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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:23 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Dear Super Mongoose and Barryels
Thanks. I do expect a great trip in June!
Friends, a very busy time got me drowned now.... I hope for a new posting this week, but let's see how things develop...

Cheers
Charbel


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:21 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi friends,
You know, any time left I need to come back to the TR. Almost an addiction. So, time for another posting.

Returning to the Tshokwane-Satara Road, we saw 1 European Roller, a troop of Chacma Baboons (Papio ursinos), 1 Grey Go-Away Bird (Lourie) (Corythaixoides concolor), 12 Burchell’s Zebras, 4 Giraffes, 2 Swainson’s Spurfowls (Francolins) (Francolinus swainsonii), a mixed group of 10 Blue Wildebeests (Connochaetes taurinus) and 11 Burchell’s Zebras, several Wattled Starlings (Creatophora cinerea), and a tree with large group of Cape Turtle-Doves (Streptopelia capicola) and Wattled Starlings.

The Chacma Baboons had small infants, who were playing along the road, as you can see in these two pictures.

Image

Image

The adults, in turn, seemed to be resting from a long day, in the side of the road.

Image

This species is classified in the IUCN Red List as Least concern, showing stable populations. Its large distribution is entirely within southern Africa, as shown here: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=16022

This baboon occupies all types of woodland, savanna, steppes and subdesert, montane regions, Cape Fynbos and Succulent Karoo. They retreat at night to cliffs, hills or large trees. In some habitats, such as the Namib Desert, habitat choice is influenced by predation risk. As this species is dependent on drinking water daily, water availability limits its overall range. This species is an opportunistic omnivore, eating bulbs, shoots, roots, seeds, fruits, invertebrates, small vertebrates, seashore life, fungi, and lichen. They may even occasionally capture and eat small antelopes or Impala youngs. They can also eat crops, lambs and small stock, leading to predictable conflict with humans.

Troops average between 20 and 50 animals, but may even reach 130 individuals. We saw many big troops in KNP.

We found Burchell’s Zebras once again besides the road. Among them, a wonderful animal was this one in the front of the picture below, with considerably black stripes.

Image

And we were also able to take a fantastic picture for the butt calendar.

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They moved along the road and at a given point entered the road and looked in our direction, as an impressive group.

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This was not a perfect picture, far from it, but it got an interesting moment: the zebra looking at our direction, the Wattled Starling flying and the car coming behind.

Image

And finally we could even take such a close-up

Image

Giraffes are always impressive, and it was great to find four of them in the road to Satara, eating like the one in the picture below.

Image

Or even taking time to stare at us.

Image

Swainson’s Spurfowls or Francolins are common birds in the KNP, but always nice to find, usually in pairs.

Image

In the IUCN Red List, these birds are classified as Least Concern, with stable populations. Its distribution covers part of Southern Africa, as you can see here: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=100600179

Swainson’s Spurfowls generally prefer grasslands or open savannas and adapts easily to cultivated, disturbed areas, what explains why the current environmental crisis is not destabilizing their populations.

Here are some recorded calls of these noisy birds, whose calls remind me of the guineafowls: http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Pternistis-swainsonii

Calls are also found here: http://www.biodiversityexplorer.org/bir ... nsonii.htm

They are easily identified due to the combination of red face, red throat, black upper bill and black legs. Even though male and female have similar plumage, the male can be distinguished by having long leg spurs.

Under the rain, that had come back, the Blue Wildebeest and the Burchell’s Zebras did not seem much satisfied. See how much rain was pouring over this Blue Wildebeest.

Image

This mixed herd was followed by Wattled Starlings, who were evidently eating the insects they displaced from the grass while eating and ectoparasites from their skins.

Image

The Blue or Common Wildebeest is also not threatened by extinction (Least Concern with stable populations in the IUCN Red List). This is its current distribution: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=5229

However, the survival of the species depends on conservation efforts.

Most of the territory in Southern Africa is still connected, while there are also populations not connected with those from Southern Africa in Kenya and Tanzania. The populations are, however, large in East Africa, as the famous migration in the Masai Mara and Serengeti clearly shows. They are gregarious animals with herds usually averaging about 30 members. However, they form larger concentrations numbering thousands of animals during migrations to new-feeding grounds. Another example of such mass migrations takes place in Botswana. But notice that the smaller herds maintain their identity within the larger mass.

The mass migrations of herds are threatened both in Botswana and in Masai Mara/Serengeti. In Botswana, they have been curtailed by the veterinary cordon fences which have disturbed the traditional routes. Animals are unable to follow grazing and water and become trapped against the fences unable to move through and unable to retreat. For this reason, mortalities are much higher than they should be. In Tanzania, there are plans to build a road that will disrupt the migration routes. It is amazing how governments cannot figure out how an impressive phenomenon like this has to be conserved, not only for environmental reasons, also for economical ones.

This is a large antelope, with a long black horse-like tail and a beautiful dark mane. Bulls have more robust horns than the females. The horns are beautiful morphological traits.

They are predominantly grazers of short green grass. This explains why they are so often found with Zebras, which eat the taller grasses making it easier to the wildebeest to reach their favorite food.

In captivity, the life span reaches 20 years.

The Wattled Starlings are also classified as Least Concern with stable populations in the IUCN Red List. You can see their distribution here: http://maps.iucnredlist.org/map.html?id=106006803

They are common across much of Southern Africa, generally preferring sparse woodland and other open habitats, such as grassland and cultivated areas. Nomadic, they move in response to insect abundance. Besides insects, they also eat fruits, seeds and nectar. Most of the foraging is done on the ground, plucking prey from the surface or proving the ground to catch burrowing arthropods. They often follow game and livestock, removing ectoparasites from their skin.


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:26 pm 
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Hey Charbel, I know what mean regarding the addiction........

Agree, awesome stripes on that Zebra!


Thanx for the info on the wildebeast, francolins and baboons. I love learning more!

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:16 am 
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Thanks for another interesting episode Charbel! It is great to read all the info regarding the animals! :clap: :clap:

I find it very interesting to once have read that no two Zebras' stripes are the same, and that it is like a human's fingerprints. :wink:

Great shot of the Zebra and Starling with the oncoming car at the back. :dance: :dance:

I love the close-up of the Giraffe, as well as the colourful Swainson's Spurfowl! :D

I'm sure the Wildebeest enjoyed cooling off in the rain during the January heat in the Park! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:57 pm 
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Thanks for more zebras and birdies, Charbel :thumbs_up:

I can always spent ages to watch them :P


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:41 am 
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Dear Super Mongoose, Hilda, and Pumbaa

Thanks!
Yes, Zebra's stripes are like fingerprintings. And we can really see the variety if we take our time watching them...
The wildebeest may have enjoyed, indeed, but that day was very rainy!!!
Soon to come back with another posting!

Cheers
Charbel


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:52 am 
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charbel wrote:
Hi friends,
You know, any time left I need to come back to the TR. Almost an addiction. So, time for another posting.
The Chacma Baboons had small infants, who were playing along the road, as you can see......

:think: ......Even they were glad for you posting again :clap: :clap:

:clap: :clap: Stunning educational Tr and photos :great: :great:

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do not let poachers take it away!

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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:55 am 
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This is really what i would call an informative dictionary to the kruger park TR its brilliant WELL DONE Ive learnt so many new facts I never knew THANKS keep up the excellent work :)

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Im still In LOVE with my Kruger!


Home is where the Heart is and my Heart lies in the Kruger ...FACT!


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:50 pm 
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Dear Philip and Sheenaugh-Lee,

Thanks! I do intend to share all I've been learning.. it is always a pleasure... sorry for taking long for a new posting. I also came back to planning for the Kgalagadi trip, which also takes much time.

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 Jan 21, 2013 5:41 pm 
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Pleasure charbel I can't wait for the next episode :)

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Im still In LOVE with my Kruger!


Home is where the Heart is and my Heart lies in the Kruger ...FACT!


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:34 am 
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And then we reached the Orpen-Satara Road (H7)! The day was soon to end, we needed to go a bit faster to reach Orpen in time to check-in for Tamboti. But it was hard to progress. The road was very very busy. What a lot of sightings, what fantastic animals! It was exhilarating to follow the road worrying about getting to Orpen in time, to decide whether to stay or go (as in the Clash classic, should I stay or should I go?) in front of a marvelous animal, anticipating, however, a closed gate when we arrive. And it was necessary to go to Orpen and, then, still have time to go to Tamboti. Thrilling end of the day! But you cannot guess all we saw in H7…. Wait for the next scenes…

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: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:11 am 
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It sounds like you just just made it to orpen charbel lol did you make it to Tamboti on time???

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Home is where the Heart is and my Heart lies in the Kruger ...FACT!


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:08 pm 
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Hi Sheenaugh-Lee,
Maybe, perhaps we reached Tamboti, let's keep the suspense...

btw, I will change my style of posting, in order to post faster. I have been doing one road or long stretch of road each time. I will change to one sighting per posting...

Cheers
Charbel


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:10 pm 
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charbel wrote:
Hi Sheenaugh-Lee,
Maybe, perhaps we reached Tamboti, let's keep the suspense...

btw, I will change my style of posting, in order to post faster. I have been doing one road or long stretch of road each time. I will change to one sighting per posting...

Cheers
Charbel


LOL suspense it is then :D

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Im still In LOVE with my Kruger!


Home is where the Heart is and my Heart lies in the Kruger ...FACT!


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 Post subject: Re: Report of our first trip to Kruger - 3-14 January 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:16 pm 
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:popcorn: :tongue:

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