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 Post subject: Caracal My Mosaic of the KTP January 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:57 pm 
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It is with great anticipation that we embark on each and every trip to the KTP. After more than 20 trips the excitement of arriving in the park has not waned. Naturally we have collected many awesome sightings over the years and when putting them all together we have a wonderful assortment of memories of our visits to the park. Not one of our trips have been the same…each time different experiences add to the framework. We keep adding to the overall picture of the Kgalagadi. Will we ever see and experience it all..I doubt it.

This trip was no different to the others in that we experienced sightings that we had not experienced before. The sightings may not have been that of a Hyena Brawl or a Springbok giving birth but they were still special in their own way and all contribute to my Mosaic of the KTP.

But let me start with a few facts. We arrived on the 26th Dec and left on the 2 Jan. We stayed at Twee Rivieren, Nossob and Urikaruus….and yes it was hot…very very hot but what else would you expect at that time of the year.

Although each and every trip is different there are certain things that you can depend on…

1. I am going to photograph the little house up at Auchterlonie. :roll: That is a given...my family have accepted that by now and they just let me get on with it. :D

2. There are certain creatures that you can almost 100% depend on seeing, namely the Gemsbok and Pale Chanting Goshawk and no matter how many of these creatures I see you can bet your bottom dollar that I am going to photograph them. :roll: My family are slowly learning to accept that as well. :D

3. Trees…yes trees are a most definite sighting as well. Along with white fluffy clouds they make for awesome scenery…how can one not try to capture those landscapes on camera. Just gazing out at those vistas is food for one’s soul.

4. Sunsets/Sunrises….. they are truly magnificant in the KTP and one cannot ignore them. If an awesome sunrise is all you see on a morning drive then you have seen a lot. Likewise a brilliant sunset is a wonderful way to bring a day in the KTP to an end. :thumbs_up: I try my best to photograph them as well...even if it is through the window of a moving vehicle :D

Image

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13-15th Oct Kgalagadi Lodge
16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Thank you all for the lovely comments...I am pleased you are enjoying my mosaics as much as I am enjoying making them.

And to continue.....

We spent our first night at Twee Rivieren and then moved onto Nossob for two nights. By the time we arrived at Nossob we had seen 1 Lion and two Spotted Hyenas...and pretty much nothing else in the line of large animals. There was plenty along the side of the road to keep me entertained though. :D The "photographer" in me makes sure that I do not miss much along the road. In my book a ground agama, mouse or bunny in good light deserves to have it's photo taken just as much as a leopard in good light does. At least with the smaller creatures it is easier to get a reasonable photo....if I came across a leopard in good light I would probably get so excited that I would not get a decent photograph. :roll: :roll:

I saw many whistling rats along the detour from Rooiputs to Kij Kij but they were mostly quite far away. Many mice ran across the road as well. We saw 3 tortoises during the seven days as well as two scrub hares . As for those ground agamas...just about every second bush had one perched on top of it. Arrogant little fellows. :wink:

Needless to say I took hordes of :cam: of cute creatures...but I will just share the following with you !

Image

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13-15th Oct Kgalagadi Lodge
16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:48 pm 
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Again ..thank you to all that are reading and commenting on this TR. Oh and welcome to the newcomers !
I am so pleased that you are enjoying my mosaics....I must admit that after doing so many trip reports creating these mosaics is quite refreshing for me as well :thumbs_up:

Now to move on to some creatures of a slightly larger size.

Mongooses, Meerkats and Squirrels.


Although we saw quite a few Slender mongooses I was unable to capture them on camera. :evil: We saw relatively few Yellow Mongooses…I did not even see any in camp. :shock:
For a change Meerkats were in abundance but mostly far away especially along the Auob riverbed near Houmoed and again near Auchterlonie. The detour between Rooiputs and Kij Kij produced a fairly close sighting of Meerkats but as we stopped they turned and ran…with tails straight up in the air….dead giveaway that tail is !!!! :D

Image

And let’s not forget about the charming little Ground Squirrels. There were many running around Mata Mata. It was stinking hot and pretty much the worse time of the day to take photographs but their little trick of covering themselves with sand to keep cool could not go unphotographed. :D

Image

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13-15th Oct Kgalagadi Lodge
16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
:) :) :) :) :)


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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 6:41 pm 
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Something that was on my wishlist for this trip was some close - up sightings of Cape Fox and Bat-eared Fox. I was aware of the fact( from previous trip reports) that they were a couple of dens with pups but whether we were going to be lucky enough to find them was another story. :roll:

Cape Fox.

We saw many Cape Foxes but oh my word they were always many many meters away...almost too far for even a decent sighting through the binoculars. :roll: But driving back to Urikaruus from our evening our luck finally changed and we came acros sa den fairly close to the road. :clap: Unfortunately the light was low and we were running out of time. Not only that the den on SO's side of the car. So not much good for photography but I took note of where the den was. I knew that we would be driving past the den the next morning on our way to Twee Rivieren. I also knew that the den would then be on my side and the light should be better. :clap:
Indeed sometimes one's theories prove to be correct and sure enough the next morning two Cape Foxes were waiting for us at the den. Although the position of the sun was not of the best it still made for a pretty picture and I was well pleased with my photos :)


As for Bat-eared Foxes...well you will have to wait a little while to see whether we had any luck with the Batties . :hmz: :wink:

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13-15th Oct Kgalagadi Lodge
16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
:) :) :) :) :)


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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:10 pm 
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Bat-eared Foxes

Our Bat-eared Fox sightings had pretty much gone along the same lines as our cape fox sightings..too far away...bad light...bushes in the way. :roll: :roll: :roll:
But on the same evening that we came across the Cape Fox den we also came across a Bat-eared Fox den. But not only was the light really bad by then we were also seriously running out of time. I was allowed a two minute photo shoot...so darn frustrating but I earmarked that little den as well. It was easy to remember the site ....just south of Montrose literally as you pull out of the little road going around the dead tree. I have to thank Bat-eared Butland for this sighting though because he was the one that spotted it. Actually he spotted most of the bat-ear foxes....I wonder why ???? :wink:

Well the next morning the little family of Bat-eared foxes were waiting for me....4 cubs. :clap: Early morning light.....close enough and no bushes obscuring our view....
What more could I ask for....needless to say I have 68 (oops :redface: ) photographs to add to my collection...possibly the best ever sighting of Bat-eared Foxes :dance: Or was it ????? :wink:

Image

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13-15th Oct Kgalagadi Lodge
16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
:) :) :) :) :)


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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:18 pm 
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As luck would have it we had another wonderful Bat-eared fox sighting. :clap:
This was on our last day in the park....which just happened to be the 1st of January.
This den is along the detour road from Rooiputs to Kij Kij. As I mentioned before this stretch of road was alive with small creatures....meerkat, foxes, squirrels, rats and mice !
It was indeed a delightful sighting...Mom Batty took herself off and hid in a ditch. The two cubs ( not sure if there were more hidden away somewhere) decided that cavorting was the order of the day. Again the camera fired away.....

Image

Image

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16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:06 pm 
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Black-backed Jackal

The Jackal seemed to be the most elusive animal on this trip. :shock: The Bat-eared Foxes and Cape Foxes and even the Meerkats outshone the Jackals. Eventually towards the end of our second day in the park I was getting desperate to see and photograph a Jackal so I offered SO, BabyNel and Bat-eared Butland R50 if they managed to find a jackal for me. That made BabyNel sharpen up...she is always ready to make a quick buck !!! Needless to say it was “the Mom” that found her own Jackal.( cheap round :clap: ) It was a brief sighting but special because it was the very first time that I have seen a baby jackal in the park. To get a clear view of the jackal was almost impossible :roll: …darn grass. I noticed Mom in the background and another sibling having it’s own little party a bit further way.
Again another mosaic piece to add to the bigger picture…1 x baby jackal !!!!

Image

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13-15th Oct Kgalagadi Lodge
16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Thnks again for all the lovely comments...sorry about the delay...I have been a busy bunny !!!! :roll:

Let's move on from all the cute creatures to......

The Mighty Lion

The KTP is known for it’s beautiful black-maned lions and this trip was no exception …except I should rather change my heading to Mighty Lazy Lions. Never in all my trips to the KTP have I seen such a bunch of lazy lions. We had many lion/lioness sightings but most of them were pretty far away lying in the shade of the tree..and they were pretty much comatose the entire day ! One exception was a lion and three lionesses that we came across along Marie’s Draai. We first saw them not far along the loop to Marie se Gat. A few blobs in the distance and one needed a good pair of binoculars as well as a vivid imagination to see them. There were many cars waiting for the the lions to move. We decided to continue with our drive. On the way back to camp we came across the male lion close to the side of the road..and he was roaring his head. OMW..what a fuss he was kicking up. :shock: We are not sure why he was roaring so much… the lionesses were nowhere in sight..had he been dumped for night. :hmz: He eventually moved on and disappeared over the rise..stopping every now and then for another roaring session. Another unsolved mystery to add to my collection

Image

Our stay at Urikaruus was pretty much lion free apart from two beautiful males that visited the waterhole in the dead of night….a long drink…..a lie down for about 5 mins and then they disappeared as silently as they had arrived.

We then moved on to Twee Rivieren and joined the masses watching the mating pair near Leeudril. We saw them on every drive along that road but mostly they were passed out in the shade. On our very last drive back to camp( on New Year’s Day) we came across them again….as well as probably every other car from TR. We edged our way slowly through the traffic jam and when we were almost parallel to the mating pair the male decided that his 20mins was up. As you know it is all over in a flash and Bat-eared Butland was gobsmacked…he had never witnessed mating lions before ...so this was a real highlight for him. I managed to get a pic or two through SO’s window but nothing amazing at all. But I will share them with you anyway…the top two photos are of the mating couple earlier in the afternoon and the bottom two...well you know what the bottom two photos are of. It is interesting to note that all my photos of this little incident register the time 19h05…that can only mean that this show was over in less than 60 secs :big_eyes: …but what a way to start off the New Year. :dance:

Image

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13-15th Oct Kgalagadi Lodge
16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:07 pm 
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Thanks again all for the wonderful and humorous comments..it is much appreciated !!!

Yes Dreamer ...I have been busy..or should I say preoccupied... :wink: :whistle:

Quote:
and definitely a bird one



Yes indeed Rookie..definitely a bird one..or maybe more than one !!!! :wink:

Birds of the Kalahari

I think it fitting that I start with the Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk..yes I can see you all rolling your eyes :roll: but you have to admit a visit to the KTP is not complete without a sighting of a PCG..or maybe I should say that a visit is not complete without at least 100 sightings of a PCG. :big_eyes:
But really they do save the day sometimes. One can drive for km's without seeing a single 4 legged creature but you can bet your bottom dollar you will see a PCG. :dance: And quite frankly I think they are fine birds to photograph..even though they tend to glare at one sometimes. :twisted: The juveniles tend to look like they have been up to no good as well. :naughty:
So yes true to form I have probably added another 100 photographs of PCG's to my stash...I just cannot control myself when I see those beautiful orange beaks and legs !!!!!

Image

As much as the KTP is famous for it’s PCG’s it is famous for it’s raptors in general.
And we were not disappointed. Black-shouldered Kites were dotted all along the Auob. It is a long time since I have seen so many BSK’s in the park. Lanner Falcons were also plentiful and we had 3 sightings of Red-necked Falcons. We noted a few Steppe Buzzards as well as Martial Eagles and Black-chested Snake-eagles. Vultures were scarce..we saw a few White-backed Vultures along the Auob but absolutely nothing along the Nossob.I also cannot believe that I only saw one Greater Kestrel. :hmz: At least it had the decency to pose long enough for me to get a shot of it.

Image

And something I cannot resist is a bird flying..I just have to give it a bash !!!
I was well pleased with our Booted Eagle sighting at Craig Lockhart.

Image

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13-15th Oct Kgalagadi Lodge
16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:03 pm 
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Apologies...I have been a tad busy and have been neglecting my trip report.
So without much ado let me get on with it.

One of our best bird sightings on this trip was that of a lanner catching a dove. We were parked at Craig Lockhart enjoying watching some giraafes. The giraffes were wanting to have a drink but as they approached the waterhole the doves would fly off en masse and frighten the giraffes. The reason for the commotion was a lanner falcon that was in hunting mode. Eventually the Lanner hit the jackpot...Doug actually saw the lanner take the dove in mid air. By the time I picked it up with my lens the Lanner had just landed in the tree. Much flapping ensued. It seemed that the juvenile Lanner was more adept at catching the dove than at killing. The poor dove was being plucked while it was still alive :cry: I suppose it is "nature" but I felt a :cry: for the poor dove.

Image

And then there are all the little birds..just as exciting to see as the big ones...they are just a lot more difficult to focus on. :evil:

Image

I thought I would just mention that we had some different bird sightings at Moravet...4 Wood Sandpipers, two Little Stints and a Great Egret..it is amazing what a bit of rain can do to the bird population.

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13-15th Oct Kgalagadi Lodge
16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
:) :) :) :) :)


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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:54 pm 
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It is a while since I have posted and I do apologise :redface:
AND I have no excuses....I have just been a "busy bunny" lately.
Thx everybody that have been reading and commenting..it is much appreciated.
And before you all think that I have busied myself right off this planet let me continue with a little bit more.

Earlier I mentioned the Giraffe sighting that we had at Craig Lockhart. They were desperately trying to drink from the waterhole but the doves kept frightening them off. I was just getting engrossed in photographing them when the Lanner caught a dove and that was the end of that photo shoot. The lanner and the poor dove obviously got all my attention. So not too many photographs of the giraffes .... :roll:

Image

As for our antelope sightings ..well we saw all the locals. There were many baby hartebees and wildebeest around. We had many steenbok sightings...but mostly half hidden in the shade of the bushes. Gemsbok were numerous and we had one sighting of Kudu near Dikbaardskolk ( quite far away)

Image

I think the Blue Wildebeest must but be the ugliest but cutest antelope in the park. The adults seem to think they are better looking when splattered with mud. Of course the babies are just too cute for words. We saw many baby wildebeest still with their umbilical cord attached. These little ones do not seem to leave ther mom's side at all. We noticed that they have to have physical contact with Mom all the time.

Image

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16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
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 Post subject: Re: My Mosaic of the KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:11 pm 
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Thanks again everybody..:)

Quote:
Wonder what happened to that little antelope's other ear?

Nothing had happened to that steenbok's ear melph68..it was just pointing backwards at the time I took the photo ! :)


And to continue.

By now you have probably gathered by all the other trip reports that the Auob was just full of cheetah.
I won't go through all our cheetah sightings with you but I would like to tell you about one special cheetah sighting that we had....about a cheetah that is very special to me.

We were driving back to Urikaruus at about 5pm on the 29th when we came across a cheetah mom with two cubs alongside the road. They were very close to the road and were not too hassled about us. The cubs were too adorable but very sleepy indeed. After we sat with them for about 10 mins mom got up and walked a short distance away and lay down under a tree.....her cubs followed her. Nothing too special about you may think but I had an inkling that the cheetah was none other than Caster. This is our 4th encounter with Caster....the first being when she was with her 2 brothers and a brown hyena stole their kill, the second being when we saw her on a kill near Montrose and the third being when we witnessed her making a kill in May last year. I really felt that she had brought her cubs to show us. When she got up and walked away I was bit upset at how thin she was...she seemed to have a small wound on the side as well. :( As we drove away I hoped she would make a kill soon.

Image Caster's two cubs.

The next morning we were lucky enough to come across Caster and her cubs again and she had indeed made a kill. :dance: I was very happy to see this although the little family were quite far away and the light was putrid.

Image

When we got back home I sent the photos to Gus to confirm ID. It was indeed Caster and her two cubs but sadly he told me that she had lost one of her cubs. They had no idea what had happened to the other cub..... :( :( :(

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13-15th Oct Kgalagadi Lodge
16th Oct - Twee Rivieren
17-19 Oct - Urikaruus. :)
:) :) :) :) :)


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