Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 5
 [ 65 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Pumbaa's Joyride with the Bateleurs. KNP, Feb. '13
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:36 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
Unbelievable but true one year is already over and we are nearly ready for our departure.

A pity is that we both do still have bronchitis - Mine is getting better with every minute but Timon is still not feeling that well so hopefully we will make it on Friday in time to reach Malelane :?

With joy we say good-bye to gloves and bonnets and change the winter boots against flip flops :dance: For sure I will not miss the snow and cold. :thumbs_up:

Will enjoy every second when enterting at Friday afternoon at Malelane and will be very sad when leaving more than 2 weeks later via Punda Maria. To be back is already the greatest gift but hopefully we can add some never seen birds to our list especially some of my beloved owls and a serval would be lovely as well :tongue:

Maybe we will cross path with Elsa & Crested Val and their SOs and for sure will look out for other yellow ribbons.

Please hold thumbs for us that most of our favourite roads might be open again and that it will not be that wet any longer.

Will see you again in three weeks :dance: :dance: :dance: and will bring back one or two stories to share :lol:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:58 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
Hi there,

yes, we are back in good old freezing Germany :? and besides the missing leopard - can you imagine not a single one during our nearly 2 1/2 weeks not a single you just missed one - this was the only negative thing although must say that the rest of what we say was breathtaking - The birding was mind blowing and Timon took lot of material for my feathered friends thread and on a couple of birds especially on three raptors I need the help from the experts in identifying them and I finally found my Pearl spotted owlet :dance:

Lots of not that common animals (I will not reveal everything already :tongue: ) - two species which we never saw before in Kruger, especially the large herd of the one we spent our last hours in the park with on Sunday and finally we saw our very first African Wild Cat - and not only one but finally in total 6 of them :big_eyes: - Although it was very tricky to get descent pictures as the grass was very high where we spotted them - but nevertheless we were very surprised to finally saw them and yes we again spent a nice 1 1/2 hours with a pack of wild dogs just on our very first full day in the park. :dance:

Some roads were still closed and some roads were still extreme muddy and thanks for the 4x4 we had - Nevertheless they are busy in grading presently and great was that we on our last day we could drive the Mahonie loop which only recently had been re-opened and also the S52 on the Southern part to Bateleur Camp had just been graded. The area around Shingwedzi looked alarmingly airy with a large part of the tar road damaged but also here there were already busy in doing ther utmost.

For sure a trip report will follow but I still need time to arrive here fully as my mind is still in Kruger. :?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:24 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
Thanks so much for you patience :k

Friday, 8th February, 2013 – Berg en Dal

Somehow but true we managed to be finally back and besides our colds and bronchitis we both caught prior to our departure everything else went more than well and finally we were standing on the bridge over the Crocodile River close to Malelane Gate and simply breathed and sighed. We spotted our first impalas and many hippos in and outside the water.

Image

We arrived that early as never before at the gate and gladly same was nearly empty for a Friday afternoon and the obligatory check in took only a couple of minutes and whilst I was busy in doing the necessary paperwork Timon started already in snapping away and the first victim was a very patient drongo sitting on one of the cacti

Image

and finally after a drought of nearly one year the boom opened and we were back and had still 16 nights in the park ahead of us out of which we wanted to make the most. We were greeted by the many European bee eaters and noisy banana birds whilst in the background the calls of the woodland kingfishers could be heard and soon when one had finished its call the next one started again and so on – Sigh!

Soon a group of impalas came into sight

Image

followed by some warthogs

Image

as well as crowned plovers and lots of magpie shrikes.

Image

The turn off to Matjulu waterhole came into sight and although we drove already a lot with nearly no sleep the prior night in the airplane we could not resist in not making a short detour via this loop. In the beginning you had to drive via steep curves up and down and the only recently heavy rainfall was still visible and in the downs sometimes water was still standing and had to be crossed and also the one or two low water bridges which had to be crossed still were washed by water and whilst driving up again you simply had to be careful as parts of the road were still missing or washed out and still an incomprehensible amount of water was still coming from nearly everywhere and lots of areas in the park where still covered by huge puddles and drying mud – but all the “negative” things do also have positive things as the park was amazingly lush and green and simply beautiful

Image

Image

At Matjulu waterhole itself a group of zebras had already left, however, hundreds of European swallows as well as White fronted bee eaters were buzzing round only meters away from the ground catching insects which is also one of the advantage of a wet summer.

Image

Whilst we arrived there some jokers obviously mend they were cool whilst climbing out of their car and having a closer look :wall: – Gladly birds were not on their interest list and they soon drove off and let us alone together with our feathered friends and you just had to wait as they all came back. This pin tailed whydah landed only centimetres from where we stood

Image

and was more than willing to pose nicely

Image

and also some fluff balls landed close by and wanted to be captured

Image

Image

Also some other cars drove by but nearly turned around the minute they arrived and so luckily for us the bee eaters came back in continuing their dust bath which they had to interrupt because of the arriving cars

Image

Image

A highlight for us was that a sunbird – one of my most wanted to be seen birds – landed on a flower close by but before Timon had the camera in position same flew already away – this procedure took place a couple of times but we did not manage to get a picture and so it was impossible to identify this beautiful bird.

However, the pin-tailed whydah was again back and landed close to our car on the ground searching for some dinner in form of grass seeds and our bee eaters nearly gone mad whilst taking their sand bath.

Image

Image

We decided that we will return the next evening again and so we said good-bye and drove back to camp.

Image

The check in as well as renewal of my Wild Card were done in no minutes and I got the key to bungalow No. 39, however, same did not fit and only after shacking on the door we realized that we got the wrong key in our hands although No.39 was clearly marked on the tag – We had no alternative to return to camp and soon the lady from the reception gave me another key for no. 39 and finally we could move in – Normally in fact I have no problem in returning to reception to claim for another key but that evening I was in fact a bit tired and simply wanted to relax.

The bungalow in fact had no view – simply because the bush was so dense – same was indeed located right at the fence but the privacy offered was a great advantage – Timon got the braai going and we soon already repacked our luggage and the just bought food so that we would not waste any time the next morning. Needless to say that we slept like logs that night but were ready for new adventures the next morning.

Saturday, 09. February 2013 – Berg en Dal

What a feeling it was to awoke in our beloved bush the next morning – Sigh! – and needless to say that the morning coffee tasted much more better. During our first full day in the park we always do start on the Matjulu loop and so it was today. Whilst heading forward we met a very skittish and very agitated hyaena who was always on the run and due to the poor daylight at that early hour only blurred pictures came out – the hyaenas, however, were good to us this year and we had later during that trip enough time for extensive photo sessions with them. We found that early morning, however, other victims who were willing to pose for example the ever present impalas

Image

and I simply could not resist in taking one of these typical Berg-en-Dal impressions – it was feeling far too good to be back

Image

to be continued with stripes, more birdies and the painted ones...........


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:07 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
and we also met two extreme sleepy rhinos

Image

who were not willing to even raise an eyebrow – it was still far too early.

Image

several herds of zebras were up and around and it was once again more than a pleasure to simply press the button

Image

especially the little foals are always Timons favourites

Image

He snapped away as if these were the first zebras he ever saw but I think it is simply because we missed them so desperately.

Image

Image

Image

Image

The noisy glossy starlings could be found everywhere in the park not only on picnic spots

Image

followed already by some well hidden kudus and more magpie shrikes and our first never seen bird before – a colourful Common Waxbill – which unfortunately kept to well hidden in a dense bush. Whilst we stopped to admire this beautiful fluff ball we realized more birdies in a nearby bush and also captured one of these foam frog nests which this year could be found everywhere in the park due to the wet weather.

Image

For us it is a rarity to spot black eye bulbuls in the park itself as they are much easier to be captured in camps and on picnic spots.

Image

A large group of helmeted guinea fowls forced us to stop

Image

with lots of chicks

Image

we met our first naughty vervet monkeys, more European bee eaters and the ever present lilac breasted rollers

Image

and soon stopped for this lovely posing lesser masked weaver lady

Image

and a juvenile ground scraper thrush which was also a new one for us - already No 2 during that trip -

Image

and we simply stopped for one bird and did not move and now the birds came to us or simply wanted to say hey to us or saw Timon’s huge lens and wanted to take a closer look.

Image

We stood still at the same spot when a blue waxbill came closer unfortunately too well hidden in another bush but Mrs. red backed shrike was ready to pose for us only another branch away.

Image

Well if the birding will continue that way as it already just started it will be a great trip for us – Believe me the wet weather, heavy rains and floods especially this year was indeed the best birding trip we ever had!

Another advantage where all the flowers which could still be found on the roadsides

Image

The rest of the drive on the H3 until we reached the turn off to Renosterpan was quiet but we simply enjoyed the smells, the noisy woodies, the gentle breeze simply everything but this was obviously only the calm before the storm as whilst slipping on the muddy road to Renosterpan only to realize half way through one parked car and some unmistakable ears popping out of the high grass......

Image

Wild dogs already on our very first full day in the park – What a chance!!!

Image

to be continued with our 1 1/5 half hours with the painted ones......


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:59 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
At first sight only two doggies were visible but the longer we stayed with them the more movements from under a bush, behind dense grass we realized more of them and all in all we guessed it was a pack of around ten.

Image

A bit strange was that only one car was parking at that sighting and not more and so we already thought that the dogs have already left that place and moved on but gladly we were wrong and they simply rested.

Image

After a short private session with them also more and more cars wanted to visit Renosterpan and simply could not pass the dogs without stopping – who would! – and soon a traffic jam built up but as the dogs were spread over a great distance and so from nearly each point all cars were standing in a pool position as at least one dog was more than willing to pose and more than good visible.

Image

Needless to say that our cameras started to glow already at least the button and we took tons of pictures of them from all angles – A pity was and that is a fact that will pursue us through our whole holiday that the grass was extreme high and consequently the photography was not easy and sometimes the grass in front was sharp and the dog or animal in the background blurred but I think you all experienced this already.

Image

Image

On one roadside there was still flowing a slight “river” but the dogs obviously loved that as they lied down right into the water and consequently when standing up again they were extreme dirty and muddy but I think it is simply the same protection against parasites as all the “grey” animals use.

Image

Image

The temperatures were still bearable at that early hour and we also were glad that this pack was not on the move as they are normally are so we in fact simply had to park the car and wait until one of the dogs may come closer and fill out the frames completely.

Image

Image

One of the females must have smelled lovely as one of the males pursued her permanently and does not let her out of sight

Image

Image

and even when she did not take any notice from him immediately he started to squeaking to got her attention again. It was indeed a fantastic sighting.

Image

Image

Meanwhile more and more cars arrived and even the safari vehicles got notice of this stunning sighting as there was a permanent come and go

Image

Image

but as already described earlier the dogs positioned themselves so handy that each and every car had its own dog and we so both had as well, as I was taking pictures of a dog on my side of the car and Timon fired away on his side.

Image

I love the way the dog is peeping from behind the grass onto the other side of the road to check where its buddies were.

After a long time at that sighting we decided to quickly drive to the Renosterpan waterhole itself and then stay a bit longer with our doggies. As experienced already during previous visits here the view onto the waterhole was overgrown with high grass and nearly invisible and even the elephants about who we have been told earlier were no longer to be seen.

So it was time again to start the second extensive photographic session with the painted ones.

Image

Image

Meanwhile also the safari vehicles from lodges from outside Kruger got notice of this wild dog sighting and so lots of safari vehicles came, stayed a while and drove off.

Image

At that stage we must have been the car which stayed the longest with the doggies but we definitely would never get tired in watching such close dog dance.

Image

Image

Image

to be continued with more painted ones........

Sorry about the number of wild dog pictures but it was a hard time for me to chose them - I promise there will also be more birdies coming up.......


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:05 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
The male dog which was in desperate love with one of the females so far did not let her up and followed her permanently and when she lay down he did the same. As soon as she stood up he did the same and when she walked away he followed her always accompanied by his remarkable squeaking.

Image

Image

The sun also found its way through the clouds and so the light illuminating this sighting was brilliant and we more and more felt home in the bush.

Image

Image

Surprisingly the doggies did not felt in any way disturbed by the many cars and the rush which was meanwhile predominating around them. Sporadically one of the dogs lay so close to the road that I was already afraid that maybe one of the cars might run over its paws but they even did not twitch although the tires of the cars nearly touched them.

Image

As we meanwhile already stayed 1 1/2 half hours with them and most of them started to keep permanently hidden behind bushes or in the high grass we were about to say bye bye to them when a safari vehicle drove by and asked us politely whether they can block our view for only one minute we for sure had no problems with that and all the passengers thanked us enthusiastically and only after half a minute they already left. This only is also to show that there are also polite and very well sticking to the rules JJ in the park!

Image

Image

Also for us it was time to leave as otherwise we would not make it any further into the park and we still wanted to drive our beloved Biyamiti loop and also a couple of other smaller loops in that area and so we waived to the painted ones a final farewell and left them with heavy hearts.

Image

Image

After an extensive and well needed break at Afsaal with a yummy ice cream we carried on and gladly the S113 was open again and so we could travel along one of our favourite roads in that area although already knowing that the crossing at Biyamiti weir was still closed but driving the S23 twice was indeed no problem for us.

Besides a beautiful Burchell’s coucal which always kept hidden in a thick bush - the loop was quiet but we were able to spot our very first elephant bull during that trip which was in a not quite good mood and blocked the road quite a while until he was willing to let us pass.

Image

A lone dagga boy was happy to have a muddy and wet spot to rest

Image

and even a rhino mom plus calf could be spotted - Although the calf was permanently hiding itself behind bush but mom's curled tail was indeed a compensation of not getting in calf on picture

Image

as well as the ever present naughty banana birds but who could pass them without taking a picture as they can sometimes be so comical.

Image

A pity was that this loop was over so fast but due to the closure of Biyamiti weir we had the honour in driving the same road back enjoying the views over the still partly strong flowing Biyamiti. To drive back to the tar road you had to cross one of the many causeways in the park and this year most of these causeways were still slightly under water and consequently on nearly each causeway or low water bridge with running water we could spot in the entire park at least one hamerkop and so it was here

Image

plus a couple of three banded plovers were running around in the hope for the catch of the day.

Image

to be continued with more fluff balls........


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:41 am 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
Meanwhile it was early afternoon but we still had not enough and decided to give the Mlambane loop also a chance but before we could turn into same we had to stop on the bridge on the tar road where you can spot into the Mlambane riverbed itself as there was a huge buffalo herd spread all over.

Image

Lots of them were resting in the water and others were grazing and although this was not our first buffalo herd we ever saw it is always again a magnificent spectacle to spot so many of them so close together

Image

and I even can promise you more of those spectacles later in this trip report. Lilac breasted rollers, kudus, European bee eaters as well as lots of magpie shrikes accompanied us nearly the whole drive back to Berg en Dal.

Image

Whereas we enjoyed the ride on the Mlambane loop with again stunning views into the river we had to stop because of an impala herd out of which most members were resting under a shady tree

Image

and in a bed of flowers.

Image

Their obligatory feathered attendants were not far

Image

Image

and allowed us once again some nice shots.

Image

After we also rested a bit together with them it was time for us to carry on but in fact we did not travel far until a horde of vervets forced us to stop again.

Image

On our way back we also enjoyed the presence of a sunbathing terrapin,

Image

saw our very first black-bellied bustard of the trip and could not get enough from the many wattled plovers.

Image

After this already very exciting and successful first morning drive in the camp we relaxed a bit on our verandah and whilst we were already busy in packing everything back into the car for our afternoon drive we realised another never seen bird (No. 4 during that trip) which was busy in feeding a juvenile in the tree close to our bungalow – a black headed oriole!

Image

Although it was a bit tricky to at least get one decent picture as the birds were moving permanently and to juggle with the heavy lens from right to left was another thing. Needles to say that we chose Matjulu waterhole for our afternoon drive where we so much hoped to find our bee eaters as well as swallow friends again and gladly they decided to entertain us once again.

Image

Image

Both species could be spotted once again plentiful and all were busy in catching a lot of insects for dinner.

Image

The sunbird also arrived and landed on the very same flower as yesterday but same was once again gone before Timon had the camera handy – There were once again so many birdies to be watched that you could not have your eyes everywhere but this one was so cute and fluffy and so patient that we had to press the button - a spotted flycatcher - also a new tick for us

Image

Only one full day in the park and already five new ticks – we were already curious to know what still might come next featherwise. Time for an excessive photo shooting with some white fronted bee eaters – especially this trio was so cute.

Image

Another pin tailed whydah still without the long tail feathers so I guess it was a younger respectively not yet breeding male entertained us by landing on one blade of grass which immediately fell down on the ground with the bird on it and I already thought that this whydah might be stupid as he was miscalculating his weight on the grass so wrong

Image

but whilst observing this behaviour more and more I noticed that I was stupid and the bird was clever as so he was able to pick up the seeds of the grass easily!

Image

That’s why I love to watch all kind of animals so much as you can learn so much from their behaviour much more than you can ever get from reading books about them.

The bee eaters once again landed close by and offered another crazy dust bath.

Image

Pity was that it was meanwhile time to return to camp as otherwise we might be too late so we had no alternative than to say good bye to all our feathered friends there but another one of them crossed our pass on our way back in camp – One of the many hamerkops we spotted this year in the park – Sigh!

Image

The braai tasted even better than the evening before and we still sat a while on our verandah and enjoyed the quiet evening until we were far too tired to even keep our eyes any longer open.

to be continued with some bellies in the morning light......


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:36 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
Monday, 10. February, 2013 – Berg en Dal – Crocodile Bridge

The only disadvantage today was that we had to leave Berg end Dal camp and that meant for us that from now on the clock will be ticking faster and faster with every minute we will spend inside the park. So after the packing orgy had been done we decided to leave the Matjulu loop with heavy hearts behind and chose to drive roads which we normally do not drive, especially because of lion pins on the S114 which could be found on the sighting board during the previous days.

Well, the whole drive on the tar road until we reached the turn off into the S114 we saw nothing, nada, niete, nil, not even a bird so we were a bit disappointed as we thought with new roads we might broaden our horizons but I guess it was simply too dark and the bush was too thick but not too thick for this large giraffe

Image

and somehow our instinct was not that wrong this morning as the next sighting was already a traffic jam and behind all the cars I could spot a majestic animal -

Image

finally the sighting boards were right and we found the lions, as it were actually two huge brothers. Would that not be nice if this works also for leopards and other animals you are looking for?

Image


We searched for a comfortable area and gladly the two brothers decided to stay in an open area where also in February no annoying grass or thick vegetation is blocking the view and on top there was indeed space for enough cars, as the lions were visible extreme good from nearly each point on the road.

Image

Actually both must have been on the walk but whilst we arrived at that sighting the one lay already down and the other one did not really know what to do, as he looked a bit grumpy to all the vehicles around them.

Image

Both of them had extreme full bellies and had a quite impressive size

Image

although one of them (the more grumpier) had a large abscess on his left elbow which did not look that nice.

Image

Whilst the morning drive vehicle of Sanparks arrived he stared to the vehicle with a “if looks could kill look” he definitely did not like this huge vehicle and as he was about to walk away I already though he might stalk the vehicle

Image

Image

but he decided against this and instead hid himself behind a smaller bush and was now nearly out of sight for nearly each and everyone.

Image

Image

But his big brother was still visible and in the beginning we was still eagerly watching the come and go of the cars close to them, however, as it is with cats the longer this lasts the heavier his eyes got

Image

Image

However, he also never forgot to check the whereabouts of his brother and his brother was still staring at the Sanparks vehicle. The other cars did not bother him at all but this car he hated.

Image

After a couple of minutes also this staring got boring or he simply realized that this monster truck will not come closer and he started the day dream modus.

Image

Image

From time to time now the sun came up from behind and soon this lovely sighting was covered into golden light as long as the clouds did not hide the sun. Who could ask for more: Lions that close, hot, black and strong coffee in one hand, camera on bean bag and with the fingers of the other hand you simply had to press the button and than even the golden hour – Sigh!

Image

Oh and even our beloved birdies where around and a large group of Crowned plovers was foraging close to our car and also allowed a couple of close shots.

Image

to be continued........


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:52 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
Once the lions were settled and the rush of cars died down not much happened on the lion front, as we all know when lions sleep then they do it more than 20 hours a day.

Image

Image

The only movement we got to see was the obligatory cat roll – from left to right and vice versa and in the middle belly up.

Image

Image

From time to time even the tail was tipping but not much happened further and so many of the cars already drove off and so it also here it quietened down.

Image

Image

We still loved to watch them although not much happened but as our next destination was not that far we stayed a bit longer with them and even realized a simultaneous cat roll of the two majestic males.

Image

As we were surrounded by a couple of smaller bushes from time to time we even got visited by our feathered friends and to photograph birds from a parking position when they even come closer voluntarily is for sure much easier than to stop for them, position the camera in the right way and when you are ready you only got the shot of an empty branch. This Southern White Crowned shrike positioned himself so attractively that Timon had no other choice than to capture him.

Image

We nearly spent already 1 ½ hour with the lion brothers and for us it was already from the beginning only a question of how long will they stand the stop and go and the fuss of all the cars but this time we gladly caught some very patient lions but finally because of the traffic or because of the upcoming heat the one brother stood up and joined his other one farer away behind a bush

Image

Image

and this was the signal for us to leave them and let them live their lion life and to discover something new but this was for sure already a great start into the morning.

Image

First stop was then at Gardenia hide as we have been there only once but what you could see from the hide was simply a huge puddle and the thick bush which was indeed lovely

Image

but only very few birds but you definitely could rely on the crocodiles nearly everywhere in connection with water and after the recent floods in particular.

Image

Lots of black-smith and three-banded plovers were searching for their breakfast. We stayed a while with them and simply enjoyed the quietness as we were the only people at the hide.

Image

A bit further down the road we had another magical moment as another rhino mom together with her nearly full grown “calf” crossed our path and gave us time to relish their peaceful presence and allowed us some nice close ups.

Image

Image

Unmistakably a baby boy!

Image

The rest of the drive was extreme quiet and we only had to stop for a herd of zebras which was crossing the street in front of us.

Image

to be continued with mini me's and more feathered friends.......


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:44 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
Needless to say that we again visited Renosterpan but the doggies were roaming around somewhere else today. After a short visit at Afsaal we decided to drive the whole way to Crocodile Bridge via our beloved Biyamiti loop, the S114 and finally via the S26 but what to say obviously someone thought that the majestic lion and rhino sightings utilized our budget already for that day as we only saw very little but to be in the bush was already gift enough.

But it was worth to stop for a stunning tawny although the light was bad much better light predominated at this little pond along the way with lots of water lilies

Image

and whilst Timon captured this fluffy little friend which I guess is a tawny flanked prinia which is also a new tick for us (No. 6).

Image

The ever present fork-trailed drongos invited us enthusiastically to stop and shoot which Timon did

Image

and then whilst I was again fallen a bit asleep as it was getting hotter and hotter and not much was to be seen in the thick vegetation a family of white rhinos suddenly popped us of the dense bushes – This time we had the honour in meeting mom and dad and another calf and I really love it when they stay together.

This was the Big daddy

Image

and introducing mom as well – The remarkable drooping ear made it easy for us to identify them again only a couple of days later.

Image

Unfortunately they allowed further shots only from the back whilst galloping in slow trot away and then they disappeared far too soon again between the dense bushes and where no longer to be seen.

After another quiet hour drive we finally reached the Bume causeway – the road to Mpondo dam was as already expected unfortunately closed – and when it comes to water on a hot day like today the usual suspects could be found.

This colourful lilac-breasted roller was worth to stop for

Image

and as obligatory where a causeway was overflown by water the hamerkop was not far

Image

and on a small stone in the water an even smaller tortoise was adoring the sun together with its hijacker in form of a dragon fly

Image

We decided to carry on via the H5 and to stay a bit at Gesanftombi but before we arrived there we simply had to stop for a muddy mini-me

Image

Image

When we finally arrived at the dam it was already early afternoon and originally we planned to be there much earlier but who cares when thinking back to all the stunning sightings we had already that day. Lots of cars were watching an elephant taking a bath in a dam which I never had seen that full and another ellie was collecting some marulas from the grass.

When the bathing ellie realized that same hastened out of the water and chased the smaller ellie away and tried himself to get also marulas by putting his head against the trunk and pushing the tree

Image

Needless to say that it works and the just fallen marulas found soon more than a willingly consumer.

In order to at least spend two hours in camp we headed forward but as usual lots of zebra, impala and wildebeests herds plus giraffes and rhinos delayed us further.

We were then rewarded with bungalow No. 11 in Crocodile Bridge (I had requested for No. 10 – 12) as we do here like the bush view more than the river view. A lovely surprise was that same was newly refurbished in the bathroom, sleeping room and the kitchen area without taking away to much of the old charm and even a microwave could be found in the kitchen. Whilst sitting on the verandah and sighing with a hot coffee in hand about being back in our favourite camp visitors arrived at the fence – it was a warthog mom with her piglets – and after trotting away out of sight we finally found her in front of our bungalow with her family.

Timon soon joined them by imitating their eating behaviour with his camera in hand and snapped away.

Image

The only disadvantage was the garden hose in the fore- and the fence in the background but needless to say that we were honour by their visit.

Image

As it was already a bit too late and we wanted not to drive that far we only visited the Southern part of the S28 but it was a more than quiet afternoon with the obligatory zebras

Image

and wildebeests with lots of little ones around. Furthermore we were entertained by a large group of giraffes in the best evening light

Image

Image

even the waterbucks appeared on the scene as well

Image

and needless to say that Timon also had to stop for this lovely posing red-backed shrike.

Image

Back in camp I had to buy some bread and strolled to the shop and nearly stumbled across another warthog mom with her piglets – So there must be more than only one whole in the fence - Nevertheless I really love such visitors as long as they do not raid inside the camp like the vervets or baboons do. Btw the vervets were also there but as all residents took relevant precautions and due to the renovations the fridges meanwhile got a safety grid they had to content themselves with the marulas from the marula tree in front of bungalow No.9.

Today we were extreme tired from the much driving and after another delicious braai it was time for the bed and gladly with the newly renovated roofs also the bats had gone and it was a peaceful sleep.

to be continued with a misty morning and a couple of different birdies........


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:39 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
Tuesday, 11th February, 2013 – Crocodile Bridge

I was already so much looking forward to drive the S28 today as this is still one of our favourite roads in the park and can offer between nothing and magnificent sightings nearly everything and you never know what to expect. Well today a phenomenon called dense mist happened and so it was hard to look more than 50 meter into the bush and everything farer away stayed invisible for us. Nevertheless the animals obviously loved such weather and we were blessed with some amazing sightings, especially this still very tired rhino.

Image

There is indeed nothing wrong with our camera it was simply extreme misty and for sure large and tall animals such giraffes simply could not be overlooked.

Image

They were busy in doing what they do the whole day: feeding – I simply love that! and for sure raised my mood extremely with such an early daily giraffe fix.

Image

Due to the prevailing humidity in the air these many orb web spider webs were that morning extreme good visible and Timon stopped nearly for each and every spider web in order to get the best possible shot of same.

Image

The ever present wildebeest in that area were also present although we only could identify the one close to us as everything farer away was non-existing for us that morning.

Image

Better not to know what we might have missed this blurred morning.

Image

Funny was that the golden orb web spiders were exceptionally easy to spot that morning – This is for you, Anne-Marie, and they could nearly be found everywhere in the park so in total they must have been millions, altogether.

Image

Lots of barn swallows were still cuddled together on a dead tree, zebras and even a Jacobin cuckoo came into sight although its colours and the picture itself came out not that good because of the mist.

Image

Even an elephant appeared although I must say that this was a scary moment for us as we did not know whether there might be more hidden in the mist but the picture which came out is one of those we wanted to have under all circumstances maybe compared with the silhouette of a giraffe and a sunset in the background. Sigh!

Image

It was calm and you could already guess that early that this might become an extreme hot day after the mist had cleared up. The birdies also did not let us down today although this nicely posing red-billed hornbill did not like the mist that much

Image

whereas this lovely tawny flanked prinia was already busy in catching something to eat.

Image

From time to time the further we drove North the fog was already gone completely and the sun came up and then everything was dense again and we even felt the humidity in the air. Maybe this picture of a lone marabou demonstrates best what I wanted to describe.

Image

Although the Nhlanganzwani dam is destroyed now for a couple of years we always pay a visit there it is a nice drive and normally a lot is to be seen and especially our beloved birds did not let us down here and so it was today – Magpie shrikes occur always more than plentiful in the area and are easiest to be photographed here as they are not that shy and allow one enough time to stop the car, position the camera and snap away

Image

they even sit still after Timon snapped away a couple of times.

Image

Gladly for us was that the mist now had gone completely and the sun enlighten everything in a lovely light and so we could watch a bit farer away in the bush and soon discovered that majestic martial eagle in a tree which was a bit far away.

Image

We are always impressed by the size of this stunning raptor and felt honoured that same allowed us some nice shots. Funny is that we each year in nearly the same bush do find arrow-marked babblers and today same was a bit puffed up.

Image

Meanwhile we strolled along the S137 which we declared from this year on the best road in the entire park to spot lots of different species of birds. We always had on that road sightings of most of the “common” birds such as this in the “feed me” mood European roller

Image

Image

but also great raptor sightings for example the gymnogene last year and kori bustards have regularly been seen here by us and we were already curious what might come across today featherwise. Many red-backed shrikes, male and female, were around as well this small birdie

Image

And what to say first we met our very first Kruger black shouldered kite having its breakfast although a bit far away we were thrilled

Image

and then we also enjoyed the noisy grey louries in exactly the same dead leadwood tree where we last year observed the gymnogene with its kill.

Image

Whilst Timon was busy in taking pictures I scanned the nearby bushes for other animals and got hooked and nearly screamed “owl” and was so excited as this owl was already since long long time on my wish list – a pearl-spotted owlet!

Image

to be continued......


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 1:44 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
Far too soon Timon forget about the grey louries and after I explained to him where to spot the owlet which was a bit tricky as same is so small and kept a bit hidden in a thick bush he snapped away picture after picture.

Image

As owl lovers we were amazed to finally found that beauty and on top same also allowed us to make a new tick on our bird list.

Image

It was stunning to realize the false eyes on the back of its head whilst turning its head and the owlet was gladly so relaxed about our presence that Timon was in heaven whilst pressing the button and with that sighting my day was already made. Needless to say that whenever passing the bush during the next days I checked this bush for “my” Owlet but same could not be spotted again. Far too soon for our liking same finally flew away but left behind two very happy persons

Image

and so we could forgive the only blurred picture we got of a redbilled firefinch playing with a feather under a bush only meters away from our “owl” bush.

Only a couple of meters further down the road we met another warthog - This road is also a hot spot for them as we always met them there - Obviously they wanted to say "Hi" to Pumbaa!

Image

The only disadvantage is that in that area the grass is normally extreme high but not too high in order to miss this little cutie.

[Image

Image

At Duke’s waterhole not much activity besides a lot of white-backed vultures and only whilst downloading the pictures that evening I noticed why Timon stopped to take a picture of a strange looking “bark” – he spotted a European nightjar! resting on a branch.

Image

Pity was that he only took this single picture because he was sure same might came out blurred – WoW besides the “misty” weather already three new ticks today! and although common we could not pass this beautiful Mrs. red-backed shrike without taking a picture.

Image

Lots of giraffes could be spotted now surrounded by the dense bush

Image

and finally on the H4-2 the obligatory elephant crossing orgy started as they were coming suddenly from nearly everywhere one after the other.

Image

Gladly they are all behaved when coming across elephants at that busy road and so it was today

Image

although they also had a number of calves between them.

Image

Some herds were walking down to the river and others

Image

were already on their way backed after taking a morning shower and started to raid the thick bushes near the road.

Image

to be continued with some scary creatures.....


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 2:33 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
Finally we reached Sunset dam and the obligatory hippos there were again plentiful and extreme noisy.

Image

Only from far we spotted the beautiful yellow-billed storks and some crocodiles where we stood with the car we watched a great number of wattled plovers and to our frustration no more birds could be found. Another disappointment was that with affright we realized how green the water was already and it looked much more than a pea soup than a dam and all the water birds had green bills and green legs. I think it will only be a question of time until this precious little gem might be closed.

Image

Image

After a short visit to Lower Sabie we headed forward again only to be stopped on the low water bridge and attracted by a large number, it must have been around 20 or more, of huge crocodiles who swam excitedly around. Furthermore it stank unbearable where we parked so we guessed that there might be trapped a rotten hippo cadaver under the bridge and that might explain also the agitation of the crocodiles as they normally do only lie around immobile.

Image

Due to cheetah pins we noticed during our short break at Lower Sabie’s sighting board we decided to take the S29 and soon spotted another new tick for us – a buffalo weaver.

Image

Unfortunately here the grass was so high that it was impossible to spot anything which might be smaller than a giraffe or an elephant. So we drove on and soon Timon discovered something catlike running in front of our car but still too far away. I tried to identify via binoculars what was running away from us but with the shaking car it was not 100 % clear but the shape of the animal and the black earmarks made be thought of a younger cheetah but to our dislike same disappeared after it ran quite a while in front of our car into the high grass and vanished. Although we waited a bit at the point where we thought the animal vanished but today we drove away empty-handed as not a single movement of the grass could be realized.

Needless to say that we turned into the Muntshe loop which we only discovered during our last year’s stay but fell in love immediately with the area here and enjoyed the landscape we were travelling through a bit more than the sightings as they were a bit sparse today and we only met a lone elephant bull and a Kori Bustard both too far away for pictures but the Carmine bee eaters were willing to pose.

Image

The stroll back via the tar road was also quiet – I think it is simply the time of the day – but I spotted a family of ground hornbills close to the road and they are for sure always worth to stop for.

Image

Last year we discovered this bird nearly daily but this year this sighting was for a long time the only one we had but gladly in the far North we got later during that trip the honour in meeting them nearly daily.

Image

Image

For that normally busy area in the park we met only very few cars and it was indeed an enjoyable ride with more sightings of hundreds of Carmine bee eaters

Image

and a nice posing elephant.

Image

Back on the causeway close to camp we allowed us enough time for the hurly-burly in the water which the crocodiles made.

Image

Some of them had some hijackers,

Image

others crawled closer and looked like prehistoric monsters which they definitely are

Image

and others came so close that we nearly got scared, especially when only known to us as sunbathing and unflexible reptiles and not as these feed horny beasts with always a smile their faces – At least their big mouth is looking as if they were smiling.

Image

Maybe not one of the most beautiful beasts on the world but for sure one of the most fascinating ones.

Meanwhile it was already getting afternoon and we simply had to carry on and after another short stop at Lower Sabie to do some shopping we enjoyed our ice cream on the deck with the awesome view.

We decided to drive back via the same roads we travelled earlier this morning but gladly without any mist as meanwhile the sun was again shining brightly and it was getting hotter and hotter and another elephant herd just came back from bathing and was blocking the road in front of us.

Image

A brown snake eagle and a couple of amur falcons came also across but both were too far in the distance. As always warthogs and magpie shrike accompanied us further on our way back to camp but I simply had to capture this giraffe surrounded by so much beautiful green and an even beautifuller sky .

Image

We spotted an elephant with collar

Image

and found in the shade of a tree a group of male kudus.

Image

Image

to be continued......


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 2:23 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
I always find one male kudu already extreme majestic but four of them are indeed very impressive. All of them were a bit shy and very alert.

Image

Compared to early morning were we could only watch a couple of meters into the bush now we admire the beauty of that area and its residents in form of large zebra, impala and wildebeest herds and in between we also could spot an isolated white stork

Image

Image

and also a quite impressive day dreaming rhino.

Image

We decided to stay in camp for the rest of the afternoon and simply enjoyed life on our verandah and had an early braai and sighed that our stay in our favourite camp was already over but we were also looking very much forward to Biyamiti as last year we had to cancel our stay there due to the flood and the non existing low water bridge crossing the Biyamiti on the S25. This year everything has been fixed in time for our stay there at least it looked so......

Wednesday, 12th February 2013 – Crocodile Bridge - Biyamiti

Today was again moving day and moreover it was a rainy day – Yesterday we had the thick mist and today rain showers on one of our favourite roads – Indeed not a very promising start into the day. Needless to say that it was still extreme dark when we left the gate and everything was wet, the grass, the roads and of course all the animals, especially the raptors such as this yellow billed kite looked as if they would prefer to be somewhere else that morning

Image

whereas this cute arrow-marked babbler puffed up its feathers to keep a bit warmer.

Image

We again decided to ride via the S28 as the alternative tar road is far too thick to spot anything but besides some wildebeests and impalas grazing together not much else came across. A movement caught my eye and I told Timon to stop for this black coucal

Image

as this is a bird which is not coming across that often.

Meanwhile it got a bit brighter and even the sun dared to show itself between the dark rain showers and so the black-backed jackal which we met on the way to Nhlanganzwani dam presented itself in beautiful light.

Image

Same watched us suspiciously and nearly was running the whole way until the dam in front of our car but same wanted in no case running into the high and totally wet grass on the roadside.

Image

Finally it had no other choice and so we had no longer a bad conscience in chasing the jackal. Another miserable looking raptor came into sight and same looked to ask if we might have a hairdryer to speed up the procedure of the feather drying a bit

Image

same might also become handy for this second yellow billed kite we already saw.

Image

Image

The whole morning it was more than disappointingly quiet and also the small road leading to Duke’s waterhole changed nothing besides a lot of vultures hanging around in the dead leadwood trees

Image

and also a Sanpark vehicle parked right at the waterhole itself – One day later we realized that on the sign board on which is marked what has been seen on the morning walk it showed lions and buffalo kill so we only counted one and one together – Pity that the grass was so high in that area as otherwise we might have seen them as the vultures were indeed not that far away from the road. Well maybe it was not our day today at Duke’s but one day I know the day will come.......maybe this paradise whydah wanted to compensate the quietness a bit for us but unfortunately the light was still extreme bad.

Image

Then it came down heavily and the slight rain turned immediately into torrential rainfall and even the close by zebras looked more than miserable

Image

with already muddy feet, bellies and hanging ears from which the rain also came down.

Image

We decided to stay with them until the rain might get a bit lighter as the road turned in no way into a small river and we would not see anything anyway else. Whilst watching the close-by zebras we also realized in the background a couple of impalas and giraffes but due to the heavy rainfall we indeed could not see far as we also had to close the windows not to soak anything else inside the car.

Image

From time to time Timon dared to take a picture of the not very happy looking zebras but same were so funny to watch because they looked so wretched with their hanging ears and on the other hand we already got a bit concerned about our stay at Biyamiti this evening as at this stage nobody knew how long and strong the rain might last and which roads might be closed after such a strong rain shower and also with all the prevailing wetness in the park.

Image

Gladly the luck was with us that day as after half an hour the rain stopped abruptly as same started and even the sun came out and started to dry up everything and this was even the last rain we experienced during our whole stay in the park.

Image

to be continued........


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Joyride with the Bateleurs
Unread postPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 7:36 pm 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
Posts: 4451
Location: 111 days to go!
With the detaching heavy rain the animals one after the other showed up again and we soon spotted our first elephant bull for that day and also realized that the S82 was already closed. Sunset dam was still that green as yesterday but a bit more birds could be seen and they even appeared extreme close where we parked with our car. A highlight for us for this green back heron, as we did not know at that stage that this bird will cross our paths a lot more during this holiday as all the previous holidays counted together.

Image

The small and agile three banded plover was around

Image

and even a pair of Egyptian goose could be seen

Image

as well as one of these always busy running around wood sandpipers

Image

and even a common sandpiper showed also up.

Image

Time for a short break at Lower Sabie to stretch the legs a bit and nearly already back in the car to once again give the S29 and the Muntshe loop another try but before we could even cross the Lower Sabie causeway we got entertained by a troop of baboons converted into a road block as most of them where sitting right on the tar road and others drank from a large puddle close by.

Image

Some of them even made it clear that this is for real a no entry road.

Image

Unfortunately today it was even quieter as the previous day and on the S29 only an extreme wet elephant came across which obviously had the time of his life with the many huge puddles nearly to be found everywhere.

Image

According to the road closures after the January flood and today’s heavy rain we had not much options in our decision which road to take and although the Muntshe loop might be quiet it is still a very atmospheric road which made me goose bumps all over only when travelling on it. Maybe the following picture can explain a bit better what I mean!

Image

The only animals which came across today on the S122 were elephant bulls, huge lone bulls which wanted obviously no longer to be alone and wanted to say “Hi” to us. This chap was tremendous and I suddenly did not feel that good any longer!

Image

as he came closer and closer and the road was far too small to turn the car around so we had to drive backwards and pray that he might decide to turn into the veld sooner or later – I hoped for a sooner decision.......

Image

Finally he started to get insecure and after some typical elephant gestures he trotted off and gladly for us unblocked the road.

Image

But not soon the next elephant occurred a bit farer away from the road and he played gardener as he was more than busy in pinching the trees.

Image

He not only broke once nearly a whole bush out of the tree – We watched this at least three times always followed by an extreme loud cracking and then he started to rip of the bark and munched luckily away on same.

Image

Lots of grey headed shrikes accompanied us back to the Lower Sabie causeway and now we also could stop for the meanwhile no longer hectically in the water floating crocodiles – Same now could be found extreme relaxed on the small sandbanks in the river with obviously heavily stuffed bellies.

Image

The nasty smell was also gone and obviously all of them – it must have been more than twenty – had an excessive feast last night.

Image

Life can be so good!

We enjoyed another short break at Lower Sabie with the obligatory icecream in hand and still had enough time to stroll in snail’s pace to Biyamiti. We stopped for watching the many elephant herds all around in that area

Image

and stopped also for the many barn swallows out of which at least one of them was willing to pose.

Image

Although the day started with heavy rain now everything was back to normal at least in the African bush and the sun was baking from above and it got hotter and hotter with each kilometre we drove. We drove back via the S28 now from above and suddenly Timon braked abruptly and we still could see the head of a very alert and angry looking lioness. Unfortunately the grass and bushes in that area were extreme high and although we tried from different angles to at least get a single shot we had to drive away empty handed – At least we could see another lion and I think she ducked into the grass because she might have had some cubs hidden somewhere.

Finally she reminded us how a lion looked but we were confident that we will have later during the holiday enough time to watch more of them.......

Animalwise it was quiet today which was maybe caused by the strange weather but also traffic-wise is was quiet so we enjoyed our drive even more. A beautiful juvenile martial eagle is always worth to stop for

Image

and then we must have disturbed a giraffe which was about to drink but obviously decided against it and stuck instead its tongue out.

Image

to be continued...


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 65 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Friedrich von Hörsten, Stampajane and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by bushwackedblonde at 17:02:52 Submitted by ritad at 20:58:58 Submitted by umkhulu at 20:26:43 Submitted by umkhulu at 20:55:57