Day 3, continue
Still on the S50 more than two hours after we left Tihongonyeni we only drove 10 or 12km. Near a small herd of Blue-wildebeest, one of the world’s largest flying birds, a Kori Bustard were being harassed by tiny Carmine Bee-eaters. The Bee-eaters where hovering in front of his head in order to catch any bugs flushed out by the Kori Bustard moving through the tall grass and he was clearly very annoyed with them blocking his way.
This is a very tall bird and males could reach 1,50m and could weigh 12,4kg with a wingspan up to 2,5m. They diet on insects and love eating dung beetles, but will also feast on small reptiles and other bird’s eggs and nestlings. Interesting fact is that they love eating the gum from the Acacia trees and will eat roots, bulbs and flowers. The Kori Bustard is resident to Southern Africa and are classified as vulnerable due to habitat loss, accidental poisoning and poaching by snaring them under the Acacia trees were they eat the gum.
Buffalo were spread out both sides of the road and some were resting in the tall grass.
Then another raptor in a tree, a Martial Eagle, one of my favorite raptors! Overcast windy days are great for us twitches because the raptors are then in the trees or on the ground.
Martial Eagles are not threatened globally, but are considered vulnerable in South Africa, especially outside protected areas and considered endangered in Namibia due to persecution on farmlands. What a shame, these are magnificent big birds and it’s only when you see them up close how big they really are. Males weigh around 3.3kg, 78-83cm tall with a wingspan between 1.9-2.4m. Because they are able to catch small antelope, jackal and baboons, they will catch farmer’s lams, goat kids and chickens if nothing else is available. They are excellent reptile hunters and many monitor lizards has fallen prey to a Martial Eagle.
On the road sign to Nshawa No.2 waterhole sat an European Roller and he did not mind a bit when we stopped right next to him snapping 100s of photos!
Our best Ellie of the day feeding in the middle of the marsh at Nshawa No.2.
Along the way we found a few Leopard Tortoises crossing the road including a tiny one.
We turned west towards Mooiplaas waterhole and the Mopanies closed up again into a solid green curtain, but then just before we got totally board, we were at Mooiplaas waterhole where ones eye can “breath” again over the open march and grassland.
More to come and another lifer back at camp!