Whos keeping an eye on me....

Sunday, 20 October 2013

South Africa 2013 - Pt 9

Kruger NP, Olifants and Surround Areas:

The last day in Kruger Park and we were eventually forced indoors by our first thunder storms, the afternoon blue skies turned completely dark and with it came torrential rain which wrote off the last afternoon. It was obviously a little disappointing but on reflection the whole stay up to that point had been mostly bathed in sunshine apart from a little early morning mist.

However our journey had brought us only a few kilometres outside the gates to Olifants Rest Camp where we had this Leopard run across the road immediately in front of us.

 
It was certainly on a mission and quickly went out of sight as it went deeper into the bush.

 
a returning early summer migrant is this Yellow Billed Kite perched alongside the main H1-4 road
 

Now inside the camp our rondaval perched high above the Olifants river gave stunning views and true to its name this was our first sight...... Elephants crossing the Elephant River

 
even with the low water levels the infants are virtually submerged

 
over to the feeding grounds on the other side

 
We were high up over looking this stretch of the river so the bird species using the river were all a little distant, however there is no doubting the quality of those birds even if the images are a little ropey.
 
Saddle-billed Stork
 
 
and one in flight


 
Great White Egret, Little Egret and a lone Yellow Billed Stork
 
 
the impressive and worlds biggest heron species.......Goliath Heron
 
 
African Fish Eagle, Green Backed Heron, African Jacana, Black Winged Stilt, Yellow Billed Duck and the inevitable Egyptian Geese took advantage of the expansive river.

From the comfort of my patio a few nice species showed well, that was until the rains sent everything diving under cover.

Dwarf Mongoose


Southern Black Tit

 
Long Billed Crombec


Black Headed Oriole


and most surprising of all a Red Billed Oxpecker


as I had only seen them feeding on mammals

 
I think the highlights of this location were these Giant Kingfishers
 
 
closely followed by this African Harrier Hawk
 


Other species in and around the camp were Malachite Kingfisher, White Browed Robin Chat, Crested Barbet, Chin spot Batis,  Burchells Coucal, African Hawk Eagle, Brown Crowned Tchagra and Lesser Masked Weaver.

Waterbuck
 
 
 and the female looking a little startled
 
 
Nyala
 
 

After listening to the nights heavy rain and lightening we had an early start to make the long journey back to Nelspruit airport and then onto Jo`borg and eventually home, the early start did give me the chance to see an African Wood Owl close to the exit gate at Phalaborwa.

Although a three hour wait for the connecting flight enabled me to get four new life birds and the last of  this South African holiday, a large flock of Bronze Manakin, Nedicky, Buffy Pipit and a Yellow Crowned Bishop.

28 comments:

Amanda said...

how fantastic seeing the elephants cross!

Our photos said...

You have make beautiful photos!
Greetings, RW & SK

Joop Zand said...

So many good photo's Dave..... very nice post is this.

Greetings, Joop

Carole M. said...

some amazing wildlife Dave; I loved the Goliath Heron, and the Oriole especially

Andrew Fulton said...

Brilliant Dave... I am so glad you shared your wonderful trip. Amazing wildlife.

TexWisGirl said...

really neat - from exotic mammals to exotic birds. :)

hula-la said...

Wow! These are fantastic. Yes, I'm living vicariously through your lens. Thank you! Aloha

Amazing wonders in my life said...

Good shots...!

Stewart M said...

What a great trip - things to see in all directions!

Stewart M - Melbourne

Karen said...

Another great series! I have really enjoyed your South Africa trip!

Phil Slade said...

More amazing wildlife Dave. I'm wondering waht your tick list looks like this week? Great shot of the pair of Kingfishers.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Lovely post! I love the photos of the elephants. They're amazing animals.

mick said...

So many amazing birds and animals! The view from high above the river with the elephants crossing is perfect!

Andrea said...

Your pictures are wonderful and the diversity of animals and birds available for your camera is mouth watering. I wonder if any of the African Crane populations are near you at all and if so, which ones. All cranes are under pressure because of lost habitat ... I am hoping they will find ways to protect them in Africa as they have in other places. Thank you for another wonderful tour ...

Andrea @ From The Sol

genie said...

What a fabulous holiday you had. Thanks for sharing so many of your pictures with us. These photos are amazing. Liked seeing the baby elephants almost covered in water, and that big heron...what a beauty. Fine post. genie

Rajesh said...

So much to see in the wild. Great shots of leopard and beautiful birds.

Jim said...

So many great shots

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi I have only discovered your blog and am so pleased I did as it seems you have just finished your blogs on Kruger and it is one of the places I DO want to visit. I will have to take time now and go back to read and see the other 8 posts. Your photos and information are wonderful. I have now joined so I don't miss anything else.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Wow....again!!! That goliath heron is outstanding. And beautiful. But lordy, to have a leopard come in front of me...I'd be peeing my pants. With excitement AND fear.

Dave said...

Lol ..... too much detail Anni :)

NatureFootstep said...

It is such a great place. Did you go on your own or with an agency? On your own I bet!

Loved that stork. Among everything else.

Dave said...

Hi NF
Yes we went on our own. Basically everything booked through SANPARKS or directly with B&B guest houses. Really easy and straight forward.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

What an amazing wildlife adventure it must have been. One of my friends lived in South Africa for a few years and visited Kruger NP.

Pat said...

What a wonderful group of wildlife photos!

Carletta said...

First of all, your header is gorgeous!
As always a wonderful post of your sightings.
My favorite if possible out of all of these is seeing the elephants crossing. That seems like a magical moment.
Thanks for sharing your journey.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Wow, all very impressive, what a glorious journey you have taken. Thank you for these great shares~

holdingmoments said...

Stunning set of pictures Dave. Trip of a lifetime.

Cath.H.C Photography said...

Magnifiques photos!!!