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Addo: Park Experiences

Addo, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra
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RonnieL
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Fri Apr 01, 2011 6:58 am

The Addo Flightless Dung Beetle (Circellium Bacchus )

As the name implies this dung beetle is flightless and is endemic to the Addo Elephant Park and for these reasons it is very vulnerable.
This beetle plays a very important part in the eco system of the Park by breaking up and eating elephant and buffalo dung. They are very quick to find fresh dung and either eat it at the spot where it dropped or roll it into a ball and bury it to eat later. The female lays one brood egg per ball which she buries and stays with the ball until the juvenile stage of her young is complete. The larva feeds on the dung ball from the inside and spends 3-4 months as a pupa before it emerges as an immature adult.

Here is a pic of a bung beetle rolling its ball of dung

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In this pic you can see the dung beetles breaking up and eating elephant dung. I took this pic in Oct 2010 close to the Matyholweni Entrance Gate soon after the first elephants had reached this southern gate of the newly opened up southern section of the park to elephants. I was very pleased to see this number of dung beetles in this new section of the park

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In this pic you can see the dung beetles breaking up and eating buffalo dung. I have circled a dung beetle with a ball that it is in the process of making.

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This is one of many signs in the park requesting motorists to be mindful of dung beetles in the road.
In spite of this many dung beetles are tramped and killed on the roads

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Ronnie

For "Addo Park Experiences" go to:- HERE

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RonnieL
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:43 am

Addo Buffalo Bull Flehmen

Flehmen is a German word, with no English equivalent, for the curling and wrinkling of the lips and nostrils which bring the Jacobsen's organ into play, often for testing chemical signals produced by sexually receptive females.
A few weeks ago when I visited the Park I witnessed a buffalo bull flehmen. I was the last vehicle in a convoy of cars traveling along slowly when up ahead I picked up what looked like the horn of a buffalo bull protruding from behind some bush. I had earlier noticed some fresh buffalo spoor next to the road. All the other cars kept moving and never stopped. When I arrived to where I saw the horn I stopped and waited for a while and then the buffalo made his full appearance from behind the bush into full view. It was a massive bull all on his own.
I got excited as I watched him sniffing the air and the vegetation and ground all around him. I felt that something exciting was about to unfold. I then watch him as he started to walk and continued sniffing the air and ground. I was able to follow him for a few hundred meters as he walked parallel to the road. He stopped suddenly at this one spot where he continued sniffing the ground and then started flehming. This must have been where a female buffalo had urinated and he was picking up her sexual condition in her urine. He then continued walking after this brief pause, this time with a real purpose and mission as he was going to find that female buffalo. I watched as he disappeared into the Addo bush veldt and thinking how privileged I was to witness this.

The bull sniffing the ground

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The buffalo bull flehmen

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Here is a short video of me following the buffalo bull and then him flehmen as he stops at the spot where the female had urinated.

Ronnie

For "Addo Park Experiences" go to:- HERE

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RonnieL
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:35 am

Elephant Bull (male) Eating Stem & Roots

I was traveling down from Zuurkop towards Woodlands one morning when I came upon this elephant alongside the road. I was able to observe him for more than a half hour eating the stem and roots of this particular bush. He was using his tusks as tools to expose and dig up the roots.

Here is a pic of him eating the roots.

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Later the afternoon of the same day I found the same bull elephant at Gwarrie Pan waterhole. He is easily recognizable by the notches in his right ear.
He came walking past very close to my vehicle, in fact so close I could not even fit all of him into my photo.

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Here is a video of the elephant digging up the roots and eating them.

[video]http://youtu.be/rsSxhmaovEI[/video]
Last edited by RonnieL on Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:21 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Ronnie

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:06 am

Thanks to Lionspoon, Micetta, Pumbaa, Melph68 and Kamadejo for all your comments :thumbs_up:
.
The ellies sure do open up the bush and many times this seems very harsh to us but we must remember that this is giving many other organisms the opportunity to do their part in the ecosystem.

I am at present taking a lot of photos of the vegetation in the new southern section of the park now that the ellies have access to this area. The ellies are opening up the thick bush and my aim sometime in the future is to post a comparison of the vegetation as the ellies are opening it up. This is a long term project of mine and I have no idea of the timeframe here because I am relying on the ellies.
Ronnie

For "Addo Park Experiences" go to:- HERE

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:52 am

Four of the Big 5

I spent the day in Addo on Friday. What a wonderful day. I saw Four of the Big 5 in one day, that being
Elephant, Lion, Buffalo and Rhino

Addo has had good rains and I can not recall when last I have seen the whole Park as green as it is now. I did not see large numbers of game because they have dispersed allover the Park after the good rains. The good rains have also brought an abundance of flowers.

A pic of the lion lying in the shade of a bush.

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Some elephant crossing the road at Carol's Rest waterhole

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Large herd of buffalo in the southern section

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Some of the flowers in the Park

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I also found this terrapin crossing the road near Hapoor Dam

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Sorry I am not posting my pic of the Rhino in fear of poachers identifying the location of the rhino
Ronnie

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:19 am

Two Caracal Together Sighting

Here is a pic of the two Caracals together that I was referring to above.
Apologies the pic is not great. The Park was extremely busy over the Easter weekend and this was taken late in the afternoon as the cars were leaving the Park on the road as one exits Wayne's Valley. I only had a short time to take this pic as the cars were starting to queue up behind me so I moved that they could also have a chance to see the caracal and to my surprise some did not even stop to have a look

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Ronnie

For "Addo Park Experiences" go to:- HERE

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:12 am

Woody Cape Section

I spent most of the day yesterday at the Woody Cape Section of Addo Park.
This is the section of the Park that borders onto the coast. It has the largest coastal dune field in the Southern Hemisphere.
Indigenous Forests can also be found here.

Here are two pics showing the pristine coastline and dunes.
The first showing some of the large dunes in the distance

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These two pics I took along a hike through the pristine indigenous forest

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Ronnie

For "Addo Park Experiences" go to:- HERE

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by Joubie » Mon May 02, 2011 9:37 am

Spent saturday night at Spekboom Tented Camp. What a special place in the middle of Addo. We were serenaded by Hyaenas and Jackals throughout the night. Addo is looking absolutely beautiful green and lush after all the much needed rains.
We had many special sightings and saw plently of animals with their young.
This sighting was definitely the most special one.
This little fella kept us entertained for at least 30 minutes with his antics!
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RonnieL
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:37 am

Ellie Bull and Lions at Waterhole

Hi to everyone,

I had not visited the Park for a while and what a lovely welcoming I had Wednesday morning when 8.5 km in from the Matyholweni Gate Entrance I came across two male lions lying at a waterhole. I also noticed a lone ellie bull coming to the waterhole for a drink. As can be expected the ellie did not tolerate the lions so close to the waterhole and as the ellie turned in the direction of the lions waving his trunk the lions ran off a distance and lay down again in the long grass.
The Park is looking lovely and green after all the rain and I also had excellent viewings of ellies in the Woodlands section of the Park.

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Ronnie

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RonnieL
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:56 am

Lion Kill

I spent a few hours in the Main Camp yesterday. I entered the Park at the Main gates and not the Southern gates as I usually do.
How fortunate I was because Lions had killed a kudu male earlier at the Woodlands waterhole which is only 2 km from entrance gate to the main camp game area. ( Mel this is only 2.3 km to the waterhole where the webcam is situated)
Here are some pics of the lions feasting while some have clearly had their fill and are just lazing about.

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The Park is lovely and green with all the rains that have fallen. I did not see large numbers of animals but a good variety.
I found this pair of South African Shelducks on some water close to the road. The male, with the all grey head is standing on the left while the female has the white on her head.

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This is a juvenile Blackheaded Heron perched on a spekboom (bacon tree) alongside the road.

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Kudu male clearly on the alert

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Kudu female also on the alert with a buffalo male grazing in the background.

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From the above pics you can clearly see how green it is in the park.
On leaving the Park and returning home in Port Elizabeth I thought how privileged I am of living so close to the Park.
Ronnie

For "Addo Park Experiences" go to:- HERE

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:09 pm

Old Addo Park Pamphlet

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The Spekboom Day Trail

I was looking up something in my nature books when out fell this old Addo Park pamphlet.
This brought back some memories of the mid 1990’s when I had gone on a number of Spekboom Day Trails.
One could park your vehicle where the present day electric gate is to Jack’s Picnic Site and then from there you could walk through the Botanical Reserve.
I used to pack my rucksack with eats and water and spend the day walking in the Botanical Reserve. This was always a wonderful experience for me.
This trail was closed at about the time the larger predators (lions) were introduced to the Park because the fence inclosing the Botanical Reserve in not predator proof making it too dangerous to walk in there.
Ronnie

For "Addo Park Experiences" go to:- HERE

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:32 am

Visitors Map

Here are some pics of the current Visitors Map one receives on entering the Park.
In my opinion I think it is an excellent information pamphlet with all the information that one requires about the Park. It is far superior to the smaller leaflets received in the past.


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Ronnie

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:05 am

Official Addo Park Guide

Hi Mel&Mel, :yaya:
Good to here from you folk. Here is a pic of the Official Addo Park Guide.
These are obtainable for a few Rands at the shop at the main camp and are well worth having.
They are full of interesting information about the Park, so when you folk come and visit
make sure there is enough space in your luggage to take this little book home with you. :lol: :lol:
All the best
Ronnie

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Ronnie

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:16 am

Animal Tracks

I spent the in Addo on Sunday and here are a few of the pics that I taken of animal tracks alongside the roads.

There had been rain the previous Thursday night and Friday so it meant that none of the fresh tracks would have been older than 48 hours. The soil was soft and very good track imprints were left by the animals. I do realize that it is very difficult to gauge the size of the animal prints from my pics.

This is the print of the hind foot of an elephant.

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A Buffalo print

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A Black Rhino print in soft wet soil.

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A Black Rhino print in firm wet soil

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A lion print over a vehicle track . This should give you an idea of the size of a lion print.

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This is a hyena track, one can see the claw marks left in the damp soi

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I encourage you to look for the signs of the animals in the Park, this could be just as exciting as seeing the real animal.
Ronnie

For "Addo Park Experiences" go to:- HERE

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread post by RonnieL » Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:01 am

Jackal Buzzards Mating

I spent the day in Addo Park yesterday. It was raining all the way while travelling out to the Park, It continued to rain on and off most of the morning and cleared in the afternoon. After entering the Park at the Matyholweni Entrance Gate and traveling a distance up into the Park I decided to go on the Ngulube Loop. I had stopped to have a look at a Jackal Buzzard perched on a dead branch when I noticed another Jackal Buzzard gliding down the valley in a straight line towards the perched bird. Anticipating some action I hastily got my camera out even though I knew that the distance was at the limit of my small camera’s capabilities. I never expected the following scene to unfold and here are a few pics telling the story. I must also apologize for the poor images as a result of my trembling hands, as I tried to steady my camera, from the excitement as this scene unfolded in front of me.

Here are the pics I want to share with you. Enjoy

The male Jackal Buzzard perched alone on a branch.


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The female flying in to perch

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She perches on a branch below the male

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She moves up and perches next to him

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She gives him “that” look

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He obliges

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Steadies himself

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Action

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Copulation complete, now looking in opposite directions ( is this familiar )

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Sitting next to each other, now that’s better

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Ronnie

For "Addo Park Experiences" go to:- HERE


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