Having recently returned from KNP, I have this idea that a trip report is in order, but it was a long and eventful trip with much to tell … and show – I'm not sure if I have enough staying power to do the whole report, so here follows a practise run....
Picture the scene … it's about 7:00 on an idyllic Sunday morning – the sun is up but not yet hot - there isn't a ripple to disturb the glass-like reflection of the cat settling down to drink from the clear water of the pool …..
… but I got back from KNP last weekend - the pool in question is only clear because of the soup of chemicals that it gets fed on a regular basis … and the AWC is sometimes Affectionate When Caressed.DSC_5187
, on Flickr
So there I was contemplating whether to get in the pool and scrub the algae and clean the debris that had been left behind by the fancy-fangled-super-duper-throw-it-in-and-forget-it as-seen-on-TV pool cleaner, or should I work on the sprinkler system that the garden service so expertly adjust with their rakes and weedeaters every time they visit.......
I looked toward the garden and noticed a Cape White Eye with what looked like a yellow bill??? it was at the opposite end of the garden so it was difficult to make out clearly, and (of course) by the time I got back with the camera and long lens, it was gone, but very soon re-appeared, yellow bill and all. A quick look through the viewfinder confirmed that it was indeed a CWE, but the yellow was a small berry held in its beak …. but why was it holding this berry while it flitted from hibiscus bush to sprinkler head and back to the bush again? DSC_5191
, on Flickr
Of course! Closer investigation showed a youngster stranded on the ground – the howling Southeaster of the past week had dislodged the nest that now lay nearby. DSC_5206
, on Flickr
Not wanting to disturb the parents too much nor attract the attention of the beloved kitties, I snapped a few quick shots and backed off to again contemplate my duties …..
…... or just maybe I could persuade SO to get up and head off to the beach ….at the Preekstoel in WCNP. She was still Kruger dreaming (on such a summer's day), so it didn't take much more persuasion than a suggestion ...
“shall we …. uh …. maybe take a short drive...?"
”to Langebaan?” she responded without hesitation
so it was set – pack light ….
... and …acti.... (oops best put in a swimming costume) …..
The little 1600 engine purred willingly into life (the noisy Jeep diesel was taking a well deserved rest after its 6000 odd km trek (and my wallet was taking it a bit easy on the fuel expenses) … and within a few minutes we were cruising north up the R27.
On arrival at the gate, I reached for the Wild card in my wallet …. ooops “Did you pack the renewal confirmation letter?” I asked …. but the able admin manager had everything under control – reaching to the back seat she pulled the sleeve out of the folder and handed it to me as we stopped. The gate official just looked at it and walked back into the office …... HUH??... He returned with a form where I filled in our details and card number, and we were in. It took just a moment to re-adjust to 50kmh and we doddled on down the road.
About 1km from the gate, I saw a tortoise in the road, so made an easy long arc around him, but he still ducked into his shell as we passed – the admin lady still had her head and torso over into the back seat repacking the paperwork, so it was a little difficult for me to check in the rearview mirror if the tortoise had got moving again ….. I immediately recognised the form I saw but was reluctant to believe my first impression. Without ABS, I might have screeched to a stop on roadside and pulled a U-turn to confirm that it was indeed a Lynx strolling across the road at 9:50 in the morning...!! The gaffer was very slow in opening my camera bag and handing me the camera as I aligned myself to get a quick shot at distance so that I wouldn't spook him into the fynbos, but a bakkie was approaching from the gate now and the Lynx just looked at both vehicles and walked off the road.
I cursed (but kept it mild since it was a Sunday and we were, after all, in church).
We gave a friendly wave in greeting as the bakkie passed slowly, and I pulled up to the spot where the Lynx had disappeared …... and there he was!
(Disclaimer: Although actual gender may vary, and without prejudice or favour, this individual feline will be known as “he” or “him” for the purpose and duration of this missive)DSC_5209
, on Flickr
He looked quite young, and was relaxed but just a bit camera shy so, although I snapped off quite a few shots, this was about as clear as I got …. bummer
not being as quick and professional as some of you guys... He just walked off into the bush and we lost him. We waited a few minutes, but heard the ripples of the lagoon calling and continued our trip.
Not 10 minutes later, we crested a rise to be greeted by an oncoming Black Harrier – We see at least one virtually every trip there, but I have yet to get a decent shot of one coursing low over the veld looking for quarry. I again brought the car to an abrupt halt (without even creating skid marks in the gravel verge) and swung the lens out my window, only to have him switch sides and pass close over the car at an angle that prevented me from getting a great close-up. A few more passes backwards and forwards allowed me to get a pretty nice shot, that I will keep for nowDSC_5215
, on Flickr
…. but I will look for a better one next time. The best part about this stop then became apparent – I had driven over some small fynbos on the road verge and that beautiful, unmistakeable smell filled the car (unfortunately I don't know a way to upload it here for everyone to enjoy)