Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 1
 [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 2:43 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: Cape Town
Well it has been a week since returning from KTP! After much deliberation we decided to take the Caravelle with its space and comfort rather than the sturdier Hi Lux and although the shaking up has caused a few minor problems we're glad we did. On the top of our wish-list for the past several years has been Caracal. Many people claim to have had wonderful sightings and we heard that KTP was a good place to find them. BUT we'd been once before withouth spotting even an ear so we wondered - "Do they even exist?" Perhaps the caracal is a bit like the abomniable snowman - just rumour or a myth!
But never mind - the other animals and specially the birds are very rewarding and the search is half the fun! So here follows Day 1 and 2 of our travel report.

THURSDAY 15 APRIL 2010
All the organizing and preparations were done. Earl and I packed the car last night and set the alarm was set for 3 a.m. I hardly slept for excitement and the last time I looked at the clock it was 2 a.m. I must have dozed off because at the sound of my cell I shut it off thinking it was the alarm. But it was Heather checking to see that I was awake. I reassured her with an sms. By 4 we were at her house and within minutes we were off. The day was overcast and cool and the trip continued to be pleasant all the way to Kalahari Guest House. We stopped at the top of the pass and ate our packed breakfast. The view was stunning but the picnic site was in a state of disrepair!
The only other stops were to refuel, stretch legs and go to the loo. We arrived at Kalahari Guesthouse at 2 o’clock. Our accommodation was lovely – everything clean and neat Earl and I in a double room with bathroom and Heather in her own suite. It was hot and after our long drive and we were tired and hungry. Riana brought us a refreshing tray of tea and biscuits and we then had a nap before taking a walk on the farm. Paul has marked out a lovely bird route that ends at a hide overlooking the river where we observed a number of water birds including South African Shelduck.
We could have self-catered, as there was a kitchen and living area too. But we ordered dinner with our hosts and Riana cooked us a wonderful meal – starter – delicious mushroom soup and salad followed by roast lamb, roast chicken and all the delectable trimmings. The perfect finish was a decadent chocolate desert served with a scoop of ice-cream.
FRIDAY 16 APRIL
We left K.G.H. at 7 with a packed breakfast from Riana. At about 8:30 we stopped at a roadside picnic site to have coffee.
We arrived at the newly renovated Twee Rivieren at 10 o’clock checked in and then went straight out for a drive, as our cottage (number 2) would only be ready at 12.
What would we see first? Earl said Springbok, Heather – gemsbok. I forever the optimist said –“Cheetah”
Ha – well it was Ground Squirrel, which continued to intrigue and amuse us several times during the entire trip. How cute they are!
Image
Following that, we did see a good number of gemsbok and springbok – but sadly no cheetah!
Image
Although there were herds of animals we were intrigued to see springbok, gemsbok and wildebeest dotted singly under trees or out in the open grazing alone. Had they been expelled, or voluntarily chosen the single lifestyle?
We often noticed a mixing of these lonely species like these two at the waterhole.
Image
Being the bird enthusiasts that we are we were constantly on the lookout for interesting feathered friends and were delighted to find many of the species we don’t see back in the Western Cape.
Image
White-browed sparrow-weavers were everywhere – and as usual foxed us for the first few seconds every time we saw them. The darling little scaly-feathered finches had us oohing and aahing too and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of these tiny birds with the cutest ‘old man’ faces in neat bow ties.
Image
The fly -catchers – well – what confusing birds but we managed to distinguish the spotted from the chat from the Marico.
Image
The beautiful capped wheat-ear was constantly seeking attention and gave us many opportunities to photograph him in flattering poses.
Image
The sociable weavers never fail to fascinate. And their nests boggle their mind. How do these tiny birds construct such condominiums? Even the Pygmy falcons think they’re worth renting but although we examined the entrances for white-wash we didn’t find any evidence of tenants. Perhaps it’s the wrong time of year.
Image
While gazing at of these structures though, we did see an unwelcome intruder – a cobra in search of a meal!
Image
I don’t think these owners of the block will be happy to see crime in their area!
Image
Near Houmoed water hole we got our first Kori Bustard of the trip.
Image
Nearby we decided to take a detour to a view point. S.O. wanted to go straight back down again but we persuaded him to do a loop. It was a good choice because we saw the hard to spot Temminck’s Courser and although they run at a rapid speed making photography difficult we managed to get some reasonable shots.
Image
At 12:50 it was time to turn and retrace our route. At Monro Waterhole we got our first Secretary Bird – an absolute favourite of mine.
Image
We arrived back at T.R. and picked up our key to the cottage. A strange set up – two beds in the kitchen and 2 in the bedroom which leads off from the former. And then the bathroom and loo lead off from the bedroom. But it was comfortable and we were delighted to be there.
After unpacking and a snack we set off for another brief drive.
I like this pic of the immature Pale Chanting Goshawk – they were everywhere.
Image
The highlight was a Northern Black Korhaan female and I was delighted to get this poor photograph. (Watch this spot for better ones later in the trip!)
Image
We were delighted at our first day’s list and it looked like we were going to have our work cut out identifying the confusing larks and pipits! This one for example , we decided must be a long-billed pipit – What do the experts think?
Image
And can anyone identify this cute reptile?
Image

_________________
Taking the Kids to Kruger


Last edited by Puppy on Sun May 02, 2010 2:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 12:13 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: Cape Town
Thanks for turning the page folks.
@Arks - I will remember to post my mysteries on the bird forum. and I agree - the KTP park map is indeed excellent!
Here follows the next episode.
SATURDAY 17 APRIL 2010
Today started badly. We woke up late and rushed to get the snacks and juices packed and in my hurry to get out there I forgot my jersey. Now yesterday had been hot but today looked threatening. Earl insisted that I would not need any extra warmth and continued to the gate to collect our permit. But then I noticed that we’d also forgotten to pack the cool bag of drinks so we had to go back anyway. I rushed inside and omigosh – we hadn’t locked up! (I can hear the young mites laughing!) I think it was I who was the last one out so I felt very foolish and guess what – I still forgot to grab my jersey! We saw the usual springbok, wildebeest and springbok and I love Earl’s photo of the forest of horns.
Image
Image
Our first bird was a Jackal Buzzard but not good enough for a photograph. A Northern Black Korhaan disappeared into the bush so didn’t give us a photograph either.
At 10 past 8 it started to rain and the temperature dropped. Luckily, Earl (SO) had left two jackets in the car so I didn’t suffer cold after all! The wet weather gave us some different photo opportunities.
A wet Pale Chanting
Image
Then the weather must have got to this lanner and a greater kestrel because they chased each other from tree to tree for some time.
Image
Image
It was very quiet and there were few special sightings which I guess was due to the weather. The rain stopped after 20 minutes but a chill wind blew and it didn’t warm up till much later in the day. This was the coldest day we experienced in the park.
We stopped for breakfast at Auchterlonie and for the first time Earl could use his new toy! As there are no skottels for hire like in Kruger he decided to buy a portable gas stove that is packed in a neat plastic carrier case. Because it is square with the cylinder connected flat on the side, it cannot tip over. We got ours at Christie’s Sports in Diep River, Cape Town.
Image
It was cold at the picnic site and I was ever so grateful for Earl’s jacket. After a warming and satisfying breakfast of scrambled eggs, tomato, bacon and banana on toast we were off in search of birds again.
But as we were leaving we had an unusual visitor to the picnic site – an Abdim’s stork who posed obligingly for many photographs. I thought this one was kinda cute.
Image
Other interesting sightings of the day were
Crimson-breasted shrike
Image
Familiar Chat
Image
Chat Fly-catcher
Image
The ever-present ground squirrels - just love this family portrait
Image
And this guy emerging from his hole
Image
Female Namaqua Dove
Image
Steenbok
Image
Springbok going head to head
Image
Sociable Weaver
Image
Ostrich family
Image
The animals and birds did not seem to take kindly to the funny weather today but we enjoyed seeing what we did. The scenery is great, the animals are interesting and we were just happy to be in KTP!

_________________
Taking the Kids to Kruger


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 2:08 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: Cape Town
@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,
Image
followed shortly thereafter by a yellow canary.
Image
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
Image

Image

At 8:20 we got our first pygmy falcon of the trip
Image
Don't you just love the checked tail?
Image
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.
Image
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.
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

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!
Image
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.
Image
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.
Image
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.
Image
This one was quite thirsty
Image

One decided she needed to powder her nose and got carried away with a dust bath.
Image
Thirteenth Waterhole had a huge herd of springbok and they sensibly were resting under trees too.
Image
It was also great to see a lilac breasted roller – not as common here as in Kruger.
Image
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.
Image
Image
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.

_________________
Taking the Kids to Kruger


Last edited by Puppy on Wed May 05, 2010 3:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 12:09 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: Cape Town
Thanks all for reading and commenting.
Here follows Day 4

MONDAY 19 APRIL 2010
Our first bird this morning was a white backed vulture – far away at the top of a tree so no photo. Soon after the cute little pygmy falcons and a kestrel chasing a lilac breasted roller! Impossible to imortalise but we enjoyed watching them.
We continued to see the usual chats, flycatchers, capped wheatears and sparrow-weavers but nothing exciting turned up for a few hours.
At Sitsas Waterhole there was quite a bit of activity with red hartebeest, Springbok and Gemsbok hanging out together. A pale changing goshawk displayed strange behavior by pulling bark off the branch he was sitting on. I guess he was looking for insects.
Image
Then we had an unusual sighting. A Volkswagen drew up next to us and asked what we could see in the tree. We told him it was a PCG and then Heather said, “Aren’t you Burger Cellié?” He nodded. She’d recognized him from his photo on the back of The Raptor Guide of Southern Africa which he co-authored with Ulrich Oberprieler. And that’s how I got two books by said author autographed in the Kgalagadi! (The other one is The Bird Guide of Southern Africa.) Both are photographic guides and are excellent. I never leave home without them.
Our second snake of the trip was this guy. I have no idea what he is – must really get a reptile field guide.
Image
We arrived at Craig Lockhart Waterhole at quarter to twelve and spent almost an hour there. It was fascinating watching namaqua dove, red-headed finch and lark-like buntings swoop down to drink then take off again at high speed. A lanner made a brief appearance but must have thought the effort of hunting these hyper-active birds was just not worth it – or he’d already eaten!
Image
After the birds had flown off as quickly as they’d arrived the mammals got a chance at the waterhole. There seems to be some sort of hierarchy among species as well as within their own because we noticed that while the gemsbok drank the red hartebeest kept away and the springbok seemed to be at the bottom of the pile.
Image
One hartebeest ‘skrikked when a gemsbok came too close to him and almost collided with his friend.
Image
Finally peace and a shared drink
Image

Two lovely birds we met on our travels.
Lilac breasted roller
Image
and juvenile swallow-tailed bee-eater
Image
At Dalkeith we once again spent time watching bird activity
- two male namaqua doves
Image
These guys had us foxed and we argued over whether they were pink billed larks or lark-like buntings
Image
Before we made up our minds when a car stopped to tell us there were cheetahs near 13th Waterhole. We stopped arguing about larks and headed straight there. (Later we decided they were lark-like buntings)
We saw nothing but Springbok and a man with a huge lense at 13th and asked him where the cheetah were. He grumpily waved us on in the right direction. He’d obviously had his fill of the super fast predator.
The 6 to 8 cars marked the spot and one could park just about anywhere and get a good view. There were three - maybe a mom and two almost grown cubs. They were resting resting under a tree quite far from the road but we were happy with the good views we had. They did not just lie there and sleep but got up and walked around and at one time we thought a hunt might occur – but we were not so lucky. None had collars – so not sure who they were.
Image
Image
After an hour we really needed to move on to Kamqua for a loo break.
En route there and back we saw yellow-billed hornbills,
Image
a rock kestrel beautifully perched in a tree
Image
and a black chested snake eagle flying overhead. I desperately wanted a photograph of one in a tree but when I did see him he flew before I could click. More about my quest for the perfect snake-eagle later!
Very little happened on our return. The cheetahs were still there and we watched for a while but then time insisted we move on. We saw a family of giraffe some way off so only a pic of the youngster here.
Image

_________________
Taking the Kids to Kruger


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 8:33 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: Cape Town
DAY 5 TUESDAY 21 APRIL 2010 MATA MATA TO NOSSOB
We were packed up and ready to go just at gate opening time. It was chilly and we needed our jerseys and I had a knee rug for extra cosiness.
First up near 13th waterhole were giraffes – about 8 or so.
Image

Image

Image

We were cruising slowly toward 13th when I yelled stop – owls. Earl reversed back and well-hidden deep in a thorn tree were two sleeping white-faced scops owls. Photography was difficult but we managed to get one or two good shots.
Image
When one opened his eyes he hid his face!
Image
After spending some time with them we moved on to 13th where we met Norma and her friend whose name now escapes me. :wall: We knew they were keen on birds so took them back to the owl tree. Before they turned around they told another couple and they too followed to the spot!
About 10km past 13th we came upon the same group of cheetahs seen yesterday. Lots of jackals were about and it looked like they were finishing off a meal. They were quite far away so pics not too great.
Image

Image

This cute juvenile marico caught our attention.
Image
At 10 o’clock we stopped for breakfast at Kamqa Picnic site – it was quite windy and cold but we found a sheltered table.
Image
My elusive Black-breasted snake eagle flew over us and I managed to get him in the air but oh how I longed for him to be in a tree!
Image
At a waterhole we met a mother and daughter in a CY car and stopped to chat. It turned out that they were in a borrowed 4X4 and not from Belville at all. They lived right in our area and the daughter Mia was at school with our Lauren! Small world.
Just as we came over the crest of a hill, Earl slammed on breaks and said, “Look behind” – Slithering slowly across the road was a cobra. Heather managed to get some shots. Earl did not want to reverse as it would be difficult for a following car to see us just below the crest of the hill.
Image
At lunchtime we stopped at Dikbaardskolk picnic site and met up with Switchback, SO and Friends! (Caught up to you Switchback!)
The residents here are friendly - if there are no snakes to disturb them! This yellow mongoose was chilling in the sun - probably after his ordeal with Switchback's puffie! (See his trip report on this forum)
Image
This Kalahari scrub-robin was not at all shy.
Image
Having a snack
Image

Just before arriving at Nossob we got these two at the top of a tree.
Image
Check in was smooth and painless. But directions to our chalet – 11b were somewhat vague but we finally found it on the top of a rise with a stunning view across the camp. The neighbours were sweet but kept appearing to beg for scraps. So hard to resist but wild things must fend for themselves!
After unpacking Heather and I checked out the hide and spent about an hour enjoying the little things – rufous vented titbabbler flitted in a tree in front of our eyes but never sat still enough for a photo.
However, the drongo said – forget about him – I’m a handsome chap – take me.
Image
A jackal obliged with a pic of himself having an sundowner and a wood sandpiper strutted about proudly in the puddles.
Image
Image

We also watched some raptors flying high overhead, and identified two tawnies. But they were too far for a photograph.

_________________
Taking the Kids to Kruger


Last edited by Puppy on Sat May 08, 2010 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 10:13 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: Cape Town
DAY 6 21 APRIL 2010 NOSSOB
Our first sighting this morning on our way to do Marie se pad was this bold fellow walking toward us on the road. He had no intention of shooting off into the bush and obligingly spent some time with us.
Image

Image
Our first bird was superb for so early in the morning – a special in Kgalagadi – a red-necked falcon.
Image

Image

Not long after we saw a strange looking raptor way across the terrain perched peacefully in a tree. The light was bad and we could barely make out what it was. But we all have good binoculars and after consulting books and debating among ourselves there was only one bird it could be – A palm-nut vulture. We were thrilled and snapped away for memory shots thinking we would be unlikely to see one again for many years. Heather knew the bird well but Earl and I had only had one sighting of this bird many years ago.
(Edit - It turns out with the help of forumites that this bird is actually a pale form tawny)
Image
Kori bustards are everywhere in Kgalagadi but I could not resist putting this one in. He had been very busy stamping about the countryside and came up nice and close because the grass was giving him some protection.
Image
This lark, I am convinced is a fawn-coloured lark – but I could be seriously wrong – all larks look the same!
Image
Image
I was looking in the bird book puzzling over said lark when Earl stopped and said – look at this strange cat! OMIGOSH – It wasn’t a lion – it wasn’t an African wild cat. Right there on the side of the road – well-camouflaged in the straw-coloured long dry grass was the creature we’ve been seeking on every game park trip – A CARACAL! :big_eyes: It does exist. :shock: :dance:
Image
It was 10:30 and we were 5km from Nossob. He stood stock still and stared at us for quite some time. Then somebody else came by and we pointed him out. They looked until he started moving then drove off. We had him to ourselves again and followed him until this was the last we saw.
Image
WOW – That was surely the highlight of the whole trip – a caracal at last!
We returned to Nossob for breakfast and chatted to our neighbours.
Image
And then went out again straight after, deciding to see how far north we could get. The roads were quite good but the sightings were sparse. However, what we did see was interesting Juvenile Martial
(Once again we mis diagnosed - this is a pale form tawny!)
[Oimg]http://i43.tinypic.com/219qk21.jpg[/img]
And believe it or not –Palm-nut vulture, giving us a better photo opportunity than the one we saw early this morning but still a tad far for perfection. This one was in the shade of a tree near Cubitje Quap.
(You guessed it - pale form tawny!)
Image

Image

This rufous-eared warbler was very obliging
Image

Image

We also saw cinnamon breasted bunting and common scimitarbill but they would not pose for portraits.
The problem with travelling in this direction is that one runs out of picnic sites and ablutions – so with the car door for our only protection we took turns to do the unthinkable, near Bedinkt Waterhole. But oooh what a relief when it was all safely accomplished without a predator coming to investigate!
Of course we saw the usual beautiful gemsbok, springbok, wildebeest and steenbok from time to time but no cats. But this morning’s caracal had us on a high that we still haven’t come down from.
A bird that for me is iconic in the arid regions is Namaqua sandgrouse and although we’d seen hundreds at the water holes we hadn’t yet had a close encounter with them until travelling back on the dune road we found 2 males and 2 females. They were on the road but quickly scurried for cover in the dune grass.
Image
Male
Image
Female
Image
We could not believe that we saw yet another palm-nut vulture at about 5 o’clock when the light was fading! No pics this time. (Must have bveen a pale form tawny!)
We also got bat-eared foxes but too far for a pic.
Here are some pics of some of the more common birds we saw during the day.
Scaly feathered finch
Image
Pale Chanting Goshawk
Image
Glossy Starling
Image
Common Fiscal
Image
And some of the beautiful wild flowers
Image

Image

_________________
Taking the Kids to Kruger


Last edited by Puppy on Sun May 09, 2010 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 9:04 am 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 9:34 pm
Posts: 995
Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
WOW! Great report! A Caracal!!! :clap: :clap: Also loved your jackal and birds. :thumbs_up: Also a lovely Red Necked Falcon sighting!

Your first Palm Nut Vulture - I think it is a moulting juvie Tawny - Beak too small for PNV. (we saw a similar bird on a previous KTP visit and were stumped, so we sent off the pic to the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute at UCT and they IDed it as a tawny)
Your juvie martial - I think it is a pale Tawny. (pale Tawnies are quite common in KTP)
2nd Palm Nut Vulture - again I think it is a moulting juvie Tawny. Although the beak looks thicker this time, not thick enough, and stance of the bird is more upright - like a Tawny.
(You can also post the pix on the Bird forum (Raptor ID)and ask the experts)

_________________
Kgalagadi Leopard Identification Guide and Sightings Form
http://www.ast.uct.ac.za/~schurch/leopards/

F2/2014


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 9:18 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:17 pm
Posts: 19021
Caracal!!! :dance: One of the very few that kept hiding from us on our trip. :roll: Glad you found it though. :thumbs_up:

Although not being an expert birder by any means, I agree with wanderw on the ID of the vulture and the martial. I have similar pics to yours and thought that the beak of the raptor doesn't fit the bill for a vulture. Also, palm-nut vultures seem to have less colouring around their eyes.

As for the other raptor, the yellowish streak around the beak points more to a tawny than a martial. As do the eyes.

I always thought, raptors are easier to ID then the smaller birds, but I kept gnashing my teeth and pulling my hair out over them. :doh:

_________________
Summer 2014 - Oz! :D

Mobile Webcam Project: Done!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 10:50 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:51 am
Posts: 3
I tend to agree with Lionspoon and Wanderw on the ID of the palm nut vulture and juv Martial Eagle....all three look like Tawny Eagles.

First Pic is a Moulting sub-adult as are pics 3/4
Second pic looks like a Pale Tawny I agree

Adult Palm Nut vultures are a definite black and white with yellow eyes and red skin around the eyes whereas the juveniles are dark brown with dark brown eyes.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 7:12 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: Cape Town
DAY 6 22 APRIL 2010 NOSSOB TO TWEE RIVIEREN
Sadly, I am nearing the end of my trip report and writing it has been almost as good as being there as it brings home all those happy memories! It was chilly again in the early morning as we packed to make the long trek to T.R. At Kasper se draai waterhole we once again watched larks, sandgrouse and red-headed finches do their morning ablutions and take on some liquid in preparation for a warm day.
Soon after we saw this lovely lanner falcon – at last he sat still for a decent photograph.
Image
Image
Our breakfast stop at quarter to ten was at Dikbaardskolk and we enjoyed our hosts the yellow mongoose, ground squirrels and various birds.
Image
Image
Soon after leaving the picnic site we stopped to admire yet another kori bustard
Image
And then my wish came true. Since day 1 of the trip I had my heart set on a Black-chested snake-eagle in a tree and there before me was the ultimate of BCSEs. The light was great and the bird sat still! We must have snapped a hundred each but I'll show you just these.
Image

Image

Image
The sightings for the rest of the trip were great and as birders we always enjoy the feathered friends. Here is a greater kestrel that also decided that he’d give us a photo shoot.
Image

Image
We stopped at Auchterlonie at 2 o’clock and got lovely pics of spike-heeled larks.
Image

Image
At the waterhole a pair of ostrich parents were trying to control their unruly chicks.
Image

Image
This ant-eating chat was there too and posed for a portrait.
Image
And the chat fly-catcher always obliges
Image
And just past Monro waterhole the iconic suricates bade us farewell.
Image

Image
We arrived at T.R. at 4 o’clock and checked into the bungalow next to the one we had on our first two nights. It was as yet unoccupied and Heather slipped in to see if our forgotten vegetables were still there – no luck!
Heather and I went for a walk around the camp and came across this interesting little bird. I think it is a non-breeding black-chested prinia. His black chest is barely visible.
Image
Sunset at Twee Rivieren
Image
We decided that we would spoil ourselves and later that evening we went to the restaurant for dinner. It was delightful and although we prefer self-catering this place is worth a try. The food was delicious – We all had venison pie and it was served with vegetables and a choice of chips, rice or potato.
And thus ended our last day in the Kgalagadi. But my report is not yet ended as we spent the next two days at Augrabies and I will share that with you next time.

_________________
Taking the Kids to Kruger


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:40 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: Cape Town
23 APRIL 2010 TO 25 APRIL 2010
AUGRABIES FALLS NATIONAL PARK
We were packed and ready to go by 7 o’clock and as Twee Rivieren is at the entrance/exit gate we didn’t even have a last few hours to savour the last few moments before departure. However, we took one last sky shot.
Image
But the good news was that we were headed for Augrabies and we were all looking forward to that. Earl and I were there 15 years ago but it was Heather’s first visit. She has had it on her list of things to do since she was 23 years old!
Our trip there was lovely as we spotted a number of interesting birds and stopped for coffee and at one of those picnic tables at the side of the road. It was freezing, however, so after pouring coffee we sat inside the car to drink it.
What I found a bit disturbing was the number of bat-eared fox road-kill we saw. I stopped counting after twelve.
We shopped for supplies in Uppington - remember the forgotten vegetables at T.R. – our plan being to spend one night at AFNP.
On arrival I handed my documents inn and was then greeted with a strange look from the clerk. Ahem – you should have been here yesterday. What! Uh oh – I had booked telephonically and when I got my papers I did not check the dates and Sanparks had booked me into Augrabies and Twee Rivieren on the same night! My fault, I know for taking it all for granted.
As luck would have it they had not marked me as “no show’ so no penalty was charged – and they still had accommodation. After half an hour sense reigned and we decided we would like to stay an extra night so raced back to reception to see if it were possible. We were in luck again but had to ‘down-grade to accommodation with only one bathroom – Did we care? Not at all! The chalet was lovely. The accommodation at AFNP is ‘upmarket’ – well to us plebs it certainly was. The kitchen was well-equipped and had everything that opened and shut. The bedrooms were cosy and the plumbing was excellent. We were right next to the restaurant and we had a great view towards the river. Birdlife was prolific and kept us entertained as we sat on our stoep or walked around the gardens. It was a lovely place to end our holiday.
Image
Image
Heather was impatient to see the falls so after rapidly unpacking we took a walk to see where all the noise was coming from. Because of all the heavy rains the falls were pretty spectacular – but not as wonderful as after the recent storms. Lots of pics have appeared on this forum so I'm just going to put two of them up here.
Image
This beautiful rainbow nation lizard was sunning himself on the rocks. There were lot of his friends about too.
Image
During the two days that we spent we drove into the game area twice. The scenery is magnificent but we were disappointed not to see too much wild life. These are the critters we did find.
Each time we crossed the river we found this little chap fishing for his supper. We were lucky that he stayed around for a comprehensive photot shoot. Earl got the best shots.
Image
Augrabies is well known for its klipspringers.
Image
This one was enjoying a relaxing time in the sun.
Image
Giraffe are my favourite animals and we found them being interesting here.
Image
Bending down is such a mission
Image
He makes this look so delicious
Image
Typically seen all over Augrabies.
Image
Rock Hyrax in a tree.
Image
The birdlife in camp kept us entertained for hours. There was a leaking pipe outside our cottage which attracted the feathered ones all day long although it was only a trickle.
Red-eyed bul bul and Orange River white-eye sharing a drink.
Image
Walking around camp in the early morning and late afternoon we got a good variety of photographic opportunities.
Laughing dove with berry.
Image
Pale-winged starling with a bit of nesting material in his beak.
Image
A starling coming in to land showing why he is called a pale winged starling.
Image
Comfortably settled.
Image
A red-eyed bul-bul all puffed up against the chill.
Image
Another catching some rays.
Image
These brown-throated martins also soaked up the morning sun
Image
This one had a lot to say
Image
Earl go the windows in the tail.
Image
A pretty Orange River White-eye
Image
And a dusky sunbird
Image
More to follow later

_________________
Taking the Kids to Kruger


Last edited by Puppy on Thu May 13, 2010 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Caravelle in search of Caracal in KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 5:49 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: Cape Town
Augrabies Continued
I am on a mission to get the perfect Cape Robin. They are so pretty but just not photogenic. Earl got me a reasonalbe one.
Image
The white-throated canary is dull except for the yellow patch on his back - seen clearly when he flies. This chap is showing his off nicely for the photographer.
Image
The acacia pied barbet was obliging
Image
On our last walk around the campsite Heather and I became separated from Earl and as luck would have it he saw something special. He tried to call me on my cell but I did not hear the call. He eventually found us and took us to show us his special bird. But it had gone. This is what we dipped on! :cry:
Image
But I was thrilled that Earl at least saw the Pearl spotted owlet and he got the :cam:
On our last night we decided to eat at the restaurant – we hadn’t bought enough vegetables for our extra night and were not up to having rice or smash! We settled down at an outdoor table and just after we put in our order a couple came to sit at the table next to ours. The man looked vaguely familiar and when I glanced at his wife I realised they matched and that I did indeed know them both.
Hullo,” I said before his name, dropped into my head. He looked at me vaguely and greeted back without recognition.
“You know me,” I said – still the name hadn’t registered.
“Helen!” said the wife.
Robbie grinned broadly – then the names came. “Hullo, Robbie. Hullo Marryl.”
They were old friends we hadn’t seen for about three years so it was a happy reunion. They no longer live in Cape Town having retired to Mossel Bay. Earl had stepped away to make a cell phone call and was thrilled when he came back to find his old friends at our table. We had a superb evening catching up. They were on their way to Kgalagadi.
After a delicious dinner we decided to order dessert but (and here I have one minor complaint about the restaurant) – we were told that the kitchen was closed! Oh my! Well, luckily we had still had a couple of tins of peaches and ideal milk we’d been carrying around for days so we all ended up at our chalet for dessert and coffee.
The next morning we reluctantly packed up and set off for home. We have an extended family so expected to be greeted by rowdy grandsons full of questions about where we had been – instead there was silence and the only greeting we received was a meow from the cat. We checked the cupboards – but no all their clothes were still there – they hadn’t left home and returned some hours later bursting to tell us of the fun they’d had at Ratanga Junction!

_________________
Taking the Kids to Kruger


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 12 posts ] 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Jurie van Vuuren at 12:26:03 Submitted by Trudie at 17:40:30 Submitted by Trudie at 16:36:57 Submitted by grannyb at 17:57:00