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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:12 am 
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Anna-MarieSA wrote:
WOW what a nice morning drive I just love storks this one is amazing! love the kudu also such a graceful animal Lovely pics :clap:


Thanks for the comments, it is appreciated :thumbs_up: .

Must agree, it was a wonderful drive with lots of birdies on the way :dance: .

Just a reminder, it is the Forums Birthday today, as well as the announcement of all the 2013 Award winners Image

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:05 am 
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It was time to move along. We were greeted by this Rattling Cisticola, singing his wonderful song to the ladies.

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The rest of the drive was a bit quiet, until we met up with a huge buffalo herd. It was the first time that we saw a little buff drinking on the move.

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Here are a few pictures of the big boys, looking after the herd.

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We left the herd and arrived at Mlondzi picnic site for a leg stretch and brunch. It is just awesome to sit there and taking in the environment.

This was our view of the dam.

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I also took a picture of this plant in bloom.

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We left Mlondzi and came across a honey badger foraging for food. He was so busy in the long grass that we could only capture the back of him :tongue: .

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We came around a corner and saw something that we have been waiting for, for the past 20 visits to Kruger. We were the only vehicle when we were met by this unforgettable sight. It was a black rhino, approximately 10 meters from the road busy eating without even blinking an eye at our presence :dance: :dance: .

Our apologies for posting so many pictures of one sighting, but it was just too special to post only one or two.

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The only other sightings till we arrived at the S12 bridge were these two steenbuck.

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To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:56 pm 
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We were greeted by the resident hippos at the bridge.

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We know that on the way to Skukuza there is a pride of lions operating in the riverbed, so we turned right at the bridge and drove along the H4.1 for approximately 2km and without seeing anything, we turned around. Just as we neared the S12 again, Hilda pointed out that there are two lionesses on the hunt. The next moment the whole road was filled with impala and nyala running in all directions. We were waiting for the lionesses to appear, but to no avail.

With all the excitement passed we drove, discussing what could have happened. On our way to Lower Sabie we saw this little common duiker.

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These two African Hawk-Eagles.

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A shy Nyala ram.

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A Bushbuck ram.

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Then it was time for our feathered friends again.

A Juvenile Bateleur.

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A Kori Bustard that turned around every time we want to take a picture.

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Another beautiful flower.

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Followed by a male and female White-bellied Sunbird couple.

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She was sitting in really bad light.

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Just before we reached Sunset Dam we came across another lifer for us.
This Golden-breasted Bunting.

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While I was waiting for the braai fire to be ready I photographed this Brown-hooded Kingfisher.

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Another full day came to an end with a nice dinner and chat with the new neighbours. We went to bed with the knowledge that whatever sightings we will have tomorrow, it will be an enjoyable drive in the Park we love.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:43 pm 
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My apologies for only posting today again. We had a huge storm on Thursday and the power went out at 21:10 and never came back on since :tongue: . Had to go and buy a generator to keep the fridges and freezers going, as well as extra leads for power distribution to all the appliances :doh: .

Came across a wonderful little gadget called a mini geyser that warms a cold bath of water in 1 hour and 15 minutes :dance: :dance: .

Now lets post the next episode before the petrol in the generator needs topping up :thumbs_up: .

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:49 pm 
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DAY 7 – Tuesday, 15 October 2013

When we got up this morning it was partly cloudy. We decided to go north this morning and visit Orpen Dam and then to Tshokwane and back home via the H1-2.

As we turned left out of the gate our first sighting for the day was this Blacksmith Lapwing.

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We just had to take a picture before we cross the Sabie which looked like this.

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This guy was hiding behind some scrub as if he was shy to be caught on dry land.

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This White-backed Vulture was scanning the area for a maybe kill to devour.

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Our next sighting was this hyena that was on a mission, looking for food.

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Our next sighting was this little Yellow-fronted Canary

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We also met this mom and youngster strolling in the morning sun.

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We also met up with Mr Longneck strolling through the long grass.

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These two were our first horned greeters of the day. Lucky for us they did not set up a stop and go for us as we are getting used to.

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We were also greeted by this Purple Roller that was sitting in the morning sun.

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It was strange to see this Crested Francolin all on its own.

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Then we have another first for us. A Mother ellie with a really skew tusk, busy feeding her little one, keeping us busy till they decided to cross the road.

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As soon as we think that we will not have any stop and goes today, it happened. It is always wonderful to see these special animals.

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Next on the agenda for the day was to stop and listen to this group of Magpie Shrikes, serenading us.

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We also met up with mom and baby zebbie on their way to have a drink of water. If you look at the little one’s face and posture, he looks like a boy in a car after travelling for a long time. Not a very happy chap.

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To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:00 pm 
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Now let us see what happened on the second leg of the drive.

It was a wonderful drive until the next stop and go. This time around we ran into 9 rhino.

What a beautiful sight to see them together :dance: .

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We also came across these warties, busy with what warties do best, mowing the lawn for free.

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This Blue wildebeest was looking at us as if to say “what are you looking at me for?”

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We stopped at Nkumbe for some coffee and rusks. A tour bus was also in the parking lot and with all its passengers roaming around, we did not stay for long. We just had time to take some pictures of these flowers.

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Another lifer for us, whilst I was photographing the flowers was this Marico Sunbird.

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We left for Orpen Dam and saw these three klipspringers on our way down the koppie.

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When we arrived at Orpen Dam some visitors told us that we missed a lion sighting by about one minute
:tongue: .

I took a picture of this big croc patrolling the dam.

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I was still practicing my birds in fight pictures as well, and captured this Hooded Vulture.

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With so many people around we decided to leave for Tshokwane for a body break and brunch. It was dead quiet and no sightings. A visitor to the Park stopped us and told us about a lion sighting just as you turn right to Tshokwane. He even showed us pictures as proof. It is needless to say that we have missed this lion sighting as well :wall: .

We had a really quiet drive to Tshokwane and down to Skukuza.

At Leeupan we saw this White-headed Vulture, which is another lifer for us.

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With only general game on our way we revert to birdie sightings such as this Greater-striped Swallow and Go-away Bird.

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When you keep your eyes open in Kruger, you do see some unique sightings :D .

This happened about 40 meters from the road where a pair of Green Wood-Hoopoe’s tried to save their nest from being ransacked by a snake. It happened so quickly that I could only capture the tail of the snake as can be detected in the green circle.

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This was their last ditched effort to scare off the snake but could not succeed in doing so.

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Before we reached Skukuza we were greeted by this Common Duiker as well as this pretty Bushbuck Ram.

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We arrived at Skukuza and got some biltong and cool drinks for the last leg back to LS.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:06 am 
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Ok, lets keep the bus moving :dance: .

With something cool in hand and biltong to nibble on we drove along the H4-1 back to LS. Our first sighting along the Sabie River we saw these hippos enjoying the cool water.

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Then we saw our first buff of the day. He was so busy filling his tummy that we could only get a bum shot.

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Our next sighting was a big herd of ellies grazing in the river bed.

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Our next sighting was a car roadblock with a pride of nine (9) lions walking towards us. Here are some pictures that we took of them. This pride did look a bit weary and not well fed at all. They did not even look interested in the impala just off the road.

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This lioness must be the leader of the pride. She has a wound on her side and not young anymore.

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Here are more pic’s of the pride.

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We left the roadblock and came across another herd of ellies.

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It took us seven (7) days to see our first leppie. This LOG was lying about 100 meters off the road in the river bed rolling on its back and back on its tummy. There was a younger leppie in a small tree, but no chance for a picture to share.

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The rest of the way to camp was quiet, except for this Bateleur and Waterbuck .

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As per normal I walked around in camp to bring you some sightings that we had before starting the braai.
This gogga is for Melph68 to enjoy.

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The next are for our birders and ‘mites who loves birds in general.
A Bearded Woodpecker and another lifer for us.

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Another lifer was this African Green-Pigeon getting supper.

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And then last but not least, another lifer, namely an African Dusky Flycatcher.

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Another wonderful day in Kruger :D . We had a lovely braai and chat with the neighbours about sightings during the day, as well as places to go birding when we are back home. Will be visiting Lake Panic tomorrow and hope we will be able to go into the hide this time around :hmz: .

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
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Day 8 – Wednesday 16 October 2013

We were up and busy getting ready at 04:00 already. We dearly hope to get a chance to enter the hide at Lake Panic today. It was still cloudy when we left camp at 05:30. As per normal when we are at LS, is to drive to the bridge before we start the day.

Our first sighting was this Pied Kingfisher who greeted us. Bad light made the bird not easy to photograph :tongue: .

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It was really quiet when we cross the Sabie River and on our way back Hilda saw this beautiful Fish Eagle, looking for breakfast. The bird she loves to hear and see.

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As we turned back onto the H4-1 this Arrow-marked Babbler greeted us with his unique song.

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It seems today will be another birdie day for us.

Our next sighting was this Brown Snake Eagle.

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Our first four legged sighting were these baboons at their lookout point in the early morning sun.

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Our next guest was this nyala down in the riverbed.

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A bit further down the road we were met by the baboon troop as well as an impala family.

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Hilda photographed this young one wondering around till he jumped in his moms arms again.

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Our next sighting was these ellies in the riverbed and this youngster that left the river.

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The next resident who greeted us was this kudu bul.

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We just had to take a picture of this plant in bloom.

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The rest of the drive to Skukuza was really quite. We quickly had a body break at Skukuza and were on our way to Lake Panic. What will the Lake deliver today?

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:11 pm 
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We arrived at Lake Panic and lucky for us there was two seats available. I was astounded by some of the camera equipment people had in the hide. Some of those lenses must have cost a bundle :shock: .

We quietly took our seats and start looking around Image.

These are some of the birdies that we saw:

An African Jacana busy pulling at a water plant and then walking off in their funny way.

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A village weaver trying to attract a female.

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Then the bird that Hilda love so much.

A Fish Eagle.

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A Green-backed Heron flew past and landed around the right hand corner of the hide.

I just had to get a picture to add to our lifers list and felt if I treaded on holy ground with my 18-250 lens when I stood next to a guy with one of those huge lenses to get a picture of the heron :roll: .

The Heron was busy hunting and this was the sequence of hunt that I captured.

Here he was concentrating on his prey.

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Then his trigger was set to pounce.

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Then the strike. Unbelievable how long his neck stretches to get to its prey :shock: .

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Unlucky for him and me he missed and he started all over again.

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Hilda took this picture of a Grey Heron mum with her two chicks.

They were so funny when stretching their necks. Although sitting in the open, it looked as if they try to look over a wall :lol: .

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With nothing else to take a picture of and the day that flew past we left Lake Panic.

We decided to visit Renosterkoppies and then back home via the S21.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:54 am 
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Before we start with this weeks painting, I thought it will be appropriate to post the third and final leg of day 7 to keep you guys busy till I will hopefully post day 8 on Thursday :thumbs_up: .

We took a quick detour to Skukuza for a body break and some cool drink and water for the rest of the drive. True to the ebbs and flows of Kruger we encounter the following sightings along our route for the afternoon.

It was a really quiet drive to Renosterkoppies and the only sighting on our way was this juvenile European Bee-eater.

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There was also nothing to report back on at the Stevenson Hamliton Memorial. I took a picture of the beacon on top of the koppie.

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Our only sighting till we reached the Nhlotini water hole was this impala.

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At the Nhlotini water hole we came across this Saddle-billed Stork, fishing for food and a hamerkop staring into the muddy water for something to eat.

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We also saw some vervets in a tree next to the water hole that was busy with their antics by jumping from branch to branch. The next moment a Fish Eagle flew to the water hole and landed in the same tree as the vervets. Then the fun started with them teasing the bird by jumping from branch to branch, trying to pull at his feathers. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy.

The Fish Eagle coming in to land.

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He landed in the tree close to us.

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Here he was looking around with vervets close to him. We had a good laugh at them jumping from branch to branch, teasing the Fish Eagle :D .

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He was still sitting in the tree when we had to leave.

We also saw this juvenile Bateleur along the way.

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We met up with ‘mite Pops just as we near the H4-1 and we told him that there is not much to see on the gravel road today. He was quite happy to turn around and took another road.

Our only sighting to camp was this Tawny Eagle.

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When we reached our bungalow, I saw this Brown-headed Parrot in the tree in front of the bungalow.

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I also came across this Black-headed Oriole.

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And our last sighting of the day was another Dusky Flycatcher.

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I lit the braai and with a spiced gold and coke in hand and Hilda with an ice cold glass of white wine in hand we relived the day’s sightings. This was one of the really Ebb days (animal sighting wise) for us and proof that Kruger will not show you the same sightings every day. With the thought “will tomorrow be another ebb or flow day”, we were off to dreamland.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 4:20 am 
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Day 9 – Thursday 17 October 2013

When we woke this morning it was overcast which means that we might get some decent sightings of the cat family today. It is also moving day today. We are off to Croc Bridge for our last two nights in the Park. Notwithstanding packing, we were ready and at the gate to leave at opening time. It was decided that we will go south to Dukes water hole and then back down the H4-1 to Skukuza and back to Croc Bridge via the tar roads.

Our first sighting of the day was this White-fronted Bee-eater, another lifer for us.

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The next resident to greet us was this young hyena on its own mission.

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Then we came across this wartie family enjoying their breakfast.

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Further along the road we met up with a skittish little Black-backed Jackal.

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This awesome specimen was one of the Big 5 that we adore.

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Our second birdie of the day was this young Martial Eagle. The cloudy weather did not help the photographing bit so early in the morning at all.

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Then we were greeted by another of the Big 5.

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Our next sighting was this lonely impala with one of its horns missing as a result of a dispute that he probably lost.

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When we reached the LS entrance a herd of ellies was busy passing the entrance and lucky for our two legged visitors did not decide to get some food and drinks at the restaurant :roll: .

At Sunset Dam we met up with this Wood Sandpiper - another lifer as well.

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We were also greeted by this beautiful Egyptian Goose.

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We saw a white car standing at the side of the road and when we got closer, I saw a yellow ribbon on the mirror. It was M@rie from Germany who looked at something in the river bed. We met a few days earlier at Satara. What a wonderful person she is. My naughty side kicked in and I parked next to her to obscure her view. I know she could not see our yellow scarf and waited for a response. We got the look and she told us that she was there first and that we should move to the other side of her vehicle. When I mentioned who we were, her stern facial expression turned into a huge smile and we chatted away.

This is what we saw at that sighting. Another of the Big 5 for the day.

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During our chat with M@rie, she mentioned that she saw leopard earlier the morning at the LS Bridge with a kill that her cub was busy feasting on. Although it was some time ago we decided to go to the bridge to see if we could find the leopard.

When we reached the bridge all the vehicles on the bridge confirmed that she was still around. We found her down in the river bed on the outflow side of the river, whilst the cub was somewhere on the left side of the bridge with the kill on the ground. We could not see the cub, but here are a few photos of her.

At first she was lying against the bank of the river.

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Then she stood up, walking up the bank, looking around.

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As she walked towards the brush we crossed the bridge to see if we could catch her crossing the road, but with so many cars around we never did.

Here she was on her way into the brush.

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With number 4 of the Big 5 for the day and only two hours gone since gate opening we were really excited at what the rest of the day might deliver.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:09 pm 
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Let us get moving with the second stage of todays drive :whistle: .

With all the excitement of the leopard sighting behind us, we turned around to cross the Sabie River. We found these three Pied Kingfishers, staring at the water. It was the first time ever that we got three in one picture.

They might have had some army training, sitting in a straight line with identical space between them :D .

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One of them decided it was time to go hunting and this is a sequence of events that showed us how it is done.

Still practicing to capture birds in flight and this little guy did not make it easy at all :tongue: .

Here he was hovering in mid air.

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Then he was getting ready for the strike.

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Then the strike, like a bullet out of a rifle.

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He was so fast that I missed him entering the water and only captured him when he was leaving the water’s surface.

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Just wonderful to see how they hunt :dance: .

Our next sighting was Hilda’s pride and joy that she captured on the left side of the bridge.

A Fish Eagle.

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We were stunned by our next sightings along the Sabie River on our way to Skukuza :shock: .

Our first lion sighting was these lionesses on one of the sand banks in the river.

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Then a pride of 10 a few km further down the road.

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The next sighting was these two males trying to get some shut eye.

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Our next sighting was some buffs with an ellie in the foreground, which completed our Big 5 for the day :thumbs_up: .

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We were still talking about all the wonderful sightings that we had thus far when we met up with yet another lioness sighting.

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We had an astounding 5 lion sightings for the morning :big_eyes: .

We met up with two ‘mites along the road as well.

It was Pops and fee that we met earlier in the park. I told them about all the lion sightings and they were off in a flash to see if they can also be so lucky.

We arrived at Skukuza for a leg stretch and to visit the Stevenson Hamilton Dog Memorial.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Thanks to isinkwe; umtali1; gatita; trrp-trrrrrrrr; Carol g; cheetahlady; tent dweller; Philip1; Pumbaa and MM for all the wonderful comments and for staying with us on this trip :dance: :dance: .

isinkwe, Thanks for the title of Image King, although it only lasted for one day :thumbs_up: . We finished painting and was back in the study on the 12th already :dance: .

Before we visited the Stevenson Hamilton Dog Memorial, I tried my hand at macro photographing by the pond at reception.

Here are a few of the pictures of the water Lilies with bees’ busy gathering pollen.

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One could see that it was really dry at the memorial and need some TLC.

The following are pictures of the memorial and a few close-ups of the exceptional dogs that were laid to rest at the memorial.

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We left for Croc Bridge via the H4-1 and then the H4-2 tar roads due to the fact that we had our entire luggage in the back and dirt roads will not help with some of the fragile cargo that we carry.

Our first sighting during our afternoon drive was these hippos tanning in the sun.

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Our next sighting was this shy nyala bull

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This was followed by yet another lion sighting.

This collared lady was lying on the rocks next to the road.
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We also came across this Tawny Eagle mom with a youngster at her side.

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We also took a picture of this beautiful kudu bull.

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We had many birdie and general game sightings along the way.

Must say the new reception area at Croc Bridge is stunning. We booked in and bungalow no. 2 was allocated to us.

This is how our accommodation for the next two nights looked as well as the view from the veranda.

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After finishing the unpacking, we sat down to rewind and just enjoy the beauty at Croc Bridge.
We had a nice braai and whilst eating I captured this little gecko keeping him busy with gathering his own dinner.

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After a very busy day in the Park, it was off to Image before we will start our last full day in Kruger.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
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My apologies for not posting the first stage of our final day earlier, but we had some problems with one of our four legged kids that became very sick and we spent most of our time between vets to get him cured since Monday the 16th. It seems that he is feeling much better today. We did not get much sleep the last three nights, so hopefully we will all be able to get some rest tonight :tongue: .

Day 10 – Friday 18 October 2013

The dreaded last day of our October 2013 visit has arrived. We were up at 04:00 as per usual and after our third cup of coffee and everything packed for the day ahead we were off to the gate. Needless to say that we were first in the row and ready to capture everything that moves. It was really overcast today with drizzle from time to time. Hilda loves to visit Mpondo Dam along the S102, so it will be dirt roads today.

Just for interest’s sake, this is what our yellow scarf looks like when we visit the Parks.

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Our first sighting of the day was this young longneck.

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We saw some ellies, blue wildebeest and warthog but too far for decent photos to post.
We met up with lots of our feathered friends again today. The first was this Martial Eagle getting ready for the day.

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Next we were greeted by this Wahlberg's Eagle.

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The light was really bad when I tried to capture this Pearl Spotted Owlet.

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Our next early morning sighting was this Crested Barbet.

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The light was getting a bit better when we came across one of our dear friends.

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We just had to capture this impala nibbling at the green dew covered leaves.

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We arrived at Mpondo Dam. It is so wonderful to be able to sit at the dam with a cuppa and rusks in hand and enjoy the scenery, birds and animals visiting.

Here is a picture of the dam.

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Here are some of the sightings we had at the dam:

Hilda’s Fish Eagle in one of the trees far away in the middle of the dam.

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An Egyptian Goose in the shallow water.

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Two Water Thick Knees walking along the edge of the dam.

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Thinking back on the days passed, this might just be another one of those ebb days. Just have to wait and see :hmz: .

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:52 pm 
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And we are off :thumbs_up: .

After having a wonderful time at Mpondo, it was time to leave for Afsaal for a leg stretch.

It was a really quiet stretch of road with only these zebbies and Black Backed Jackal to entertain us.

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At Afsaal we bumped into M@rie again and had a great chat. She will only leave the Park on Monday to fly to Durban and then back to Germany. We left Afsaal and decided to visit Renosterpan before we will find our way back to Croc Bridge via the Biyamiti Weir and Gardenia Hide.

When we arrived at Renosterpan, Park personnel were busy with work at the pan and nothing to be seen.

On our way to Biyamiti Weir we were greeted by these Ground Hornbills.

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When we arrived at the weir, we found the water level to be much lower than prior years.

Here is a picture of the weir.

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The only sightings we had at the weir was this little Three-Banded Plover; Water Thick Knee and 10 (ten) Lesser Striped Swallows.

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We left the weir for the last time during this trip and head for Croc Bridge.

On the way we were greeted by this European Bee-Eater.

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I stopped to take a picture of this strange tree with a hole through its trunk.

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While we were still discussing what could have made such a hole, we saw some movement higher up in the tree. The only decent pictures that I got of another lifer for us was this. A Levaillant’s Cuckoo, as confirmed by Johan van Rensburg.

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Our next sighting was yet another lifer for us. This time around it was an African Grey Hornbill.

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To make sure that it was another birdie day, Kruger showed us this (we think) unique bird that was also another lifer for us.

It was a Wahlberg’s Eagle (Intermediate morph). My apologies for the quality of the pictures, but it was really bad light that we had to contend with.

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Our next sighting was this little klipspringer.
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We also came across another of our special friends, oblivious of what mankind does to them.

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It is wonderful to drive the dirt roads and to be able to find such an array of Kruger residents.

Here is a little leopard tortoise walking at eye level through the veldt.

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We were told at Afsaal that there were lions near the Gardenia bird hide, but when we arrived at the hide, we only found a dry pond and no lions. What will the rest of the day deliver?

To be continued …..

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