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Kgalagadi Summer: Self-Drive and Self-Catering (!) in South Africa, January 2015


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Tom Kellie

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~ @@Tdgraves

 

Were this my image, I'd use it for an English language caption contest in my classes.

Various labels come to mind.

• “Open a bit wider, please”.

• “Don't bite the bugs”.

• “What African feline dentists see”.

As with the other cheetah images, such sharply vivid photography.

Owing to heightened Internet restrictions here, all videos on Safaritalk are unavailable to me.

That's especially frustrating, as I would have enjoyed hearing what sounds cheetahs make.

Thank you for such a fine trip report section about cheetahs.

Tom K.

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Day 2: Drive from Twee Rivieren up the Nossob valley   It had rained heavily overnight and the skies were even more overcast when we got up. We were not the first to leave camp, as we were tired as

Day 3: Transfer from Twee RIvieren via Nossob valley to Kieliekrankie   After a simple check out, we set off on a slow drive to our next camp. We chose the slightly longer route as we were not suppo

Day 2 Evening Drive from Twee Rivieren towards Mata Mata   I didn’t have much of a siesta, with the rain pounding on the roof. So I amused myself birdwatching from the stoep.       Not sure

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Tdgraves

Day 4 Morning drive from Kieliekrankie towards Nossob

 

We thought we'd do a longer drive in the morning, with no time pressure. In general the dune roads are quiet, but there are still things to see, like this Korhaan

 

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and these doves, who posed nicely

 

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And then we saw this jackal "kill"

 

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Then a goshawk was hunting on the ground and got disturbed by the jackal. This shot makes it look more dramatic than it was...

 

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All this before the end of the dune road! There was not much around on the main Nossob road. When we got to the picnic site to use the facilities, there was fresh lion spoor, going south, straight past the toilets. I don't think anyone else had noticed. This was our first encounter with lion (even though it was just footprints). We turned back south, peering under bushes and going up the limited side roads, to no avail. However, it gave us hope that we would eventually find them.

 

On the way back, we witnessed another kill. A tawny eagle got a ground squirrel, but it was too far away from the road for photos.

 

Back to camp for breakfast.

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Peter Connan

Oh my goodness @@Tdgraves! What a wonderful TR and STUNNING photos! Love it!

 

I think the large bird is a Tawny eagle, but it could be a Lesser Spotted or Wahlberg's as well?

 

Your birds in flight and the cheetah chase are wonderful, and I love the Gemsbok fighting too.

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Tdgraves

Kieliekrankie, around camp

 

There was some wildlife around camp. There is a floodlight waterhole, but it is quite far down the dune for photography. Jackals came at night, but we didn't see larger predators (although they are spotted often). We were in room 2, which has the resident barn owls in the tank room. It was nice hearing them chirping at sundown

 

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Secretary birds came for a drink and a bath

 

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There were striped mice who would climb up the tree, onto the deck and scoot into the room. I thought that I had got a picture, but i can't find one :(

They were not impressed at being locked in when we went on a game drive and so they left us a little message...

 

This familiar chat regularly serenaded us

 

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Sunset from the deck

 

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And then an almighty storm, which skirted past us. I had to set the tripod up on the front path (in the dark) and was then backwards and forwards onto the deck making dinner and improvising with how long to expose lightning shots for....(not something we get to practice in the UK). I was trying to focus on infinity and couldn't work out why the shots were all black - I'd left the lens cap on! DOH! That's the trouble with doing this in the dark after a few glasses of wine :wacko:

 

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Tdgraves

Oh my goodness @@Tdgraves! What a wonderful TR and STUNNING photos! Love it!

 

I think the large bird is a Tawny eagle, but it could be a Lesser Spotted or Wahlberg's as well?

 

Your birds in flight and the cheetah chase are wonderful, and I love the Gemsbok fighting too.

 

Thanks @@Peter Connan you're the first person to attempt an ID. All I can say is that it was BIG. Bigger than the Wahlberg's and Tawny's that I have seen. Also it is darker than the tawny's that we positively ID'd there. Also, the distribution of spotted and Wahlberg's are not "supposed" to be in KTP. I'll pass on your congrats to the OH for the oryx.

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TonyQ

@@Tdgraves

What a wonderful sighting of the cheetah - beautiful animals and beautiful photographs.

The video is great for demonstrating the cheetah noises (Sorry Tom) - the purring and the yelping.

The shots of the lightning came out well - quite a storm

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@@Tdgraves

 

if you are really interested in a (usually) very reliable ID of that bird go post it at the SANParks forum, in their birds section

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Tdgraves

Good plan @@ice I have a user name for that

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xelas

@Tdgraves: those lightnings photos are spectacular!

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egilio

Nice report, I would love to visit KTP one day (for more than 1 day!).

 

@@Tdgraves we saw a big tortoise like that and I wondered what it was, certainly too big for a leopard tortoise.

 

Thanks for the reminder of this sighting and for the information.

 

Actually it is a leopard tortoise. Leopard tortoise, after spurred tortoise is the biggest tortoise in Africa, the kalahari tent tortoise is a lot smaller.

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Tdgraves

@@egilio you are always correcting my ID errors, sorry for the misinformation

 

Any idea what the bird is?

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egilio

The brown eagle? I think it's a brown eagle :D

The gape seems to extend to the back of the eye, which would rule out Tawny eagle (but notice 'seems') and would indicate either steppe eagle or lesser spotted eagle.

I think you could rule out wahlberg's eagle as the bill is too heavy for a wahlberg's.

I think lesser spotted eagle is more common in SA than steppe eagle, you can't see it's tail (barred in adult steppe eagle, but it's likely it's not an adult). Difficult bird for me!

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jeremie

I love these pics of the storm!!! Fabulous! How long is the exposure?

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Tdgraves

The brown eagle? I think it's a brown eagle :D

The gape seems to extend to the back of the eye, which would rule out Tawny eagle (but notice 'seems') and would indicate either steppe eagle or lesser spotted eagle.

I think you could rule out wahlberg's eagle as the bill is too heavy for a wahlberg's.

I think lesser spotted eagle is more common in SA than steppe eagle, you can't see it's tail (barred in adult steppe eagle, but it's likely it's not an adult). Difficult bird for me!

@@egilio

 

And for me too!

 

No photos of the tail unfortunately. From reading the book description I'd say steppe as it was big, but having not seen either before, I'm no expert!

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Sangeeta

Just got caught up with this report (though I have been eyeing it for several days now) and am completely gobsmacked by your photography - truly lovely shots by both of you & thanks so much for taking the time to post them.

 

Aren't you thrilled you didn't let that cooking hold you back from the trip? Opens up brand new vistas :)

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madaboutcheetah

Not sure how I missed this report until now ....... So glad I found it! Wow ........ Thanks for this, @@Tdgraves ,,,,,,,,, You had some fabulous sightings - as much as I loved your cheetah segments, I absolutely Loved those shots of those spectacular skies!!!!

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Tdgraves

Just got caught up with this report (though I have been eyeing it for several days now) and am completely gobsmacked by your photography - truly lovely shots by both of you & thanks so much for taking the time to post them.

Aren't you thrilled you didn't let that cooking hold you back from the trip? Opens up brand new vistas :)

Thanks @@Sangeeta I enjoy cooking, but I wanted it to be a holiday....which it was!

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Tdgraves

I love these pics of the storm!!! Fabulous! How long is the exposure?

 

@@jeremie

 

They were done with a manual shutter release, using trial and error. The ones posted were between 45-75 secs and have more than one lightning bolt in each

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Tom Kellie

post-49296-0-49571100-1432997704_thumb.jpg post-49296-0-64035200-1432997719_thumb.jpg

~ @@Tdgraves

 

My old eyes aren't able to ascertain what the jackal ‘prey’ might be.

What would be airborne which looks like that?

A flying scorpion?

A wingless moth?

A lighter-than-air caterpillar?

********************************************

During the most recent safari I asked my guide, Anthony, about secretary bird flight.

Thank you for posting an image which effectively answers my questions.

Tom K.

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Tom Kellie

The video is great for demonstrating the cheetah noises (Sorry Tom) - the purring and the yelping.

 

~ @@TonyQ

 

Your description of what you heard is a help.

It's interesting to imagine cheetah purring and yelping.

Thank you for giving me an idea what it's like.

Tom K.

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Tdgraves

@@Tdgraves

 

 

 

 

My old eyes aren't able to ascertain what the jackal prey might be.

What would be airborne which looks like that?

A flying scorpion?

A wingless moth?

A lighter-than-air caterpillar?

@@Tom Kellie the answer is a) a flying scorpion. If you look at the three shots, you can see it moving through the air (maybe some spectacles??) ;)
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Tdgraves

Not sure how I missed this report until now ....... So glad I found it! Wow ........ Thanks for this, @@Tdgraves ,,,,,,,,, You had some fabulous sightings - as much as I loved your cheetah segments, I absolutely Loved those shots of those spectacular skies!!!!

Thanks @@madaboutcheetah I was thinking of giving you a shout out for the cheetah shots......

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Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie the answer is a) a flying scorpion. If you look at the three shots, you can see it moving through the air (maybe some spectacles??) ;)

 

~ @@Tdgraves

 

Oh my goodness...oh my goodness...oh my goodness !!!!!!!!!!

A FLYING SCORPION !!!!!!!!!!!!

Suddenly I've found that Beijing's relative dearth of wildlife is a blessing...at least no flying scorpions are found in these parts.

That's one species which I'll leave to you to take the image of record.

My oh my...

Tom K.

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Tdgraves

@@Tom Kellie it wasn't literally a flying scorpion. Only when the jackal threw it in the air.....

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Tom Kellie

@@Tom Kellie it wasn't literally a flying scorpion. Only when the jackal threw it in the air.....

 

~ @@Tdgraves

 

Color me CLUELESS!

Ha Ha Ha! I'm such a fool!

I should have realized that — but didn't.

This is one story that demands telling to students, as they thrive on laughing at their old professor's follies and shortcomings.

How many shades of red may one turn?

Thank you for tactfully straightening out my gullibility.

With Chagrin,

Tom K.

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