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 Post subject: Boulders Addo Visits : Summer 2006
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 6:39 pm 
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Today I went to Addo for 4 hours and arrived at the Colchester Gate at 6am and was in the game area at 06:15 this morning. It was raining lightly and did not look good for sightings but after a couple of Kms the light really improved and I was able to take this big ellie near Spekboom
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Shortly afterwards I took the Mpunzi Loop and came across a pair of Jackal sniffing around in the road. The female just ran away leaving her mate to give me a show in the best photographic light I have had in a long time.
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A short while later at Hapoor dam this Crowned Plover was scratching out a likely nest site on the ground right next to a week old kudu carcass (lion Kill)
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Later at Gwarrie Dam there was a group of 28 Kudu that I could see, A sight quite often seen in the Eastern Cape but never in Kruger. Again the light was at its perfect best as this young male smiled for the camera!
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It started raining hard then so I went home to plant a new Fever tree that had arrived from Nelspruit. But Addo is looking superb and this is from regular rain this summer season. I need to sort out my computer as a bug crept in yesterday and it ids not recording RAW for some reason and only records in these low quality Jpegs you see here . I will have to copy all my photos to DVD and then delete them from the computer and then re record the Nikon Raw convertor. I need to sort this out soon as it must be fixed before Kruger in a months time so my Addo shots will be scarce until this is sorted out but twist my arm and I'll probably be back next week.

Any ideas how I can solve this Bug. The Raw files are on the computer but can only be opened by Picture Project which seems to be faulty as of yesterday. I think I will have to reinstall it after a massive transfer to DVD??????

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Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 10:36 pm 
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As promised this is a very short report on my business trip yesterday to Elephant House B&B.

I arrived at the Colchester Gate at 7 am and was soon in the game area. The Cuckoos have arrived in force. I saw 4 separate (black phase) Jacobin Cuckoos and heard their lovely trilling call on numerous other occassions as I made my way towards Main Camp. I also heard masses of Black Cuckoo and saw 2 looking like overgrown Drongoes!!

There were lots of Ellies out and about and I found this small group well South of the Spekboom Lookout. The light was perfect for just over a minute or so as they started down this well worn path towards the distant hill. I couldn't believe this lovely light (if only Kruger could dish up similar light!!!)
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Taken with a Nikkor 70-200VR Lens

I left the Park out of the Main Entrance, came back in 20 minutes later and drove all the way back to the South Gate and exited there after seeing tons of Elephants en route but very few Kudu for some reason and the ones I did see just wanted to get into the deepest Spekboom veld as quickly as possible to avoid posing for the camera! I turned left onto the Addo Paterson road for half a km and then turned left through the security gate. This is the area of Addo where the lion spend about 95% of their time far away from the normal tourist roads. Apparently there are a couple of seriously attractive lionesses and the 2 big males spend their time doing fence patrol here trying to work out how to get over the double electrified fence. I saw nice spoor on the very sandy road and one of the guests at the Camp told me they had seen 2 lion that morning.
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Taken with a 12-24 nikkor lens

After that I exited and drove back to PE and the office with another 220 pics....my job doesnt pay well but it has its benefits!!!

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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 7:01 pm 
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While driving through Addo on Wednesday i came across this Black Headed Heron catching Locusts. he really enjoyed his meal!
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Later when I drove down the Gorah Elephant Camp Road the thick bush disappeared and the grassland was home to a variety of animals including bush loving Kudu

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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 5:49 pm 
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I woke early to the sound of light rain so I went to Addo as if it stopped the light would be fantastic again without the full sun glare. I was in by 7am just as the rain stopped. Not 500 metres from the South Gate a huge kudu stepped into the road 100 metres in front of me. He had huge deep curls as I looked at him before he disappeared off the road. At the edge he stopped and had a good look at me and I could see that this "teenager" was going to be King of Addo one day as his first curl swept past his ear a good indicator of a future colossal bull of 60". I drove up slowly to the spot where he had disappeared and switched off the engine and put the smaller zoom (70-200 plus 1.4 convertor) on the bean bag and waited to see if he was ever going to reveal himself to me. After 5 minutes I made out a horn tip moving slowly towards the opening....5 minutes later he turned to face me and I took this picture
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Note how the first curl goes past his ear...this boy is going to be a MONSTER one day.
I saw lots of nice elephants and lots more kudu including a nice bull near Spekboom lookout who barked continiously towards a clearing over a little rise. Then there was the unmistakable series of lion communicating grunts decending to nothing, but after waiting for 10 minutes nothing showed itself and the kudu was still staring right at the same place. I drove further on towards camp and saw about 10 buses, vehicles, lodge land rovers etc at a spot near camp. I pulled up and there were 3 hyena lying under a bush typical of the species when their under road culvert dens get wet from the rain. I couldnt get into a position for a pic so I drove on as I hate crowded sightings.

The big disappointment was when I decided to treat myself to breakfast and went and sat on the verandah waiting to be served. There were 4 tables with guests having breakfast and the waiters were all standing to one side not interested in my troubles at all. Eventually after 20 minutes I got up and got my own menu after people who came well after me got their coffee after a 10 minute wait. finally after I had been there for 45 mins I went right into the kitchen and ordered my English breakfast from the chef and ordered my coffee. It all arrived at 10:00 after I had arrived at 9:00 There was noone to take my money at the end and so I again got up and found a manager who had to go off and find change. The restaurant has been given over to a non San Parks Entity and it aint working at all...maybe they should get some smiling and efficient waiters etc from Kruger who seem to enjoy having a job and to serve tourists unlike this crowd at Addo.

Anyway I set off and found more nice birds including this nice Jacobin Cuckoo
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I was home by midday with the lesson that I must bring my own sandwiches next time!!!

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 12:31 pm 
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I have visited the restaurant at Addo a good few times this year for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have never had reason to complain except that they could perhaps offer more vegetarian dishes. Service has always been fine and the food good.

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A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:36 pm 
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I mentioned in my brief report of my trip to Addo yesterday that I had watched a kudu bull staring at one specific spot and barking/roaring at regular intervals. I also mentioned I heard lion communicating closeby in the direction he was lookingI took this shot of him trying to capture the moment of the bark as steam shot out of his mouth as he did it. If you look carefully you will see remnants of a steam cloud and saliva coming out his mouth. Even his tail was erect with nervous energy..a very interesting bit of interaction.
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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 10:01 pm 
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I stopped off at Hapoor Dam on Saturday and it was great to see the Egyptian Geese family there again after not seeing them there for a few weeks. The chicks are quite big now. the Pic is of one of the adults
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Later I came across a group of Ellies and this young one broke away from the group and came over to say hi. He was actually quite cute and threw his trunkall over the place as he eyeballed me with those big brown eyes.
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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 8:49 pm 
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Today was one of the hottest days of Summer and I had to go to Grahamstown to oversee the delivery of 5 large copiers I sold to a Private School last month that had finally arrived airfreight from Japan. I was told the truck would only be in G'town between 11 and 12 am so I decided to make a detour through the South gate of Addo then to drive through the park and out the main gate and then onto Paterson and then to G'town (38 degrees!!!!)

I went through at 7am and already the heat was intense and VERY bright....not good for Photography. I saw the cutest little baby jackal on the Mpunzi Loop and when I arrived at Hapoor dam there was nothing and I was about to turn right to head up to Zuurkop when looking left up the dust road from camp I saw the biggest bull elephant striding down the road to the dam with 2 cars following 100 metres behind this mammoth beast (Surely the Duke of Addo???) I turned left and went and nosed into facing the dam so when the elephant would eventually appear he would be on my side with the beanbag.
. As it was bright I set the exposure for 1 full stop under exposure and started firing as he came around the corner on max zoom. He walked closer and closer until the zoom was on 70mm and he more than filled the frame. He walked right up to me and brushed past the bonnet and went onto the dam. The 2 cars full of overseas tourists drove up to me very concerned that I hadnt passed out with fear. I explained that it is best to just sit dead still than suddenly start engines and wheel spin away. We all had a good laugh at my expense, but here is a pic of this beaut Addo Ellie.
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I then drove on and came to Gwarrie Dam just as a large herd of elephant started to drink. I realised that I needed to underexpose even more as the light was washing out everything so I dialled in - 1.7 stops and took this pic.
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I couldnt get the whole herd in from where I was parked so I moved into the main car park as nobody was there and wow there was this incredible reflection and the whole herd in it. I dialled in - 2.7 stops to bring out more colour in these steamy hot conditions and I think it worked quite well.
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Just as I was about to go this old Dagga Bull slipped behind my car and ambled down to slake his thirst in the heat.
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I went to the Verandah for a toasted Sandwich and Coffee and what a difference. There was a team of trainees and my guy Vuyo was an absolute star and I left him 20 bucks because his heart is in the right place and Tourism needs chaps like him.
The rest of the day was sweltering in G'town and the swim when I got home this evening was divine

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:30 pm 
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Yvonne here's a pic so you and Nico wont feel so "homesick" in far away Holland. It's called "Tip Toe Through the Tulips!!"
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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 3:47 pm 
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This morning's excursion today to Addo will probably be my last until January because we leave for a 2 week trip to Kruger 2 weeks from today and there is LOTS to do before then. I must also apologise for the low pixel low quality pics I post especially today's which are in this post. Before I started shrinking them they were all 7-9Mb and after shrinkage they ended up at between 126 Kb and 284 Kb which is pathetic quality considering the glass I'm using and the 10 mpix camera. Anyway as long as you know that the originals are actually quite nice and what you see on your screen is a fuzzy blob!.

It was raining today and actually quite hard as I entered the South Gate. I saw NOTHING until I reached Hapoor Dam when the cute but suicidal Crowned Plover was still at it trying to make anest excavation this time right in the road. Hopefully by the time eggs are laid they would have decided on a safer place off the road!! He looks miserable and wet from the lovely rain.
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I then went up Zuurkop and down to Carol's Rest Waterhole and on the surrounding plains were all these White Storks which had arrived this week from Europe.
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Later on I followed this African Hoopoe up the road as he went from one Elephant Dung Heap to the other scratching for bugs. The light was great but a bit dark but I had left my flash at home...unforgivable!
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I then found the breeding herd of Hartebeest on the Domkrag Dam loop and the little ones are growing fast and this little one is sprouting horns already. Cant tell if its Male or Female as both have horns.
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I had been trying to photograph tiny Bar Throated Apalis birds but as usual they were not playing ball but I decided to leave my big lens on the camera (200-400) for the rest of the way to the exit gate. It was very near the Gate when this ellie came around the corner 400metres away. I nosed into the bush so I was at right angles to the approaching Bull and put the big lens on the beanbag and put the zoom on Max (400) and got this shot. Again I apologise for the shocking quality of these next three ellie pics as the originals are really sharp and nice.
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He was approaching fast and very soon I had to swivel the lens to Vertical format and Zoom out to 210 for this shot
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Finally he was very close so I had some fun and zoomed to 360 and got his eye!! One elephant one lens and a lot of fun as the cars started to pile up wide eyed behind me!!
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Well now I know how to upload photos so I will have to get a note book and do a Kruger Report after we get back at New Year.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 6:31 pm 
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ADDO 2007 SAT MORNING TRIPS

I have had 2 short forays into Addo since getting back from Kruger. The 1st was 2 weeks ago when I took my visiting Mother in Law from Pretoria who hadnt been to Addo for over 30 years. It was a boiling hot day and NO cloud cover so with the Gate opening time of 7am it was downhill all the way with the harsh light. Some forumites saw the Caracal I posted on the Animal Section. This was the 1st animal we saw that day and I took about 10 pics of it before it climbed/stalked over the little rise. As you can see the 07h15 sun was severe.
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I didnt really take any more pics that day which were keepers so I planned to go some other day when it was a bit overcast.

Last night the weather said the day would start with drizzle so I packed the stuff and after giving "Lucy" the Border Collie her walk in drizzle I set off and made the gate at opening time (7am).

The first animal I sighted was this huge East Cape Kudu with beautiful markings. I have been waiting for nearly a year to take his pic but as usual he refused to pose so this is all I got.
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Shortly afterwards I couldnt believe it old "Flop Ear" the wiley jackal Who refuses to ever stand for a photo was running up the road towards me and was he going to oblige now??. I stopped and got ready and as if he was an obedience trained dog he stopped for a full minute and allowed me to take his pic....nice fella!!
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The Common Waxbills are back at my feeder so i must go and look...be back later

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 6:58 pm 
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I forgot to mention in the rush to watch my Waxbills...(Gosh they have beautiful fine markings) that in the pic of "Flop Ear" the Jackal you can clearly see spiders web on his floppy ear so you can see where he has been scofoling!!
Later on towards camp I came across a small herd of zebra running around on the Domkrag Loop and decided instead of taking my usual herd shot or whole animal post card job I thought a portrait would be a nice change. So I put on the big lens and searched the heard from the beanbag trying different permutations before this image appeared in the viewfinder. I think Zebra with their unique markings make such nice subjects.
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Later I arrived at main camp and bumped into friends and after catching up in the car park I decided I was rather hungry and decided to try the verandah for breakfast and what an improvement. The ineffectual manager was gone and the waiters were all smiles and it was great..well done Addo the recipe is perfect!

Later on I came upon a warthog drinking at Carols Rest and there was a lovely reflection so I had to shoot at 400mm again as the waterhole is further than one thinks.
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Also at the waterhole were two old Buff Dagga Bulls. I have always said that Addo has puny Buff and are much smaller than the Kruger Buff and those from the Matetsi Corridor. To judge a big buff one must look at the distance between the outside curves measured in inches. A buff over 40 " is a great speciman and one over 45" is exceptional. The South African Record is a pair picked up in the veld on the farm 49". Take a look at this big boy and dont tell me he is under 4 feet (48"). He is also got my first ever East Cape Oxpecker sitting on him.
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I just want to watch the cricket on the news...back in awhile

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:31 pm 
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Also in the open area behind Carols Rest waterhole was the carcass of this Elephant which must have been about two days old.
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It was so strange because after 2 days in Kruger that carcas would have been well and truly sorted with first super scavenger Mr Lion and his family would have eaten their fill (Where were the Addo lions who people say hang around Carols Rest?) Then there would have been every Hyena from a 20 kilometre radius....no Addo Hyena and of course there are no Cape vultures South of the Winterberg in E Cape, so it looks like it will be there a long time!

Later I came across 2 jackal running around and stalking at something (s) in the short bush. I couldnt work out what it was they were after....not until one of them pounced and picked up a fair sized rat and ran away. This pic is of the 2nd Jackal still trying to catch his breakfast.
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I arrived at Hapoor Dam with about 20 vehicles parked in the parking area all facing the waterhole as there was a herd of about 50 ellies having a ball swimming and fighting and just hanging out. This little one was watching his big "brother?" and friend having a shoving match which got very intense!!
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"I'm going to be big and strong one day like these guys"
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Addo Rugby Practice!!!

I'll go again on the next overcast Saturday morning

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