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Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:07 am

Got a very confiding brown-hooded kingfisher posing at the crossing over the Matiulu. Then a leopard came, bringing with it a horde of spectators and chased my birdie off!

In the meleé I noticed a yellow ribbon: mandym from Catalunya, Spain...
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby Tilandi » Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:06 pm

I am so :mrgreen: :mrgreen: with envy. Enjoy every minute Johan. My :big_eyes: will stay fixed :popcorn: on this thread for every little bit of news and sightings you can bring us. :lol:
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby hilda » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:35 pm

Silly people with their Leopard! :lol: :lol:

I bet you already have hundreds of awesome bird pictures! :wink:

Glad you found your 1st yellow ribbon of the day! Are you flying your yellow ribbon? :hmz:
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:04 am

Aha! I have an audience of two! :roll: :lol:

Thanks for popping in and leaving evidence, tilandi and hilda :thumbs_up:

I didn't cover many miles today, but rather concentrated on two pentads (SABAP talk) the first which includes Malenane Gate and the second, Berg en Dal. The first card I ended on 77 sightings and the Berg en Dal card is on 61. I'll keep both open as for the next three days I'll be traveling through these two areas on route to others, so their tallies should get much closer to three figures...

I am not in a position to post any pix, so words will have to do in the meantime...

The cuckoos are back! Red-chesteds are calling all the time, even in the middel of the night (hearing one right now). Levaillant's, Jacobin, Klaas's Dideric all feature. A pair of black ducks and black crakes seen on the Crocodile river early this morning were pleasing ticks.

Red-crested korhaan calling with its snap, snap, snap is always fun to interact with.

Raptors were mostly seen aloft, Tawny and Martial eagles, Bateleur and Wahlberg's eagles. A single brown snake-eagle perch typically on top of a dead tree was the only raptor not seen in flight. No vultures as yet...

A lone buffalo bull grazing right next to the road with two red-billed oxpeckers on him entertained and teased me with their peekaboo tactics, but I think I have some good shots to share...

I was able to get close to a number of favourites: brown-crowned tchagra, tawny-flanked Prinia and yellow-billed hornbill, to name but a few. One surprise was greater blue-eared starling around Berg en Dal... I didn't expect to see those so far to the south!

After booking in at Berg en Dal, I went exploring the camp on foot. A pair of novice birders with a brand-new SASOL bird guide in hand were hotly debating the ID of a Kurrichane thrush. The two of them being totally on a doff tangent, I diplomatically suggested a different page... Reminded me so much of those page turning days many-many moons ago when you would be frustrated by disappearing subjects BEFORE the ID could be nailed down.

A fruiting tree held a few purple-crested Turaco... One of THE MOST colourful birds with those dramatic flashes of dark crimson when they spread their wings.

Tomorrow I'll explore two pentads around Newu Dam. My mission is to get some of the common Highveld birds (not so common in the Park) that have eluded my KNP list. Cape Sparrow, Cape wagtail, common fiscal and the like...
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby arks » Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:04 am

You can make that an audience of three now (just takes me a bit longer with the 7 hour time difference) :tongue: Great to read your report, Johan. Glad you've finally made it into the park. And good luck with spotting those (common) rarities. I once saw Cape wagtails at a guesthouse in White River, so I guess it should also be possible to see them in KNP?
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby JenB » Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:40 am

Johan van Rensburg wrote:Aha! I have an audience of two! :roll: :lol:

Make that 4! :lol:
You stand a real chance of taking this years Woody challenge JvR!

Nice sightings so far, waiting for your next report!
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby hilda » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:28 pm

Wow! You don't play around Johan! 77 sightings at Malelane and 61 at Berg en Dal! Wonderful! :clap: :clap:

I hope you took lots of pictures of the Purple-crested Turaco! They are so stunning! I haven't seen one yet! :dance: :dance:

I also hope you got nice pictures of all the Cuckoos! All of them are really awesome! :dance: :dance:

We were too early for the Raptors this year! Glad you saw a few! :clap: :clap:

Enjoy Johan! You are where you want to be! :D
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:14 pm

In one fell swoop, readership doubles! :clap: :clap:

I am the only patron in the restaurant. Apart from the chatter of the waiters, it is very quiet. The silence is eerie, the calm is a bit spooky... I can hear the roll of thunder afar, drowning out the burbling call of a Burchell's coucal. There must be some rain in the air...

Looking out over the dam in front of the restaurant, the only ripples are those created by the barbel lazily taking midges off the glassy surface, and the hippo blowing a plume of stale air before submerging again. It was that sort of day, bordering on being boring :lol:

Let me get on with my trip report while waiting for my meal...

I added a few species to my trip list, but none of the sought-after ones. The best bird of the day was an Eurasian hobby. I hope those pix came out OK, it was a little on the far side for brag shots. Other noteworthy sightings were white-browed robin-chat and -scrub-robin, both seen hunting around foot patch lights early this morning. Trumpeter hornbill, green pigeon, dark chanting-goshawk and the first vultures of the trip (white-backed and lappet-faced) also made their presence known this morning.

I never got to the Nuwan Dam complex as the roads leading to it was barricaded off. My hope of getting deep into the south-western corner of the Park is now pie-in-the-sky...

And the first drops on the screen of my iPad force me to find shelter.
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby saraf » Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:52 pm

I'm reading too.

Agree about the purple-crested Turaco, one of my highlights of my trip around the Rhino trail last year.
And BnD was where after 2.5 weeks of looking in vain, we finally caught sight of the red-chested cuckoo.

Happy travelling - are you going to get to Lake Panic?
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby Sky » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:19 pm

Hi Johan

Seems like you are having a great trip. See you ticked your black Ducks in KNP :clap: :clap: :clap:
So many birds that I still have to tick :wall: :wall: and I'm sitting at home

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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby hilda » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:00 am

Trumpeter Hornbill! Great sighting Johan! :clap: :clap: Also high up on my wishlist!

Great other bird sightings too, plus the Vultures! :dance:

What a pity that the road to the Nuwan Dam complex was barricaded off. Oh well, birds do fly, you will find what you are looking for! :thumbs_up:

Looking forward to read what you found today! Enjoy! :D
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:58 am

Tilandi wrote:I am so  :mrgreen:  :mrgreen:  with envy.  Enjoy every minute Johan. My  :big_eyes:  will stay fixed  :popcorn: on this thread for every little bit of news and sightings you can bring us.   :lol:


I'll try and post something every day... as long as there is 3G coverage. I expect to run into a few dead spots, especially around the end of the trip during our stay at Balule.

hilda wrote:Glad you found your 1st yellow ribbon of the day! Are you flying your yellow ribbon? :hmz:


I wasn't at the time as this encounter happened on the way in. Hope to catch up to a few more. So far my routes have been mostly on secluded roads and I have not experienced much traffic.

arks wrote: Good luck with spotting those (common) rarities. I once saw Cape wagtails at a guesthouse in White River, so I guess it should also be possible to see them in KNP? 


Thanks arks. Of course it is possible. Some other 'mites luckier than me have seen them inside as well.

J&B wrote: You stand a real chance of taking this years Woody challenge JvR! 


:twisted: Well, so far nothing! In the past I heard and saw my first Woodies around 2 and 4 November already. Will post the moment they let me know they are back...

hilda wrote: Wow! You don't play around Johan!  


The trip list has reached 125 after my circuits of the camp perimeter this morning. The new birds were southern boubou, golden-tailed woodpecker, southern masked-weaver (I was wondering what happened to these usually common birds...), and scralet-chested sunbird.

hilda wrote:I hope you took lots of pictures of the Purple-crested Turaco! They are so stunning! I haven't seen one yet!    


Not yet, Hilda. As I said, the light has been pretty awful yesterday and it is heavily overcast this morning again, so, photographs are not flowing onto the image collector...

hilda wrote:We were too early for the Raptors this year! Glad you saw a few!    
 

All the raptors I saw are year-round residents, except for the hobby and Steppe that I saw yesterday...


saraf wrote:I'm reading too.

Agree about the purple-crested Turaco, one of my highlights of my trip around the Rhino trail last year.

Happy travelling - are you going to get to Lake Panic? 
 

Welcome to the Balule Bash, saraf. No visit to any camp is complete without having do the in-camp walks. :thumbs_up: You always get stuff you would not otherwise have seen. I must remember to post a pic of the brown-hooded kingfisher with scorpion... 

The touracos are around, calling constantly and I am still hopeful of catching an image for the forum.

Lake Panic is not on my itinerary this time. I love that place dearly, but in planning with my 'wish list' in mind, I had to give it a miss seeing that it is an unlikely contributor...

sky wrote:Seems like you are having a great trip. See you ticked your black Ducks in KNP       So many birds that I still have to tick     and I'm sitting at home 


You don't have, you know... We are still looking for two 'mites to fill the two BB beds...

You are right about the ducks! Plus one!

I'm going to give the touracos a try... the sun has momentarily managed to smile on Berg en Dal...
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby naomi c » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:11 am

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

How do we say in Afrikaans - "sal my voortande gee om daar te kon wees!!" Enjoy!

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby Tilandi » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:23 am

The Turacos are very difficult photographic subjects. The tend to hide in the thickest of trees and bushes or at the very top of the tallest trees. So you need a lot of luck with them.

Thanks for the daily reports - would love to see the Brown-headed Kingfisher with the scorpion.

Wish that I could have filled one of those available spots for Balule :(

Keep the news coming Johan.

(The weekend I was wondering if you are going to do the 'atlas' thing. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: )

Enjoy your time doing the best thing in the world. :D :D
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Re: Balule (birding) Bash, 2013

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:44 pm

naomi c wrote:How do we say in Afrikaans - "sal my voortande gee om daar te kon wees!!" Enjoy! 


Heheheee... Don't do dat! The teeth are much more expensive than the cost of attending... and we have TWO places available! Actually I don't think the HRs accept teeth as payment...

Tilandi wrote:The Turacos are very difficult photographic subjects. They tend to hide in the thickest of trees and bushes or at the very top of the tallest trees. So you need a lot of luck with them.


Getting them while perched is possible, I have managed that. What is ultra-tough is getting them photographed in flight! There is always some tree, branch, leaf, other bird in the way! In-flight is the only time one sees those strikingly beautiful colours...

The overall trip list grew a bit today with white-winged widow bird, Swainson's spur fowl, crested francolin, white-headed and hooded vultures, Sabota's lark and lesser masked-weaver all joining in. I again saw African black ducks and the Eurasian hobby.

The day remained overcast with intermittent drizzle. With birds being rather scarce, I looked at some of the four-footed animals today...

Tomorrow is moving day, so I'll be up and running way before the crack of dawn...
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