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 Post subject: Kaapsedraai's Wildernis: Birding & canoeing - June '13
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:37 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
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Location: Bellville, Cape Town
What is the first thing that goes through your mind when thinking about ‘Wildernis’? Well, for me it is canoeing on the Touw River enjoying the tranquility of the calm water with forests towering on either side of the river and water birds flying up to take a more secure position as one glides through the water past them. Another thought coming up instinctively is whether ‘Hop-a-long’ is still alive and whether we will see him again.

After visiting ADDO National Park and GARDEN ROUTE – Storms River National Park, we returned to the Wildernis area staying at Ebb & Flo camp. As one enters the park, one gets the sense of peace and security as a security fence with office at entrance ensures no unwanted elements enter the park. Similarly, security points are also in operation as one exits/enters the southern gate or if one wants to move to the southern side of the park where the rondawels are located. The Reception staff was most helpful and friendly, hence worthy of complimenting them for making us feel welcome. :thumbs_up:

During June, the aloes are in bloom lighting up area with its beautiful contrasting red flowers attracting numerous birds such as the colourful sunbirds.
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Greater Double-Collared Sunbird
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Amethyst Sunbird
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We settled in at unit with beautiful view over the green lawn, trees and aloes with birds being active and now and then saw a Knysna Turaco sweeping silently past us from tree to tree causing me to grab the camera and ran after them to get a nice pic.
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Some birdies that welcomed us - Whinchat (Bontrokkie)
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Could this be a Greater Honeyguide (Grootheuningwyser)?
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Southern Boubou (Suidelike Waterfiskaal)
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Later the evening our dear friends joined us from Cape Town for a most enjoyable stay at Wildernis. Although it was winter time, the weather played along nicely allowing us to participate in some outdoor activity such as birding, sight-seeing, canoeing and SO and friend doing a hike to the Waterfall.

So, we hope you join us on this trip as well as we explore the Wildernis park area with some great birding and scenery.... :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE - Wildernis: Lets go birding & canoeing
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:04 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 1942
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
Before one continues with this trip, I guess it will be appropriate to first provide you with a layout of the Wildernis section indication all the vlei areas, bird hides, walking trails - Wildernis Map

A few days earlier while staying over in Sedgefield, before we visited Addo and Storms Riverwe, we explored the Rondevlei area and bird hide (indicated #5 on the map). The Dune Molerat trail is also located at this spot.
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As we walked to the hide, we were greeted by a friendly little mouse (he passed on his regards to a forumite friend :D :D :D ).
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Here is the view from the Rondevlei hide over the vlei. As you can see, there are lots of reeds in front and the sides with the waterbirds relatively far.
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We spotted Common Moorhen and Tree-banded plovers, but the ones that stole the attention were a number of active Pied Kingfishers.
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We love kingfishers and was really happy to see so many o them together :dance: . Some more birdies coming up....to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE - Wildernis: Lets go birding & canoeing
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:24 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 1942
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
It was our first morning back at Wildernis arriving from Storms River. The previous episode was one where we visited the Rondevlei area before leaving for Addo & Storms River and now we are back...

Lets go and explore the road to where the vlei link into the sea at Sedgefield. On our way, we first spotted a Jackal buzzard.
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A sign in the Sedgefield section of the GR. It is interesting that Sedgefield area is known for their Tortoises crossing the roads and everywhere the signs reminds one to watch out for them. At Storms River the signs indicated to watch out for Dassies and in Addo it was FOR Dung-beatles, :D
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This is where the Swartvlei flows into the sea with a beautiful long beach and Gericke's Point in the back.
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There was some great bird activity along the river with Malachite Kingfisher doing some reed-dancing.
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We also spotted thie Pied Kingfisher doing his business mid air. :D
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It is a fantastic drive with exquisite views over the river on the one side and sunbirds hopping from one aloe to another on the other side of the road.
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Black-winged Stilt parading the shallow waters.
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Black-headed heron taking it easy.
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Our next stop back via the vleie is the Malachite bird hide next to the Bo-Langvlei where we enjoyed some great birding. ...to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE - Wildernis: Lets go birding & canoeing
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:10 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 1942
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
Before visiting the Malachite bird hide, it will be appropriate to share the scenery the area has to offer.

The road to the town Karatara located on the mountain behind Wildernis provide one with spectacular view of the Ebb & Flo camp and the river.
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From Karatara, the road winds down through the forest down to the Wildernis area on the other side and one of the look out points, one can enjoy the view over Wildernis from a different angle on the one side and ... Image

...and on the other side, the Map of Africa
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Back on the road next to the vleie, one crosses the railway line where the old choe-choe steamtrain used to travel between Knysna and George.
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Along the road some birdies making their presence felt - a lonely Spoonbill
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...and Southern Boubou.
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Now, it is time to get to the Malachite bird hide ....to be continued.

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE - Wildernis: Lets go birding & canoeing
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:32 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 1942
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
Well, it is time to pay a visit or should I rather say visits to a great bird hide - Malachite birdhide located on the Bo-Langvlei. What is great about this hide is that the hide is on the water and on previous occasions saw how a Malachite kingfisher flew in under the hide to feed a young one. We could hear the little one calling from out under the hide. We were not disappointed during this trip as the Malachites were real entertainers.
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But before I share with you some more of these colourful birds, lets enjoy some of the other great bird sightings from the hide. First a view from the hide.
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African Darter
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Some more poses from the African Darter
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A Crowned Cormorant (Kuifkopduiker) also made his presence felt.
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A Spoonbill doing fly by.
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While spending time in the hide, we heard the call of the Fish eagle quite a few times, but did not have any sightings at the time. However, we did get some sightings when we were canoeing on the Touw river.

In the next episode, some more water birds as sighted from the Malachite bird hide....to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE - Wildernis: Lets go birding & canoeing
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:07 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 1942
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
As promised, some more waterbirds as sighted from the Malachite bird hide located next to the Bo-Langvlei in Wildernis.

A Red-knobbed coot (proe proe voëljie - geluid wat hul maak - Bleshoender) getting materials for the nest.
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Little Grebe (Dabchick) (Dobbertjie)
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Red-billed Teal (Rooibekeend)
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Yellow-billed Duck (Geekbekeend)
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Cape Shoveler (Kaapse slopeend)
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Pied Kingfisher paying us a visit...
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As you can see, the Wildernis area is a great place of bird watching...the Malachite kingfisher also made their presence felt. After all it is the Malachite bird hide...so, next episode some Malachites... :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE - Wildernis: Lets go birding & canoeing
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:27 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 1942
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
Well, we are still spending a time in the Malachite bird hide and this episode will confirm why this hide got its name...
We really had a great time and visited this hide a few times and here s acolection of Malchite birdies we took during each visit. Image

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After spending some great times at this hide, it was time for some canoeing...coming up next. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13


Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE - Wildernis: Lets go birding & canoeing
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:10 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 1942
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
I hope you all got your life jackets on as in the next two episodes we will be exploring the Touw river on a canoe and enjoying some great scenery and birds. :D

I want to say that one of the 'must do' things when staying or visiting Ebb & Flo is a trip with a canoe on the river. It is just so relaxing and energising. That feeling one gets when driving through the gates of Kruger and long last arriving - well, to glide through the water on a canoe watching water birds as the mountains tower in front of you with beautiful forests and bird calls creates the same feeling... just so relaxing...
:dance:
About 7 years ago, we did our first trip with canoe and at that time our girl was about 2 years old. The canoes are really stable and our girl could easily fit in front of one of the seat area. Here is a photo of that time SO, me and our little one.
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This time round it was a friend of mine, me and our little girl again as we explored the river in search for more kingfishers. As we get closer to some waterbirds, they flew up to get to a safer spot.
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This is a view of the river.
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A beautiful tree with Cormorant on the one.
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As we slowly glided silently up the river, we heard some Fish eagles calling and looked up ...two of them and then sat on a tree greeting us with beautiful calls.
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We reached the halfway mark and time to turn around, but not before we had an excellent sighting ... a lifer for me. :dance: ...to be continued, :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE - Wildernis: Lets go birding & canoeing
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:07 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 1942
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
We have reached the point where we are turning around namely at the pond.
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It needs to be recorded that while my friend, little girl and I were on the river, SO and her friend were doing the hike to the waterfall. They encounter one problem in that they misjudged the distance with the time to walk to the waterfall and back resulting in them doing the last stretch in darkness. Unfortunately, we do not have pics of the waterfall...but will do this hike the next time and share with you. :thumbs_up:

As we turned around on the river, we spotted something blue.....this Half-collared kingfisher - a fisrt for me and I was so excited. :dance:
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We followed it down the river and managed to get a nice close-up photo.
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:idea: Something I have learnt when going on a river with mountains either side and shadows falling on the water and with the water also a dark colour, one tends to struggle with light resulting in blur pics. Often the bird or subject is in or next to the water and the dark background becomes a challenge. For the above pics, I used my extended flash. If there are any other advise, please share. :D

Along the river we enjoyed the interesting abstract patterns with reflections on the calm water.
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Another view of the river on our way back to the camp.
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This is the view from the river of the northern section where the bungalows are situated.
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Then the view from the river of the log cabins on the southern section.
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And so a most enjoyable canoe trip on the river came to an end. :( But, there is still another bird hide we need to visit and some birdies spotted in the camp....to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE - Wildernis: Lets go birding & canoeing
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:24 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 1942
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
One bird hide we did not had the time to visit was the Island lake bird hide. It is located near the business area of Wildernis and N2. To visit the hide, one needs to collect the key from Reception of a well known hotel. We did visit the hide in June 2012 late afternoon on an overcast day and we struggled a bit with light, but here are a few photos of some birdies. A Malachite Kingfisher also made his presence felt, but I could not get a decent photo of him under the circumstances.

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Back in the camp, we spotted some more birds - Speckled mousebird,
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Now the one bird we were hoping to see was a specific Guinea fowl. We spotted this specific GF 3 years ago and every year he was still around and we were glad to see him surviving another year. This year we were once again happy to see Hop-A-Long still alive. It is a Guinea Fowl with only one leg and he hops along where he needs to go. Let me introduce Hop-A-Long to you.
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Well, and so another most enjoyable trip to this gem of a park had come to an end and it was time to head back to Cape Town. But, before we end of this TR, it is worth sharing some bird photos taken in the camp near our accommodation...
Amethyst sunbird
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Greater double-collard sunbird
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Then the cherry on the proverbial cake - Knysna Turaco.
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The end .... :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13


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