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 Post subject: Caracal 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP May 11
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:37 pm 
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An unexpected visit to the Park.

We had left Cape Town on the 15th April en route to Namibia. I had put together a trip of note consisting of 23 days touring Namibia. I had planned this for months and had done a fair amount of research on where to stay etc. But no matter how much planning you do some things can go wrong. The culprit…..RAIN. :twisted: We could not cross the border at Sendelingsdrift as planned because the pont was not in operation due to floods. Not a problem…I found somewhere to stay and we crossed into Namibia at Vioolsdrift. Our night at Sendelingsdrift was added onto the night that we already had booked at the end of the holiday…so we would still get our stay in Sendelingsdrift :dance: ..or so we thought. :doh:

Two days before we were due to arrive back at Sendelingsdrift we phoned the park to find out whether the pont was in operation. To our dismay it was not. Nevermind said Doug we will just cross at Vioolsdrift again.
Nooooooooooooo !!!!!!!!! Boring !! :twisted: I didn’t want to end our trip that way. With that Doug went to do some shopping while I stay in the car and it didn’t take me long to get out the map :hmz: …it didn’t take me long to formulate another option :clap: ….and it didn’t take me long to tell Doug of my wonderful plan. :whistle:
We can go home via KTP !!! :dance: First he was a bit dubious but I soon convinced him that we could camp at Mata Mata for night and Twee Rivieren for one night. Fine ..he said ..but you organise it. :rtm: I checked the bookings online and I could not believe what I was seeing :shock: …not one campsite at MM….not a chalet….nothing at Kalahari Tented Camp…just nothing available ! :cry: TR had a campsite for those two nights but we would never get through from our last stop in Namibia to Twee Rivieren before the gate closed. I was so disappointed but Doug suggested that we change our last stop in Namibia to somewhere closer to the park :dance: …but you organise it. :rtm: This is when I phoned Dreamer and in a matter of hours she had our 2 nights transferred from Sendelingsdrift to Twee Rivieren. :dance: Thank you Dreamer..you are a star !!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: In the meantime I had jumped back onto the internet and found the most wonderful place to stay before entering the park…155km’s from Mata Mata. We were sorted…and was I happy. :dance: I was not so sure how I was going to cope with only two days in the park though….actually 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs to be precise !!!! :big_eyes:

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17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:49 pm 
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As mentioned earlier we stayed at a wonderful place..a campsite perched right on top of a red dune. We were up early and watched the sunrise but we only left at 9h00...we wanted to enjoy the campsite for a little while.
But let me get to the nitty gritty of this report.
It seemed that we whizzed through the park….so I am going to make an effort to whizz through the report….

5 May
11.57.04


Approaching the border

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11.58.20

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11.59.02

Border Post..Good-bye Namibia. We had a wonderful time…we will be back. Just like everywhere we had been in Namibia the Border Officials were friendly and wished us well on the rest of our journey.

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12.10.44

Hello South Africa….mixed feelings here. We had experienced so much in Namibia. We had travelled over 6000km’s and Monty had not faltered once. We were about to enter South Africa safe and sound but not only that we were entering the KTP….OMW !!!!
Our holiday was not yet over .

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12.10.50

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:13 pm 
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It took us few minutes to check in. The Police asked Doug if they could please search Monty..routine procedure…but he was quite in awe of “Old Monty” I eventually reminded Doug that we needed to get to TR otherwise they would have yacked about Monty all day. There was no unleaded petrol at the station :shock: ...yes it happens but we had enough fuel to get us to TR. A quick look in the tree …but no owls at home. We hit the road….

12.31. 35

Gemsbok in distance..too far for photos

12.36.13

Spatterings of rain…I had seen so much rain in Namibia so I had no desire to try and get these raindrops on camera !!!

12.42.28

Well that didn't take long ..our first lion sighting. :dance:

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12.42.38
He was enjoying a good long drink from a puddle in the road

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12.44.04

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12.45.05

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He finished his drink and waddled off to a tree and lay down..he was gone from sight. We looked around for the kill but we could not see it anywhere..probably hidden in the long grass.

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:02 pm 
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We left the lion in peace

12.58.46

A huge herd of springbok in the distance..but no pronking just grazing so we moved on.

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13.02.21

What was that ?? Go back !! We had both spotted a strange looking bird…
I got Doug to take some ID photos

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13.03.07

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Seeing this bird was in the company of Cape Glossy Starlings I decided it was a leucistic Cape Glossy Starling.


13.14.47

A really grumpy Martial eagle..I guess the drizzling rain put him in a bad mood.

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13.47.13

Ah… a barn owl in a Sociable Weaver’s nest. I enjoyed this sighting very much because I had not seen a barn Owl during the day for a very long time. The owl was continuously watching the Sociable Weaver’s comings and goings...was one of them going to become dinner soon. We moved on….

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14.12.01
We arrived at the famous hyena den just north of Urikaruus. We were disappointed because nobody was at home. We spent a minute or two there but one could hardly see the den for the long grass nevermind if there was a hyena at home.
[clor=400000]14.14.24[/color]/[b]

Wait stop..a hyena ….

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[b][color=400000]14.15.17[/color]


And another with a cub next to her.

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[color=400000]14.16.36[/color]

The hyena was very interested in us and just stared and stared at us. She really is a beautiful hyena. Her coat looks in good condition and her face and the way she was looking at us was just too gorgeous. I still don’t understand why hyenas have such a bad name !!!

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[color=400000]14.16.48[/color]

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We were thrilled to see one (or maybe 2) tiny little black heads pop up every now and then. I was not able to catch them on camera though. We then worked out that the hyena mom and bigger cub were the ones we had seen in Dec and there was now another mom with possibly two cubs keeping her company. They had obviously abandoned the old den and set up house in a new den..literally just down the road.

Although the weather was miserable with brief drizzly showers we were having a wonderful time ….

[color=400000]14.33.13[/color]

Not everybody was as happy as us though...another raptor in a bad mood and sulking with his back to us. Not once did he even half turn around to look at us. We left this grumpy verreaux’s eagle Owl to his sulks and moved on.

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14.34.44


Oops but what is that on the horizon….a trip down the Auob is just not a trip without a Giraffe sighting. One lonely old soul making his way to goodness knows where….

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16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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Last edited by Caracal on Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:56 pm 
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Don’t you just love those moments when you know you have seen something…something really exciting and you just know that you are about to hit the jackpot. :dance:

I had one of those moments...I very quietly (for once) told Doug that he had to stop and reverse.
What???
Nothing..just reverse….
“Oh yes”..I said
Wind down window ..get camera…I thought I had plenty of time to get the photo I wanted but the next second all hell broke loose. By now I had told Doug what I had seen….

15.47.38

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15.47.40

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15.47.45

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Okay not the most amazing photos but at last we had experienced a cheetah kill.
What had happened was that my eye had caught a cheetah in stalk mode on the far side of the riverbed. I just knew what I had seen was not a log or a bush ..it was definitely a cheetah but I still wanted to be certain of my facts before I told Doug. He still cannot believe that I had spotted that cheetah….okay so I cannot read my birdbook without my specs but a cheetah on the far side of the riverbed I have no problem with at all!!! She was a fair distance away from 4 springbok having their afternoon nap in the river bed. I thought she would stalk a lot closer before she took off so I picked up my camera to get a “ before” photo. With that she took off and it was my natural instinct to hit the shutter even though I was not even looking through the camera. So I was watching her but at the same time following her with my camera……the springbok charged across the road in front of us and she caught the springbok just as he landed on the other side of the road….the last photo was taken through the windscreen…..
We were breathless … and the springbok was motionless… and the cheetah was panting heavily. It had taken all of 7 secs from the first to the third photo :big_eyes: …that springbok did not know what had hit it.. I was happy about that….I think if that springbok had flickered a hoof or twitched an ear I would not have been able to take the photos. This was one amazing cheetah...she had taken down a huge springbok ram with such precision.

And why I am so certain that the cheetah was a “she” ??? Well I sent pics of her off to Gus Mills and he told me that the cheetah was none other Casta. Nothing too special about that you may think but to me it was very special. Those of you that have read my previous trip reports will remember an awesome sighting that we had in July 2010. Just north of Urikaruus we came across three cheetah on a kill …not long afterwards a brown hyena appeared on the scene and stole the kill. The 3 cheetah were Casta and her two brothers.
In Feb this year we met up with Casta again ..after she had killed a springbok. Third time lucky...we actually watched Casta take down a springbok. I now have a special affinity for Casta..which is not good because if something should happen to her I know I am going to very sad! :cry:


Casta was exhausted…

15.47.53Image

She was constantly looking around her…was she scared a brown hyena would appear and steal the kill?

14.47.59

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As exhausted as she was she started dragging the springbok..she obviously needed to get it hidden. We were amazed at her sheer strength.

15.48.14.

She dragged the kill to the other side of the tree…and again she needed to rest.

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15.47.46

She kept her eye on us…..

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And she kept her eye on her surrounds.

15.50.40

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15.51.12

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15.51.14

Let me decide what I am going to do next. :hmz:

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17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:26 pm 
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Thanks all :D ..yes it was an amazing sighting :thumbs_up: ..and we were the only two people that saw the kill. A car or two joined us a little while later....

Quote:
Great experience and great pics and now come up with the rest of them


Okay two more that i had left out...

Image

Image

Why does Casta always have to pose behind a blade of grass or a bush !!!!

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:53 pm 
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15.51.44

She was intent on getting her kill to safety.

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15.52.57

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This was hard work indeed..drag…

16.01.26

Rest……

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16.08.49

She finally chose her bush and the springbok reached his final resting place

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16.09.29

She could not decide where to start eating….
Hind leg ……?

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16.18.08

No…..shoulder is tastier.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:24 pm 
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We decided to leave Casta happily munching her early supper under the bush. We also thought it fair to give the other cars a bit of a better view. Not forgetting that we had to get to TR before gate closing time. We had spent 31 mins with Casta…as you can imagine we were absolutely ecstatic with this sighting. :dance: It had taken more than 20 trips to the park for Doug and I to witness a cheetah kill. Doug had been teasing me a fair bit about the way I had coerced him into going home via the KTP. :naughty: As we left Casta behind I looked him right in the eye and said..
“Well now what do think of my plan to drive home through the KTP ! “:tongue:
A damn fine plan ! ...was the answer !!!! :clap:
And I had a damn fine smug look on my face !!!!!!! :whistle:

Just a note on the cheetah photos. It was very overcast and it was even drizzling with rain at one point. My shutter speeds were low so I upped my ISO to 640 and sometimes 800. It gave me a much faster shutter speed which enabled me to get more "in focus" photos….do not under estimate the power of ISO !!! A noisy photo is better than a blurry one….maybe one day (when I get clever :roll: ) I will be able to reduce the noise in the photos. :D

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:29 pm 
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Thanks again everybody... :D
Apologies again for tardy updates but I am battling so with this sanparks site....it has taken 15 mins to open this page.
I wonder if this episode will load or if it will time out...oh well here goes.

16.43.26

A quick stop to photograph some wildebeest.

Image

And then a quick stop at Auchterlonie. While up at Auchterlonie we saw a couple of cars parked in the road a little way down the riverbed. We wondered what they were looking at. :hmz:

16.40.18

We discovered what the cars were looking at …3 overstuffed lionesses…barely visible in the long grass. :shock:
The circled blob in the photo below is actually one of the lionesses. We noticed the remains of a gemsbok carcass on the right hand side of the road. Not sure why I did not take a photo of it because it was pretty close to the road. :hmz: There was also pretty much nothing left of it !!!!

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17.10.06

We continued ..I couldn't help but notice the difference in the scenery. Two months ago the grass was a beautiful green…now it was a golden yellow

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17.15 44

We could not help but notice the darkening skies . We guessed we were in for another storm but by now we were quite used to the storms. They had followed us all around Namibia. :roll: We were anxious to get our tent up before the storm hit though !!!!

Image

17.30 22

Oh heavens…the skies were getting darker..it was a race against the weather.

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17.45.10

We selected our campsite and Doug quickly got the tent up. I then climbed the ladder to do the finishing bits of the rooftop tent and that is when it happened…the heavens opened. :shock: The thunder and lightening raged….and I was stuck in the tent !!!! Doug yelled that I should come down and join him for a “sundowner” ( I think he meant “raindowner”) under the awning. I decided to stay put until the rain subsided. If I had tried to get out of the tent in that storm the inside of the tent would have got soaked. I was happy to lie flat on my back in the dark( apart for the lightening) reliving our cheetah sighting. :dance:

18h30

The rain subsided somewhat and Doug got the braai on the go.

21h10

We noticed that the clouds had disappeared somewhat…we even saw some stars glistening. :dance: We had been in the park for less 10 hours and we had seen so much …I wondered what the next day had in store for us.

21h30

Lights out…..night !

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17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:09 pm 
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Thanks again everybody.... :D

Time ticketh on ..so let me continue.

6 May 2011

6.15.00

Rise and shine breakfast time !!!!
Plus my usual early morning grumbles and mumbles. :twisted:

6.30.00

Tea …smiley face...grumbles beginning to sudside. :D

6.57.00

At the gate ready and waiting..probably about third in the queue. Big smiley face .... :D :D

7.01.00

Drive through the gate….luckily the cars that were in front of us took the Mata Mata turn off. :dance: We had decided to go to Leeudril first of all. But where were the animals? :shock:


7.48.58

First photo of the day...a Tawny eagle...quite far away. :roll:


Image

7.53.00

Sitting and enjoying the stillness and nothingness at Leeudril…one lonely Black-chested Prinia for company.

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This was the only sign of life at Leeudril…I kid you not. :shock:

8.46.31

We did not linger for long and backtracked to Samevloeiing ( which was just as devoid of all life :shock: ) and headed for the Auob riverbed.
Ah..what is that white blob in the distance….a Pygmy Falcon

Image

Too far away for a decent photo..grumble grumble grumble.

9.02.45

Stop …bird..another Pygmy..much closer..yay !!!!
They are such pretty little birds.

Image better pygmy

9.03.09

The Pygmy was joined by a Fork-tailed Drongo

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9.04.10
Oops ..wait there is Crimsom – breasted Shrike

Image

Of course he was not really into posing for me.

9.04.52

I turned my attention to a Marico Flycatcher

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9.05.47

I don’t think the Crimson –breasted Shrike enjoyed being put on ignore so he promptly came and posed right in front of me...well thank you !!!! :D

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I couldn't believe how many birds were flitting around in that one tree.

9.23.29

A few minutes along the road I spotted another little bird on top of a bush ( also far away)...a Kalahari Scrub-Robin

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Doug remarked that it would be good if I could spot something besides a bird. :roll:

9.27.04

Somewhere between Kamfersboom and Auchterlonie….I spotted movement on top of the ridge… :hmz:

Through the binoculars we worked out that there were two spotted hyena up on the ridge. Could they smell the gemsbok carcass that we had seen near Auchterlonie ???

Image

9.37.41

10 minutes later we came across the carcass and some very lazy lions accompanied it….3 males and 2 females. We suspect that there were possibly some more lions/lionesses hidden in the long grass somewhere.

Image lion

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:28 pm 
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09.41.31
These lions/lionesses looked quite settled for the day. Although there was not much meat left on the bones there was an awful lot of licking, slurping and sucking of the bones going on.

Image

09.44.57

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09.48.17

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9.48.55

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9.48.56

Image

We left the lions in peace (with all the other cars :roll: ) and moved on north. Our plan was to head onto Gemsbokplein where we were hoping to see Casta with the remains of her kill.

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:23 pm 
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Unfortunately there was absolutely no sign of Casta or the remains of the kill. Not a jackal nor a vulture :shock: …there was no sign of any kill having taken place the day before. :shock: We hoped that maybe she had stashed the kill away and we could not see it...we will never know. A bit disappointed we turned around and headed back to camp.

10.23.27

But this little bird cheered me up some what….

Image

10.50.35

Back at the gemsbok carcass. The lions had all moved off to the far side of the riverbed..obviously they were finally full and done with the carcass.

Image

11.07.54

I noticed a bird soaring high in the sky. A Black-Chested Snake Eagle. Strangely on this trip it was the smaller birds presenting themselves more so than the raptors.

Image

11.13.17

Another Marico Flycatcher presented itself...apologies I cannot resist photographing them :D

Image

11.13.46

There were many Scaly–feathered Finches around but they hardly ever sit still for a photo. Needless to say I was quite happy with the following pic… quite a grumpy little fellow though !!!

Image

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:23 pm 
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Thank you Anne-marie, Micetta, Kamadejo and Foxy :D :D

It seems it was turning into a great morning for birds..... :clap:

11.14.53

A secretary bird enjoying a leisurely drink of water

Image

11.15.17

OMW :big_eyes: …not sure what he was looking for ?????? :wink:

Image

11.25.48

And another Pygmy ...... :clap:

Image

11.32.00

And my last photo on our morning drive was that of a meerkat. There were plenty of them running around but on the far side of the riverbed so I did not really bother to take photos . …..but when this chap jumped up on the rocky outcrop I could not resist picking up the camera !!!! :D

Image

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:30 pm 
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We had some lunch when we got back to camp….and I did the necessary downloading of photos. As you can imagine I had hordes of photos by now :big_eyes: ….22 days of travelling around does make for many photographic opportunities. :dance:

We were ready to go out on our afternoon drive by 15h00.

We took a slow drive to Samevloeiing…and guess what ? We didn’t see anything. :shock: Anyway I still enjoy the nothingness of Samevloeiing. :D A springbok or two would have been good…..but when I mean “nothingness” that is what I mean…nothing ..nil…zilch…. :shock:
We headed over the dune road where more “nothingness” awaited us. :D

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 Post subject: Re: 47 hrs 45 mins and 24 secs in the KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:33 pm 
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Ah…at .....

15.44.11

We happened upon a photographic opportunity :dance: ..... in the form of a Northern Quilled Korhaan. :wink: Well ..you have to agree that they are mighty fine looking birds. I kind of ignored Doug’s comment…” you must have thousands of korhaan photos by now” and fired away regardless. I probably have thousands and ten korhaan photos now….. :tongue:

Image

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Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Stampajane at 08:14:07 Submitted by SGM at 11:30:25 Submitted by grannyb at 11:20:30 Submitted by grannyb at 10:29:12