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needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:45 am

Monday's walk was a bit wet in the middle, but otherwise good. We managed to sneak up on a couple of rhinos, and saw zebs, giraffe, impala, ground hornbills while out too.

Tuesday I did a sunset drive for the gate. Again total Kruger newbies, so a responsibility but also a joy to introduce them. We had 2 great ellie sightings - one on the Croc river road where I rounded a bend and he was in the middle of the road heading our way. We both stopped, and watched each other. He looked calm, but kept walking our way. A few nervous comments behind me......I realised I could reverse, but it would only start a 'chase', so I decided to do some gentle revving instead - leaving the option of reverse still open. He stopped, and rocked a little on one foot but showed no anger. I revved again....he turned and gently strolled off to the side of the road and began to eat. I watched, he turned to the road again, I revved and he moved away again. Told the guests I would move past him quickly in case he was upset with us, but as I drew level with him I could see he was OK, so slowed just past him and allowed more photos.

The second was also a 'surprise' as we descended to the Mlambane drift as he appeared from behind the steep bank as we got to the drift level. He stood and watched us, closer than the first ellie.....and raised his trunk to smell us. I knew he wanted to come our way, so rather than upset him told the guests we would move on, and looked back to see him on the causeway behind us!

Found 4 'flat lines' in the grass later.....and when Rastah arrived we left as the only action we had was a lifted head and a yawn from the closest male! But later found another 2 male lions on the move, much more interesting!

Also impalas, scrub hares, spotted eagle owls, hippos, hyenas.

Wednesday again a walk for BnD - and again a rhino close. We had stopped to look at a garden-orb-web spider, Peter moved on and the guests took another photo or two so I hung back a little.....and as Peter rounded a bush in front of us he saw the rhino as it saw us. No chance of moving round to a better position as when we moved he turned and moved off.

Last night a sunset drive for BnD - frustrating as it was for delegates to a conference. Some were late, so we left late. Still had warthogs, wild dogs (I had seen them earlier on my way through), but missed a leopard because of the delay. Had ellies, but one guest was very nervous of them so did not stop long at either sighting. Zebs, kudus, impalas, scrub hares, spotted eagle owls, 2 lots of hyenas.....

Back to do a morning drive today.....and as a number of guests did not turn up I ended up coming home again. Saw the wild dogs again though!
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:35 pm

Set out on Saturday night with folk who had not yet seen the wild dogs that everyone was talking about and wanted to see them...... So I tackled the tar BnD road a bit faster than I would normally to try to get to them before dark - they had moved even closer to Malelane camp turning...... Still stopped for a few sitings en route though, and had time to talk about the termite mounds. We found the dogs beginning to settle for the night, and left them as it got too dark to see properly without lights.

Several spotted eagle owls, impalas, scrub hares, giraffes, waterbuck...... tried to find the hyenas at the den on the H3 but no luck. Turned for the long run home......and found a porcupine, then not much of anything until we were almost back at the Matjulu bridge. Then I cheered!!!!! 7 lions in the road!!!! They calmly walked to us and even lay down for a while. After that hippos..... On the way home I had a civet.
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:27 pm

Was just about to dish up my meal when I heard......unmistakeable sawing call of a leopard very close. Grabbed my spotlight with the red filter......and saw it pass the corner of camp just above my caravan!!!!!! Wow! I had thought at one point of bringing my swing seat here to sit on in front of the caravan and maybe even sleep on during hot summer nights.....but Stephen said 'no the leopard will get you!'......maybe he was right!!!!
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:20 pm

The night drive last night was very different from the night before......also a great group of guests, but much quieter for sightings. It seemed the animals took a message and sent the spotted eagle owls - they were round every corner and we gave up counting them 'common as pigeons' said one man! On my way home I counted 8! Lots of nightjars too.

We had ellies, impalas, scrub hares, waterbuck, giraffes......and a group of 10 rhinos on the way out, and on the way home one actually sleeping on the road near the rest of the herd! A genet also gave a good sighting.

Despite the quiet night we still enjoyed the trip.

Raymond did ask me to do the night drive again tonight, but I have to be up early tomorrow to go to Skuks to help with shooting assessment (not shooting tomorrow myself), and also feel a bit under the weather so said 'sorry not tonight'.
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:41 pm

We were late setting off for Skukuza yesterday, so I knew we would be held up by good sightings......and we had wild dogs just south of Renosterpan turning.....of course!!!! A little later, thinking about the fact we had to go via the high level bridge on the Lower Sabie road to get to Sand River shooting range I said we would probably now also find a herd of ellies on the road....... We did! But even before we got to the Skukuza road!!! So we were even later....... Oh well, it's Kruger......

Today Raymond asked me to do a night drive again, so I tried to get away a little earlier from the office so I could get a snooze and meal first. Walked to the car, turned on the engine - and realised there was a herd of ellies about 20m in front of me!!!! Did not even notice them as I walked over :redface: But they totally ignored me too, so it was OK.

On the way to BnD I saw a herd of buffs near the road and made a mental note to come that way at the end of the drive as the lions might be following them. Then near the BnD gate I found some of the wild dogs again.

The dogs were still there when I came out with the guests, and we followed them up towards the dump site before turning back to continue the drive. Quickly had bull ellie, impalas, hyenas, nightjars, spotted eagle owls, zebs. Then not a lot other than impalas and scrub hares for a while. The spotted eagle owls then turned up again, more hyenas, and eventually hippos too.

On the road back, near the marula tree I saw something in the road......a lioness. She walked around us, then lay down for a while, and when we left got up and followed us a while. We found the buffs almost straight after that.

On my way home I had a genet, the lioness, buffs, and spotted eagle owls, and then ellies as I drove round to the staff quarters to park the vehicle.
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:46 am

Duffy - yes I remember you!

Yesterday on the way to the office there were 2 lions resting on the road, today the wild dogs were about! Such boring trips.......!

We also took a break yesterday afternoon and went into Malelane for a lunch (the end of year 'function' which was delayed because too busy). Even though the restaurant has increased the price of the meal we enjoy it was still good. Pm me if you want details.....

I am watching the weather forecasts carefully - looks like another very wet spell coming up.....
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:04 am

Just had Patrick call me and ask me to do a sunset drive tonight - big group needing both vehicles and Texson is going off for a few days.
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:25 am

The drive last night was strange - all the animals in the middle of the drive. But that was because I had to change my route and instead of doing the loop round BnD and over Steilberg to find the doggies, I went up to Afsaal and back. Reason was that someone told us there were lions near there, and that was what the guests preferred to go to.

The plains at Afsaal were full of animals, and we were there before dark so it was nice. Eventually found the mating lions too.....and they demonstrated...... But there were 2 Jock safari vehicles there, and 2 more of our vehicles too in the end. For me too crowded, even though everyone was well behaved and we all allowed each other to get good views etc. The guests were happy with their choice, so that was the main thing. Lots of spotted eagle owls about again, and a white-tailed mongoose on the road, and finally a bushbaby hopping across the road and then peering at us from a tree next to us completed the trip.

I had seen Peter on the road too, and he asked me to help with a morning walk today - hence my early start. Very reluctantly as I did not sleep well - very windy here.
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:35 am

The clouds are building up.....but the sun is still winning.

Forgot to say that last night as I turned into our camp road my headlights picked up a big male leopard in the road. He was not in the mood for hanging about and walked off into the grass, heading in the direction of camp. Did not see him again though.

This morning was a lesson in confusion.......and the walk did not happen. The presumed walkers actually wanted to ride, and had apparently been give a time 30mins after the time activities left anyway...... All sorted out, Rastah came back for them, I drove home again and after a hot drink went to bed again.

This evening both Patrick and Texson are away so unless rain stops play I will do the sunset drive here.
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:30 pm

Last night was all change again! Some confusion at the gate re numbers of guests, so Rastah came through to do the drive with the big truck and I was to go to BnD to do night drive. But there were fewer guests here after all...... However in the end Rastah and I decided to leave things as they were, and I drove to BnD.

The drive was fairly quiet. Lots of spotted eagle owls again, several ellie encounters, zebs, hippos, a white-tailed mongoose, impalas and scrub hares, and 3 hyenas (one very pregnant). Also on the tar road on the way back a Kurichane button-quail - my first ever sighting of one.

Tonight I did the BnD night drive again. As I left camp here I found 6 wild dogs near camp! Drove through to BnD and found 9 wild dogs near the s-bend - with a traffic jam that took me a while to sort out.

All the guests had seen the wild dogs, so I took the route to the waterhole......first the maribou storks, then 2 wild dogs dashed in front of us. We then saw an impala ewe - and suddenly another lot of wild dogs came racing across the road after her! We did not see what happened, but heard some exciting yipping going on.
The rest of the drive was full of nightjars and spotted eagle owls plus one white-faced scops owl. Also the usual impalas and scrub hares. I found a tiny 2cm chameleon (very impressed guests!), and we also had hippos, and a lone buffalo bull walked towards us in the middle of the tar road.

Then as we neared the t-junction to turn towards home I saw animals on the road.....more wild dogs! There were 8 of them this time. They began to play together and an elephant squealed next to us - their yipping had upset it, and we had not noticed it as we focused on the dogs! They immediately started to investigate it.....but not too close. We spent a while with them, enjoying the interaction and play. Some settled on the road again, but they kept bouncing up to play again. Eventually we had to leave them.....

More owls and nightjars on the way home. On my return to camp I had one interesting encounter with a scrub hare, thick-knee, and rhino calf in the road apparantly having a conversation!

Now bed time.....
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:55 am

Don't know where this pack is from, but strongly suspect they are denning with pups in this area at the moment as they seem to staying around.

Last night was definitely special!

Tonight I am doing security for the bush braai, so sightings will be less.....
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:20 pm

Had a good meal last night, and no drama or problems at the bush braai.

But.....after I had gone to bed.....TWANG - a noisy ellie I had heard on the river side of camp as I came in decided it was time to break into camp next to my caravan. No marulas about, so do not know what attracted him. I chased him, he came back, I chased him, he came back......and eventually I just gave up. In the morning the top strands of wire were broken again, several posts looked drunk and disorderly, and there was another trampled down area of fence next to my car. Vandalphant.....!

This evening I did a night drive for BnD again. Very quiet, but still impalas, scrub hares, duiker, hippos, hyenas, zebs, nightjars and spotted eagle owls, plus an ellie (well behaved). Carefully parked the vehicle to block the broken part of the fence, and hope for no trouble tonight!
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:37 am

Busy week getting ready for the Cricket, and at the office preparing for a Shooting practice and assessment and Parks Heritage course happening the week I get back from my break. Lots of printing and preparation of handouts etc..... But all done in time.

Wednesday evening I was asked to do a night drive for BnD - but as I was driving out of the gate they called to say the guests had cancelled. I was grateful as it meant a little more time to get ready to leave for Skuks on Thursday.....but still had a rush in the morning anyway, as there was a bit of admin around camp.....

But eventually I was off to Skukuza - and once there quickly off-loaded my cold-box at my accommodation in the Vet Camp, and then had errands to do around the offices. By lunch time I was done and had the rest of the day free. I found that there was nobody else booked into Vet Camp - so a peaceful weekend there at night.

Found a few 'mites on Thursday afternoon - DB and Hawk, Ned, Steven, Sparrow - and some of the SANparks team.

Friday morning I headed back to the main camp to find out what I was needed to do - and found Frikkie talking with DB, JenB and Sparks. So glad we managed to sort out the equipment the anti-poaching so desperately needed!

Back to Vet Camp to do some laundry (I brought it with me!), and later back to main camp to help with sorting out t-shirts and name tags for the braai. During the afternoon there was a practice for the Angels playing cricket the next day. I was given the ball to try bowling.......and promptly extended the concept of a 'wide' by almost 240 degrees! The ball would not go where I wanted it to go - not overarm or underarm throwing!!!! Diplomatically I was told 'you are not a bowler'!!!!! Batting was a little better and I did connect with the ball a few times. The evening was good - meeting up with lots of 'mites again.
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:49 am

Saturday morning I was up early, and off to the Cricket gounds. I knew I had to get the Silent Auction things sorted out before the start of the matches...... Only Frikkie was already at the grounds getting the pitch ready for play and setting out the boundary markers.

I pulled tables about, and started to set out the few bits I had, and soon others arrived. Help was at hand and several folk were soon putting out items, attaching labels for the bidding, etc. Thanks to all who helped (no names as I know I will end up forgetting to list someone - but you know who you were!!!).

Then a quick bit of catching practice (and I did manage to throw the ball straight back to the hitter this time). We had to field first, and I was stationed behind the bowler (where I had least to do, and so would probably not have to throw much!). It came to the 2nd last over......and Geocor was wondering who to ask to bowl when somehow I ended up with the ball!!!!!!

And amazingly I managed to throw the first one straight down the pitch! Incredibly my accuracy lasted the whole over with no 'wides' at all - and 2 wickets with successive balls (sorry Nedret!!!!) :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

Lesego and Roaneric were our heroines for the batting, and I did not even get to try that! We won!!!! First time in 6 years...... My first cricket-playing experience ever and I was on the winning side. Wonderful!

The Silent Auction was a disappointment as bids were low, and interest low too. It may be that this has run its course and we must think of something else - but also there were not many 'mites who stayed around the Cricket grounds either.
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:56 am

Packed up after the close of the Auction and headed back to shower and change for the dinner at the Golf club.

Got there early and helped Roaneric put out the keyfobs she had made (very cheerful and varied).

The evening was wonderful.....Frikkie gave a good talk about rhino poaching with lots of information - and some emotion packed in. The food was good. Prize-giving a huge surprise - I got a trophy for being the best bowler - hey??????? :redface: :shock:, and a medal for playing! Lesego was the best all round player :clap: , and PetraJ the best batter :clap:

Back to Vet Camp late, and very tired as I had not slept well the previous night. Slept very well, and now ready to have something to eat, pack up and return home to prepare for leaving tomorrow for my week away! Hope to get the car virtually packed up this evening so there is little to do in the morning. I will even put the mini-freezer in with an extension lead to keep it cold overnight.
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