Originally we planned to drive the S21 that day but same was unfortunately closed due to the only recent rainfalls – same was open earlier and with the closure of the S30 as well we in fact did not have much options to chose. At Nkulu we granted ourselves the daily ice-cream dose and could spot a large rock monitor whilst sucking away. Same was so hidden so we were not able to get a clear shot.
We only hoped that after the recent rainfalls that the S65 and Lake Panic might not be closed as well and because it was still far too early to check in to pay a visit at the bird hide first.
The naughty vervets to be found nearly everywhere in the vicinity of the Sabie river raised our mood a bit
although the light was not that good in the shadow.
On our way to the bird hide we at least could spot a sentinel on top of a tree in the best light.
Originally we visit Lake Panic only on the second day whilst staying at Skukuza but today we had also time to spend some time there and gladly same was open and so it was time for an excessive two hours stay there and in the midday heat indeed a good choice as the light breeze which was blowing felt very pleasant and chilly on the skin.
A couple of people were about to leave and made Timon aware of a dragonfly on a water lily.
We simply sat down, looked around and waited but in fact we did not have to wait that long as our malachite friend was again present
and the even Black Crake was coming closer
using the huge leaves of the water lilies.
Pity was that the African jacana stayed nearly the whole time hidden but allowed some shots whilst same was busy in grooming the plumage – Is it indeed the right description/word? "grooming?"
The reeds were very thick and floating in the wind and with them a tawny flanked prinia which obviously had close by a nest.
Unfortunately the hippos neither could be seen nor been heard and also the huge crocodile normally who swim for a closer look did not show up. So besides the whispers of the people and the noise of the feet on the ground from some more coming or leaving people were the only sounds we heard besides the chirping of the birds.
I remember here our very first visit to Lake Panic were I desperately trying to locate the lake as in same warthogs were grassing. This must have been indeed a very dry summer and compared to our last three visits here after the floods still an unbelievable sighting. We could not take our eyes away from a colourful fluff ball flying from one edge to the other of the lake trying to catch some fish or frog.
Same even must have dug somewhere in dirt as its bill was a bit dirty which even made the pictures we took from same much more interesting.
What a cute colourful beauty same is!
Needless to say that the following is my favourite shot of the malachite and meanwhile framed!
I guess it was simply too hot as no other birds could be seen and even the obligatory Lake Panic pied was somewhere else today and we even found out later where same was plus some other friends as well the next day.
Meanwhile the malachite caught a fish and landed close on a branch where the green backed heron was breeding but same became due to the presence of the malachite agitated and left its nest to have a closer view what same was doing so close
and same even chased a terrapin away which was about to climb a root at the bottom of the bush in which the heron was breeding.
Finally after everything was inspected and found to be trustworthy the heron returned to its nest and satisfactorily enthroned on same in the end.
We were about to leave when I spotted a beautiful Paradise flycatcher very far away but same was already gone when I made Timon signs where he had to look for same. After splendid two hours at the hide we left very satisfied and at that stage we were confident that we will return the next day again.....to be continued.........