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 Post subject: Re: Tips for reliable birding areas up north...?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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JA...NEE...!

The photographic side was a nightmare with my main camers's batteries dying after about twenty shots, at which point it literally said 'HELP' in LED letters and never worked again despite new batteries...:-(

The second camera worked perfectly for about 30 shots including some superb close ups of a Giant Kingfisher with my 500mm and 2x converter. Then it too, stopped worked and has an old style battery that they no longer sell in the park, obviously having decided that film user are of little interest financially.

Well, at least I had my Giant KF pics...

Or so I thought until I checked the spooling button and realised that that my teachers at school were correct. I am, in fact, an idiot and of course I had no film in the back up unit! :wall: :wall: :wall:

Other than that, the trip was superb, with 116 confirmed IDs and six lifers, and believe me, it's been a long time since I had one of those!

Good cross section of passarines and non; raptors, waterbirds, thornbush and aerial acrobats - all were present, though I must agree with a birder who remarked to me that there seem to be far fewer birds in the camps themselves. I noticed this four years ago when I was last there, and it's clearly worse now, at least for me.

I visited Pafuri, Punda, Shing, Letaba, Olifants, Satara and Orpen areas, focussing on birds and antelope, but open to everything, and saw plenty. (No Rhino though...wonder why?)

Back at work, with a one-armed tan, positive attitude and a lot less stress...

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Last edited by huntsman on Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips for reliable birding areas up north...?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:55 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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LMHO huntsman :wall:

I can guarantee great sightings by leaving the camera behind....

No rhinos... you were just unlucky.

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 Post subject: Re: Tips for reliable birding areas up north...?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:07 pm 
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Ah shame huntsman ... I can feel my tummy sink just reading about the camera mishaps :(

But, it does sound like you packed in a LOT and saw a lot and the trip did you good 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Tips for reliable birding areas up north...?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:17 pm 
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Hi huntsmen...6 lifers sounds like a great success :thumbs_up:

Not sure what time of year you last visited Kruger but don't forget that in summer with all the food and water around, the birds dont hang around camps as much so although the variety is still there, you wont see the shear numbers of winter. Also people don't feed them as much as n the past!

Hardluck with the camera side of things but at least the memories are there :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 11:51 am 
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Hi forum members :)

Am going to KNP in late August and visiting Mopani, Olifants and Skukuza. Any advice on particularly good birding spots/routes on the way down?

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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 10:55 am 
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tosha wrote:
Hi forum members :)

Am going to KNP in late August and visiting Mopani, Olifants and Skukuza. Any advice on particularly good birding spots/routes on the way down?


Hi there Tosha

August is a very nice time of year as the vegetation is not as thick and it allows for better views of both animals and birds. One or two migrant species should start arriving such as the first Yellow Billed Kite's, Steppe Buzzards and possibly a few species of swallow's should be back.

Unfortunately my knowledge regarding Mopani is rather limited as I have only birded around Letaba and the very north around Punda, but I have spent numerous times birding the area's between Skukuza and Olifants.

Some good "birding" roads and spots to try:

Olifants camp is good in its own right with Mocking Cliff Chats and Grey Headed Bush-Shrikes found between the chalets. From the viewing deck one can try and spot the odd uncommon raptor such as a Lanner Falcon or Peregrine Falcon, but the more common raptors would be the Bateleurs and Fish Eagles. During August you might get the Kite's flying over the Olifants river

One good road to travel is down the S90. A typical open plains habitat that will give you Kori Bustards, Red Crested Korhaan's and early morning is good to try and find the Harlequin Quail's along the edge of the roads. Keep a watch out for African Hawk-Eagle's around Olifants and Balule.. I have found them there on numerous occasions. Also keep a lookout for Sabota Larks and possibly Flappet Larks but the later should still be quiet and difficult to locate around August. This road and the the tar road leading down to Satara traverse through the same type of habitat so both should produce the same birds.

Around Timbavati Picnic spot you can expect to find Black Backed Puffbacks, African Scops Owl (at the picninc site, just ask the staff). Lookout for Saddle Billed Storks in the area. Martial Eagle's are numerous along the S40, as well as Orange Breasted Bush-Shrikes.

Around Satara try and do the S100 - H6 loop and lookout for Buffy Pipits, Senegal Lapwings, Temminck Coursers (especially if they burnt the grass in the area). This loop is also very good for Raptors and Vultures. Lookout for Peregrine Falcon's (especially on the H6), African Hawk-Eagle, Martial Eagle, Hooded and Lappet Faced Vultures. The odd Cape Vulture could also pop up. Kori Bustards, Red Crested Korhaan are numerous and you might find Verraux Eagle-Owl's early in the morning in the trees, and keep a lookout for the small Pearl Spotted Owlet.. (listen for his call)


Further down to Skukuza I would recommend driving down the tar road from Tshokwane to Lower Sabie and see if you can spot some Shelley's Francolin, Small ButtonQuail's, Kori Bustards, Senegal Lapwings.

The main tar road between Lower Sabie and Skukuza is a wonderful birding road, but be prepared to get irritated with the traffic on this road. If you stop for a bird, 20 cars will surround you to look for the Leopard you are busy looking at. None the less, this road is good for Brown Hooded Kingfishers, African Finfoot (if you are lucky enough. Stop at the high level bridges or try Nkulu Picnic spot and scan the river), Giant Kingfishers, Red Billed Firefinches, White Crested Helmet-Shrikes, Orange Breasted Bush-Shrikes, Green Backed Camaroptera, Saddle Billed Storks, African Green Pigeons, BruBru, Black Headed Oriole, Brown Headed Parrots, White Fronted Plover (especially around sunset dam), White Trhoated Robin-Chat, Shikra and Common ScimitarBill's

At Skukuza camp, lookout for the Purple Crested Turaco, Pygmy Kingfisher, Terrestrial BrownBul, Golden Tailed Woodpeckers, African Goshawks, Red Capped Robin-Chats and if you are lucky a Gorgeous Bush-Shrike. Green Twinspots have been recorded in camp during these months when they come down to feed from their higher summer areas. Remember to visit Lake Panic which can sometimes hold some good species when the water levels are good. Village Weavers, Black Crake, Red-Capped Robin-Chats and African Jacana are all easily found here.

Is there any particular species that you are after during this trip?


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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Thanks so much for the advice DotDan :D - i will most certainly try some of those routes. I am happy to see any birds, but my kids will probably prefer to see the raptors, so that will in all likelihood guide where we go. Will definitely try the s100 loop!

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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:53 pm 
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Hi all

Everytime I go to Kruger I am blown away by the birding, particularly in the summer months when all the migrant are back.

My top birding tip - get to know your bird calls. I've always been keen on birding in Kruger but I've only ever made use of bird books and other references. About 2 years back I got my hands on some bird call CDs and took some time to get to know the more commonly heard calls.

I can't tell you what a difference this made. All of a sudden you start hearing and seeing birds that you would never of noticed in the past. It adds a whole new dimension to the birding experience.

You also get to know alarm calls and distress calls which can often lead to some good game sightings. I reckon half of my leopard sightings in the last 2 years have come as a result of listening to birds sounding the alarm...

Here is one of my personal favourites, the white fronted bee - eater :thumbs_up:

Image

Great topic - thanks :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 3:40 pm 
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James,

stunning. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:32 am 
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Brilliant picture of the White-fronted Bee-eater James of the Jungle! :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:38 am 
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Hi Dotdan

Read your feedback for Tosha regarding birding in central KPN. Awesome stuff!!! :clap: :thumbs_up:

Any tips on birding spots/ drives in the south of the park in early November. What can you recommend in the Croc bridge, Biyamiti and Lower Sabie areas?

What are some of your best experiences this time of the year.

Thanks a mil :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:46 am 
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Hi James,

I have a small helpful write-up on my personal site. Will pm it to you.

Cheers.

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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:54 am 
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Thanks a mil Wildtuinman, I look forward to it. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:28 am 
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Hi James

I would recommend reading Wildtuinman's write up's of that area, some great tips to be found there!

What I can add is to also do the Muntshe hill loop from the H10. Especially early morning where you have a good chance of finding Shelley's Francolin. That time of year should also see the likes of Montagu Harriers back in that area.. great habitat for them. Flappet Lark is also common there. Yellow Throated Longclaw, Croacking Cisticola can also be found with relative ease.

The S25 between Croc Bridge and Biyamiti is another great birding road as it runs along the Croc river so you can expect to find some nice birds that you generally only find more north in the park for example, I have found Mosque Swallow, Trumpeter Hornbill, Dark Chanting Goshawk and Retz Helmet Shrike on that road all on one drive. Also a great road for Shikra, White Faced Scops Owl and all the migrating Cuckoo's.


The S28 is also another good road for the open plains birds such as Secretary bird, Red Crested Korhaan, Black Bellied Bustard. Also lookout for Harriers and Raptors coming in from the Mozambique side, you never know when a Sooty Falcon is going to pitch up ;)

A night drive is really recommended, not sunset drive. Ask the guide to go over the bridge at Lower Sabie and see if you can spot a White Backed Night heron in the open.

Crocodile Bridge camp is another great birding spot were Yellow Rumped Tinkerbird can be found.

Any specific birds that you are targeting?


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 Post subject: Re: Birding: KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:15 pm 
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Thanks DotDan :thumbs_up:

This looks fantastic.

Quote:
Any specific birds that you are targeting?


I'm always keen to try and find summer migrants. I've already got some great feedback from the forum in terms of what summer migrants to expect in the south in November.


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