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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 8:57 pm 
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Johan!!! Just as I was settling down to play catch up.... One photo of a pair of very fluffy babblers you are gone again. Oh you Will o' the Wisp!

:rtm:


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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 5:44 am 
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Another awesome tale! :clap: :clap:
Love the babblers, Johan! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 7:15 am 
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Stunning picture of the babblers Johan! :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 3:07 pm 
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Cherries wrote:
Johan!!! Just as I was settling down to play catch up.... One photo of a pair of very fluffy babblers you are gone again. Oh you Will o' the Wisp!
:rtm:


Will o' the Wisp! :shock: :lol: :lol: Never been called THAT before! To get a TR done does take time... and this one will grow bit-by-bit. Skip a couple of days, then you should have a decent-sized bit of TR to help you doze off :twisted:

JenB wrote:
Another awesome tale! :clap: :clap:
Love the babblers, Johan! :lol:


I still hope to convince you to try one of these adventures, JenB...

hilda wrote:
Stunning picture of the babblers Johan! :clap:


Thanks for the kind words, hilda.


Image
Large view

The route we took during the SABAP2 survey of the Mooigesig Dam pentad: The blue dot represents the dorp-off and pick-up point. The green dot represents our camping spot in the Phugwane riverbed. The first day's walk followed the clock-wise route to the green spot. Day two was the trip out to Mooigesig Dam via Swartpiek. Day 3 we followed the Mashadya course and retraced our steps going back and on the last day back to the pick-up point, continuing the clockwise route as shown on the plan.

JoelR wrote:
Just to throw in some cliffhangers
How close did the cheeky hyena and the young elephant bull exactly come? :big_eyes:


Cliffhanger #3, part 1 (the hyena)

As we were preparing for the day’s walk, packing away stuff used to make coffee / breakfast, prior to taking off towards Swartpiek, a hyena came loping towards our camp down the middle of the dry Phugwane riverbed. Asanja was on her haunches in the middle of the riverbed and exactly on the course taken by the hyena. We all froze in place where we were busy amongst the tents to watch this mini-drama unfold. I got caught without my camera which I had hung up out of harms way while neatening up around my tent and getting ready for our walk. Now I eyed my camera hanging uselessly in an open spot that would certainly alert the hyena if I tried to get to it.

Asanja remained hunched over and the hyena continued approaching her at the same steady pace… About what made the hyena aware, I’m not sure. I think Asanja snapped her fingers and that alerted the hyena that something was amiss. Not that it bothered it much… it continued on its patch but now with head held high and the snout working overtime as the hyena sampled the smells in the air to try and determine what he ran into… Four metres? That is my estimation of how close the hyena passed by Asanja…

The hyena gave one backward glance at her hunched figure and continued quietly on its way… Unbelievable! My heart raced as if it had been me out there in harm's way. Both our guides assured us that the scene that had just played itself out (infront of a very appreciative bunch of onlookers) was totally risk-free. I could certainly not detect any aggressive behaviour... I got the impression that the animal was curious but apprehensive at the same time.

Brenden explained that humans and hyenas have a long and continuing history of competing for food and shelter and in some instances sharing these resources. Humans and hyenas have a natural understanding for co-existence the least costly way, more from the hyena's point of view, I thought, understanding the actions and reactions a bit better.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 4:08 pm 
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Johan. Thanks for bringing all those amazing memories back. Feels like being there all over again, although I cant really remember giving an expression like that...

Johan van Rensburg wrote:
I just love the look on Brenden, and specifically Leonie2's faces as the abracadabra thingy happens


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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:14 pm 
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Johan - any possibility of GPS co -ords which are compatible with Google Earth (tourist maps useless & 1:50 000 maps hard to come by!)

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:20 pm 
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Image

You mean THIS reaction... :lol:

Nah, its not true... I photoshopped that primordial surprise / joy... :twisted:

So, how do you remember that moment? 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 6:27 pm 
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ndloti wrote:
Johan - any possibility of GPS co -ords which are compatible with Google Earth (tourist maps useless & 1:50 000 maps hard to come by!)


23.0185S 31.08E
That should take you to our camping spot

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 6:04 am 
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I like Hyenas, but definitely not that close! :big_eyes: Asanja is a very brave lady! :thumbs_up:

What a pity that your camera was not within reaching distance Johan. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 6:10 am 
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:shock:
*Note to Johan*
If you need to hang your camera out of harms way, hang it around your neck. :twisted:

Waiting for the elephant cliffhanger, that will determine my future participation if any. I can already feel my knees start trembling. :lol:

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 10:08 am 
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Johan van Rensburg wrote:
ndloti wrote:
Johan - any possibility of GPS co -ords which are compatible with Google Earth (tourist maps useless & 1:50 000 maps hard to come by!)
23.0185S 31.08EThat should take you to our camping spot


:thumbs_up:

_________________
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 6:14 pm 
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hilda wrote:
I like Hyenas, but definitely not that close! :big_eyes: Asanja is a very brave lady! :thumbs_up:

What a pity that your camera was not within reaching distance Johan. :wink:


If I "woke up" to the photo-opportunity earlier, the camera could still have been retrieved without interference with the action... But if one is too slow, don't sweat it... just enjoy the spectacle!

JenB wrote:
:shock:
*Note to Johan*
If you need to hang your camera out of harms way, hang it around your neck. :twisted:

Waiting for the elephant cliffhanger, that will determine my future participation if any. I can already feel my knees start trembling. :lol:

:popcorn:


There is just no way that I will pack for a day's hike in a riverbed with my camera around my neck... :lol: :lol: :lol: Definitely not good practice with fine sand everywhere! I did a bit of a risk assessment when we first pitched camp and decided that the camera would be safest hung up in a conveniently placed tree growing behind my tent on the river bank. I had to go through the learning process once. :redface: During the second opportunity later that afternoon, I was much more decisive in my actions and the "safe place" for the camera was not an issue...

Anyhow, the plan for the day was to walk to Mooigesigt Dam which had been our ace-up-the-sleeve for this pentad. Quietly we were harbouring ambitions of listing new record numbers in this pentad, simply because of the potential for finding many species at such a large waterbody. Mooigesigt Dam was about a five kilometre walk away from our camping spot. We very quickly noticed that many of the summer migrants were absent from the area. We saw all the cuckoos during the previous atlassing event, this time not one!

We ran into a large herd of buffalo following the same river course as we did. Initially we took up a safe position, firstly to observe the animals and secondly to give them time to get "out of the way"... :lol: That was a forlorne hope!

Image

We counted both yellow- and red-billed oxpeckers present on the herd.

Image

After 30 minutes' waiting we realised that we will have to make a detour to get around the herd. At last we succeeded in skirting the herd and we could be on our way again. We made good time and after about an hours hard hiking we came across the Mooigesigt Dam's earthen wall; a good few hundred metres wide and at the highest point probably about 15 metres high. Expectantly we made our way to the top...

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Johan van Rensburg wrote:
... Expectantly we made our way to the top...


..... to be continued. :twisted: Come back next week for the next riveting episode of "Atlassing Kruger ... on foot!" :twisted: :popcorn:



Thanks Johan, enjoying your trip report. :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 8:06 pm 
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Tilandi wrote:
Johan van Rensburg wrote:
... Expectantly we made our way to the top...


..... to be continued. :twisted: Come back next week for the next riveting episode of "Atlassing Kruger ... on foot!" :twisted: :popcorn:


Hey! It's not THAT slow... :lol: :lol: :lol:



Tilandi wrote:
Thanks Johan, enjoying your trip report. :D :D


Thanks, Tilandi. Happy to be able to entertain...

I wonder where those other altassing 'mites are that they are so quiet...

Mooigesigt Dam was bonedry! Instead of the plethora of water birds we expected, we were confronted by a large dust bowl. Not even a damp mud patch could be found… We walked across to the inlet side of the dam where we spent the hottest part of the day in shade. Our atlassing list grew steadily as we spotted birds working the trees on the fringes of the dry dam: Red-billed Buffalo-weaver, Cardinal Woodpecker, Brown Snake-eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, African Pipit, Mosque Swallow, White-crested Helmet-shrike, Bronze-winged Courser, Barn Swallow, Yellow-throated Petronia, Puffback, African Hoopoe, Purple Roller, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Brubru, Little Bee-eater, Wahlberg's Eagle, Groundscraper Thrush, Greater Honeyguide, Zitting Cisticola, Marabou Stork, Martial Eagle, Cape Glossy Starling, Little Swift, Wire-tailed Swallow, Yellow-bellied Eremomela and Red-faced Mousebird slowly revealed themselves. An African Fish-eagle call a little distance away indicates some water body capable of sustaining this iconic raptor.

Image

Little bee-eater was another Mooigesigt Dam bird.

This experience of finding Mooigesigt dry brought home the inherent difficulty involved with atlassing on foot: if your strategy goes awry, there is no back-up plan… One has to make do with what nature dishes up for you!

On return to camp, starting our third card, Brenden took over from JoelR who had listed 72 birds during his atlassing stint.

The walk back was done at good pace and we arrived at camp around three pm. Time for a quick trip to collect water for the next day. We walked to where we had found water the previous day, just to find that the wells we dug had been trampled to oblivion by countless animal feet… The best course of action was to dig new wells.

JoelR wrote:
Some cliffhangers
- How close did the young elephant bull exactly come? :big_eyes:


Cliffhanger #3, part 2 - the ellie

With every water receptacle filled we set about preparing for the evening. The bush shower needed re-filling and we readied the stoves, pots and pans to start dinner. That is when we saw the young elephant bull coming towards our camp walking down the centre of the dry riverbed. This time my reactions were a little sharper and I was ready for the action…

Image

The young ellie didn’t have a care in the world, still totally unaware of our presence, he swaggered along, rhythmically swinging his trunk from side to side and occasionally even bobbing his head as if he was wearing an ipod with the Henry Mancini tune: Baby Elephant Walk blearing away…

Asanja suggested that we take cover behind the tents to mask our human shapes.

Image

Still completely oblivious of us, the ellie continued on his way.

Image

Now, you be the judge! How close was THAT!? :big_eyes:

Brenden had decided to clap his hands to help the ellie out of the reverie… I call this shot “Loxodonta somnium interruptus” – the youngster had a rude reminder that the Mpongolo wilderness is not entirely devoid of humans…

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:34 am 
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Johan van Rensburg wrote:
Image

Everyone hiding behind the log, JvR's the only brave one taking the pic? :shock: :lol:

Johan van Rensburg wrote:
Now, you be the judge! How close was THAT!? :big_eyes:

Waaay too close!! :whistle:

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