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Tdgraves

A Safari of Returns (part 2): Mashatu, Tuli Block, September 2015

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Tdgraves

@@Tdgraves - great cat sightings! Lovely photos in challenging conditions - thank you. Is there arecord for the number of cheetah in a single sighting ??

Well, @@pomkiwi it's definitely my record - 8 cheetah!!

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Big_Dog

8 cheetah in one shot...lifer!

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Antee

8 cheetahs in one pic!

Some sort of ST record :)

Fantastic!

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Tdgraves

8 cheetahs in one pic!

Some sort of ST record :)

Fantastic!

Maybe @@madaboutcheetah can beat it??

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madaboutcheetah

Wow - brilliant stuff!!!!

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madaboutcheetah

@@Tdgraves - when you say they crossed the boundary of the reserve? Do you mean they left Mashatu's concession? if so, where did they head off to?

Thanks............

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Tdgraves

@@Tdgraves - when you say they crossed the boundary of the reserve? Do you mean they left Mashatu's concession? if so, where did they head off to?

Thanks............

@@madaboutcheetah yes you are right, the concession, not the reserve

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TonyQ

Wow what a cheetah sighting and such excellent timing for your visit - you capture the action really well.

I also like the wildcat in flight - an achievement to catch that at all I would think. Your bird pictures are beautiful as always

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Tdgraves

Wow what a cheetah sighting and such excellent timing for your visit - you capture the action really well.

I also like the wildcat in flight - an achievement to catch that at all I would think. Your bird pictures are beautiful as always

 

Thanks @@TonyQ the AWC was the only shot of the 3 that I managed to fire after grabbing my camera that was vaguely in focus!

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deano

@@Tdgraves - epic cheetah sighting. Is there any more vivid colour in the bush than the eyes of a cheetah in sunlight? Piercing eyes beautifully captured among the action.

 

Okay so all of the colors on the LBR are pretty vivid too....but they don'y stare back at you!

 

kind regards

 

deano.

Edited by deano

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Tdgraves

Day 3 evening drive, 7/9/15

 

Richard hadn't even switched on the ignition before we had our first sighting, a Meyer's parrot

 

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and the birding theme continued with a dark chanting goshawk

 

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lark-like bunting

 

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We saw this

 

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But he wasn't keen on showing us more!

 

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So back to the birds, brown-hooded kingfisher

 

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Then we found these sleepy hyaenas

 

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I have no idea why this iphone photo has imported upside dwon :(

 

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We made our way to a pair of male lions, that were the main attraction of the afternoon. Two vehicles were on the river bed looking up at them, so Richard went one better and approached them from behind on the river bank! I'm not sure what it did to the photos of the vehicles below...

 

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The sun was rapidly setting, so we went off in search of a picturesque sundowner spot

 

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On the way back to camp we saw an African wild cat, but too far for photos. And then we found this guy again, looking really uncomfortable up a pretty small tree.

 

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We couldn't see into the tree to see if there was a kill or not, but some juvenile spotted hyaenas were hanging around. Maybe they had harassed him up there?

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Tdgraves

and a video of the cheetah mayhem

 

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Marks

@@Marks we stayed at the tented camp which is smaller, more rustic and also cheaper! The original reason for this choice was the lack of children and wifi! The main camp is very plush with large rooms and space for more guests. This year it is $375 pppn, it was 350 last year. It is charged in US$ as it is Botswana. I did not get any deal, but for the first half of the year they do 4 nights for the price of 3. I think it is the best value safari lodge we have ever been to. I guess the reason for the 5 night stay was that it was so good last year, we wanted to fit in another hide visit and we were only able to get 4 nights in Tswalu. We booked in Feb/March and space was no issue. It is the only place we have been to in Botswana (can't afford the delta just yet), so I have nothing to compare to, but they are really friendly and laid back and it feels like an extended family.

 

Sounds ideal! Thanks for all the extra info.

 

That's a really impressive gathering of cheetahs. Can't remember the last time I saw so many in a single photo, if ever. Remarkable how still they all are in the video.

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deano

@@Tdgraves - amazing detail in the lion images. You can see individual hairs on his chin - love how much lighter their fur is there. That's my kind of sundowner spot - Jamesons would go down well I think.

 

kind regards

 

deano.

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Tdgraves

"Remarkable how still they all are in the video."

 

@@Marks

I'd forgotten that all 8 of them were quietly sat down before the mayhem, I guess that is why it was more shocking, for us and them!

Edited by Tdgraves

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Treepol

@@Tdgraves what wonderful photos and videos of the cheetah group - and its great to hear Richard explaining what is happening!

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Zim Girl

Beautiful close-up pictures of that male lion

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Tdgraves

Day 4 hide visit (in lieu of morning drive) 8/9/15

 

Now, our American vehicle mates had been scheming and plotting since their arrival, about how to delay their pre-booked hide visit, as it was abundantly clear that it would remain quiet until the surface water evaporated. I'm sure that if they had just asked, it would have been sorted out, however, we had to endure comments about bathrooms and dodgy stomachs, to give the impression of illness as an excuse.

 

Anyway, we knew it'd be quiet, but what can you do? We were going to the newest hide, which is quieter anyway and the animals are not as habituated to it yet. It was a slightly longer drive and we were encouraged that we heard both lion and hyaena as we approached. We met the other C4 guide, Ruth and settled in. It was, as expected, even quieter than our first visit.

 

We alternate the cameras each day, so that we both get an equal share. The OH had the 5D on the previous day and had made a throwaway comment about "my" 100-400mm lens making a strange noise. I hadn't thought too much about it until we were setting up in the hide. As I stretched it out to 400mm, it made an awful noise and got stuck. It was possible to retract it, but it would then get stuck in a different position. So I decided to leave it at 400mm and hope for the best. Rather it be stuck at full zoom than 100mm for the rest of the trip. Last year "his" 100-400mm had had problems with the well known issue of perishing zoom rings, so we just assumed that was the case, although in retrospect that shouldn't lead to rattling noises. The downside was that it had cost ££350 to repair his and now that the mark II was out, a second hand mark I can be purchased for £500-£600, so it seemed as if it was heading to landfill.

 

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Three-banded plover

 

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Chestnut-backed sparrow-larks

 

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Cut-throat finch (female)

 

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Pretty quiet, but had a nice chat with Ruth and a bit of camera tuition. The other downside of the morning, apart from the lack of game, was that we couldn't have coffee, as our driver had left the flask of hot water in the vehicle. In order not to frighten any possible game, he had driven up a nearby hill, to get out of the way, which also meant we couldn't contact him on the radio :(

 

Anyway, we had a late coffee, outside of the hide,when she finally managed got hold of him.

 

The lions and hyaenas never did show up.

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Tom Kellie

~ @@Tdgraves

 

That first image of the dove at water's edge — Streptopelia capicola, Cape Turtle-Dove? — is sensational!

How was that image made? Were you down on the ground shooting across?

The sharpness, color saturation, and overall sense of reality is exceptional.

It's the type of image which I aspire to make.

Thank you for posting it. I'm sorry that the game drive in question had its challenges.

Tom K.

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Tdgraves

Thanks @@Tom Kellie we were in the hide, which is basically a buried shipping container, so you are sat at eye level with the waters edge

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Tdgraves

Around camp

 

Most camps have some "tame" bushbuck, this one was particularly sweet.

 

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The birding around camp is pretty good, we managed a few new species.

 

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Southern boubou

 

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Black-headed oriole

 

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Tawny-flanked prinia (new)

 

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Dark-capped bulbul

 

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Southern boubou (new)

 

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Golden-tailed woodpecker (new)

 

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Jameson's firefinch

 

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Southern-masked weaver female

 

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Grey-headed bush-shrike

 

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Arrow-marked babbler

 

One morning after brunch, Richard came back, having left for siesta time and asked if we would like to see a bushbaby? Who could say no to that??

 

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Our vehicle mates had already gone back to their tent and so were disappointed when they found out later. However, the next day, at the same time, I suggested that we go and have a look and they were awake again!

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michael-ibk

Love the Bushbaby, have yet to see one! :-)

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Towlersonsafari

How splendid! Have never seen one in daylight

Edited by Towlersonsafari

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Tdgraves

How splendid! Have never seen one in daylight

 

or indeed 2 @@Towlersonsafari

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Tom Kellie

~ @@Tdgraves

 

An oriole, no less!

In 62 years, I've yet to spot my first oriole anywhere!

The ear veins in the bushbaby are so clearly resolved in your excellent photo — very nice, indeed!

Thank you for these.

Tom K.

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