I did not even know my pic was in the running! But it was such a special sighting that I have to agree: the shot deserves to be framed this way! :thumbs_up:

hilda wrote:
Awesome close-up of the Reedbuck ewe! You were lucky to see her so close with no grass or branches to spoil the picture! :dance: :dance:


The more you try, the luckier you get! :lol:

@ Bush Baptist: The :cam: situation does not improve over time, hey my friend! :twisted:

The final trip to the north produced two more trip ticks in Secretary bird and lesser kestrel, the latter a super-tick for Kruger. The drive on Thursday morning to Olifants Camp went wrong in the sense that I had my times for arrival and registration for the Bash two hours too early. I only realised I got the times all wrong when Tobie and Cecilia arrived and I voiced my anxiety that all the bashers, including the HRs and guides seemed to be running late. A little later after expressing the same concern to multiflorum and Shane, they suggested that it was I who had the times screwed up. Checking the registration forms I realised my folly.

Olifants Camp, before the 2010 renovations, had some wonderful sections holding specials, particularly along the segments along the edge of the cliff. I had time to kill, so reviewing birdlife in the Camp was a good way of doing that. A pied crow soaring overhead represented another trip tick. Pied crows are not seen inside Kruger all that regularly.

A crested barbet had a nest in one of the dead branches of the knobbly fig growing at the edge of the cliff, the branches making part of the supports of the restaurant deck. The geometrical distribution of the characteristic wart-like, leafless growth points on the trunk and main branches is fascinating. It is on these structures that the large fruit will grow in late summer.

Image

Eventually the final members of the Balule Bashing team arrived and we transferred our baggage to the transport vehicle that would take it to the Balule Satellite Camp. Greetings exchanged and introductory remarks made, the Bash was underway!

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:23 pm 
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Now for the birding bash! Waiting in anticipation! :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:06 pm 
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Johan van Rensburg wrote:
yoda wrote:
JvR,

Where did you see the Reedbuck?
(Sorry to go off topic)

Great photos. :cam:


Not off-topic at all... It was quite close to Tshokwane, yoda. Thanks for adding your presence to this thread.



JvR,

I used to be very much into my birding, but not so much anymore.

I pop into the bird sections of the forum now and then. Mostly as a lurker. :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:17 pm 
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Thanks for the fantastic story telling and photos. This is getting me really excited for my trip to Pafuri and Punda in January.


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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:55 pm 
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This is the part where we (the bash participants) can start moderating Johan's "fisherman stories" :twisted: .

All jokes aside, I believe this to be one of, if not, Kruger National Park's finest birding event. I think many birders write off events that do not have Punda Maria or Pafuri on the itinerary. Don't get me wrong, I love the far north and agree that the birding there is fantastic. However, I believe that Balule and the Olifants River can match northern events lifer for lifer.

Am I wrong Johan, how many Kruger lifers have you racked up at the 3 Balule Bashes? Never mind the "Bird Sighting of the Year 2012". Congratulations :clap:

Can't wait for the next installment.

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:21 am 
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I am like a cat on a tin roof these days :tongue: .

Wonderful narration and photos in this TR :dance: :dance: .

Waiting for more :popcorn: :popcorn: .

PS. Congrats with your award :clap: :clap: . That is a stunning pic of a stunning bird :thumbs_up: .

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:22 am 
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Brenden wrote:
This is the part where we (the bash participants) can start moderating Johan's "fisherman stories" :twisted: .


Gee, Brenden, are you going to let the truth get in the way of good story-telling? :twisted: :twisted:

Rem: pix don't lie... AND they can be strategically placed, each worth 1 000 words... :lol:

Comparisons with KNP BB events are difficult and unfair. I have done six of the KNP BB events, all in the north and they came before the four Balule Bashes, so lifers were more plentiful as a result of a lower baseline. Anyhow, the ones and twos we add to our lists nowadays have a greater impact and give more pleasure and excitement than the 10 or 15 we use to get during such an event in days of yore... Probably because we are older and wiser too, appreciation for the blessings we receive is more deeply felt.

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:47 am 
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What makes Balule special:

1. the limitation on the number of participants to only eight;
2. the flexible itinerary that gets discussed on a daily basis and decided on by the group as its needs dictate;
3. the quality of care and the five star pampering of the participants by the HR hosts;
4. the close encounters with wildlife during the walks of which there are always three or more;
5. the time spent on bush drives and walks that exceed a phenomenal 24 hours;
6. the knowledge and skill of our guide, Brenden… best in the business;
7. the unique ambiance of Balule Camp;
8. the central position of the venue that allows access to a rich diversity of varied habitats and therefore a myriad of species (not just birds! Often we get treated to encounters with unusual critters).

I’m sure if we all spent time thinking about all the experiences we have enjoyed during the bashes, this list will increase dramatically. Maybe the bashers can each dot down a few extra points that, in their opinion, makes the Balule Bash special…

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:54 am 
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That sounds absolutely idylic *sigh*. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:37 am 
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Your list certainly makes Balule very special Johan!

I would love to see the additions to this list by the other bashers!

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:37 am 
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Johan van Rensburg wrote:
Comparisons with KNP BB events are difficult and unfair.


You are absolutely right Johan, I am being unfair (perhaps a bit bias :wink: ) in trying to compare Balule Bash with other events. The KNP BB events are all very special and each have their own highlights.

Here is another one for the list.

9. the specials in the vicinity e.g. Pel's Fishing Owl, White-backed Night Heron, Olive Tree-warbler etc.

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