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Another 5 days at Camp Hwange and more


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Peter Connan

Always a pleasure following your reports Mike!

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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

The next morning, we had, still on the concession, our second sighting of the small group of sables.

 

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Some birds seen in the morning :

Lilac-breasted roller.

 

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African golden oriole.

 

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Black-shouldered kite.

 

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Game Warden
On 16/07/2017 at 9:02 AM, Bush dog said:

 

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Super timing in this one @Bush dog

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Bush dog

Well, @Game Warden, super timing perhaps but now that taking pictures became, with digital, more shooting than photographing, be successful with this one is easier than in the past.

Anyway, thanks a lot for your comment.

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Bush dog

Some more birds seen in the morning :

Capped wheatear.

 

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Red-billed teal.

 

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Grassveld pipit.

 

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Around the Shumba picnic site :

 

Tropical boubou.

 

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Crested barbet.

 

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offshorebirder

Wow - you photographed a trio of Hueglin's Coursers @Bush dog!

 

You really were lucky with birds on this trip Mike - I would kill for a Marsh Owl.

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Marks

Love the hamerkop on the previous page.

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Kitsafari

lovely to see the ever gorgeous roans and young ones, and those adult jet black sables are magnificent. 

I neglected to say that B&W shot of the hippo framed by those water drops was awesome. 

 

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xelas

Two weeks and how many fantastic photos! No need to praise more the well known photo skills of @Bush dog!

 

However I need to express my admiration in how much the technology helps us today. In post #77, even with a spot ligh the Marsh Owl photos would be impossible to get, or at least the quality would be same as a kid's painting on a very coarse sand paper :huh:; but your photos, even crops at 51200 ISO looks more then good.

 

Same can be told for LBR photo on post #83; I hope I am not jumping into any unfounded conclusion by saying there must have been an operator mistake by choosing 1/6400 sec so early in the morning. Yet, exposing the photo by 3 (?') stops showed us both the colours of the bird, and the unfortunate morning snack sticking out of the beak.

 

Always a pleasure to follow your TR, and watching your photos, as so much can be learned from both!

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Bush dog

@offshorebirder

 

Thank you for your comments.

 

In fact, it was a quatuor of coursers.  The last one was out of frame.

 

Well, it's not too difficult to be lucky with birds if your guide knows that they are interesting you.  As for the marsh owl, I must admit that, in this case, I was very lucky when you know that even guides do not see them often.

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Bush dog

@xelas

 

Thanks a lot for you very kind words and for following this TR.

 

Concerning the LBR picture, when we spotted the kill, the bird was about to swallow the frog.   We were on the wrong side of light.  So, to be sure to get a picture as much as the frog was still visible, I decided to quickly take a few shots, without having time to check the settings.  Then, we moved to be on the right side of light.  It was too late, the frog was already in the bird's stomach.  I knew that there would be great chances that the pictures would be underexposed and they were.  When processing the images, for the first picture, I pushed the underexposition until the subject appears in shadow play.  For the second picture, I did the opposite.

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Bush dog

We began the afternoon, on the concession, with a few elephants at the edge of the teaks.

 

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And always more birds at Shumba pan :

A flight of white-faced whistling ducks.

 

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One of the frog eaters flying to the water for laundry.

 

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A grey heron in flight.

 

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And an angry blacksmith plover chasing an intruder to protect its nest.

 

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One more elephant.

 

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And another profitable night drive :

Perhaps a fiery-necked nightjar.

 

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And a serval, hunting.

 

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Bush dog

 

I come to the last full day of my stay where it will mainly be about birds.

 

Black-headed heron.

 

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Senegal Coucal.

 

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Magpie shrike.

 

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African hoopoe.

 

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African hoopoe and fork-tailed drongo together.

 

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Dagga boys.

 

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Bush dog

More magpie shrikes.

 

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Heron & Stork at Dwarf Goose Pan.

 

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Violet-eared waxbill.

 

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Grey Heron & Crocodile at Masuma.

 

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pault

Catching up on this at last, after some time away and well, it's still lovely to potter around Hwange with you. Some fantastic and unusual sightings, which seem to emphaisise that going out of season can be incredibly interesting, if only you are looking for the right things. I think e.g. the mating monitors and the Goliath Heron way up in a tree - not to mention the rarer things like the marsh owl - are as wonderful as anything you could see in their way.

 

Great photos (well, still of course, but let's say it often!).

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madaboutcheetah

What a pretty bird, Vilolet eared waxbill ...... Beautiful, Mike!

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Bush dog

@pault

 

Thank you so much for your comments!

 

"Incredibly sightings" indeed, and, for me what's the most important, in an quiet environment where vehicles can be daily counted on the fingers on one hand.  The western part of Hwange is less busy than the easten.

 

Once more, thank you for following this report.

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Bush dog

Birds of the afternoon :

 

Black-shouldered kite.

 

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Lilac-breasted rollers.

 

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Helmeted guinea fowls, juveniles and adult.

 

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African fish eagle in the teaks with, it won’t hurt for once, something different in its claws, in this case a francolin.

 

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Bush dog

At Shumba, at the end of the afternoon, the hamerkops were, like the previous days, busy hunting frogs.  As soon as the sun went down, it was no longer along the road but rather over the pan, a little like the skimmers do.

 

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The following three pictures have been strongly over-processed.  They were originally completely missed, but perhaps they are still?

 

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At night, the serval was back.  This sighting was better than the day before.

 

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Bush dog

The next day, I left the camp early enough and took the road to Sinamatella and Mbala Gate.  A vehicle was waiting for me to take me to the Victoria Falls hotel where I spent a night before heading home.

 

On the way, just before arriving in Masuma, Washington stopped the vehicle and told me that he had seen a lion to the right of the road.  I still do not understand how he could have seen this lioness, motionless, lying in the shadow of a bush among others at a distance of more than two hundred meters, while the vehicle was traveling at a speed superior to that of a game drive.  We got closer and found that in fact there were three lionesses. I do not often think I met a guide who had such sharp eyesight as that of Washington.

 

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Finally, later, I saw a leopard but it did not give me time to photograph it.  Very shy, it disappeared immediately, flat out.  Near Mbala, there are some steep natural walls, favourite habitat of the Verreaux’s eagle.  This one is a juvenile.

 

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This is the end of the report.  In order to loop the loop, I think to go back to Camp Hwange next October.

 

Thanks to everyone who took the time to follow it.

 

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xelas
On 02/08/2017 at 9:38 AM, Bush dog said:

Thanks to everyone who took the time to follow it.

 

Mike, it was a pleasure to follow your TR, and thanks to you to take time for posting it !

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michael-ibk

Thank you Mike, another one I really enjoyed!

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Marks

A great report - some really memorable sightings, and your photos are sharp as ever!

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