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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:08 pm 
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Wonderful sightings all around :clap: .

Great cheetah sighting and love the cute little giraffe :dance: :dance: .

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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:17 pm 
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Awesome Cheetah sighting, carol. 8)

Does the bateleur have something wrong with his eye, or is it just the light? Lovely shot of the juvenile Saddlebill. Great to know that breeding continues.

Another wonderful episode.

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:12 pm 
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We knew you would all love the Cheetah sighting. Even as we sat watching them, the hairs stood up on the back on our necks and we kept asking if we were really just watching this unfold before our eyes. It was the absolutely best Cheetah sighting we have ever had...anywhere. As someone said, it was truly a jampacked trip albeit we often did not see what we expected but perhaps it was all the better for that. The last few trips we have seen very few Jackals - this time we almost lost count of them. Several new species appeared for us and that is always a treat. Then 2 incredible sightings, one was this time with the Cheetahs and, if you stick with us, another sighting which, even now, we cannot believe we experienced. We never come with a wish list. Well, we really would love to spot a Pangolin one day! However, as we always tell others, just enjoy everything you see - it is an unbelievable privilege to be able to watch wildlife in the wild. In the beginning we used to write up our holiday trips and add to our photos to share with our families, especially our parents who would never be able to see it for themselves. Having found the Forum and adding our trip to the Travel Tales is worth all the effort so that others can share our journey. Meeting lots of you along the way is another bonus. Anyway, I must get back to the writing part or we will never get to the end.

Meandering Mouse - I can see what you mean about the eye of the Bataleur. Did not notice it until we put up the photo. I am certain we saw the same bird in the exact same tree a day or so before. Will try to go back and see if we have a photo of it then. It almost looks as if it has a cataract or something. Hope not.

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http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:03 pm 
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Hi carolv

More great pix I see :thumbs_up:

That cheetah sighting must rank as a 'lifer' for sure. :thumbs_up:

More please :popcorn:


DD

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TR: PF & DDs Game of patience in KTP - Oct/Nov 2013
--------------

KNP SEPTEMBER 2014
4/5 B 'n ' Dal
6 Skukuza
7/8 Tamboti
9/10/11 Shimuwini
12/13/14 Shingwedzi
15/16/17/18/19 Letaba


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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:22 pm 
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It certainly was DD. Not only an unforgettable sighting but in view of the fact that we had set out from Satara, could not believe we were only four cars there. We must have spent 20-25 minutes with them. Guess everyone else had taken Lion Alley that day. One of the photos has also made me a winner at a recent Camera Club competition.

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http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:10 am 
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What wonderful sightings you had, Carol,

even despite the heat of the first days :thumbs_up: and once again a great variety of nearly everything - For sure my favourites are the cheetahs :clap: although must say that the grass on the S90 Looks still extreme short compared to February 2014 :tongue:

Never heard of any closures of the Mananga trail every before due to rainy seasons although after days of heavy rains it is always closed as there are smaller ditches to cross and you drive close to a riverbed and partly even into the riverbed so they do close the trail automatically after rains. The trail definitely can only be booked between 07.00 - 11.00 o'clock the day you want to do the trail and not in advance.

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 3:02 pm 
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20th November

We slept very well and did not race up this morning but still managed to leave camp by 5.45 am. We began by checking out the Letaba bridge – quiet today but Waterbuck and Hippo about. Back on the tar we drove south and then west onto the Phalaborwa Gate road where we were soon joined by a Hyena and a Grey Loerie.
As we approached the N’waswitsonto bridge there was a very strong carrion smell but, try as we might, we could not find its source. Not even a Vulture or two to give us a clue. Moving on we were soon stopped by a large herd of Buffalo crossing the road.

Image

What an impressive sight they are.

Heading west we found Giraffe, some Impala rams sparring,

Image

plenty of Vultures perched in a tree,

Image

Ellies, Black-backed Jackal,

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Hyena and a charming group of Dassies in the rocky area at the junction of the tar and the S51 track to Sable hide.

Image

Close to the hide a Monitor Lizard was sunning itself on a rock near the Dam

Image

Image
Monitor Lizard Close-up by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

and we parked up by the Hide to look out across the water. We have always been very lucky with sightings here and today would not be different. As we opened up the hide windows, we saw a herd of Ellies making their way down to the water where they kept us entertained for a good while.

Image

Image

A few birds also around – Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Blacksmith Plover and a Black Kite.

It was time to move on and we drove to the Gate as we needed to do another big food shop and the Spar at Phalaborwa is excellent. Before shopping we popped into the Wild Side Coffee Shop for our breakfast. If you have never tried this little establishment, you must do. It is excellent and the gift shop is also very good.

By the time we had stocked up in the supermarket, the temperature had reached 33 degrees and we needed to get back to camp as quickly as possible to get it all into the fridge and freezer. Ironically, the road was very quiet so we did not take too long to get back to Letaba.

The day was quite warm (mid 30’s) and we opted for siesta before driving out again. SO does it the proper way but I am so reluctant to miss anything that I slouch in a chair on the stoep and doze. Awoke at one stage to see the resident Bushbucks just in front of me. They are so gentle and very cute.

We did not plan a long sunset drive, just along to the Letaba Bridge and meander along the river bank as there are so many lay-bys to stop in. Always plenty to see along here, several Crocodiles both in and out of the water,

Image

Yellow-billed Storks, Hadeda Ibis,

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Sandpipers, Egrets, Blacksmith Plovers, Egyptian Geese, Impala, Woodland Kingfishers, Red-billed Wood Hoopoe,

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Waterbuck, Hippos, a trio of Giraffe,

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Bushbucks,

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Baboons

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and a displaying Korhaan. What a kamikaze act this is! We love these birds, not jewelled colours but exquisite patterns on their feathers and their strange calls which you often hear before you spot them. But their courtship dance is something else. We had been told about it by guides but had never actually seen it. As the trip progressed, we saw the display over and over again and it gave us the title for our TR. It does make you wonder just how these acts evolve. Surely the Korhaan did not wake up one day and think ‘Let’s try this stunt to impress the females’.

Just before returning to camp, we drove down to the little river crossing on the sand road south of Letaba where some new residents were enjoying the water– Terrapins, Egyptian Geese, Three-banded Plovers and 2 Cape Buffalo cooling down from the heat of the day.

As we prepared the braai for the evening, we caught up with Bert and SO for a final chat as they would be leaving the Park in the morning. He had just received a text from a friend in the Netherlands telling him that it was snowing so they were not looking forward to the dramatic temperature change on their return.

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http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:21 pm 
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Thanks for sharing another entertaining episode Carol...So enjoy your writing style. :thumbs_up:

Your :cam: are all stunning and a treat to view. :clap: :clap: ...Have to mention the Baboons stole my heart this time round...cute and mischievous facial expressions. :lol: :dance:

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:06 pm 
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carov, your drive to Phala gate produced some great sightings. :thumbs_up:

That buff herd is something to experience and just spend time observing them move. I can spend hours just watching them. :dance:

I want to compliment you on your beautiful pics and enjoyable tale. :clap:
That close up of the monitor, the ellies playing in the dam and the bird pics are great ones. :dance:

Another lovely episode, thank you for sharing. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:29 pm 
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Jaco V wrote:
carolv wrote:
Also, is there a set date when 'Wet Season' starts? I think we were a bit taken aback as we had tried to do the trail (Mananga) before that thunderstorm and we had been driving around in temperatures of 40+.

I would have been taken aback as well. One would expect the person at reception to at least explain why you cant book the trail for the next day. It seems to me you missed out on a great opportunity because of this.

Guys, there is a war against poaching going on in the park, and at times activities might be affected by this, and the staff might not be at liberty to give this information out.

The Mananga Trail is currently closed, and has been since Nov last year.

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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:32 pm 
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Just caught up with your TR. Thanks for sharing the pictures of your many fantastic sightings. :D
The cheetahs are just wonderful, and I love your shot of the giant eagle owl. :clap: :clap: :clap:
Satara with lightning!! :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:34 am 
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Always nice to find a big herd of Buffalo carolv! And those cute Dassies! Awesome! :clap: :clap:

Lovely big Monitor too, and what a treat to sit and watch Ellies bathing and playing in the water! :dance: :dance:

Awesome bird sightings, and the Baboons are so entertaining! :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:55 am 
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Lovely sightings all around :clap: I love the huge herd of buffalo and the swimming elephants, both are such great things to see in the park :mrgreen:

Pity you couldn't find the carrion smell, I had the same problem a few times at Letaba :wall:

It's always wonderful to see that there are so many birds and animals around :dance:

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:54 pm 
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Love the dassies, the huge monitor, the bathing ellies, yourbirdies and the posing babbons, carol :clap: :clap: :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: Courtship Dancing in the KNP Nov-Dec 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:42 am 
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Thanks for another wonderful and entertaining drive through Kruger with so many amazing sightings :clap: :clap: .

Waiting for more :popcorn: .

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