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 Post subject: Leopardspotter's WCNP + Postberg visit : Aug '06
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:01 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:30 pm
Posts: 145
West Coast National Park: 5 August ‘06

We started our adventure up the West Coast nice and early on Saturday morning, at 6:30. The weather was lovely and cool in the morning and the sun soon rose up over the sandy horizon. As always we had a peaceful ride up the west coast road and soon, we were spotting raptors soaring the skies and the skittish steenbok scrambling away from the road.
Image

We then arrived at the gate and with that normal feeling of excitement, we entered. There was a slight mist hovering above the ground and the bush was sparkling with due droplets against the spider webs, which we normally don’t notice during the day. After about 10 minutes we were greeted by three playful steenbok next to the road, prancing and springing up and down.
Image
spider web
Image
Steenbok
The usual Ostriches were walking and some even running around (such comical birds). I recommend an early start if you are thinking about taking a trip up to the WCNP, I’ve noticed that during the early mornings, cooler hours the day the animals are much more active. Postberg gates opened at 9am and it was now 8am so we decided to have a look at Abrahamskraal waterhole (not really a waterhole… they just call it that) the birdlife there was spectacular. A few new birds for me:

African Pied Starling
Black Crake
Cape Reed Warbler
African Sedge Warbler
Yellow Wagtail (are they common? never heard of them)
Lesser Doublecollared Sunbird
Yellow Canary

Can anyone help ID this guy for me? (there is no red on the bird: red flower)
Image

After that we decided to move on, so we headed for the flowers at Postberg. The park was very green and the abundance of birdlife chirped together as we drove along, it was a real pleasure to drive though such a beautiful place. Unfortunately the view of the lagoon couldn’t accompany the greenery and birdlife, the mist was too thick to see the blue water and the house boats.
Image
Crowned Plover
Many of my pic’s came out blurry with lots of grain and the auto-focus had problems focusing with the thick mist, but a few of them still came out good. The mist then disappeared into thin air; we then saw a Cape Grysbok and a Common Duiker just before entering Postberg.

To be continued...


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 2:03 pm 
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Honorary Virtual Ranger
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Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
MARK CHOWLES wrote:
Oh, and its Gemsbok not Oryx :wink:

Both names count Mark:
The gemsbok or gemsbuck (Oryx gazella) is a large African antelope, of the Oryx genus. The name is derived from the German name of the male chamois, Gemsbock. Although there are some superficial similarities in appearance (especially in the colour of the face area), the chamois and the oryx are not related.

Gemsbok live in herds of about 10-40 animals, which consist of a dominant male, a few non-dominant males, and females.They often live in association with zebras, gazelles, or other antelope. The female's horns may be curved, but the male's are thicker and parallel. Male gemsbok have been known to gore attacking lions with their horns.

There are two types of gemsbok: a northern and southern variety. The northern gemsboks have black-fringed ear, while the southern ones have longer horns and more rounded ears.

Gemsbok are mainly desert-dwelling and do not depend on drinking to supply their physiological water needs.


Lovely report LS! And eye for the small detail as well, I love the spiderweb!

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Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:18 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:30 pm
Posts: 145
Postberg Section:

We entered Postberg and didn’t really know what to expect. The landscape and scenery was very different in comparison to the West Coast NP (the main area). Postberg is more rocky, with huge bolder-like rocks sticking out of the ground in one section, flat pains sprinkled with beautiful flowers in the other and huge hills along the western roads. Postberg also had very rugged dirt roads with no tarred roads, but this isn’t a problem at all for any little car.
Image Huge boulder-like rocks
Image Bontebok
There were signs of wildlife every where, tracks (spoor) and droppings of Bontebok, Eland and even Porcupine. As soon as the bush turned into flat land we had our first sighting of Bontebok and two Ostriches in the middle of a field of flowers :) . The mist was still coming and going as we drove to the picnic area which I assume looked out onto the lagoon. The area of Vlaeberg was really nice… with huge boulder-like rocks sticking out of the hard gravel ground, unlike West Coast NP soft sandy ground. As we stopped to have a look at the flowers we spotted a Cape Girdled lizard relaxing on a small rock which was like a small island among all the flowers 8) .
Image Map of Postberg (scanned)
We then took a different route back to the gates, through fields of flowers and hills in the distance. There were Steenbok, Bontebok, Springbok and a few Ostriches grazing along the road.
We also saw some lovely birdlife: (the ones I liked)
Spotted Dikkop
Bokmakierie (calling :) )
Speckled Mousebird
Southern Black Koraan
BS Kite
Black Harrier
Rock Kestrel
Southern Thickbilled Lark

We left beautiful Postberg and were on our way out of the park. As we drove I saw something move, we stopped excitingly to see what it was and through our clenched binoculars there it was a Caracal!!! :o :o :shock: :shock: The sleek slender cat was walking slowly in our direction (very close about 200meters); it stopped and crouched right down to the ground. After 2 minutes the Caracal, with its pointed tufted ears, turned around and walked in the opposite direction :D :shock: . I didn’t get a pic of the Caracal as it was lying and looking at us because I know these animal sightings only last for a few seconds so I enjoyed the moment. But I did get a snap shot as it walked away. We waited for another 35minutes and were rewarded by seeing it again from a far distance. :thumbs_up:
Image Caracal, chech out those ears
We left the park with a big smile on our face
What a successful trip!

Animal Sightings
Mammals:
Steenbok
Cape Grysbok
Springbok
Striped Mouse
Bontebok
Caracal
Reptiles:
Cape Girdled Lizard
Only 2 tortoises

Image Postberg Landscape

Leopardspotter


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:39 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:30 pm
Posts: 145
Thanks for all the nice comments guys, appreciate it!

Jay, thanks for the bird ID. I think their long tails and the funky hair style are really cool!
Yes, seeing the caracal was the best ever I couldn't’t believe my eyes. It was only us at the sighting although I did try pointing it out to all the cars passing and even a cyclist they all just carried on riding :? . I would of loved to share such a nice sighting with someone else :( .

Salva, it must have been great seeing a bat-eared Fox. That's next on my list!
There’s always a reason to go back :wink:
Image Guinea-fowl

Image Springbok
Leopardspotter :wink:


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 7:00 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 7:39 am
Posts: 82
Location: West Coast RSA
Nice discussions, people.

There are more Bat-eared Foxes than you think in the WCNP. One can almost be guaranteed sightings in the open fields in Postberg and between the Langebaan gate and Seeberg, BUT (there's always a BUT!) you must stop the car, switch off and haul out the bino's because they are very secretive but move around in family units, usually at quite a distance from the roads. During the flower season, if you are not sitting with bino's glued to your eye sockets scanning the far reaches of the open areas, you will mistake the slight movements of their ears for guinea fowl, spurfowl, ibis or suchlike and simply ignore them.

If you are coming down the one-way link road from the Donkergat gate to the Plankiesbaai road, stop at the bottom, a few hundred meters from the intersection ahead and scan the triangular open area immediately to your left - there is a family unit of 5 BEFs who patrol that field mornings (early) and afternoons (late). Each open area between the Seeberg birdhide turnoff and the Seeberg lookout turnoff will also usually reward the patient visitor with a well-earned sighting. You won't see them in the Abrahamskraal open areas due to the high traffic of humans using the waterhole and guest house.

Happy BEF spotting!

* Edited to correct spellig and cApitaliSationS.

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Almost everything comes from almost nothing.

Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)
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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:14 am 
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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Leopardspotter, did you get a photo of the Yellow Wagtail. Although rarely seen the do pop-up from time to time in the Western Cape. These birds occur more commanly in the areas from Gauteng northwards according to the distribution map I have. This will indeed be a great tick for the Western Cape

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 2:58 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thanks For The Advice WestCoaster :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:00 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 4:30 pm
Posts: 145
No, I didn't get a pic of the Yellow Wagtail it was very skittish, jumping, hoping and flying all about. Tip: when you want to get rid of a bird, or any wildlife (or if you just want to take a pic of it :wink: ) take your camera out, switch it on and bang it’s gone! Works for me almost every time :lol: .

Thanks for that interesting info on those Bat-Eared Foxes in the West Coast NP there’s a nice article in Africa Geographic magazine about them. It’s definitely next on my “to see list”, so during my next trip I’ll make sure stop and scan the area. Thanks for the advice.

I read the article on the successful release of the 15 Grey Rhebuck in the Park, how exciting!!


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