Johan van Rensburg wrote:
... Expectantly we made our way to the top...
..... to be continued.
Come back next week for the next riveting episode of "Atlassing Kruger ... on foot!"
Hey! It's not THAT slow...
Thanks Johan, enjoying your trip report.
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.
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.
Cliffhanger #3, part 2 - the ellie
- How close did the young elephant bull exactly come?
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…
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
Asanja suggested that we take cover behind the tents to mask our human shapes.
Still completely oblivious of us, the ellie continued on his way.
Now, you be the judge! How close was THAT!?
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…