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 Post subject: Bush Baptist Barcud&BB in KTP 2011–A promise fulfilled.Dec12
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:40 pm 
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During previous forum dealings, Barcud offered that if I was ever in North Wales, he would take me birding there. In August 2010 I visited my children in the UK and took him up on the offer. We had a great 2 days and I saw 94 species and some stunning scenery.

I offered to take him to Kgalagadi ‘some day’ and when the forum Nossob eco trail came up, I contacted him and plans unfolded. The rest is now history that we will share on this thread. I had also been discussing it with a work colleague, and ‘owed’ a trip to my son’s father in law, so the 4 of us did the trip.

The modus operandi will be that I will write some text and Barcud will post some pics and fill in where I have omitted something.

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Last edited by Bush Baptist on Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:25 pm 
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I'll beat you to it for the start BB, then I'll let you take the lead if you don't mind :lol:

Feel free to add to the bits below :thumbs_up:

So, after an uneventful flight South to Cape Town, I was introduced to BB's family and got on really well from the outset....

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:roll:

We birded the environs around Cape Town where I could get snapshots of the local hills....

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Afterintroductions to the intrepid team, we loaded up the bakkie ready for the trip North....

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The scenery was impressive to say the least. The birding wasn't bad either with Steppe Buzzards, Yellow-billed and Black-shouldered Kites keeping me happy whilst we still had light.

On the pass up we stopped to admire the sunset - a wow moment for me after the grey of the UK Winter I'd just left behind.

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We arrived at TR in darkness and it was not long before Switchback joined us. We chatted, listened to the Nightjars and watched as Barn Owls hunted the verges nearby.

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Eventually the light gathered and we were ready for out adventures in KTP....

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I wondered what we would experience on this trip..........

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:49 am 
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Saturday – 2R to Nossob.

Barcud, Right Said, BIL and I set off from Cape Town at about 15h00 on Friday afternoon, and took it relatively easily to KTP, stopping regularly for refreshments, pit stops and driver changes. The trip up was punctuated by bird sightings as Barcud said, until darkness surrounded us just past the impressive Van Ryn’s pass.

We stopped to refuel and collect water in Upington, and the excitement mounted as we drove north. We arrived at 2R gate just minutes before Switchback at about 4h30. :dance:

We had just got to know each other when KG emerged from the dissipating gloom to tell us that he had been summoned unconditionally to Kruger for the Kudu awards, and would not be able to lead the forum eco trail, at least until the 3rd morning. I felt this was a big blow, but realized that the summoning had substance, and left it at that. We gave him the presents for the children’s party, and would have also given him a big bag of clothes that we could not fit into the vehicle, if we had packed a little more conservatively. :roll:

After exchanging good wishes, we were in the park. KG had recommended we take the Mata Mata road and cross with the top dune, which we did.

It turned out to be quite quiet on the trip up but we did break our duck with a distant lioness sighting, and 2 lazy hyenas. Barcud, of course, had me stopping regularly to snap the birds, which were a lot more prolific than the mammals.

Even 2 rides around Marie’s and a trip to the northern ‘lookout’ produced very little, but we had great raptor sightings, 15 for the day, and I had 2 lifers – fawn coloured lark and desert cisticola.

Hey Barcud, come back. Jesse misses the attack training.... :twisted:

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Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".


Last edited by Bush Baptist on Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:49 pm 
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Thanks for the comments all :thumbs_up:

Jesse was an angel, but I wouldn't like to get on her wrong side :roll:

So, on with the trip...........

So, a quiet day eh BB? :D Just checked my notebook, we saw 71 species from when we arrived in 2R and on the drive up to Nossob. This incuded 11 bird and mammal lifers for me, so I was ecstatic 8)
The first bird to be photographed was a gorgeous little Black-shouldered Kite in the car park at 2R.

Image

Soon followed by a juvenile Pale-chanting Goshawk in a gnarled old tree - magic, pure magic :dance:

Image


Up next was a first for me, a Sociable weaver. We saw one or two more during the rest of the trip :tongue:

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Springbok were very numerous, with nursery herds of 20, 15. 60, 10, 14 and two batchelor herds of 7 and 23 respectively.

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My first Oryx was an absolute belter. I just loved the exquisite black and white markings.

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A distant pair of Spotted Hyeaena lazed in the riverbed.

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Whilst a quick visit to Auchterlochtie found BIL studying the only snake of the trip. Unfortunately, he was the only one to see it, so no pics of this :cry:

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So at Nossob, we set up the tents, braaied a quick supper, and settled down to await the following day's sightings.

Image

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A Birder's Eye View of Kruger


Last edited by Barcud on Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:44 pm 
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After pitching the tents, we braaied.

It must have been quite comical to watch these 4 ageing males with no sense of teamwork yet. Just as we were about to dish up, one of our party decided he was in time trouble regarding the 22h00 electricity shutdown and went for a shower. The rest of us ate and showered in the ‘light’.

As we had driven through the previous night, none of us can remember much else until BIL’s inbuilt alarm woke him just before 5h00.


Next: Sunday – Nossob – Union’s End & back.

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:33 pm 
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Thank you all for the great comments.

Now how can I resist giving you another bit.

Sunday – Nossob – Union’s end & back.

We were out of the gates a few minutes behind the front runners on a ‘quick’ ride around Marie’s. I was determined to get a great sighting there as has happened in the past. No go. A quiet loop, so we set off north.

At Bedinkt, the birds were flocking around the water and we picked up a few new ones for the trip. Barcud liked the violet eared waxbill (pic hint). :whistle:

We decided to check out the Polentswa campsite, where our Nossob neighbours were to be staying. They were there and we had a chat. They told us that there were no working waterholes north, and we wouldn’t see much. Since we wanted to go to the ‘corner’ where 3 countries met, we proceeded anyway.

I had better tell this story myself, in case others do with major embellishment of course. As we approached Kannaguass, I was distracted by bright colours in the green of the trees on the left front. I was trying to make out what it was when Barcud shouted “LION!” I just hit the brakes and we slid past a hot uncomfortable lioness that became agitated as I almost ran over her tail. :redface: She was in deep shade under a tree on the road. OOPS! I reversed slowly and she became composed again, and even let us take pics from 2 metres.

It was strange to see a lone lioness, a sight which we saw a few times on the trip.

The bright colours were pipes on a trailer to repair the pump.

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:43 pm 
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Thanks for all the comments and compliments everyone. :thumbs_up:

"LION!" I screamed as BB swerved to avoid the swishing tail in the road. :twisted:

BB screeched to a sudden halt (well, pulled over sedately more like, but that makes for a less exciting story :tongue: ).

The lioness seemed unflustered as we positioned the bkkie for a better look.

Image

If you thought this was close, the wing mirror was obscuring her face the first time we drove past her :lol:

She allowed us to take a photo or two without even glancing in our direction.

Image

It's not often a lion is as chilled out as this one was.

Image

So, off up to Union's end and another far flung corner of South Africa ticked off the list for me, having done Crook's Corner, the border with Mozambique in KZN and Cape Point and Cape Aghullas (the last two from a ship though, so BB said they don't count!).

The team disembarked to read the noticeboard and take in the scenery.

BB, BIL & Right Said st Union's End.

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The landscape stretched for miles here.

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And, especially for BB, the Violet-eared Waxbill - a lifer for me and a gorgeous looking bird at that :dance:

Image

And at the end of the day, another glourious sunset.

Image




Errrrrrr, hang on a bit, didn't we see anything else on the drive back to Nossob?

Oh yes, the kill...................................

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:03 pm 
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Oh Dear,

Barcud is keen to get back to camp. I had better get on with the next part of the story.

I have written it in advance and so will copy & paste the next bit.

I had mentioned to the guys that we should be looking under trees in the heat of the day and we had a few wooden leopards, lions etc, but it was with conviction that Barcud shouted “Cheetah” and sure enough, not far from UE in the grass, a way off, were 2. Not bad for nothing north hey.

We got to UE and enjoyed the freedom that comes from being alone in the middle of nowhere. After some pics and comments in the full book, which hangs on the information display board, we set off for the picnic site and some lunch, totally unaware of what lay ahead........

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:49 pm 
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My first Cheetah's in the wild WOOOOHOOOO :dance:

OK, they were very distant, and I'm still unsure as to how I saw them in the first place, but Cheetahs they were, and another of the big cats to marvel at. They were too far off to get pics, but something that happened later on in the trip more than made up for this little hiccup.

So South we travelled, making our way slowly back to Nossob. A scraggy looking male Lion barely gave us a look as he lay dozing at one of the waterholes, but when we reached Polentswa, 6 Bateleurs were present, either drinking or soaring averhead.

A small raptor caught my eye, so we positioned the bakkie for a better look. A stunning Juvenile Greater Kestrel was hunting the area around the parking section. It flew from perch to perch, checking out every movement before swooping down to grab a lizard which it then proceeded to devour right infront of us :big_eyes: Amazing!

The scraggy looking Lion.
Image

Two of the 6 Bateleurs.
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A hunting we will go!
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

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And, after giving me one of the best sightings to date, it checked the area was all clear and made a graceful exit.
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:15 pm 
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Wow, I am getting behind with the story.....

At Lijerdraai, we came across the rather sad looking fellow in Barcud's pic. Wonder where he was on the way up?

At Polentswa we saw a group of bateleurs on the ground. One by one they flew off, but as we watched, their place was taken by a juvenile greater kestrel that was on a mission. He was sticking his talons into holes along a log, and when he tried it at the base of a tree, he hit the jackpot. He found a lizard and proceeded to dismember it and eat it for 15 minutes 3 metres from the car! A kill!

We saw a few lanners with doves on the trip, but we didn’t see them take them. Certainly the instinct of this smaller raptor is no less developed, and we were amazed at how this youngster knew exactly what to do to get his meal, which he downed with all the relish of forumite at a braai meet.

Back at camp we had a welcome swim, and drenched our clothes /towels/shoes with a tidal wave or 2 thanks to the ‘design’ of the paving and the enthusiasm of getting into the water.

Marie’s again. Surely she MUST deliver. At Rooikop (the first waterhole south) we came across 6 young lions doing what they do best during the day. Lion’ around. At last, Marie provided us with a great herd of 10 kudu for a drink. In other parks kudu are common, but not in KTP.

The other trail forumites meanwhile, had arrived at Nossob ready for the trail tomorrow. Last night’s showering story was repeated, but this time the resident jackals profited. A quick visit to the busy hide revealed the usual jackal activity.

Next - Pre Nossob 4x4 eco trail.

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:28 pm 
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Thanks all. It is a pleasure to relive this. I am seeing most of Barcud's pics for the first time too.

Monday – Pre Nossob 4x4 eco trail.

We decided to have a little ride before packing up for the eco trail. Marie’s – where else?

There was a traffic jam at Rooikop, well a Kgalagadi traffic jam that is, about 5 cars. They were watching the pride of juvenile lions, who were now far more active than yesterday.

One had bitten the ball-float off the pump and another joined him in playing with it like puppies. The others were pouncing on each other and looked like they were up to no good. :hmz:

Suddenly one saw a delicacy and bounded over to the car behind us. I had seen this behaviour in forumites pics of other youngsters at Kwang, so, not wishing to play, I wasted no time in a hasty getaway and parked 25 metres away. 8)

We saw the lion trying to get at the tyres of the guy behind me in a light-coloured toy 4x4. You will understand my reluctance to offer mine when I had spent over nine grand on new ones a week previously, and the driver set off frantically with the lion pawing at the wheels. :doh:

So much for lions going for red cars. :tongue: After a while, he lost interest, and we moved off to do Marie’s - again fruitlessly.

We packed up in good time to meet the other trailists at reception at 9h00, and introduced ourselves to our companions for the next 3 days or so.

The next part of the trip is covered here.

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:55 pm 
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Apologies for not replying to each comment, a bit rushed off my feet here this week, but thanks to all for your kind words. I'll try to reply more specifically when things quieten down a little.

I think BB has overtaken me now, so it's me playing catch up :lol:

I use a Nikon camera for the wildlife with a 300mm lens and 2x convertor, all hand held. The scenics are taken with a Leica mik en druk.

So, the early morning drive as BB mentioned gave us a nice sunrise, which I failed to capture how I wanted it to, but it was nice to be there to see it nevertheless.

Image

A stunning Martial Eagle sat atop a roadside bush.
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While the Kudu drank from a waterhole, watched over by a curious Jackal.
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I just love the markings of this antelopes ears.
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Those lions were either very loving...
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Very boisterous.....
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Very mischevious....
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Or simply curious....
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There is a photo of the one swiping tyres on the Nossob 4x4 TR. BB was very protective of his new ones :lol:

In case you think this one is coming to an end because of the 4x4 trip, I'm sorry to say that there is a lot more to come, we need to show you some LBJ's, some BBJ's, some Lions doing what Lions do best, some cute little critters, a reptile or two, some nocturnal birds, some common birds and the most spectacular ending to a trip one can possibly get on the very last drive of the very last evening, with only a few minutes to spare to get to the gate :twisted:

Take it away BB :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:47 pm 
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Thanks all for your kind coments, there is more good stuff to come.

Special welcome to dellac. Kgalagadi is totally different from Kruger, as far as habitat and species are concerned, but no less enjoyable. It is a bit more wild, and has the usual excellent SANP stamp on it.

BTW, be thankful you lot are getting it this way round and not Barcud's commentary and my pictures. :twisted:

My OOPS! lioness :redface:

Image

Sorry looking fellow

Image

Also, I know I often go on about people just rushing around looking for lions in Kruger, but I also enjoy seeing them. I also enjoy seeing a lot of other things as well, as you will find out as the story unfolds further....

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:18 pm 
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MM, we may not be angels, but we do have halo's :lol: :lol: :lol: :roll:

Image

Hold on to the popcorn, I'll be back in a bit...........

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 Post subject: Re: Barcud & BB in KTP 2011 – A promise fulfilled.
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:56 pm 
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A bg thank you for all your comments anne-marie, Tobieo, Elsa, Micetta, p&m, Richard J, Lionspoon, dellac, leopardspots, billyf, wanderw, Rookie, anne-catherine, Pumbaa, hilda, WillemK, rusky, Duke ellieton, Petraj, Crested Val, TheunsH, icurrie, norms, lion queen, H. erectus & davejenny :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

Apologies if I missed anyone out here.

dellac, welcome to the forum. I cannot compare Kruger and KTP as they are both so different. I prefer the wide open spaces and vistas that KTP has, but missed seeing Elephant, Hippo and Buffalo on this trip. Both parks have things going for them, but it's very difficult to say that one is better than the other so all I can add is go to KTP, you will not be dissapointed :thumbs_up:

Lionspoon, I've seen your pics - nothing the matter with them, they are excellent :thumbs_up:

Right, I'd better get on with it.............

When we returned to Nossob, we broke camp and waited for the 4x4 drive to start. This gave me the opportunity to photograph some of the wildlife in the camp.

Ground Squirrels are always around.
Image

Glossy Starlings are always on the lookout for scraps left in the braai.
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and Fork-tailed Drongo's were ever present flycatching insects from a favourite perch.
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A Burchell's Starling graced the parking area.
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And an obliging Groundscraper Thrush posed nicely for me.
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As we headed North to Polentswa to start the 4x4 drive proper, a Northern Black Korhaan strutted by.
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While a Gemsbok took a quick drink at a waterhole before being evicted by a herd of Blue Wildebeest.
Image

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I'll see what BB posts next and try to match some photos to his narration :thumbs_up:

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Last edited by Barcud on Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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