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 Post subject: Spring weekend in Wilderness
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 12:09 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 11:07 am
Posts: 240
Location: Western Cape
A little over a week ago, with a monster storm bearing down on the Cape, we fled to Wilderness on the Friday..weekend at Ebb & Flow. We camped at Ebb & Flow (North) in January, and had a great time. This trip we were booked into a forest hut in the southern part of the camp. I really was not expecting much (birding-wise) as this is mid-winter after all!
Our Forest Hut was right on the edge of a small pond that branches off the Touw River. The river mouth was blocked, and the river (and the shallowish pond) was teeming with literally thousands of small fish (fingerlings, basically). The result was an abundance of white-breasted cormorants, little egrets, an a couple of grey herons right on my doorstep. In addition to that there were the local yellow-billed ducks, dabchicks (little grebes) and a few common moorhens. On the Saturday I braved the (bitterly cold) wind and sat next to said pond and waited for the birdies to get used to my presence....
Little Egret
Image
Little Grebe
Image
Whats that up there?
Image
Duck!
Image
And I even spotted a Malachite KF across the pond...
Image

Later the afternoon, when I had thawed out, we took a walk up to the waterfall. I did not feel like lugging the camera with me, so I missed out on a really good sighting of a group of Green Wood-hoopoe (with an attendant FT Drongo). While I was watching them, my SO spotted a couple of Amethyst Sunbirds, which I missed (would have been a lifer) :evil: (At least I picked up a Terrestrial Brownbul a little later)
We also found the expected Knysna Turaco (the call appears to be somewhat different and more muted in winter?), and then a Black-headed Oriole. The latter was quite gratifying, as I first saw this bird in exactly the same area, in January. Then, however, I only saw a part of the bird, but ID'd it on the call. So I had this nagging doubt.....now I know I was right the first time!
We also saw Southern Double-Collared Sunbirds on the way back to the camp (did not make up for the missed Amethysts...) :lol:
Others we saw include red-winged Starling, and African Dusky Flycatcher.
All in all, a really nice break-away!

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 Post subject: Re: Winter weekend in Wilderness
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:20 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
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Great photos, Albert!

Wilderness NP is one of my most favorite birding spots! Your write-up took me straight back into the heart of it once again.

As for your question on the Turaco's call. They seem to have a variety of calls such as contact calls and warning calls which ranges from growling to to their tradional call to a "krrrrr" alarm call. such lovely birds!

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 Post subject: Re: Winter weekend in Wilderness
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 3:06 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 11:07 am
Posts: 240
Location: Western Cape
wildtuinman wrote:
Great photos, Albert!

Wilderness NP is one of my most favorite birding spots! Your write-up took me straight back into the heart of it once again.

As for your question on the Turaco's call. They seem to have a variety of calls such as contact calls and warning calls which ranges from growling to to their tradional call to a "krrrrr" alarm call. such lovely birds!


Thanks WTM!
We will be back at Wilderness around the end of November....Can't wait!

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 Post subject: Re: Winter weekend in Wilderness
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:57 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Western Cape
Thought I'd just add this "oil painting" of a WB Cormorant in its winter woolies..

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Winter weekend in Wilderness
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:47 pm 
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A superb 'oil painting', Albert :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Winter weekend in Wilderness
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:19 pm 
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You have done it for me .... going to book some time at Wilderness for September 8)

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 Post subject: Re:Spring weekend in Wilderness
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:29 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Western Cape
Following on from our winter trip to the Ebb and Flow camp in the Garden Route National Park, and before our summer break in the same place, we decided to make a (spring) break for it as well...
This was a spur-of the moment thing, so we hit the road to do the 430-odd km to Wilderness on the Thursday preceding the school holidays.
We arrived at Ebb and Flow just before dusk, and decided to take a rondavel/hut for the first night, and to pitch our tent the next morning.
The view of our camp (and the huts we stayed in the night before)
Image
After pitching the tent and a nice long MTB ride next to the lakes, we were greeted by our resident braai and snack attendants...
Never been this close to a Fork-Tailed Drongo before..
Image

and of course, the ever-present African Dusky Flycatchers..
Image

Across the river I watched as an African Darter went fishing, and the seemingly never-ending efforts of a pair of Half-collared Kingfishers. Of the hordes of WB Cormorants present in June only one or two were around.
Later the afternoon a walk up to the waterfall and back yielded, notably, a snake which I apparently just missed stepping on (my SO saw this)....spot the snake?
Image

The night brought the calls of the Spotted Eagle Owl, Fiery-necked Nightjar and, of course, the never-ending squabbles of the Helmeted Guineafowl (as soon as the Egyptian Geese shut up they start). Oh, and never underestimate how cold it an get at night in a tent, next to a river. Shades of the Rocky Mountain National Park in '98, but that's another story.
The next morning after the cycle it was up the Duiwe River (Brown-hooded KF trail). Here I finally managed to get a semi-decent photograph (long story) of a Knysna Turaco...
Image

and has anybody else noticed how difficult it is to get a Swee Waxbill to sit still long enough for a piccie?
Image

At least the Red-knobbed Coots at the Malachite Bird Hide were more obliging....
Image

Roll on summer..... :D

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Last edited by Albert on Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Spring weekend in Wilderness
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:10 pm 
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Stunning bird sightings with brilliant pictures Albert! Thanks for sharing! :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Spring weekend in Wilderness
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:16 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2005 4:24 pm
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Albert,
Lovely photos :thumbs_up:

I always like to ask.
What camera equipment are you using? (Lens & body)?


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 Post subject: Re: Spring weekend in Wilderness
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:47 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 11:07 am
Posts: 240
Location: Western Cape
Thanks, Hilda, Yoda.

@ Yoda: Canon 600D body and EF-S lens (55- 250 mm IS for these images)

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