Whos keeping an eye on me....

Monday, 14 October 2013

South Africa 2013 - Pt 8

Kruger Park, Satara Rest Camp and surrounding areas:

The terrain changed a little now, flatter with less dense bush but well scattered with thickets amongst the long grasses........ of course this sounds like cat country!
This Kori Bustard shows off the habitat that I try to describe.
These are huge birds, but even the longest of grass cant completely hide them. We had a pair together and another lone individual.
although this Crested Francolin made viewing a little easier along the roadside.
Again the very large raptors evaded us, we did get more views of Tawny Eagle and Bateleur.

The Hornbill species now started to change from the more southern based Red Billed and Yellow Billed to the more predominant African Grey Hornbill and I was lucky enough to get a single but brief sighting of a Trumpeter Hornbill
We were to still getting regular sightings of the impressive Southern Ground Hornbill

Around the Satara Rest Camp Red Billed Buffalo Weaver were keen to feed on any barbecue spillages from the night before, this one is trying its luck outside our Rondaval.

but they had to compete with the Grey Headed Sparrows a species that I only saw at this one location while in SA.
some of the other birds around the camp were Black Headed Oriole, Ground Scraper Thrush, Bearded Woodpecker

and this Brown Hooded Kingfisher
 The river nr Shishangani gave me good views of a pair of  Pied Kingfisher

and not so good views of the impressive
White Crowned Lapwing
 (you will have to click on the image to get anything like an idea of what this fella looks like)
While closer to the car park were Chin spot Batis and a group of very noisy and aptly named
Arrow Marked Babblers

Meanwhile back in camp we were fortunate to have an African Wildcat roaming around the camp. Matty and myself were sat outside on the patio when we heard a meow........ it took a few seconds to sink in that there are no domestic cats in Kruger and yet just a few feet away in the lamp light was a Wild Cat. It didn't give me chance for a photo as it skirted the other rondavals, but what a nice neighbour to have around. Somewhere in camp a Honey Badger had been seen, but try as we might we never located it. I was fortunate though to see a large group of Banded Mongoose one morning.
More bird species from around the camp where African Scops Owl, Pearl Spotted Owlets
Brown Headed Parrot

Kurrichane Thrush

African Hoopoe
 Around the roads and tracks of Satara were lots of Pipits and Larks. I had already decided to steer away from IDing them, I would end up confused and didn't have enough literature with me although I know I saw African Pipit

Of the mammals we were now seeing plenty of Steenbok (smallest antelope species of Kruger)
female Kudu
The impressive African Fish eagle

while later on in the day one thankfully came and perched a little nearer
Bateleur (Juvenile)
Brown Snake Eagle
Yet more species from around Satara Rest Camp, with early mornings being very productive
Orange breasted Bushshrike
Red Capped Robin Chat

Blue Mantled Crested Flycatcher, Pale Flycatcher and this
Collared Sunbird

East of Satara is the N`Wantesi Picnic site which is situated close to the Mozambique Border, it was quiet with only Green Backed Heron and Crocodile on the waters edge, but the picnic area was a little more lively with  BruBru; African Pied Wagtail, Spectacled Weaver

and Mocking Cliff Chat
Red Billed Firefinch
Dusky Indigo Bird (in non breeding plumage)

Green Winged Pytillia

Blue Waxbill

White Browed Scrub-Robin

We booked onto a guided night drive. 3 Black Backed Jackel, Genet, Hyena and a Porcupine were all seen. Then the stars of the trip appeared.....firstly a stunning close up view of a perched Verreauxs Eagle-Owl. It  put up with us for a minute or two before flying off. The largest Owl in the world...... a breath-taking moment.

Then for the next 45 minutes we were royally entertained by 3 Lionesses with 3 cubs, all of them down to about 10 meters or less. Our driver pulled out all the stops to find us a major highlight, he asked if he could keep driving for another hour, needless to say none of us minded at all. He took a different route now and headed off the main tracks, after a mile or so I saw the driver raise his hands to the sky in a thank you to someone up there..... as he pulled over next to the Lionesses and cubs. We kept them in a subdued spotlight while the cubs fed from one of the females, the other two females yawned, rolled over and went back to sleep. Our guide radioed his colleagues on another tour who promptly made their way over to watch this spectacle.  This hours watching was certainly one of the highlights of our South African trip.

Not to rest on our laurels we still had tomorrow to rack up yet more wonderful bird and mammal species........

Swainsons Spurfowl
Red Crested Korhaan
Crowned Lapwing and chick
I cant remember where this was but what a great sight
Hammerkop on hippo

and mum and youngster

We had watched this old lady as she eyed up a waterhole that had Impala and Warthogs feeding on the edges, she waited and waited, the impala and Warthogs slowly moved away over the small brow and just out of sight, she got up and passed in front of our car ........ and  then the chase, although it was short lived, as before the dust had even settled she gave up.
Great viewing (from the safety of our car)
the chase
This young Warthog has got into a fight with a Porcupine





Dwarf Mongoose

We move a little further north for a very short stay at Olifants and the last night in Kruger Park and the end of our South African adventure........ the last post awaits!


EG CameraGirl said...

What a treat to see these exotic (to my eyes) animals and birds!

Stewart M said...

Wow - my brother was telling me I had to go - and he was correct!

The wart-hog does not seem to have done well in the encounter!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Jeff said...

You did a lot better with birds than I did when I visited SA in for 10 days in December 2006, Dave. We spent most of our time on a farm near Jo'burg, though, and only had two nights in Kruger. My bird list for the whole trip was just 125 species but we saw an amazing range of mammals in the park.

theconstantwalker said...

You saw some amazing wildlife Dave... brilliant images.

mick said...

A great series of photos and it sounds like an amazing trip.

TexWisGirl said...

one amazing sighting after another! the hoopoe and the bustard are just so cool! but there were others in there that certainly caught my eye, too. the brown-headed kingfisher and the eagle! wow!

Karen said...

Another fantastic series Dave!

Unknown said...

Wonderful photos! What a great selection of birds and animals.

Pat said...

What a fantastic group of birds and mammals! Great captures.

eileeninmd said...

Beautiful collection of birds and animals. The Hoopoe is one of my favorites. AWESOME post!

Faye said...

One of the main reason I love blogging--the chance to see so many places and exotic creatures. Only so many countries you can visit in a lifetime. Have a feeling won't make it to South Africa--still trying to get to more of Europe. Thanks for taking us along on your trip. Such a great variety of birds. Especially enjoyed them enlarged!

Hootin' Anni said...

I'm in complete awe!!! What a glorious array of birds and animals!! Now, I dream of going there. Of course it'll have to be in 'another lifetime'...when I'm richer. LOL

Extraordinary post!!!

Phil Slade said...

Yet another tremendous series of pictures Dave. Impossible to pick a favourite out of those but maybe the eagles this time. Never heard of the Kurrichane Thrush but it looks much like an American Robin.

Unknown said...

What a great set of African wildlife shots! I never managed to get a proper shot of a Mongoose... :-)

Amanda said...

Wow again! The browned hooded kingfisher is lovely and of course the crowned lapwing! THe hippo baby too. Amazing trip

NatureFootstep said...

it is such a great adventure. Love the Hammerkop on the hippos head. Just to mention one thing among them all.