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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:44 am 
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Hi Charbel,

VERY IMPORTANT:

On the following thread you will find 15 polls for awards in 15 different categories for 2012. Please cast your vote for each of them before the winners will be announced on the Forum’s birthday on 27 November 2012!

Competitions and Awards

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:10 pm 
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Hi Hilda,
I did find the message explaining the awards, but did not find where to vote. How should I proceed?

Friends, thanks for all the comments on the posting on that busy day in the Sabie loop. I will soon come back with our third day of the 13-day trip through KNP.

Cheers
Charbel


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:39 pm 
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Hi Charbel,

Just double click on the green "Competitions and Awards" on my message, and you will find the polls, 15 of them, and then you cast your vote for each one of them on top of each page. Also have a look further down each page, some have pictures, some have links to trip reports, or avatars, and you can then read up on each and every category before you decide whom to vote for. :thumbs_up:

Please let me know if you have any further questions! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:33 am 
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Early in the morning, we took the road for our third full day in KNP. We couldn’t be more pleased. Up to that point, we had seen 71 different species and a total of approximately 400 individual animals. These are amazing figures, we could anticipate KNP would be fantastic, but we couldn’t anticipate it would be so fantastic!

At January 6th, the day became with a look at the Sabie river, from the Skukuza camp, while Carol, my wife, was getting ready to the day. It was great to see two Chacma Baboons in a bridge over the Sabie river, besides two mongooses we couldn’t really identify, by the river. Here is a picture of one of the baboons. I really like this pic, even though the quality is not great (it was far away)!

Image

This day we had to move from Skukuza to Tamboti, nearby Orpen, certainly the greatest place we slept, with the canvas tents. Incredible!! If you never tried Tamboti, do try! It was a fantastic experience, which makes me anticipate, now, how it will be to sleep in the wilderness camps in Kgalagadi.

Even though the trip was longer than originally planned, since we did not manage to find places in Satara, as in our original design for the trip, it was not hectic at all. The only reason why we had to be attentive to avoid losing the time for the gate in Orpen was that H7, the Orpen-Satara Road, provided such incredible sightings that we almost lost our time…

In the beginning of the morning, our first plan was to visit Matekenyane Koppies, where we couldn’t stop in the previous day. So, we went down Napi Road (H1-1) in order to visit the Koppies, and then came back through the same road to reach the Lower Sabie Road (H4-1). After making a short connection through H12, we followed the Skukuza-Tshokwane Road (H1-2). A stop in Tshokwane was great for resting and eating, and then we took the road again, going up the Tshokwane-Satara Road (H1-3). We entered the N'wanwitsontso Loop (S86) and returned to H1-3. We originally planned to enter to see the Southernmost Baobab, but we were worried about time when we reached it. This plan was left to the return to the South part of the park. We reached the Orpen-Satara Road (H7) and followed to Orpen, where we made the check-in to Tamboti. It was great to reach our tent in Tamboti, where we unfortunately slept only one night. We plan to come back to KNP in 2014 or 2015. Certainly more days in Tamboti is a great idea!

This was probably the best day in the whole trip! So, let’s go for it.

Let’s begin then by our sightings in our way to the Matekenyane Koppies, through the Napi Road: 1 Grey Go-Away Bird (Lourie) (Corythaixoides concolor), 1 Giant African Land Snail (Achatina fulica), 1 Cape Glossy Starling (Lamprotornis nitens), + 4 Grey Go-Away Birds, 1 Red-Billed Hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus), 2 Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris), + 1 Cape Glossy Starling, 1 unidentified duck in De Laporte waterhole, 1 Red-Breasted Swallow (Hirundo semirufa), 1 large group of unidentified Swallows, 2 Swainson’s Spurfowls (Francolins) (Pternistes swainsonii).

Our first 5 Grey Go-Away Birds were great. Really amazing calls, they indeed seem to be saying go away! Some recordings are available at: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?qu ... pecies_nr=

Image

Image

Image

Their calls can also be heard in this nice source available in the web: http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/bir ... ncolor.htm

In the IUCN Red List, they are classified as Least Concern, showing stable populations. In fact, it is a common species along its range of distribution. This species occurs from Zambia, Malawi and coastal Angola through to southern Africa, and generally prefers dry savanna, broad-leaved Burkea africana woodland, dry riverine woodland and suburban gardens. It eats mainly fruits, flowers, leaves and buds, supplemented with small invertebrates. Its foraging activity usually takes place in tree canopies, where we saw them, but sometimes it goes to the ground to feed on invertebrates and low-lying plants.

We saw Grey Go-Away Birds several times during the trip, always feeling too fascinated with them to obey their “go away” calls! We were eager to see a closely related species, the Purple-Crested Turaco, with its outstanding colors, but it just became part of our wish list for the next KNP visit. For the relationships between these species, see: http://tolweb.org/Musophagiformes/26401 (a great source for taxonomic and evolutionary information)

It was also interesting to see the Giant African Land Snail in its own environment.

Image

This species was introduced in several parts of the world, including Brazil, and, due to its fast development and high fertility, it is now listed as one of the top 100 invasive species in the world. As a voracious feeder, it became a serious pest organism affecting agriculture, natural ecosystems, commerce, and human health. It often harbors the parasitic nematode Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which can cause very serious meningitis in humans. In Rio, several cases of this meningitis happened in the last summer. It is curious, however, that this species is used for religious purposes in the Afro-Brazilian religion candomblé, as an offering to the Orisha Obatala, as a substitute for the African Giant Snail (Archachatina marginata) used in Nigeria, because they are known by the same name (Igbin) in both Brazil and Nigeria (Léo Neto, N. A.; Brooks, S. E.; Alves, R. M. R. (2009). "From Eshu to Obatala: Animals used in sacrificial rituals at Candomblé "terreiros" in Brazil". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 5: 23).

And here our first (of many) sighting of a Helmeted Guineafowl, a common but enticing animal.

Image

Image

Their nice and characteristic calls can be heard here: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?qu ... pecies_nr=

This bird is certainly not threatened, Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, with stable populations. It is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, although generally absent from rain forest and desert. Its distribution in southern Africa has expanded with the spread of agriculture. Helmeted guineafowl has been widely introduced into the West Indies, Brazil, Australia and southern France. This bird is indeed common here in Brazil. Anyway, they are among our favorite animals, thus, we took many pictures of them, and bought several decorative pieces based on them…

Many raptors prey on them. It is, however, a fierce animal: Breeding couples can attack potential predators such as baboons and jackals. It is the best known of the guineafowl bird family, Numididae.

By the side of the road, we saw then this Red-Breasted Swallow.

Image

One only recording of its delicate singing is found here: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?qu ... pecies_nr=

This species is classified as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List, in fact with increasing population. Its range has expanded south and east due to the availability of road culverts as nest sites. It occurs from West Africa and Congo through Angola and Zambia to southern Africa. In fact, it is an intra-African breeding migrant, arriving in southern Africa around August-September and mainly departing from April-May for non-breeding grounds in the equatorial region.

In Matekenyane Koppies, we saw 1 Emerald-Spotted (Green-Spotted) Wood-Dove (Turtur chalcospilos), 2 Cape Glossy Starlings, 2 Burchell's Starlings (Lamprotornis australis) and 1 Cape Turtle-Dove (Streptopelia capicola).

Here is a picture of the Emerald-Spotted Wood-Dove.

Image

In this link, we can hear the calls of the Emerald-Spotted Wood-Dove: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?qu ... pecies_nr=

Its classification in the IUCN Red List is Least Concern, and its population is stable. It is fairly common in many parts of southern Africa, being found in woodlands, savanna and valley bushveld. It forages on sparsely vegetated ground, as in the place where we saw it. Little more is known of its diet other than it feeds on fallen seeds and fruit.

Unfortunately the day was foggy and the view from the Matekenyane Koppies was not as great as we anticipated.

Returning through the Napi Road, we saw 2 Burchell’s Zebras (Equus quagga), one group of Impalas, and 1 Yellow-Billed Kite (Milvus parasitus). But no great pictures.


Cheers
Charbel

1 June 2013 - Twee Rivieren
2 June 2013 - Kieliekrankie
3-4 June 2013 - Kalahari Tented Camp
5 June 2013 - Twee Rivieren
6-8 June 2013 - Nossob
9 June 2013 - Gharagab
10 June 2013 - Grootkolk
11 June 2013 - Nossob
12 June 2013 - Twee Rivieren


P.S. Just to share another taste I acquired in South Africa. I discovered there South African progressive rock (http://www.rock.co.za/files/top_SA_prog.html) and, being a CD collector, began buying them and playing them in my internet channel: http://blip.fm/MDiversidad
Does any forumite share this taste?


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:40 am 
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The Emerald spotted wood doves is one of my favourite birds, due to their unmistakable call. 8) Love your Go-away birds.

Once again,
thank you.

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:41 am 
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Another great day filled with beautiful birdies :clap: :clap: . Thanks for sharing all the info about them as well :thumbs_up: .

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:52 am 
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Hi Meandering Mouse and Barryels,

Birding is an incredible experience! This was a very good day in KNP. At the point I left the TR it was still very early in the morning. There is much more to come...

Cheers
Charbel


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:59 am 
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Thank you for this beautiful bird episode Charbel! I love the Go-away Birds, even though you can find them anywhere! Great pictures of them too. :clap: :clap:

Thank you also for the interesting information about the birds! :D

Looking forward to more! :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:20 am 
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Hi Charbel

Love your birds and I really enjoy the info, love to learn more, keep it coming!

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:51 pm 
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:gflower: Charbel :gflower:

:mrgreen: What a TR, teachings and pictures :mrgreen:

Thank you :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:07 pm 
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Hi Philip, Super mongoose and Hilda,
Thanks for the comments.
For us, foreigners, Grey Go Away Birds were a new thing... But it is nice to know they keep be interesting even though they can be found anywhere. It is probably like the marmosets I see everyday in my house (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_marmoset). They continue to be interesting no matter they are there anytime... Curious behavior is probably the answer for the sustained interest.

I will soon go on with the TR. Keep on board, friends!

Cheers
Charbel


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:50 pm 
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Hey Charbel

Yes the Kwêvoëls (go away birds) are so part of our everyday lives. We once had a baby that fell out of his nest living in our house, he was so cute but terribly naughty. My son could talk to him and Kwê talked back. But we had to take him to a sanctuary when he got bigger. They are still one of our special birds.

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Last edited by Super Mongoose on Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:37 am 
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Great story, Super Mongoose.
We never take marmosets at home, even though they are so cute... They can really make a mess...

Cheers
Charbel

1 June 2013 - Twee Rivieren
2 June 2013 - Kieliekrankie
3-4 June 2013 - Kalahari Tented Camp
5 June 2013 - Twee Rivieren
6-8 June 2013 - Nossob
9 June 2013 - Gharagab
10 June 2013 - Grootkolk
11 June 2013 - Nossob
12 June 2013 - Twee Rivieren


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:43 am 
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To go up Lower Sabie Road (H4-1) was great. We explored all the gravel side roads and found many sightings: 1 Hamerkop (Scopus umbretta), 1 Brown-Snake Eagle (Circaetus cinereus), 3 Blacksmith Lapwings (Plovers) (Vanellus armatus), 1 African Pied Wagtail (Motacilla oguimp), 2 groups of Impalas, a troop of around 40 Chacma Baboons (Papio ursinos), 1 Vervet Monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus), 1 sub-adult Hadada Ibis (Bostrychia hagedash), 1 Burchell’s Coucal (Centropus burchelli), 1 Natal Francolin (Pternistis natalensis) and an adult Hadada Ibis.

Here are two close-ups of a Blacksmith Lapwing.

Image

Image

A curious thing about this species is that it reacts aggressively to other lapwings or African Jacanas that may enter its wetland habitat. Its calls (which curiously seem to have an echo…) can be found in: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?qu ... pecies_nr=

We saw this African Pied Wagtail in one of the side roads.

Image

Its black and white patterning is really beautiful and delicate.

In one of the groups of Impalas, we saw this beautiful male.

Image

This picture had just the right color, texture and contrast. The light was quite good at that moment.

Impalas are found in savannas and thick bushveld in Kenya, Tanzania, Swaziland, Mozambique, northern Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, southern Angola, northeastern South Africa and Uganda. Its population reaches numbers of up to 2,000,000 in Africa. Only in Kruger, there were almost 100,000 individuals in 2006, and 150,000 in 2011.

This is an ecotone species, that is, which lives in boundaries between ecosystems, and is a very adaptable forager, suited for ecotone conditions. Certainly, its adaptability has everything to do with its numbers.

The name impala comes from the Zulu language meaning "gazelle". The scientific name of the impala, Aepyceros melampus, is derived from the Greek words for "high", "horn", "black", and “foot".

In the tar road, we meet a group of Baboons scattered between the cars. It was a large troop, counting with around 40 Baboons. This was also our first encounter with a large Baboon troop. Even though they have a bad reputation, they were always at ease with our presence. After all, these are Baboons highly used to humans and their cars. Not really surprising they were well-behaved. However, maybe some forumites already had unpleasant experiences with them in KNP.

Image

Image

The Baboons at some point left the tar road, entering the bush.

Image

I knew the gravel road was on the other side of that bush fragment and, thus, we entered the gravel road as soon as we could. It was worthy. There they were, forming a curious mixed aggregation with Impalas. Here is a picture of the Impalas and Baboons together.

Image

And now I will tell you a Baboon tale. We stayed there watching for a long time, almost one hour. It was great fun!

At one point they began to run towards us, but in fact we were not the target. They took a turn at some point and entered the bush.

Image

I love this photo of the Baboons coming in our direction, two mothers carrying their curious young in their bellies.

Image

There were two generations of young Baboons as you can see in this picture, where you also see a mother loudly vocalizing while their young baby was clinging to her.

Image

The young animals were really something! Here are two pictures of a young among two older Baboons, one probably his or her mother.

Image

Image

The picture is not well framed, but I couldn’t resist showing this tiny cute face here

Image

They were all the time grabbing things from the humid soil, either in the road or in the bush, most probably food. In the second picture, we can also see a juvenile on his or her mother’s back.

Image

Image

This one in particular liked details, look how attentive it examines the food before eating it.

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At some point, they began to move again, following their way somewhere.

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One of the things to see was their genitalia as they were going away. Ah, the extravaganzas of sexual selection!

Image

And while the troop was going away, a juvenile simply remained examining the soil for yummy things. We waited to see how long he would stay there without the troop.

Image

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Some time passed and he decided to go. The troop was already disappearing at a turn of the road.

Image

And then a car came in the opposite direction. The Baboons moved towards it without hesitation.

Image

There was a child in the car and the Baboons looked at her, while people in the car was taking pictures. Not a big deal! Nothing happened. The Baboon troop was a peaceful mob.

Image

We kept following them through the gravel road, until they disappeared in the bush. What a great encounter!

Image

We came back to the tar road and a curious sighting was this vervet monkey who was sitting alone in a tree, looking a bit scared. Maybe he was afraid of some predator, but we didn’t see any.

Image

We also saw in the Lower Sabie Road two Hadeda Ibis. This is a picture of the second one we saw (an adult).

Image

Here are their strange calls: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?sp ... a+hagedash

This bird is not threatened by extinction. It is classified in the IUCN Red List as Least Concern, showing a tendency of increasing its population. This is due to increase in the availability of nest sites and food in humanly-modified habitats.

Mainly a sedentary bird, it may make movements only in response to rainfall, and when juveniles disperse from their parents territory. It mainly eats invertebrates. It typically forages on moist ground, probing for prey or taking them from the soil surface. It is a monogamous bird and solitary nester, probably forming pair bonds for their whole lives.

Burchell’s Coucal! This was the only time we saw this fantastic bird! Thankfully it was at close range and we could get some good pictures. Here are two of them. In fact, these pictures are much better than most of the photos we found in Google searches.

Image

Image

Unfortunately, not enough information regarding conservation status. This bird was not evaluated up to now by IUCN! I found information, however, saying that it is not threatened. Also no callings recorded at Xenocanto.

The Burchell's coucal is endemic, being found mainly in South Africa, where it lives in a wide variety of habitats. A voracious predator, it feeds on small birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. The male builds the nest, incubates the eggs and does most of the hunting. These females are living a good life!

Finally, this gorgeous Natal Francolin. At a close range, it was possible to get good pictures.

Image

Here is its calling, including recordings made in KNP: http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?sp ... l+spurfowl

Here you also find callings: http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/bir ... lensis.htm

Quite a noisy bird! Its status is Least Concern, with stable populations.


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:23 am 
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That is rather a large baboon troop 8) lovely to see so many babies. I usually love watching the interaction.

Great stuff :thumbs_up:

:popcorn:

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