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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:42 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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wild about cats, I can just imagine the feeling as we also experienced same when in the south - roads all muddy, slippery and water running everywhere... :D

The Grey-hooded kingfisher we spotted 2 years ago near Sable dam and was also excited about this sighting - you are correct in saying it is truly a beautiful little birdy. :clap:

Lovely TR and enjoyable to read...thank you for sharing. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:49 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: SA
cheetah - yes watch what you accuse me of mister :twisted: I was very fortunate to be part of this scheme :lol: Glad to have you along :)

SurfCindy - It is quite lovely to see the wet fresh bodies of the animals. But the mud is a lot of joy to many of them too :lol:

Kaapsedraai - The magnificence of wild rain... just not the same as city rain hey? Adore this kingfisher, hope we both get to see him more often!

Pikkie and WFG, thank you for your comments :)

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:52 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: SA
Back at camp we were beginning to realise the full impact of the rain by the growing volume of the river. Looming thoughts about the floods over the last two years began to swim to the surface of my mind. Standing near the restaurant, soaked by venture through the pouring rain, I spotted a little friend of mine nearby.

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We heard that roads were being closed all over the place; a lot of small creeks were in spate. The bush’s thirst for rain had well been satisfied.

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Upon hearing about all the closures we decided to go and see the impact for ourselves (once the rain had calmed, of course). Everywhere we went we saw ponds and heard the long-lost calling of frogs and toads. Alas we could never find the little critters!

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It was true that a lot of roads were closed. Most of them actually. As we left we immediately saw that the S46 was closed. We tried the smaller river loop but had to turn around half-way because the road had flooded (right before my favourite part too!). The main river loop was closed off.

(Small River Loop)

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Along the H1-6, earlier in the holiday I had seen a strange looking piece of debris on the dry river sand.

This turned out to be an old elephant carcass. :redface: :redface: :redface:

We got to watch some crocs guarding it now that the river gave them easy access to the remainders. (Anybody know anything about this carcass? Must have been about 4kms out of camp).

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I found another Painted-Snipe, but it was too far for pictures (still an awesome sighting!).

Then I came across my favourite pool alongside the road, where earlier I saw the Green-backed Heron and found it in spate.

The log:

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(yes it's gone now :shock: )

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:59 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: SA
Waterbuck, impala and their babies:

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We found terrapins all over the roads for the next few days:

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We ventured on tar, and for the first time in this trip I noticed something strange… birds seemed to flee from the car. I mean really. As I slowed down they took off, or reversing they took off, even upon approach! I don’t remember them being so shy.

The full river at the high-water bridge:

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A wet unfriendly ellie:

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My first Wood Sandpiper:

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Another rude ellie who walked us down the road (making us nervous about the gate closing)

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Fresh young impala

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At 17h00 we spotted a hare next to the road. Maybe the poor thing had been flushed from it’s burrow. Have never seen one out so very early.

Then something awesome happened. I followed the characteristic cuckoo-shape of a flying bird. Found it in an umbrella thorn. I was convinced it was another Jacobin’s but upon further inspection I noticed some strange dots. Now it this overcast lighting sometimes one may become confused and see things that may not exist. But those calls and movements and the shape… I realised what I was looking at just as the bird took off.. A GREAT SPOTTED CUCKOO a truly marvellous and majestically handsome bird.

I also found a baboon with a young baby that still had umbilical cord attached to it. I could not get a shot of it though, and it was darkening fast.

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So I grumpily took shots of another baby:

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Cuddle Buddies!!!

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Other than that today I saw a slender mongoose scurry over the road, zebra, hippo and just so many squirrels.

As the hippos went in search of food, I realised that maybe we should do the same!

Image

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:33 am 
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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Wild about cats

My word this TR is moving at a rapid pace...caught up :dance:

Wonderful sightings and stunning pics. :clap: :clap:

Just love the cuddle buddies. :dance:

*sigh* Roll on May need to see some of this too. :mrgreen:

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Kruger May/June 2014
Mokala June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:39 am 
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WAC, I do love those little loop roads. I have never explored them outside of the winter months. It seems a must do. Another bucket list item.

That is one very full river....WOW.... love your Wood sandpiper. 8)

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:25 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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WAC :thumbs_up: Missed you guys at Letaba, I couldn't get a booking there so we were at Punda again.

I am sure I read somewhere of an ellie that got shot as it broke its leg coming down the bank. That could possibly be the carcass.


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:40 am 
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Lovely TR. How awesome to be out in that downpour and experience the raw power of nature.
I love your photo of the dove. People usually just overlook them but to me, their song is the voice of Africa.
Also love the pic of the vervet and the waterbuck in the beautiful early morning light.


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:21 am 
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This is quite a remarkable sight!! I was there in August, so its quite amazing to see Letaba after heavy rain!!
Also incredible how quickly the Letaba rises and subsides!

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:37 pm 
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Glad I had my Image for that episode :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:01 pm 
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What a fantastic start, Wild about Cats :clap: :clap:

and glad I finally caught up. Thanks for the many birdies and for sure to watch the rain coming and experience same whilst driving on slippery and muddy roads must have been a scary feeling especially having the previous floods in mind :big_eyes:

Ready for more :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:59 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Germany
Wild about cats, great TR, I enjoyed reading very much. :thumbs_up:
Letaba is a wonderful place to stay.
:popcorn:

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Bontebok for Beginners, Tsitsikamma - Bridges and Electric Wheels, ADDO-rable Elephants,
Horns And Stripes - A Day in MZNP, Table With A View, West Coast Adventures


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:25 pm 
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Location: SA
Trrp-Trrrrrrr: Good luck on your May trip! :D

MM: The loops are a must in summer, especially if a river is nearby!! :)

RobertT: really sad news about that ellie :(

Stampajane: Thanks, I really love looking at the 'smaller' things like the birds :)

cheetah - The power of nature's raw rain hey :)

isinkwe: :lol: :lol:

Pumbaa: hello lovely to have you :) won't lie, the thought of another flood did occur to me, while stuck on a road! eish.

sable: thanks and welcome :)

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:27 pm 
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Day 4

This morning I decided that I had had enough of nearly making it to the gate in time. So my sister and I packed everything the night before and rushed to make it to the gate before it opened, and we made it! There was one car ahead of us, but that was not of concern for us.

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Our planned route was our favourite H1-6, but we noticed cars racing onto the H9, and thought there must be a sighting, so we decided to go along this road for ten minutes and turn back after that.

Good thing we did.

We have never had much faith in this road because last year we mostly saw buff and ellie but not much else.

Along with an assortment of different antelope species like zebra, impala, wildebeest etc. we saw a hyena with a fresh kill just inside the bush!! We soon realised that there was a clan here – maybe 3km from the intersection. This huge male had caught what looked like a small impala baby and was munching away. The car with the spotlight drove off unfortunately.

As we turned onto the H1-6 we saw another hyena, who also ran off.

The elephant carcass is now bone! We did see croc doing that turning thing – I don’t remember what it’s called but I have only ever seen it on documentaries so it was awesome to see it myself!

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A lovely birdie to see

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Turned onto the H15 towards the border post and towards Makhadzi picnic site. This road had usually given us sightings of tsessebe, but not today. The waterhole, for once, was quiet but for the buffalo-weavers building a nest.

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Further along…

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Dams filled with the rain

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And I got a photo opportunity for the Great Spotted Cuckoo I saw the other day!!!

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On the way back we found some White Storks at the waterhole

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:12 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: dreaming of the bush
Lovely pictures of the lush green bush and rains. I love the birdies too. :) Thanks for sharing :D

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