Relaxing at Lake Panic
“Darrrlin, you kinda enjoy commin to Lake Panic, don’t ya ?” “Yes dear” “It is always so quiet and the people behave so well herrrre,don’t they Darrrrrlin “Yes dear” “Just a pity it that it get so crowded nowadays... not enough space forrr everrrryone to get a nice seat I say, don’t you think Darrrrlin?” “Yes dear” “Darrrlin, do ya remember the grey heron chicks ?? We saw dem when we came looking for them tigerrrrs last yearrrr. I was a wonderrrrin how big they will be now?? “ Yes dear” “ Darrrrlin I wonderrrr how long they will stay in the area? Will the parrrrrents event’ly drive them away, don’t you think??” “Yes dear” And with that they found a space to park in the overcrowded parking-area at Lake Panic. He took the extra lens and bean-bag and she made sure she had her binoculars. The gate squeaked as they entered and proceeded along the corridor towards one of their favourite hides
We always try to fit in a visit to Lake Panic when we are near Skukuza. There is something special and mesmerising about being there, and it begs you to come back again and again. Though many amazing sightings are reported (see for example the thread on Lake Panic Sightings), we tend to focus on the bird life. Mammals we saw there include bushbuck, impala, monkeys, baboon, nyala, buffalo and of course the hippos in the water. We almost always see crocodiles there, and even saw a crocodile catching it’s prey on a number of occasions.
The first catch we saw during this visit was this Pied Kingfisher. Amazing with how much force he would bang his prey against the branch without letting it slip out of its beak and then just swallow it in one big gulp
The crocodile glided effortlessly through the water and was well, …. beautiful?
The grey heron chicks were almost fully grown now, and I wonder how long they will still be there? And if the move, how far will they move? We saw how violently and vicious they could fight each other in the nest when they were younger and I think it might take some serious convincing by their parents to get them to move on...
I love the African Jacana. I think it is a beautiful bird
Another favourite of mine is the Black Crake. We always find them here at Lake Panic, but I also look for them whenever we would cross little streams on the minor dirt roads.
And the Goliath Heron, was a giant!
A number of the people in the hide got very upset about what happened next: 8 or 9 baboons came charging up into the branches, making a load noise as they did so. Their ferocious shaking of the branches and loud barks caused all the birds to flee. All the birds that could fly that is. Those to small that could not fly, fell to ground or into the water, where they were grabbed by the baboons who waited below the tree. The baboons also grabbed the chicks from the water and ate them alive in an feeding frenzy orgy. The eggs were also part of their “feast”. The baboons showed no fear for the crocodile that was nearby.
How often does this happen? How long will the bird-community survive? I’ve seen many times how Plovers would defend their young, but they are much more agile than the herons, and more aggressive/assertive than (for example) a weaver. What plan will the herons and Kingfishers make? to be continued .....