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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:04 am 
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Location: Vale of Belvoir, UK
Thanks for page turn - and the bird has been ID'd as a SOuthern Masked Weaver, thanks to wildtiunman !

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:26 am 
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13th May - Grootkolk bound

We departed Mata Mata at 7am to travel the upper dune road on our way to Grootkolk. We saw the two skinny lion brothers again on the top road, just before the Dalkeith loop.

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After 13th Boorgat loop the sand road looked wet, we must have had a shower.

There was a Spotted Eagle Owl on top of a tree in the riverbed, no pics. We had a quick pit stop at Kamqua before heading into the dunes at 8.30 am. We arrived at Dikbarskolk around 12 noon and stopped for a lunch break. It was now quite windy.

At Polentswa we saw a nice herd of Wildebeest, a juvenile Bateleur and another White Stork; a Lanner Falcon and a Tawny Eagle. An Ant-eating Chat was posing nicely, and there were even a few dune flowers showing their faces.

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Ant-eating Chat

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Wildebeest
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juvenile Bateleur

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bird and beast

We arrived at Grootkolk at 3pm to be met be a visitor dashing out as a Lioness had just left up the service road we had driven in from. However, after a long drive, it was decided we would just go ahead and unpack. We were allocated units 3 and 4. Unit 3 is the same as Penni and I shared on our last visit and is directly in line with the waterhole so Linda and I were highly delighted.

At just before 6pm, as the sun began to sink, the neighbouring visitor returned to tell us the Lions were on their way back to camp and sure enough we watched as one and then another Lioness ambled down, walking past our units to the waterhole. The setting sun did not help with the best photographic light to capture the moment, but nevertheless a special welcome treat to Grootkolk, and meant our day had started and ended with different Lions.

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After unpacking, we ate out supper outside, watching the waterhole and marvelled at the tranquility of this treasured wilderness camp. We witnessed another beautiful Grootkolk sunset.

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I love the quote by Amos van der Merwe in "Imagine Africa" which states:

"Nowhere in the world do you find sunsets like in Africa. The crimson is deeper, the blue more brilliant and the purple hues appear in sequential shades that seem impossible. Even if the colours don't fascinate you, the atmosphere will dazzle even the most blunted soul"

As the lights came on at the waterhole tree, a Barn Owl fluttered into the branches. We sat and watched as the stars emerged in the night sky before retiring for the night, totally relaxed in the tranquil atmosphere.
We had a brief wind storm in the night which had swept alway all the coulds by the morning.

/to be continued...

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:43 am 
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Location: Vale of Belvoir, UK
14th May

At breakfast we sat in our little "garden" watching the many small birds that visited, looking for any opportunity of crumbs.

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Sociable Weaver

A herd of Red Hartebeest were ambling by in the riverbed.

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Red Hartebeest
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The two female Lions returned to the waterhole to drink, checking us out on the way in and out again.

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We were informed they had a Gemsbok kill on the main road just up from the service turn-off, but in the long grasses we never did find it. We set out around 8am after the lions had departed, to visit Unions End.

/to be continued...

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:32 am 
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14th May /...continued - Grootkolk's little creatures & Ferocious Mice!

We arrived back in camp and remained there for the rest of the day, It was good to sit and relax and watch the comings and goings at the waterhole, as well as the myriad of small birds that visited our own improvised bird bath/spring. A pair of Scaly-feathered Finches were busy nest making. All the birds were constantly looking for any food that may appear and brought with them a flurry of striped mice.

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Red-headed Finch

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Scaly-feathered Finch

I was sitting very quietly with bino's on the waterhole when I felt a suddent sharp pain in my toe. "Ouch!" I shouted and looked down to see a striped mouse scurrying away under our gate, towards the tree. I was both shocked and surprised that this little creature had actually been cheeky enough to sink it's teeth right under the nail of my toe, causing an immediate little pool of blood to appear! I guess it must have mistaken my nice warm toe for a tasty morsel, but....!

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The evil Striped Mouse
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On my last visit I spent endless time trying to get a good photo opportunity of these normally shy little creatures, without success. This visit, there were many mice and they seemed quite comfortable to scurry around us as we stood or sat close by.

I did immediately wash the toe, squeeze out the blood (such gore) and applied what dressings we had, along with Aloe gel (a natural antibiotic). If I am still here in about 2 month's time I guess we can be sure the mice do not carry rabies!!!
Note to self: always wear socks or shoes in Grootkolk!

There were several other small creatures around, lizards, skinks, birds, and tree rats, which tended to be more active at dusk and I did not get a picture of these.

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Skink
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Various Geckos
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Red-headed Finches and Sociable Weavers

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Laughing Dove

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Southern-masked Weaver

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Yellow Canary

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Cape Glossy Starling

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and more Geckos
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We amused ourselves in camp for the rest of the day. There were Gemsbok at the waterhole all night, but nothing else as far as we know! We heard Lions roaring in the distance around 2.30 am.

/to be continued...

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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Kagalagadi Wheat Fields TR 2008


Last edited by Suej on Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:31 pm 
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Location: Vale of Belvoir, UK
17th May

Back out this morning at 7am towards the South. We omitted Maries and drove to Kaspersdraai, but saw nothing of note and were back in camp for 10.30.

We stayed in camp, spending some time at the hide and drove back at at 3pm, this time taking the North road.

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Gabar Goshawk baithing
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Camelthorn Tree

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Springbok
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Blue Wildebeest
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We sat in the shade of the bushes at Cubitie Quap until 5pm watching small birds, mice, a Jackal and two Gemsbok.

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Another beautiful Camelthorn Tree

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Nicely posed Gabar Goshawk

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Beautiful Black-backed Jackal

We apparently missed Cheetahs seen walking in the road close to camp.

Back in camp we saw the White-faced Scops Owl and Arifcan Scops Owl again.

/to be continued... It may be a coouple of days before I catch up now.

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

Kalahari Tapas 2010http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=48065&hilit=kalahari+tapas

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:53 am 
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BACKTRACIKING: 15th May - Nossob. (I accidentally skipped the next 2 days, so please bear with me).

We had a very cold but sunny start this morning as we departed Grootkolk to head to Nossob at 8.15am. We saw an Eland herd in the riverbed, running to the Botswana dunes in the distance. Before Polentswa we saw a pair of Kudu. No pics.

We arrived at Nossob around 1.30pm, to take the nicely secluded Family Chalet No 8.

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I could not resist a few pics of the resident squirrels again.

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We went out on a short drive around 4.30pm to Maries se Gat. There was a nice herd of Gemsbok and about 8 Kudu at the waterhole.

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Kudu bull
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Kudu "book-ends"
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Kudu cow

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Kudu and Gemsbok

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Gemsbok at Maries

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We spotted the above capture cam of Jannie's at Maries se Gat, carefully disguised as an anthill!

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:10 am 
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BACKTRACKING 16th May previously missed out

We were out of camp at 7am driving along the Maries se draai loop when we saw something walking up the road towards us. We stopped to watch a Brown Hyena continue for a few paces before slinking off into the long grass. Sadly, no pics.

The waterhole at Maries se Gat was in the process of being repaired, so we drove on and back onto the top road, returning to camp. A juvenile Gabar Goshawk was posing beautifully for us in a tree.

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Gabar Goshawk
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We returned to camp and drove out to the North road as far as Kwang. Apart from small birds, a very cheeky Black Crow who tried to hitch a ride on our bonnet, a Goshawk in flight and a Jackal we saw little else.

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Crow hitchiker

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Burchells Sandgrouse

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PCG in flight

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Black-backed Jackal

Approximately 2km before Nossob, we witnessed two Cheetah in the riverbed starting to stalk a herd of Springbok, but not a successful kill. The images are not good as they were taken at a considerable distance, but I love the way they show the speed and flexibility in all the components of the Cheetah's body.

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We rested in camp for a while, checking on the hide, and watched a pair of sleepy Jackals at the waterhole. We did go out again later but saw very little.

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Jackal at Nossob waterhole

That evening, we watched a Verreaux's Giant Eagle Owl alight into the tree between the reception building and the front chalets. There was also a nest of Barn Owls in the reception building eaves, and the very nice, kind gent who had previously seen us at Grootkolk, came to tell us that there was an African Scops and White-faced Scops in the tree near his chalet. We were delighted to view these but pics without a flash would not have been possible.

I politely asked another visitor to stop taking flash pics of the VEO, and she kindly obliged.

The same guest who showed us the small owls told us of an exciting night he had had previously at Urikaruus, when a Hyena clan had killed a Gemsbok in the space between the chalets and the camp assistant's hut ! As Urikaruus was to be our next stop, we were excited to hear this!

Now I have cuaght up with the missed days, the rest is to be continued...

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:30 pm 
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18th May

We departed Nossob at 7.30am - cold but sunny.

We saw 5 Cheetah in the riverbed on the Marie se Draai turn-off, and two young male Lions on the dune side of the main road after Cheleka.

It was at the point of seeing the two lions in the long grass that I became aware that my long lens had "DIED" This was for me a disaster, especially with my favourite camp still to come. However, Malcolm instantly unhooked his identical lens and passed it to me to use. I cannot thank this generous man so much for such an unselfish act, in allowing me the use of his lens for the rest of our trip, and without which I would not have got the shots from some amazing sightings that are to follow! Thank you bazillion times over Malcolm! All the rest of my images were taken with the use of Malcolm's lens.

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Kalahari Scrub Robin
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On arrival at Urikaruus, we were allocated Units 2 & 3. I was thrilled to meet up with Gavin & Debbie again, who I had not see since my visit in 2008. They were mirroring the rest of our stay in the park. As previously mentioned, before our arrival, 5 Hyenas had brought down and killed a Gemsbok in this wilderness camp, between the tourist's and camp assistant's hut. The following night they had dragged the carcass into the riverbed, the remains of which was being picked off by crows, as pointed out to us by Debbie.

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Crows on Gemsbok remains.

Francois accompanied Malcolm to the spotlight tree near the waterhole to attach the capture camera that Freda & Malcolm had brought with them. The camera did manage to capture the Hyenas that frequented the camp during our stay.

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It appears that the Hyenas have now abandoned the old den which was visible from the road just outside camp, and have now created a new den in the dunes beyond the riverbed.

/to be continued ...

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:21 am 
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19th May - Big Cat Day !

Now back in my favourite area, this day proved to be our best of the entire trip......

We had Giraffe at the Urikaruus camp waterhole early in the morning and Hyena (5 of each in total). As dawn was breaking the Hyenas wallked through camp, with one stopping to inspect Francois carefully before moving on!

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Spotted Hyena in camp at dawn
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better close that gate Francois!
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Hyena at camp waterhole

We were out of camp around 7.30am to drive South. Freda had stayed in camp. As we drove up the service road, the Giraffes were on the ridge to the right with the sunrise creating a superb glow of Raffie silhouettes, and one youngster tried to race us to the top!

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I can race you!
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Once on the main road, Malcolm and Linda were scanning the riverbed, I was looking toward the calcrete dune-side mounds opposite, when I spotted a Leopard, sitting in shade by the hillside between Urikaruus and Kamqua, well camaflouged. I did a double take, before issuing a positive command of "STOP, LEOPARD" - there was no time for formalities !

And there she was, in full glory for us, quite close to the road. As Malcolm reversed "Betsy" she also began to walk along the hillside northwards, so we kept slowly reversing back with her for about 1 km.

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LEOPARD!
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/to be continued.. Big Cat Day is not yet finished

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:34 pm 
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WillieV wrote:
Beautiful photo's of Tsamma. We saw her on the 13 th May 2012 close to Rooibrak.

Willie


Thanks for ID'ing her Willie! :thumbs_up:

There is more of her to come when the page turns :wink:

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:14 am 
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.../Mon 19th - Big Cat Day continued.

The Leopard then crossed over the road behind us and went straight up into a camelthorn tree right at the side of the road. It was only at this point that we were joined by just one other vehicle. The Leopard gave us a good sighting as she clambered up the tree branches, looking back down straight into our sights, before descending again, crossing the road once more and going back into the calcrete dunes, but WHAT a sighting she gave us !

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After this, we started to move off again. Just moments along and just passed Kamqua I shared a packet of Liquorice Allsorts with the crew and as I was about to help myself to one, Malcolm suddenly shouted Lion in the riverbed! Well, that is why the Leopard had moved off so suddenly!

As I pulled out a sweet from the bag, there he was, a full-grown Black-maned Lion walking alone up the riverbed. My sweet was stuck to a clump of others but I had no time to separate them, so crammed them all in my mouth at once, as I hopped over to the window seat and prepared the camera! The result.....

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After such an exciting morning, we returned to camp at 11am. We still had half the day to come...

At luch time, my previous travelling companion, Penni, with husband Mark came to visit us. They were driving back from a trip in Namibia and had got a day pass so they could catch up with us. What a thrill to see Penni again as it had been two years since our last trip. We were to see Penni & Mark again before they left to go home...


/to be continued... (and Big Cat Day is not yet over!)

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:06 am 
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Thank you anne-marie & SurfCindy. Yes, this was certainly a treat, but more to come...

/...May 19th - Big Cat Day continued

We ventured back out again at 1.30pm, driving Northwards. We saw a beautifully posing Lanner Falcon. A rather brave (or simply foolish) Dove had a narrow escape when it almost landed on the same branch, and hastily flew past!

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Lanner Falcon & Dove.
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We also saw A Secretary Bird drinking as we moved on.

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And this handsome Springbok

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We had been told of a Lion kill near Dalkeith and found the evidence under the shade of a tree, close to the waterhole. There was a sleepy male Lion with the remains of a Gemsbok kill, and three lionesses further on just on the dunes.

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I was so delighted to see that the old male Lion was none other than one of the well-known brothers with the damaged mouth, one that has given me many great sightings on recent visits. He is often referred to as "slack-mouth", "slack-jaw", etc.

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"Hi there old friend, yes it's me, you found me!"

Well there he was and anxious to prove to me that it was indeed "himself" by yawning widely and smiling at me, just to show off his damaged mouth! The Gemsbok kill was well concealed in the shade on the other side of the tree he was lying by.

/... more to come

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:33 am 
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once again. thanks to everyone for following and for the encouraging comments.

../Mon 19th - Big Cat Day continued.

The old boy's three ladies were a little further on the loop, in the "dunes".

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We saw a Jackal suddenly fleeing across the riverbed, over the loop road and into the dunes.

Just before we came to the Northern end of the loop, someone shouted "spots" - at this stage I think we were all looking in different directions. One thought they had seen Leopard, another Cheetah, but all was soon revealed.

In the very long grass in the riverbed there were two Cheetahs with bloody faces. They had obviously only just made a kill. Further on, over the main road there were another two Cheetahs. We stopped to look and exclaim excitedly. Again, some of these images are just record shots.

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At this point the two Cheetahs in the riverbed got up and walked over the top road, carrying their kill.

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We drove on up to the top road and back round to see them carry what turned out to be a Bat-eared Fox to the other two Cheetahs, playing Tug-o-war with the poor unfortunate BEF as they did so. I had to take the above shot through the windscreen, something I will not normally do but it was the best and only chance of capturing what had met it's demise. The legs and ears of the little "Batty" can be clearly seen in this image.

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We left them as they walked behind a fallen tree to consume their kill.

A little further on we got a nice view of a Verreaux's Giant Eagle Owl - a short supply of these this trip.

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We were then stopped by a road block of Wildebeest in the road, one with a suckling calf.

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Gavin & Debbie will have got a shot of this from the opposite side of the road! We stopped and informed them where to find the Cheetahs and proceeded on our way.

We also saw four Giraffe, and just before the 13th loop there were five Bat-eared Foxes in the riverbed plus a further five between 13th & Urikaruus. Another good sighting of these usually hard to capture little creatures.

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We returned to camp and later found out from Debbie and Gavin that after we had left the Cheetahs, the three Lionesses had been seen chasing the Cheetah off their little kill and stealing it. Still, we cannot complain at ALL about the marvellous sightings we had witnessed on this special day.

We were certainly very happy as we retired in camp that night.

/to be continued...

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:12 am 
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20th May

We were freezing in bed during the night. The water in our fridge had frozen. Debbie informed us that her shampoo had frozen and Freda's toothpaste also froze !! Urikaruus is a wonderful camp but when it is cold, this is probably the coldest camp due to the gaps in the floor and joints of the structures. We had a male Lion at the waterhole at midnight, but it was too cold to even get out of bed, let alone sit on the balcony to watch him.

The Hyenas were back in camp and sounded as though they may have made another kill between the chalets and the assistant's lodge, although there was no evidence of such in the morning. We did not see the Cape Foxes that used to visit this camp, probably due to the Hyena occupation.

We were out of camp a little later today at 7.45am. Our first sightings were again of Bat-eared Foxes, and a nice view of Giraffes on the ridge.

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After Bataluma we watched a family of delightful Meerkats in the riverbed, quite close to the road.

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Meerkats
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Just past Bataluma, high on the calcrete hills over the riverbed there was a herd of Gemsbok and a Leopard. The Gemsbok were curiously following the Leopard and surrounding it. It was too far for decent photo's.

We returned to camp and Malcom and I headed out again at 12.30 towards the South, leaving Freda and Linda in camp. We had planned to meet Penni & Mark for a picnic lunch at Kamqua. It was good to catch up with Penni again and share recent events. We drove back to camp by 2pm and stayed in camp for the rest of the day, watching birds and waterhole visitors.

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White-browed Sparrow Weaver

As we were stood chatting on the walkway between our two units, we heard a Pearl-spotted Owlet calling and suddenly a very small bird flew straight into our bedroom window, dropping into the sand below. We looked down to see the tiny little owl floundering in the sand. We held our breath for a few moments and thankfully, the owlet regained itself and flew up into our tree, seemingly unharmed. I was able to get a clear shot of it in the tree from our bedroom balcony.

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Pearl-spotted Owlet

For an idea of size, this tiny owl is only about the same size as the White-browed Sparrow Weaver, shown in the photo above it.

/to be continued ...

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

Kalahari Tapas 2010http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=48065&hilit=kalahari+tapas

Kagalagadi Wheat Fields TR 2008


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 Post subject: Re: KTP May 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpa
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:18 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:15 am
Posts: 328
Location: Vale of Belvoir, UK
21st May

Sadly, today was to be our final day in the KTP, with one night left at Twee Rivieren.

It was another cold Urikaruus the night, but not as bad as before. The Hyenas had been around again in the night and had eaten the tow bar cover off "Betsy". We also had a flat tyre, but this could not be blamed on the Hyenas. Emille, who had arrived back in camp the day before helped Malcolm to change the tyre and we were packed and departed Urikaruus at 8.30am, to head towards Twee Rivieren.

Just past Kamqua we saw two Bat-eared Foxes huddled in the river bed close to the road. These littly BEF's were everywhere this trip,

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A nice Tawny Eagle was perched on a dead tree after Rooibrak, and again we saw the Meerkats just past Bataluma.

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One of the most exciting sightings for me this day, and indeed the trip, was a beautiful Slender Mongoose with kits on the Calcrete.

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Slender Mongoose
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These are usually very shy and are rarely seen, especially to get good photos of so it was indeed a special moment to witness and capture. Even Jannie says he has only ever seen a small handful of sightings of this more elusive, but splendidly coloured mongoose.

We again saw a White Stork in the riverbed.

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We stopped at Auchterlonie, stretched our legs and took a few last shots of the surrounds. The little house (now museum piece) always reminds me of "The Little House on the Prairie". To imagine living there and surviving such harsh conditions is very thought provoking.

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Betsy & crew at Auchterlonie

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Auchterlonie with the Aoub riverbed below.

We arrived back at Twee Rivieren and were allocated Family Unit 1, nicely tucked in beside the dunes. I took a few pictures of the resident Yellow Mongoose and a Yellow-billed Hornbill.

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Yellow Mongoose

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Yellow-billed Hornbill

We set out for one last drive in the afternoon, up the Nossob riverbed to see if there was any sign of the Leeudril Leopard. We did not find the Leopard, although there were a few other vehicles searching for it, but we were lucky enough to catch sighting of an African Wildcat which had just caught a small rodent.

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It was sitting looking straight at us, but hastily ran off as we stopped to take photos.
Just after this we saw a Jackal, also hunting the Whistling Rats and Mice that were in abundance.

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As we turned to go back to camp, we again met up with Penni on the road also out to look for the Leopard.
That evening we treated ourselves to a meal at the Twee Riveren Restaurant, as did Penni & Mark.

And back to my wish list: I got the amazing good Leopard sightings, but missed out on the Caracal and I will just blame Jannie that he never found me an Ardvaark! :twisted: :lol:

So it was farewells to the Kgagaladi once more. The following morning we did not venture out for a drive as is usual previously, but headed straight on the road home, driving the red dune road this time to Kuruman, for an overnight stop before the long drive back to Johannesburg. I must say, that although the red dune road was a bit dodgy in places, the scenery was much better and we did not encounter the many road hold-ups we had on the way up.

All in all another good Kgagaladi experience!

the end

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SueJ - Sand Rover !

KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

Kalahari Tapas 2010http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=48065&hilit=kalahari+tapas

Kagalagadi Wheat Fields TR 2008


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