Sweni to LS
This installment is a big one so apologies if it takes long to load. I want to finish the Sweni to LS part of the journey tonight.
Another "battle" that started to develop was when a new mother Egyptian Goose kicked up a huge racket and only then did I spot the monitor lizard that was on its was to her new hatchlings. The two Lapwing Plovers took over the fight and kept on buzzing the lizard until it disappeared into the grass.
Here is the first intended target of the monitor lizard, the mother Egyptian Goose. From the empty shells of the eggs close by it looked like these guys were newly hatched.
In the left hand pond the green algae moved and a huge croc appeared. There was already a large animal lying in the sun so I was expecting sports. The croc still in the water appeared to be on a power wash cycle as bubbles and foam were appearing all round the croc. I was reminded of a National Geographic program where it was explained that the croc vibrates it's body as part of the mating ritual. So I was going to see some action. The croc in the water approached the other one and both lifted their heads. They both moved into the water where the next generation of crocs was energetically created
It was now close to 11:00 and time to leave, which I did with a heavy heart and a promise to myself to spend lots of time here when we return in 2011.
I hit the H10 south with the next planned stop Orpen dam. I saw this Red Breasted Korhaan, female I believe. I spent about 20 minutes in a hot car waiting for the bird to move out of the long grass and shade, but to no avail. This was the only open shot that I was allowed.
I was also very pleased to have added this Purple Roller to my list. Now I just need the European Roller.
I eventually reached Orpen dam and upon driving into the parking areas which was deserted I spotted a number of baboons squatting in the shade of the parking bays and a huge male sitting under a tree on the left. I drove in under the shaded parking area and the few baboons there kindly moved off. The alpha male was still watching me, so I sat in the car for a while and ate my sandwiches. It lost interest in me and I walked into the lookout spot. What a wonderful view. There were crocs in the water, elephants, Kudus, waterbuck and Nyala on the opposite bank. This kudu drew my attention.
A lizard also made a brief appearance on a rock in front of the hide.
Three Lappet Faced Vultures came gliding by and landed at the water's edge.
By this time a number of families and groups had joined me in the lookout with the expected comments towards my equipment. I enjoyed the kids and missed Mattanator on this trip. He is my entertainment center and buddy. Next time he will also experience Kruger.
Time to leave again and I decided on the H10, S128, S29 as my route to LS. I was aiming to spend some time a the Sunset dam so I had to push on. I stopped a number of times for various animals and birds but will share the Lilac Breasted Roller
the one of many Magpie Shrike
This little Black-headed Tchacra gave me the run-around and was only prepared to show itself after quite a few minutes with me waiting in the hot car, engine off and camera ready. It looks as if there was a tick on it's head.
I eventually reached Sunset dam and was immediately rewarded with another first when a Green-Backed Heron came and landed meters away from me on the concrete structure. It was then chased away by a Grey Heron, but fortunately it landed even closer which forced me to quickly remove the 1.4 converted in order to get the whole bird in the frame.
It was all happening, with a troop of baboons walking by, a family of warthogs came by but were so close I couldn't get the whole animal in the frame.
Ditto for the Hippo that came from the river and passed with 2 meters of the front of my Fiesta.
What a day, but the gates were about to be closed so I left to go and book into my tented accommodation. Checkin was quick and efficient and I was even quicker in the shop buying a burger,a Prago roll and snacks for dinner. I was given the tent unit right in the corner of the camp. I settled in quickly, but darkness came faster, so I missed a sundowner in the stoep. The canvas sides of the unit is in dire need of replacement. I sat on the stoep and started the nightly routine of download and backup when I got the fright of my life when I looked up, squinted through my laptop induced night blindness and looked into the face of a hyena. Of course there is an electric fence between me and the beast , but the unit being a mere meter from the fence, the presence of a wild predator so close took a few years off. After that the fence crackled throughout the night, which left me wondering what was trying to get in or out..........