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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:07 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Centurion
Can't wait for the report and pics!!

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:29 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Awards: Birder of the Year (2014) & Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
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Location: Bashing Balule
Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
Let me get some personal trip stats out of the way:

Trip list = 223
Balule Bash = 184
Lifers for me = 1 (Olive-tree warbler) :dance: :dance: :dance:
KNP ticks for me = 9 (Yellow wagtail, grey-backed sparrowlark, Lark-like bunting, red-headed finch, African black duck, Amathyst Sunbird, Black cuckoo, Olive-tree warbler, flappet lark) :lol: :lol: :lol:

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668 Latest lifers: Pacific Golden Plover, Slaty Egret


Last edited by Johan van Rensburg on Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:39 pm 
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You should be proud of yourself Johan! You've done very well! :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:07 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Awards: Birder of the Year (2014) & Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2415
Location: Bashing Balule
Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
My trip did start off on a high with one of nine KNP ticks taking place while I waited for the gate to open. A pair of African black ducks represented the best of around 30 species I marked down as time marched toward the 05:30 mark.

Remember the shorthand notes I sent while travelling in KNP? Remember the reference to the brown-hooded kingfisher and leopard story? Well, this is that kingfisher sitting very relaxed, posing for me just before the leopard brought its own brand of excitement tagging along...

Image

That was also where I ran into one of only two yellow ribbons (mandym on this occasion) seen of the whole trip. I am wondering about the yellow ribbon thing :hmz: Do 'mites still bother?

Anycase. At least I'll be able to drop those two 'mites a PM each, reminding them of our encounter and maybe reminisce a bit...

I had a lot of time on my hands so I trawled north...

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668 Latest lifers: Pacific Golden Plover, Slaty Egret


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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:55 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Awards: Birder of the Year (2014) & Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2415
Location: Bashing Balule
Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
It was a bit overcast and every now and then a light drizzle helped to keep the dust in check. It was cool to the extent that I had to put on a light jacket. I knew the cool weather wasn’t going to last and enjoyed the ride with all the windows open.

I never pass up an opportunity when I come across any bird that I can get close to and this brilliantly coloured southern yellow-billed hornbill was no exception, making a handsome picture in that early morning light. “Having fun?” he seems to be saying. Adult males have a larger (vertically deeper) bill than females and also show more facial skin…

Image

I had a SABAP2 pentad map of the area within which Malelane Gate falls and keeping within its boundaries, I next worked the S114 towards the Crocodile River Road. This section was very good in respect of raptors and I clocked up Martial eagle, Bateleur and brown snake-eagle all within sight of each other.

At the eastern edge of the pentad I enjoyed the shenanigans of a pair of southern white-crowned shrikes as they hunted in their typical buoyant way, often returning to the same perch.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:29 am 
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Great narration and stunning pictures of the birds, thanks Johan! :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:50 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Centurion
Well done on the lifer!! :dance:

Totally agree with Hilda! :clap: :clap: :clap:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:10 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Awards: Birder of the Year (2014) & Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
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Location: Bashing Balule
Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
I always enjoy finding oxpeckers because they are primarily seen working on various herbivores, usually photogenic animals in their own right.

Image

Mutualism are far more complicated than originally believed. Red-billed oxpeckers feed almost exclusively on what they can glean from the skin of the large mammals they choose to sit on. It is generally believed that hosts benefit through a reduction in tick load; but this theory has never been proved in the field. In actual tests oxpeckers significantly prolong the healing time of wounds and removed earwax, both unwanted events for a mammals'  health while the tick load remain constant!

Just a little way further I encountered a buffalo next to the road with hard evidence of an oxpecker targeting a wound for the blood it could obtain.

Image

Vampire extraordinaire?

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:24 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Awards: Birder of the Year (2014) & Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2415
Location: Bashing Balule
Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
By this time I had been along every road of the Malelane Gate Pentad at least once, and still three hours remained before I'd be allowed to book in at Berg en Dal. I decided to start the Berg en Dal Pentad with driving along the Matjulu Loop.

Image

As per the norm, if it was accepting of my presence and willing to pose, I shot it. The tawny-flanked Prinia is often too busy a subject for good photography, but this little fellow  must have had some gogga for breakfast that had a huge calming effect on his normally frantic behaviour.

Looking up a small movement caught my eye...

Image

One could immediately see this bird was not used to an audience, very inquisitively returning my interest. The African scops owl is the smallest of our owls, superbly camouflaged so that seeing one is often a surprise, considering how well they blend in with their environment.

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:44 am 
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Johan, what lovely pictures. :clap: :clap: :clap:

I just had to smile at your ''small movement''. :lol: :lol: :lol:

In Harry Wolhuter's book, he talks of the return of the Ox-peckers and how the animals had to get used to them again. Now I know why. :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:25 pm 
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Very interesting about the Oxpeckers not really cleaning the animals from ticks Johan! They sound like vampires! No wonder they keep the wounds open! :shock:

Lovely Tawny-flanked Prinia, and a cute little Scops Owl too! :clap: :clap:

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"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them." Dalai Lama


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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:35 pm 
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Thanks so much Johan,

I really enjoy your posts and pictures :thumbs_up: :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:30 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Thanks Johan for sharing your fantastic pictures.You realy had a wonderful time in Kruger.


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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:08 am 
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Awesome :cam: of all Johan :dance: :dance: .

Again one of those special trips with stunning bird sightings :clap: :clap: .

Thanks for sharing :thumbs_up: .

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 Post subject: Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:01 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Centurion
Precious little owl - just love the eyes! :D

Thanks for sharing your trip and stunning pics with us! :thumbs_up:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:


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