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Kgalagadi September 2016: raptor kills and roadside rescue


Tdgraves

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Tdgraves

Mata Mata, morning drive, 14/9/16

 

It was a balmy 3 degrees when we set off (brrrr) but got up to 27 by the time we got back. I had the 7D today. We were amongst the first out of the gate.

 

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We were into the valley proper when we found a parked vehicle. Due to the way they were parked, we couldn't really see what they were looking at, but as we pulled up alongside, they pointed out the pair of sleepy bat-eared foxes :)

 

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They weren't sleepy for long though

 

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And then some birds: grounscraper thrush

 

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Yellow-billed hornbill

 

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Some black-shouldered kites were taking off and landing from the ridge

 

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We then saw some lions on the distant dune. The four of them were on a mission and so the sighting was brief.

 

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No sooner had they gone, than there was another male

 

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He was being really cautious, which we assumed was because of the other 4 in front of him

 

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But it might have been because he was creeping up on this old giraffe carcass

 

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which he ate for a few minutes.

 

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We carried on south, a marico flycatcher

 

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and some fighting springbok

 

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Our first lanner falcon of the trip

 

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A bateleur

 

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and an ostrich family

 

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and back for a well-deserved breakfast!

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Day 1: Twee Rivieren, 11/9/16   As there is currently no unleaded petrol in Twee Rivieren, we stopped in Upington to fill the tank and get a few last minute supplies. It was a Sunday and we were the

Day 2 Twee Rivieren, morning drive, 12/9/16   It was still very cloudy and we decided to go up the Auob valley. I had the 7D mark II and attached it to the 100-400 mark II, given it is quicker.  

Day 3 Twee Rivieren, morning drive, 13/9/16   We were changing camps today, up to Mata Mata, so we decided to go up the Nossob valley in the morning. It was minus 1 when we set off. Brrrrr. Unsupris

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Peter Connan

Lovely sightings and photos in this episode!

 

I especially liked some of the black-shouldered kite and fighting Springbuck shots.

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It always pays to be among first out of the gate. I like the bat-eared fox because we have not seen them yet. Re. temperatures, those 27 degrees must be so cool (in comparison with 45 degrees).

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Towlersonsafari

lovely springbok in the morning mist shot! very evocative @@Tdgraves

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Atravelynn

That pair of black shouldered kites was a superb shot. The Tawny Eagle with feathers is one killer shot. Drinking sand grouse with water droplets--enchanting. They water the chicks from their feathers I believe.

 

Great action shots of the sparring springbok and love those baby ostriches.

 

All more reasons to be glad you returned.

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Tdgraves

Day 4: Mata Mata in camp, 14/9/16

 

When we arrived in camp, I had a look at the sightings board. I was surprised at the number of sightings in camp, apparently including lion and cheetah. The ranger laughed at my suggestion that people were lying and agreed. However, he did say that meerkats had been in the campsite earlier. As I pulled in to our parking spot, there they were....

 

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Our best Kgalagadi meerkat sighting and literally on our doorstep :)

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Not the first time that sightings in and around lodge/resort is better than on a game drive (or rainforest walk). About lions in the camp, why not?! it happened in nearby KTC ...

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Tdgraves

Not the first time that sightings in and around lodge/resort is better than on a game drive (or rainforest walk). About lions in the camp, why not?! it happened in nearby KTC ...

Of course@@xelas but lion and cheetah in such a short time period? that was the issue. Clearly neither were true....

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I see. But why on Earth would anyone post a sighting that has not happened?! Just to make others envy? Ha, maybe the person wanted her/his private time at the pool ... were the sightings reported by the pool :D ??

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Tdgraves

I see. But why on Earth would anyone post a sighting that has not happened?! Just to make others envy? Ha, maybe the person wanted her/his private time at the pool ... were the sightings reported by the pool :D ??

 

or to make people who go out fro early drives think that they have missed something by not staying in camp....

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Tdgraves

Day 4 Mata Mata, evening drive, 14/9/16

 

Again I was unable to sleep, so I went looking for birds again

 

Familiar chat

 

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Yellow-billed hornbill

 

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This pearl spotted owlet was in the tree opposite our front door

 

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And a new bird for this trip, an ashy tit

 

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and another new one, both of which I had hoped to see, a chestnut-vented tit-babbler

 

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and a yellow mongoose

 

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Then it was time for a drive. It was slowly warming up and reached 33 degrees. It would turn out to be a bird drive.

 

Swallow-tailed bee-eater and Kalahari scrub-robin

 

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LBR

 

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Weaver and bees!

 

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red-headed finch and cape sparrow

 

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We found this juvenile martial eagle doing his wing-strengthening exercises

 

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Groundscraper thrush

 

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we found a juvenile gymnogene at a waterhole

 

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Cape turtle doves and bees

 

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It was soon time to turn back. We found some oryx on the dunes south of camp

 

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Back for dinner

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I don't know, maybe they saw the cats from the hide. Also, what made you think they were seen inside the camp? Maybe somebody was just a bit sloppy wuth his fingers

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Tdgraves

I don't know, maybe they saw the cats from the hide. Also, what made you think they were seen inside the camp? Maybe somebody was just a bit sloppy wuth his fingers

 

I guess it was the rangers response that nailed it for me, they tend to know what is going on....although I fully accept that the maps are small and difficult to accurately mark

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Atravelynn

Love the martial eagle wing exercises and orxy make nice silhouettes.

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I don't know, maybe they saw the cats from the hide. Also, what made you think they were seen inside the camp? Maybe somebody was just a bit sloppy wuth his fingers

 

I guess it was the rangers response that nailed it for me, they tend to know what is going on....although I fully accept that the maps are small and difficult to accurately mark

 

 

I don't want to ruin your positive opinion but I've been going to KTP for ten years now and whenever I booked a guided drive, it was usually them asking us what we saw where and not the other way around. Same in Kruger, before they head out they either check the sighting board, ask other guides who have just come back from their drives or they question the guests. Not that I mind, ten or twenty people sitting on a truck will most likely have had some good sightings before the gates closed.

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Tdgraves

@@ice you may have been right. That night, by the time we had cooked the braai, it was quite cold outside, so we ate inside. When the OH went out to extinguish the braai, he saw movement at the waterhole....lions!

 

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this is all I managed on the settings which the camera happened to be on. When I tried to change to more optimal night time settings, it refused to fire!

 

The previous night, there were spotted hyaena at the waterhole when he extinguished the braai. One of them immediately marched over to our stoop, trying to get to the source of the nice smell. It paced up and down a few times, to see if it could get in. They are very large when close up :wacko:

 

I had hoped to catch it on the motion camera, but as it was pointed towards the waterhole and not the floor, it missed.

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Tdgraves

Day 5 Mata Mata, morning drive, 15/9/16

 

As we were changing camps today, we planned a short drive and I had the 5D. At the point where the road crosses the dune valley, we found lion tracks. They seemed to lead down the dune and cross the valley floor, in the direction of camp, so we assumed that they were from last night and there was no way of following them anyway. No sooner than we entered the Auob valley proper, then the OH exclaimed "lions!". I could see nothing and assumed that he was joking. He was not. Because he was driving and they were on the right of the road behind a bush, I could not see them. But they immediately came onto the road in front of us, what timing!

 

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By now, a few others cars had arrived, but we were in front ;)

 

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They soon left the road and looked to be heading to the waterhole, some drivers took the opportunity to over take, to get the best position at the hole (although the parking spot is not that close to the waterhole)

 

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Given that we were at the front, we thought we'd just stay level with them and would also be able to follow if they did not stop at the waterhole or did so only briefly.

 

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They were thirsty, but not keen on getting their feet wet

 

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will have to do this in two parts (too many photos)

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Tdgraves

Part two....

 

Once their thirst was quenched, they had other needs to attend to.....

 

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Although he needed a bit of encouragement!

 

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Time for another go?

 

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Thirsty work this

 

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Sorry, that all got a little liontastic!

 

When they were both relaxing, we noticed that they were both looking intently across the road in the same direction. Once we got the binoculars out, we could see why - African wild cats

 

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This turned out to be our only AWC sighting of the entire trip

 

We wanted a short game drive and our wish was granted, I think the waterhole is 8km from camp....

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Towlersonsafari

love the languid lions leaping and loving in the luminous light @@Tdgraves

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The light was just fantastic! Both sequences ... like watching a video! Water dripping from the tail of the lionesses ... wow!

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Atravelynn

liontastic! -ha ha

 

I figured, scrolling down and watching the lions strolling and the friskiness with each other, that eventually there'd be mating shots. I was right. Love the leaps to and from the water.

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PeterHG

You really got a great sequence with the lions, @@Tdgraves! Like xelas mentioned, it's like watching a video, both with the waterhole leaping shots and with the mating. Excellent!

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