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Jay: Kruger in Feb '07

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Jay
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Jay: Kruger in Feb '07

Unread postby Jay » Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:25 pm

This trip report is (yet again) anecdotal as I stayed one night in Kruger (for the cricket) and then travelled in and out of the park over the period of a week. We arrived on the Wednesday before the cricket, travelling through the Phabeni and out the Kruger gate. All the usual suspects were present i.e. impala, zebra, wildebeest and giraffe. One could see it had not rained for a few weeks as it had been far greener in December.

Two kites chased an eagle which I have not identified as yet. The eagle twisted and turned in the air as the 2 gave chase, all the while emitting the most beautiful, haunting calls.

On the Sunday after the cricket, we headed up to Lower Sabie from Skukuza. The day started out grey and drizzly, but by the time we returned from Lower Sabie it was well and truly pelting down! The weather seemed to attract birds as we spotted Southern Carmine Bee-eaters all over the show. From never having spotted them in Kruger before, this was quite a treat. In fact when ever we (as in my sister and myself, my mom is not that much of a twitcher) said “bee-eater” my mom jokingly would add, “must be a carmine, that’s the only bee-eaters in the park.”
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We also came a cross 2 White-crowned lapwings, along with 2 Blacksmith lapwing and a Three-banded plover, all gathered around a puddle formed by the drenching rain.
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The poor impala were by now thoroughly soggy and I couldn’t help feeling sorry for them even though they were putting up a brave front :wink: All the other animals had taken refuge.
A Hadeda stood alongside the road, its colours all the brighter in the grey light.
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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:21 pm

and your ever humble servant :lol:
We turned onto the bridge (road to Tshokwane) and then were in somewhat of a pickle: there were cars parked on the other end of the bridge, a troop of baboons posing on the rails and a Giant Kingfisher perched further along. So we started at one end and worked our way towards the other, hoping that whatever was at the far end would linger long enough for us to see.
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The baboons were quite disinterested in the cars, for a change, which made it possible to wind the window down for pics.
A little further along a Giant Kingfisher, or should I say the Giant Kingfisher, as this one was in exactly the same spot on my last trip, sat on the rail. Once again I could get close enough to reach out and touch it if I wanted to (which, of course, I didn’t want to do!) :wink:
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On the other side of the river 2 Saddle- billed storks waded in the shallows.
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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:39 pm

And the best were last: 2 Nyala were standing right next to the road at the other end. I don’t think I have ever seen these shy buck so clearly before! They were very skittish and constantly moving about. I think they actually want to cross the road but were too wary of the parked cars.
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Of course we also spotted ellies; a herd crossed the road giving us a little bit of a fright as we watched a few cross the road behind us, only to realise they were crossing in front of us too! We quickly made our way ahead of them and watched them out the back window, much more comfortable :lol: ! We also saw 2 small lots of buffalo and a huge monitor who was about to cross the road but changed its mind when we stopped to take pics. It was really a very big reptile, to be honest if I came across it on foot I would most certainly back off!
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My sister had told my mom of the giant snails we had seen on our last trip, but had up to this point not been able to spot one. My mom had teasingly insisted we were pulling her leg. And then we found one! Notice how it retracts its feelers in the second pic, I didn’t know they did this. A car load of tourists stopped and you could literally see their eyes pop when the saw the size of the snail.
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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:10 pm

A lone Marabou Stork perched on a dead tree, looking very spiffy after the rain.
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2 Burchell’s Coucal sat preening themselves on a branch. It’s odd how many pairs of animals we saw. Maybe it’s an instinctive Noah’s Ark reaction when big rains happen :wink: .
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At Lower Sabie we sat eating toasted feta and mushroom sandwiches while watching an ellie swim across the river, at times only its trunk was visible above the water. I bumped into Restio in the shop and she informed me she had seen 6 lion sitting on a rock on the N’watimhiri causeway. On the way there a Jeep jockey waved us down to tell us the same. We found the lions but they had by this time moved off the rock, down into the dense reeds. So we stayed a short while, and then drove on.

The following morning we set out to Lake Panic, arriving just as a carload of tourists left, leaving us with the birdhide all to ourselves 8) . It was grey and overcast and wonderfully quiet. A hippo lay to one side looking exactly like a rock; the only give away was as it occasionally lifted its head. An African Jacana walked sedately over the lily leaves, literally walking on water and the White-faced ducks were of course in attendance.
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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Sat Mar 10, 2007 6:45 pm

Dragonflies flitted about and 2 (again!) Pied Kingfishers held a conference in the shrubbery.
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Just outside of Skukuza I spotted this Yellow-billed kite (right?)
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The next evening we drove along the Sabie River road, searching for the resident leopard but she eluded us. We did find this monitor drinking water
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and a group of waterbuck socialising with impala and zebras. A small puffadder lay in the road warming itself, and we warned the next car that came along not to drive over it. A group of ellies walked through the trees, melting into the dense greenery, on their way to the river.

On our last day we drove in Kruger gate and out Phabeni and the usual suspects waited along the road to say goodbye, or so I like to think :wink: . Just before we got to the gate we spotted the ellie with one tusk, and we departed with sad hearts…….but we knew we would soon be back again!


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