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Another 5 days at Camp Hwange and more


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Geoff

Excellent as always Mike. Luckily you had the 600mm? with you for all those birds in part 1 of the report.

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As last year, I left Selinda in the middle of the morning and landed at Kasane at noon. A driver was waiting for me. The formalities at the two border posts were carried out, as usual, without problem

More birds, still a lot of migratory blue-cheeked bee-eaters,     And little bee-eaters.  

Now, something different that I had never seen before, a carnivorous species, but also, depending on the circumstances and it seems to be quite common, cannibalistic, at work, the African bullfrog.

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Bush dog

@Geoff

 

Thanks Geoff.  Not precisely a 600 mm, too heavy for me now, but well a 300 mm/2,8 + extender 2x.

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Geoff
6 minutes ago, Bush dog said:

@Geoff

 

Thanks Geoff.  Not precisely a 600 mm, too heavy for me now, but well a 300 mm/2,8 + extender 2x.

 

On a crop body too?   I'll add a 2x extender to my equipment for the next trip as I use a 300 f/2.8 too.

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Bush dog
52 minutes ago, Geoff said:

 

On a crop body too?   I'll add a 2x extender to my equipment for the next trip as I use a 300 f/2.8 too.

 

Sometimes not, sometimes yes, on a 7D Mk II 

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Bush dog

The next day, I decided to go for a whole day drive in order to visit the new Dave Carson’s bush camp, simply called Hwange Bush Camp, which is located near Deteema and to explore the area.   

 

In the early morning, a couple of hammerkops at Shumba Pan.

 

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Waterbucks at Masuma.

 

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Along the road to Robin’s Camp :

A dark chanting goshawk,

 

 

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and double-banded sandgrouses.

 

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Little grebes at Salty Pan.

 

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At noon,  we stopped for lunch at the bush camp.  I made a separate topic regarding my visit:

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/17586-dave-carsons-new-bush-camp-in-hwange/

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offshorebirder

Great photos of the Springhare on the previous page @Bush dog!    Rare to capture them so well and seeing their color is very nice.

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Kitsafari

what a survivor the hyena is - I really have developed such huge respect for them. 

 

stunning lion eyes, and I can even see your vehicle reflected in the eyes - so cool! that lioness was just next to the  vehicle's handle bar? did it come so close? ! 

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Bush dog

Thanks, @offshorebirder 

 

It's the first time that I managed to capture them so well.

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Bush dog

Thanks, @Kitsafari

 

That lioness, indeed, came so close to the other vehicle on the sighting.

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Bush dog

After lunch, we set out on our way back to Camp Hwange.  No sooner had we gone than we were told by radio that there was a cheetah close to Masuma.  So, Washington, before arriving to the crossroads with the road coming from Sinamatella and then turning right towards Masuma, decided, to save time, to take a short cut, by taking a narrow trail on the right that led us fairly quickly to the main road just after Masuma. 

 

The cheetah was always where we had been told, in the shade of a bush.  It was the male I had seen near Camp Hwange in November, fifteen kilometers away.

 

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Then came an elephant that went to a hole that contained only muddy water for the obvious purpose of taking a mud bath.

 

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As the cheetah remained inactive, I asked Washington to position the vehicle on the other side of the bush, near the hole.  And the mud bath began.

 

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Search the eye.

 

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Bush dog

Trunk and tusks while bathing.

 

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The cheetah decided to move away.

 

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The elephant was still enjoying the mud bath.  Its trunk was moving like a snake about to strike one of its forelegs and ultimately giving up.

 

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Almost completely covered with muddy water, the elephant went away while showing off as they can usually do.

 

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Marks

Fantastic...those fine hairs on the trunk are in perfect clarity.

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Tdgraves

Lovely hamerkop silhouette 

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Bush dog

The elephant left, we decided to take the way back.  At the end of the afternoon, when the light is the most beautiful, I often stop at Shumba Pan, a place that I like, which is along the main road near the camp.

 

A couple of egyptian geese at Shumba.

 

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The couple of hamerkops, seen in the morning, was still there, on the main road.  They hunted African clawed frogs, also called  platannas.  Those small frogs only have webbing on their hind feet.  At this moment of the day, they return to the pan and therefore the hamerkops wait along the road that they emerge from the high grasses.  As soon as they spot one, they throw themselves at it.  They then start banging it on the ground to either kill it right away, or stun it.  This being done, sometimes they swallow it right away but most often, they cross by flying, their prey stuck between their mandibles, the few meters that separate them from the pan.

 

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There, they consciously clean their prey before swallowing it.

 

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During a big half hour, it will be kill after kill to the rate of one every five minutes.  Do the count yourself, it's more or less six to seven frogs per hamerkop.  And so it will be the next day and the days that follow.

 

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Bush dog

The next day was a nice safari day, interesting but without spectacular sightings.

 

Ring-necked dove.

 

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Rock hyraxes on the kopjes between Masuma and Shumba.

 

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African hawk-eagle.

 

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Worried hippos at Big Shumba.

 

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Juvenile gymnogene (African harrier-hawk).

 

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Egrets at Dwarf goose pan.

 

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Lesser moorhen at the camp water hole.

 

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Tawny eagle.

 

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Bush dog

I have forgotten to add this photo to the previous post.  We came across a small group of six elands that immediately ran away.

 

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Atravelynn

Ele and cheetah in one shot--very nice.  With all the mud flinging around, I am not surprised that the cheetah exited the scene.

Great hammerkop and frog washing and eating sequence.  I hope there are a lot of pollywogs in the rains to keep up.

Your day may not have had spectacular sightings but the egrets were flapping with celestial grace!

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Bush dog

@Atravelynn

 

Thanks, Lynn for your ever pertinent comments.

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Bush dog

The next day, that was busier than the previous one, began in the early morning, near Shumba, with a secretary bird.  It was so focused on its breakfast that we were able to follow it for a while without it unduly disturbing it.  This does not happen very often.

 

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Then we took the direction of Main Camp and soon saw this crowned cranes family that had obviously decided to settle in Hwange instead of going back to where they came from.

 

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A bit further, at Dwarf goose pan, two elephants quenching their thirst.

 

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A few kilometers after Roan pan, well what else than roans?

 

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We continued our way to Chapi pan where we saw a few zebras, two other crowned cranes and some crowned plovers.

 

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michael-ibk

I don´t think I´ve ever seen juvenile Crowned Cranes -nice. :)

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Bush dog
1 hour ago, michael-ibk said:

I don´t think I´ve ever seen juvenile Crowned Cranes -nice. :)

 

Thanks, Michael!  For me, it was the first time.

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Caracal

More great sightings and I'm  particularly taken with the hammerkop frog sequence and that hyrax family/group photo.

 

Enjoying it all and I'm curious to know @Bush dog whether you wait patiently quite a long time to capture a lot of your photos when you see something that might be of interest

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Bush dog

@Caracal

 

23 hours ago, Caracal said:

More great sightings and I'm  particularly taken with the hammerkop frog sequence and that hyrax family/group photo.

Enjoying it all and I'm curious to know @Bush dog whether you wait patiently quite a long time to capture a lot of your photos when you see something that might be of interest

 

Most of the time, I really do not wait long or sometimes not at all.  As soon as an interesting situation or subject presents itself, it sometimes requires an immediate reaction or a gradual approach, or if the subject is moving, to follow it.  But if the chances of good photography are really present, I can stay some time, but certainly not hours, in situation with the subject(s).   Indeed, for me, photography is a hobby and not an obsession. This must remain a pleasure above all and not suffering.  I do not like to stay for a long time the eye glued to the eyelet of the camera in the expectation that something happens and so much the worse if I miss an opportunity, this is nothing dramatic. 

 

I also like to enjoy nature differently than only through a lens.  As far as I can remember, it happened only once to wait patiently for an action to take place.  It was in Lebala, a leopard had taken up a position at the entrance of a burrow where two warthogs had taken refuge.  The wait was long but the game was worth the candle.  After almost two hours, the two warthogs burst from the burrow, and a battle of about ten minutes ensued.

 

Sometimes also luck can help.  Indeed, for the photo of the family hyrax, when I was photographing it, only the mother and a young were visible in the beginning.  The two other youngsters then came from behind and joined them. They also wanted to be on the picture?

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Bush dog

Then we took the road back.

 

Steenbok.

 

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Black-shouldered kite.

 

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Senegal coucal looking at the black-shouldered kite.

 

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The roans were still there, crossing the road.

 

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Elephant close-ups.

 

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