@Lionspoon - Have dozens of shots of that gorgeous Abdim model what a show-off
@wanderw - Lucky I have Earl - I'm the disorganised one
@Dreamer - I never got tired of the ground squirrels - Too adorable and always up to something different.
Here follows the next episode.
MONDAY 18 APRIL 2010 TWEE RIVIEREN TO MATA MATA
We left Twee Rivieren at half past seven and the first bird to greet us perched on the fence was the beautiful Swallow-tailed bee eater,
followed shortly thereafter by a yellow canary.
We continued to get sighting of these birds throughout the day but the latter were not too co-operative at photo shoots.
Earl claimed he saw a red-backed shrike, so common in Kruger and he knows it well but the rest of us dipped on it. Of course our usual favourites, scaly-feathered finch, white-browed sparrow-weavers and capped wheatear were always about and keen to have their portraits taken, but I won't post more of those today!
Then a black korhaan male was out for an early morning stroll and was clearly in a friendly mood because he posed and displayed for us beautifully
At 8:20 we got our first pygmy falcon of the trip
Don't you just love the checked tail?
These birds had us on a high and then two minutes later we came upon a KTP traffic jam – about four cars stopped on the side of the road about four kilometers before Houmoed waterhole.
“Wow, look at all the jackals,” said I. “That’s unusual to see so many together.” Then we saw why – about 100m from the road – A young lion on a wildebeest kill.
It was fresh so must have happened at sunrise or just before. How wonderful not to have to fight for position to see as although quite far from the road they were in the clear and there was plenty of room for everybody to park and see.
We then noticed a another feline - a young lioness was resting under a tree. The male continued to wrestle with the carcass, seeing off the bravest and cheekiest of the jackals. There must have been about 12 of them waiting for an opportunity to get their share. We watched as the lion dragged the carcass closer to his mate and then leave it some distance from where she was and then he went to join her. It was a thrill to see them interact and play with each other. The jackals stayed close but did not dare grab a morsel of the wildebeest for fear of consequences.
We were on our way to Mata Mata so could not spend too long fraternizing with our feline friends so after enjoying them for half an hour we moved on to Houmoed waterhole. We were thrilled to see our first surricates but they scampered off quickly so photographs were not great. Of course the Ground Squirrels were about too.
I tried to snap this PCG but he got tired of posing and decided to leave his perch – I’m rather pleased I snapped that second too late!
What we found most fascinating were the scores of Namaqua Sandgrouse that flew noisily down to the water to drink then without warning all took off again together, flew around and then returned. They would do this in rounds several time before all flying off to an unknown destination.
Switchback, in his trip report has a wonderful photograph of a wildebeest taking a sandbath. We saw thisbehaviour too but didn’t get a photograph. Great photo switchback – you’re more expert with your camera than I!
We stopped again at Auchtelonie Picnic Site for the traditional “Earlie” breakfast and once again the Abdim’s stork was visiting. But this time he just off the side steep hill leading to the pcinic site. We realized that he must be a regular here and has become quite tame.
Strangely we saw no other Abdims in the park at all and wondered if he was lost. Abdims do frequent the Kalahari after rain so it was not that odd for him to be there – but without friends?
At Montrose Waterhole there was a large herd of gemsbok resting under the trees but little else. We did see a tawny eagle flying overhead.
At Kanqua Waterhole the secretaries were having a coffee break.
This one was quite thirsty
One decided she needed to powder her nose and got carried away with a dust bath.
Thirteenth Waterhole had a huge herd of springbok and they sensibly were resting under trees too.
It was also great to see a lilac breasted roller – not as common here as in Kruger.
At Thirteenth we witnessed and interesting interaction between springbok and secretary birds. There were two or three springbok drinking when three or four secretary birds made their way to the drink too. One would think that these two creatures would not have a problem with each other but the springbok took exception to them drinking at his hole and gave them a hard time attempting to but them out of the way. It was really quite amusing but the sec birds held their own and slaked their thirst while ignoring the pesky buck.
At Fourteeth Waterhole we had fun observing the red-headed finches swarming down for quick sips of water then rapidly flying up to settle in a tree for a few minutes before swooping down for more refreshment. The do this, I think to make it extremely difficult for a lanner to catch them and for a photographer to snap them. A single shaft-tailed whydah made a brief appearance but disappeared before we could get a pic.
Swallow-tailed bee-eaters were about and we managed to get them immortalized but with great difficulty and the pics were not very good.=.
We arrived at Mata Mata at quarter to four, check in was smooth and we were given the keys for number 1. This family cottage was great – two bedrooms, a separate kitchen, bathroom and loo and hand basins in each bedroom. The ‘’lounge also had 2 beds so it would be suitable accommodation for 6 people.
We did not go out in the afternoon but enjoyed the birdlife in the camp and visited the shop because – oops – I’d left the onions, sweet potatoes and green avos in a drawer at Twee Rivieren. I reported it but needless to say I never saw my vegetables again
Well here is a warning to everyone – there is no fresh produce available at KTP shops. You can buy rice, smash and vegetables in cans. There is also a variety of canned picnic meats – ham, beef, tuna etc. You can buy long life milk – low fat and full cream – no fat free. Any amount of alcoholic beverage is available. Fresh fruit juices are unobtainable but you can get Just Juice, grapetizer, appletizer etc. Also any carbonated drinks and mineral water both still and sparkling.
Fresh eggs are available as well as sliced bread.