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Another 5 days at Camp Hwange and more


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Bush dog

Having been informed of the presence of two lions that had killed a zebra along the main road, we decided in the afternoon to go there.  Although this had taken place far enough from the camp, a few kilometers after Mandavu, we left without hurry, sure that they would always be where we had been told.

 

We first stopped at Shumba where many egrets were resting. 

 

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Further, we came across a solitary elephant.

 

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I will be happy if someone can identify this one.

 

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Swallow-tailed bee-eater.

 

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Arriving at Mandavu, we saw a goliath heron on top of a tree.

 

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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

Past Mandavu, we saw a breeding herd.  Due to the vegetation, it was difficult to distinguish them all but there were certainly more or less twenty-five.

 

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Finally, we arrived at the place of the kill.  One could see, from a large reddish-brown patch and the contents of its guts, that the two males had killed the zebra on the road and then dragged it over several meters into the tall grass. You could barely see a few black and white stripes.  As for the two males, the dominants of the Mandavu pride, they were scarcely seen, one lying and the other showing only the top of its head.  So, no possibilities to make a decent picture.  The vultures, meanwhile, marker of signaling of the event, were there.

 

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So we did not stay long and resumed our journey home.  Not far from the kill, we could see, on the dry bed of a stream, something new for me, a couple of water monitor lizards mating.

 

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While the night had already fallen, rather close to the camp, we found, on the road, what for me was a species not yet seen and not very common, a marsh owl.  It was obviously on the hunt and maybe, on the fourth picture, did it catch something that we can’t see on its right?

 

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The next days we found it at the same place, on its stone, but it did not allow us to approach it so close and flew away every time.

 

 

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michael-ibk
4 hours ago, Bush dog said:

I will be happy if someone can identify this one.

 

Tricky one, I cannot. My first thought was (Yellow-Spotted) Petronia but there´s no supercilium. And the tail is quite long for a female Bishop or Widowbird (and most of those should have a somewhat streaky breast). Maybe it´s a House Sparrow? Must be something from this group at least with that bill.

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offshorebirder
4 hours ago, Bush dog said:

I will be happy if someone can identify this one.

 

That is a challenging one Mike - I don't have a definite answer, just a guess.

 

A Juvenile Whydah perhaps?   Maybe a Juv. Pin-tailed Whydah transitioning into adult plumage?

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Peter Connan

The owl and mating monitors were both amazing sightings!

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Bush dog
16 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

The owl and mating monitors were both amazing sightings!

 

Yes, Peter, it was.  

The proof of the fact that the marsh owl is an uncommon sighting is that the young Zim pro guide Adam Jones only saw it for the first time a few months ago.

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Bush dog

The next day, the morning was mainly devoted to a group of eighteen zebras, very co-operative and obviously eager to be photographed.

 

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Yes, lilac-breasted rollers are also frog eaters.

 

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Namaqua dove (female).

 

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Game Warden

@Bush dog Mike, how many years have you been going on safari? Even with so much experience under your belt, it must be a great sensation to see something new, a new species for you. And to get such clear photos as well. Nice!

 

Matt

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Bush dog

@Game Warden

 

4 hours ago, Game Warden said:

@Bush dog Mike, how many years have you been going on safari? Even with so much experience under your belt, it must be a great sensation to see something new, a new species for you. And to get such clear photos as well. Nice!

 

Matt

 

It has been a little more than twenty years and since then there has only been one year that I have not traveled at all, in 2015 for health reasons.  I must have currently, Pantanal included, made more than fifty wildlife trips for on aggregate just over two years spent in the bush.  It, and travels in general, mainly taught me to be even more humble faced with things of life.  With or without new species and even “great sightings”, it’s always a huge sensation to be there and also an immense privilege.

 

Thanks, Matt for your comments.

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Caracal

Enjoying more great sightings from the beautiful steenbok to the high and mighty goliath heron, the marsh owl and mating monitors and I would never have imagined that a frog would be on the lilac-breasted roller's menu.

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Bush dog

@Caracal

Thanks a lot for your comments.  I'm glad you are enjoying the pictures of this report.

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Marks

You weren't kidding, the zebra surely were cooperative.

I also rather like the LBR silhouette...makes you look at the bird a little differently when you can't see all of its color.

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Bush dog

Thanks for your comments, @Marks

 

In the afternoon, we had our first sighting of sables, a family of five.  They were at the edge of the teaks, near Muddy teak pan.  I was astonished as they were comfortable as soon as they were accustomed to our presence.

 

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One more zebra.

 

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Female kudu.

 

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Impala who taught it was a kudu.

 

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Crimson-breasted shrike.

 

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Game Warden

@Bush dog picture #4 is almost a back scratcher. Stunning sable.

 

Matt

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Grasshopper_Club

@Bush dog WOW absolutely amazing sightings and photographs...the Sable Bull and the Zebra in the above comment are stunning.  Thanks for posting. Camp Hwange is also a favourite of mine, the guiding there is absolutey on of the best experienced!

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Bush dog

@Game Warden

 

It's indeed a beautiful male ( picture #3 is the same one).  It was my third time at Camp Hwange but the first time that I saw sables.  They were just coming out of the forests to find water, meaning that the non permanent water holes were about to dry up.

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Bush dog

@Grasshopper_Club

 

Thanks a lot for your kind words.

You are right, the level of guiding is at the top of the profession and to be there is like being in family

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Bush dog

The next day, we decided to go in the direction of Masuma.

 

At Shumba, the couple of hamerkops was already there, busy at its morning toilet.

 

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Near Masuma, we stopped at the spot where we had seen the cheetah, also known for regularly seeing paradise whydahs.

 

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At Masuma, the hippos were sleeping half immersed, the oxpeckers being busy with their task of cleaning.

 

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After Masuma, a guy working for the park told us he had seen the pack of wild dogs, sitting in the shade of young mopanes, along the road a little after Mandavu.  He also told us that it was not necessary to hurry to the extent that they looked pleasantly full and that they were there probably for the whole day. 

 

Along the way, we met a self-drive vehicle whose occupants told us that they saw a leopard cross the road but they did not mention the dogs.  Obviously, they had not seen them.  It is true that their colors are a perfect camouflage that allows them to perfectly blend into the surroundings.  As for the leopard, we did not find it like, so far, all the ones we followed the track, and unfortunately, the young one, very relaxed, which I had seen two months before near Roan Pan, had meanwhile disappeared from the area.

 

We finally found the seventeen dogs where we were told.

 

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More pictures to come.

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Picture 3 in post 89 is stunning , well done @Bush dog

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Bush dog

A few days before, a little before Masuma, we had missed them a few minutes only.  Their fresh tracks were everywhere on the road and their bad odor was always present in the air.

 

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One of them will soon regurgitate.

 

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Now it is vomiting.

 

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Then it rolls with pleasure in what it brought up.

 

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One of his congeners then retrieves the vomit.

 

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When Julian arrived with his guests, we left the place to have tea at Mandavu.

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Bush dog

Goliath heron juvenile at Mandavu.

 

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African harrier-hawk (gymnogene).

 

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Birds seen in the afternoon :

A couple of Coqui francolins.

 

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The frog hunters, always present at the appointment of late afternoon at Shumba.

 

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Three-banded coursers.

 

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Peter Connan

Great birds this episode Mike!

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Bush dog

@Peter Connan

 

Thanks, Peter, and also for following this report.

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