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Kruger birding:Birding sites in Kruger

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Johan van Rensburg
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:56 pm

I don't know if this will work. What I am attempting (for the first time) is this neat trick of inserting a link to another place in the forum where one can then view some data that further helps to illustrate one's point - in this case some really nice shots of African barred owlets. I found it under the Bird forum index under "Owls, Owlets, Eagle-owls". These clearly illustrates the features of the African barred owl. It is a bird I do not have in my own collection of bird images, otherwise I could have "bragged" about it a bit.

KNPSM, I am keen on all owls – fascinating, eerie, mysterious

However, this post is more a personal experiment than anything else. So, here goes...

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11705

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Unread postby KNP Spokesman » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:17 am

Yip, I'm convinced.
It is a classic "go-on-what-everyone-else-around-is-saying-rather-than-go-though-the-motions-of-ID-myself" mistake. :redface: :redface:

Definitely a Scops!!

And just to confirm it, I asked a "Guy" :D I know:

Nice to hear from you.

The bird is definitely a Scops Owl "take a look in the Roberts Multimedia" the first pic was a bird I filmed in Berg-en-dal.

Regards

Guy Gibbon
Southern African Birding cc

I also find owls fascinating.
It is also amazing that most cultures view them with similar legends.
The book "I Heard an Owl Call My Name" says that American Indians regard the bird as a sign of death and I have spoken to some Swazi people I know and they also believe an owl brings death.
I know that in certain European cultures, it is also believed.

Think of the implications, different people many thousands of kilometres away believing the same thing - there must be something in that (but I am blowed to think what it is ...).

For myself, I marvel at their beauty and mystery.
And I am also quite impressed with their rat catching abilities - many a barn has been cleared of rodents when an owl family has moved in - and general strength.

I was once driving in the Flora Cliff/Constantia Cliff area of Roodepoort (where I did most of my schooling) and this eagle owl took off in front of my old Peugeot 504 and his wingspan seemed to stretch from one side of the car to the other.

Incidentally, between our resident owls and the African Goshawk that often snoops around the place, I have never seen any mice or rats in my garden or home here in Skukuza.

Kind regards
KNP Spokesman
Kruger National Park
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wildtuinman
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Re: Advice on Birding Hotspots

Unread postby wildtuinman » Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:28 am

nightjar wrote:I know the whole KNP is great for birding but I would like some advice on the best birding hotspots to visit. I know Pafuri and Lake Panic are excellent but what other places do forum members rate? I will be in the Park for most of December and am staying in seven camps from Berg to Punda Maria so most locations should be within reach at some point on my itinerary.

Thanks in advance for your replies.


For me the best birding spots are camps and picnic spots. Where you can leisurely stroll on your own pace to find birds.

Punda has a lovely birding trail called the fly-catcher trail. A must do!
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Unread postby Snoobab » Fri Nov 03, 2006 7:58 am

Punds camp in general is very good. The Kanniedood dam road out Shingwedzi is also very good.
Mopani camp area is a bit thin but the pioneer dam is very good as is the s142 (Shongololo Loop) road.
The roads around Engelhard Dam are also very good.
Satara area is good for raptors, larks, pipits and cisticolas as well as all the other specials.
Lower Sabie camp is very good and although very busy in Dec the main Skukuza LS tar road great.
On exiting Lower Sabie travel south to Croc Bridge, just before the H5 turnoff the area can be very marshy (Spec in Dec) and is very good for birding.
I haven't been to Skukuza/P-Kop/BnD for agea so can't tell you much of that area.
Basically any waterhole early morning or late afternoon should be doog.
Go to the bird page on SANParks website and you should find some interesting reading and a few good pointers.
Enjoy.

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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:26 pm

Don’t forget the boardwalk at Skukuza nursery.
And schedule a decent slice of time for it.
It is close to camp so you can get there very early and enjoy the dawn chorus.
On your way back you can check in at Lake Panic.
I think LP is better later in the morning.
Early on it tends to be misty – great for mood shots, but bad for bird pix.

Also the S100 is a great drive.
Turn in at those little loops and look out for those huge fruit-bearing trees.
And don’t be in a hurry.
It is amazing to sit there for a while and see how the birds disappear when traffic approaches, just to reappear a few minutes later.
Make a point of carefully scanning the river and its banks before you move on.
Doing the drive this way will take most of a morning, don’t be in a hurry.

A cannot remember which forumite gave me the tip of the drive down the S41 to Sweni hide from the T-junction with the S100, but I am glad I did it.
This road crosses small water courses a number of times.
Each of these crossings reveal feathered treasures if you just wait long enough.

I will be visiting the KNP early in Feb 07 for the 2nd HR birding weekend.
I am so looking forward to those few days that hearing of someone spending DECEMBER in the KNP has me green with envy. 300 ticks, at least! ENJOY!

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Unread postby lisa » Sun Nov 05, 2006 1:23 am

We are not birders per se, but one of the first things we saw after entering at Orpen was a kori bustard -- we had no idea what it was and had to look it up to identify it -- but from then on we were hooked! I think Kruger would make a birder out of almost anyone. The weavers are fascinating to watch as they build their nests, and we enjoyed watching fish eagles, bateleurs, kingfishers, and anything else we happened across.

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Unread postby KNP Spokesman » Wed Nov 08, 2006 9:41 am

Hi Everyone

My SO and I treated the in-laws (perhaps they are outlaws - they come from Gauteng :P ) to Biyamiti for a Saturday night out this last weekend.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the birdlife at this wonderful bush camp, all sorts of sightings from the majestic Fish Eagle perched on a tree on the opposite bank of the "mighty" Biyamiti River to a rather cheeky Crested Barbet that came and tried to steal off our breakfast braai (there is never a bad time to braai in Kruger is there?).

But the funniest birding incident was what looked like a family of Natal Francolins. What I will assume was the mother had a hard time keeping the three younger ones in check. We first saw them as they gradually slipped and slid off the thatched roof of our unit - #9 - and then the "mother" started chasing one of the younger ones around and around. As my bird guide points out, "raucous, unmusical screeching" was heard all the time while these birds ran around, chasing each other for about 10 minutes. They were totally oblivious to me, but eventually they thought that my presence, and the fact that the coals on my fire were just perfect for poultry :twisted: , might be hazardous to their general state of health and they "unmusically" squawked off in the general direction of the reception building.

It was certainly a highlight of the trip for me.

Kind regards
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wildtuinman
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Interesting recent Kruger sightings

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:13 pm

Crimson-breasted Shrike in Pafuri.
flock of lesser flamingos on the Limpopo sandbanks.
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Unread postby Johann » Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:46 pm

You forgot to mention the Racket-tailed Roller nest in the same area :wink:
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
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Unread postby francoisd » Wed Nov 29, 2006 3:17 pm

Johann wrote:You forgot to mention the Racket-tailed Roller nest in the same area :wink:

Maybe he just choose to ignore that bird as he does Crested Guineafowl and Narina Trogon :P

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Unread postby Boulder » Wed Nov 29, 2006 9:41 pm

Johann wrote:You forgot to mention the Racket-tailed Roller nest in the same area :wink:


The Racket Tailed Rollers had returned to the Pafuri area after being absent for awhile apparently (I have only seen them 20 years ago 3 years running on the road from Punda to Klopperfontein Dam in the Mopani Forest where the Arnot's chats live). They have been hanging around in the Mopani trees at the Pafuri Border Post for awhile. We drove there in Sept this year but the block had just been burnt and they were gone and later having breakfast at the picnic spot I talked to Frank and he reckons they had moved just inside Moz down the Limpopo River. Apparently a group of overlanders had seen them leave the park as the block was being burnt. Well have another look for them n 18 days time when we are at Punda Maria
Dawn greeting of the francolin

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Unread postby Johann » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:57 am

The RTR's nest mentioned has been found by the guides from the Pafuri Camp in the Makuleke concession. (if I'm interpreting the news correctly) :wink:
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
Black Coucal Centropus grillii Swartvleiloerie
Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie

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Unread postby Snoobab » Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:12 am

Saw my one and only RTR on the H1-8 near Baobab Hill 6 yrs ago.

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Unread postby Boulder » Sat Dec 02, 2006 4:45 pm

According to the Bird Books all the Cuckoos are summer migrants to Kruger and Southern Africa. I have seen Thick Billed Cuckoo in Kruger 4 times and these are the "summer dates" I saw them:

- 31/07/1989 Pafuri Fever Tree Forest calling loadly with the host a flock of Retz's Helmet Shrikes nearby in the same forest.
- 14/06/1995 Nottens Camp Sabi Sands (Part of the greater Kruger Park)
- 16/07/1995 Pafuri Nyala Drive
- 17/07/1990 Shangoni section near the Shingwedzi River 2 kms from Western Boundary Fence.

I have never seen a Thick Billed Cuckoo in the lowveld in Summer....now who is going to change the bird books????
Dawn greeting of the francolin

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Unread postby j-ms » Sat Dec 02, 2006 4:54 pm

Boulder wrote:....now who is going to change the bird books????


We have recently heard European Cuckoos calling in northern KZN and they are supposed to be "silent in Africa" (seeSA Birding Hotspots).


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