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Alexander33

It was late in the afternoon, and by now we had been traveling for almost 8 hours, with only a very late stop for lunch and a brief rest.  The area in which we now traversed was flat, with almost shrub-like vegetation punctuated alternatively by open, sandy breaks or stands of tall trees.

 

The sandy dirt road caused the vehicle to rock gently back and forth as it moved forward, and from time to time I found myself dozing off due to the rhythmic motion of the vehicle and fatigue of the day.

 

We had made our way in this fashion for some time when Michael, in a low, barely audible voice, so faint that it was more like a whisper, so imperceptible that one might reasonably have concluded it was not even an utterance but, rather, just the sound of the gentle breeze wafting through some nearby trees, said:

 

“LEOPAAARD!!!!!”

 

Edited by Alexander33
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It was in March 2014 that we were on a splendid safari with the excellent Kwando camps. When back home we immediately started to think about a return trip since we had enjoyed it so much. But somehow

We met back up with Lesanne at 5:00 PM for a sunset visit to the Falls, first stopping at a spot she knew where we could access the still-calm waters of the Zambezi, just a short distance above the wa

After my last post, I had to pause for a work obligation, so I thought I had teed up things perfectly there at the end for @michael-ibk to pick up and run with it, but he didn’t take the bait!  Oy!

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Alexander33

As our beating heart rates returned to their normal levels (and we dried our eyes after trying to stifle our laughter in order to avoid any further commotion), we turned the vehicle around to follow the female leopard, which had been completely nonplussed by the shriek that had erupted from the smelly, belching beige-colored creature with four round, black legs and six strange heads sticking out of it.

 

She obliged us by walking straight down the middle of the road, pausing at a puddle filled with rainwater to quench her thirst.

 

1007878246_Leopard.Female.MoremiI.jpg.f206c3002aee27f9417b92ea0cf0de00.jpg

 

 

1838188690_Leopard.FemaleMoremiII.jpg.c4c48918cdba28739fd4d4a1fe0a4777.jpg

 

 

The day had certainly ended on a positive note. 

 

1065678062_Leopard.Female.MoremiIIIPSD.jpg.c8e68628e06a849abc5eac810a4d384e.jpg

 

 

And, as it would turn out, Michael’s excited outburst was entirely justified, and not just because he was the only one of us in the vehicle alert enough to spot her. 

 

In the coming days, this leopard would really give us something to shout about.

 

 

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Atdahl

This report continues to deliver Peter and Michael.  Fantastic stuff!

 

Peter, I feel your pain about having a nemesis bird when it comes to good photos.  Sometimes patience pays off but more often than not it's a great excuse to go back :).  Also, congrats on the cool photos of the BBC "Daytime/Nightime" Egret.  I will have that stuck in my head all day now (And I will be sure my wife does too) but that's OK.  Hopefully, folks get the reference...:D.

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Alexander33
3 hours ago, Atdahl said:

Sometimes patience pays off but more often than not it's a great excuse to go back :).  

 

@Atdahl

 

My philosophy exactly, although it can be a vicious cycle. The more I go, the more I discover, and, thus, with each visit, the wishlist gets longer and longer. 

 

Thanks for following along, Alan. 

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Galago

Lovely photos and such gorgeous light. The lechwe photos are so interesting - look at the way it pulls its legs right up to its body. And I love the last shot of the Black egret - 'Bad hair day? I really can't think what you mean.' 😉

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michael-ibk

Since I shoutedcalled this Leopard I feel entitled to honour my fabulous spotting skills with a few more pictures.

 

701_TR_Botswana_2603_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.41a0ec664b5de3a95c96a37b061e9411.JPG

 

The lady was behind some bushes right next to the road, and since I was sitting in the last row and therefore higher up she was in plain sight for me, obviously not for the others. It was such a surprise seeing this beautiful cat here that I burst out even worse than Peter described I´m afraid. :o

 

702_TR_Botswana_2605_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.fd2c45ebaa865b1a4c4fd9bdc7dfa147.JPG

 

I have to confess this is a bit of a thing with me, so you should never join me on safari. We were chatting with some guys in the Aberdares when a Black Rhino (a super-rare thing to see there, the ranger wanted my photos afterwards) decided to join in on the conversation and looked at us right from the middle of the road. My "RHINO!!!" shocked the poor thing so badly that it almost slipped when it frantically ran off. And when we were Gorilla tracking we were told to be quiet and not point at them when we´d find them. When we did (I was first of the group to see them, arrived right in the middle of them after a bend) I pointed at the biggest meanest Silverback and spluttered "Go-go-go-go ... Gorilla!". B)

 

703_TR_Botswana_2608_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.e492057c153f7231cb59a9efc353addd.JPG

 

We followed this spotted Queen for more than half an hour on the road - completely undisturbed, not a single other car present for all of that. And that in Xaxanaxa, probably the  most busy area of Moremi NP. All hail the Green Season!

 

704_TR_Botswana_2615_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.b046bb1d5e521e31e673253e3a8ab1af.JPG

 

708_TR_Botswana_2627_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.065d8fe212ce56d72eebbd9e91e95b73.JPG

 

I think Matambo told us the name of Mrs. Leopard, obviously she is not a shy one and well known to the guides. But the name was too uncool for us, and so we decided to give her a new one.

 

711_TR_Botswana_2658_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.1b0f32477935d861f8eabef538c8d116.JPG

 

712_TR_Botswana_2664_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.949c1a3b8dcfa42a90a2773fa216f6a0.JPG

 

Since I was the glorious spotter we decided it would have to be something Austrian. Ultimately it came down to "M.T." - if anyone finds out what that stands for I will hand out a very cool prize, like finding a Giant Pangolin or something like.:)

 

714_TR_Botswana_2670_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.f0100c07d61825e5b2bda958b0a965ec.JPG

 

M.T. had her eyes fixed on an Impala coming out of the woods and maybe she went after it - but it was already late, and we had to go to camp.

 

716_TR_Botswana_2678_Moremi_Impala_(Schwarzfersenantilope).JPG.fb30ed15f437621d1125560439648a42.JPG

 

718_TR_Botswana_2692_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.d58c76bcdf6de0ca737ba61f08bcc625.JPG

 

721_TR_Botswana_2699_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.53256238d5660b80d1da946aaae24ca2.JPG

 

724_TR_Botswana_2710_Moremi_Leopard_(Leopard).JPG.7db1a2d1b98b004acce32f9847bbc8e9.JPG

 

Needless to say we were pretty jazzed about this generous Moremi welcome present! DoubleQuadruple G&Ts were in order for sundowners.

 

425242192_725_TR_Botswana_2712_Moremi_GamdzabuPlain.JPG.1ed9c6feaad60b4afd9e005270c3a7c2.JPG

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Atravelynn

Those are very respectable shots of the black egret going about its umbrella work, @Alexander33

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michael-ibk

It´s not surprising we all were a bit tired on the way to Moremi, we only left Khwai at about10:00 am after a full morning drive and then went on with hardly any stops until our "lunch" at 1500 pm at Paradise Pools.

 

643_TR_IMG_2779.JPG.376fc9e348b5fce24d15c9502143a78b.JPG

 

642_TR_Botswana_2412_Khwai.JPG.979ae73af3cc9c938dee14ba0764cc36.JPG

 

Khwai Village, a population of about 400 people - Wikipedia calls them "BaBukakhwe".

 

645_TR_Botswana_2416_Khwai.JPG.b30e869f1452af2db7e7f2079af2b261.JPG

 

644_TR_Botswana_2415_Khwai.JPG.3439351cdc66e475e4820c28ef64b1af.JPG

 

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Quote

(Hint: No. But I would never give up.  Poor Michael and Andreas.)

 

I see poor J.B. gets no pity at all here, that´s not fair. And don´t believe a word @Alexander33 says his Woodhopoe/CB-Shrike fanatism was nothing against my "I must get every bird in Botswana" in madness.:)

 

152287802_648_TR_Botswana_2430_Khwai_Black-CollaredBarbet_(Halsband-Bartvogel).JPG.6c995582879415e7d7ed1bfe9adb69bb.JPG

 

Like this Black-Collared Barbet.

 

651_TR_IMG_2789.JPG.b2930e6029407ffbb1ce183130d2ef1f.JPG

 

653_TR_Botswana_2444_Khwai.JPG.cf2d9db11ab3f99bfb5e351df91a4e03.JPG

 

Our last sight of Khwai River

 

657_TR_IMG_2809.JPG.0ffab618e559a26cd722637c8e4f41bf.JPG

 

935783968_658_TR_Botswana_2459_Moremi_RedLechwe_(Letschwe).JPG.01908e169f1049617cc78ade5c8de5a6.JPG

 

While the first stretch was very "Delta-like" and full of animals we then traversed through some (very hot) woodlands with not much happening there, and I guess almost all of us dosed off at one point. Except Matambo - again he had to fully prove his slalom arts because the road was again very difficult to navigate, lots of water everywhere.

 

1723638497_665_TR_Botswana_2490_Moremi_LesserSpottedEagle_(Schreiadler).JPG.9afa4d42350a3f1f0dfd101deaece144.JPG

 

A Lesser-Spotted Eagle, not a bird seen that often. A Palearctic migrant, up to ten of them were gathering, probably already for the long flight home.

 

419080855_668_TR_Botswana_2499_Moremi_ParadisePools.JPG.d778e6bec9cdcae4a5c57555b0ba86de.JPG

 

Paradise Pools was a very nice place to rest, an aptly named spot.

 

669_TR_IMG_2815.JPG.da20d28780edac63044dafca67aa19ba.JPG

 

865780506_671_TR_Botswana_2507_Moremi_PiedKingfisher_(Graufischer).JPG.a5054cc5080447e6ce420097c237e99f.JPG

 

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1324160627_678_TR_Botswana_2517_Moremi_AfricanJacana_(Blaustirn-Blatthhnchen).JPG.bd6819e81f94be28bf1645ce57f5661d.JPG

 

2139165278_687_TR_Botswana_2550_Moremi_BlackHeron_(Glockenreiher).JPG.00f4290565d548929d65d7b6e8094b28.JPG

 

The Black Heron doing its thing was fun to watch. The reasons for this hunting technique are still debated, with suggestions including the elimination of reflection on the water, luring fish to a false refuge, and obscuring sudden movements by the bird. As @Peter Connan rightly pointed out over in my Big Year thread the last suggestion is really rubbish because they are moving all the time. It´s not like they spread their wings and then wait for a long time in that position, it´s wings out, wings in about a second. @Atdahl already alluded to this, say "Niiiight ... and daaaay" and you know the "rhythym". Their canopy behaviour is apparently instinctive, captive birds even "go umbrella" over a plate of food.

 

698_TR_IMG_2837.JPG.ae0cdee297e47006b3f3a43d352de5bb.JPG

 

Xaxanaka Gate, here I had my best-ever sighting of one of Africa´s coolest-looking birds, a White-Crested Helmet-Shrike.

 

50653472_696_TR_Botswana_2590_Moremi_White-CrestedHelmetshrike_(Weischopf-Brillenvanga).JPG.f91a7dd7a0c65d7b6ba7fb26915264cd.JPG

 

 

 

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LarsS

Two TR's covering Paradise Pools at the same time. I wonder if you would have had lunch there if you knew I spotted a lion there 🤔

 

Jokes aside, your trip gets better and better with every update. Lions and leopard among many other great sightings.

 

And not to forget, your photography is at least on par with the quality of sightings. Such a great TR to read and look at.

 

Where in Moremi were you staying?

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Peter Connan

I had not known that the Black egret umbrellas over a plate of food, thank you.

 

I must say, despite a huge number of incredible sightings, the one I am most envious of is the Greater Painted Snipe! Sad, I know...

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michael-ibk
20 hours ago, LarsS said:

Where in Moremi were you staying?

 

Hatab 9, between Gamdhabu Plains and Sithshi Pool.

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Alexander33
On 6/14/2019 at 1:57 PM, michael-ibk said:

 

I see poor J.B. gets no pity at all here, that´s not fair. And don´t believe a word @Alexander33 says his Woodhopoe/CB-Shrike fanatism was nothing against my "I must get every bird in Botswana" in madness.:)

 

 

Perhaps, but JB knew exactly what to expect from me, and still went on the trip. Actually,@michael-ibk, looking back on it, I think our individual obsessions balanced out one another quite nicely.

 

 

On 6/14/2019 at 1:57 PM, michael-ibk said:

 

Xaxanaka Gate, here I had my best-ever sighting of one of Africa´s coolest-looking birds, a White-Crested Helmet-Shrike.

 

 

Oh, wow, how could I have overlooked that?  In my haste to finish my post the other night, I skipped right by it.  Definitely a very cool-looking bird, and another good spot by Michael.

 

179549213_White-crestedHelmetshrikeIPSD.jpg.d17817878d83d165f1101e0cc762d995.jpg

 

 

1231513851_White-crestedHelmetshrikeIIPSD.jpg.2a73dc6a0bfb88091ff203f3100cedd1.jpg

 

 

Edited by Alexander33
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Alexander33

The morning greeted us with another brilliant show of Green Season sunshine. 

 

559739922_MoremiSunriseII.jpg.f3d17ed0f704ae9763e21e82d0a7588b.jpg

 

 

787108663_MoremiSunriseI.jpg.fd0984e29c3a1b772c8039f9ae727d99.jpg

 

 

1622448536_MoremiMorningLandscape.jpg.8cada456cc00b67ff9c9f3a58d57235f.jpg

 

 

The plan was to take a boat tour through parts of the Okavango Delta that were otherwise inaccessible.  We drove to the dock at a leisurely pace, stopping along the way for anything interesting.

 

Woodland Kingfisher, welcoming the morning with its telltale song.

 

139137980_WoodlandKingfisherI.jpg.07d9009f82ebbebd77639390fefb30f6.jpg

 

 

Nice-sized crocodile.

 

1293758914_CrocodileI.jpg.537edd21b9d8ff536cbe7840b9a91874.jpg

 

 

Two fishermen.

 

1595625198_CrocodileII.jpg.e704fd21553ab34ce0bd0fe5d4552eaa.jpg

 

 

Waterbuck cow and calf.

 

Waterbuck.jpg.37742a6bfddd7a21595b2fff561b7f0b.jpg

 

 

An entertaining troop of vervet monkeys.

 

379794446_VervetMonkeyI.jpg.8883cb225d8ebd7c1fee6f8178bf2dde.jpg

 

 

1490649912_VervetMonkeyIPSD.jpg.42556f00cd1f90e51f9cae3d485e40c8.jpg

 

 

581146013_VervetMonkeyIIPSD.jpg.4c0b8df5abff103a835c3381b62a9c20.jpg

 

 

Crested barbet

 

1837030295_CrestedBarbetIPSD.jpg.5c4a7ecc98cf55060763cf2461f35ed9.jpg

 

 

A small flock of African green pigeons posed in nice light, feeding on a fruit Doug called "bird plum" (appropriate-enough name).

 

1003560239_AfricanGreenPigeonIPSD.jpg.07ffafa18e80033d707520b71143339f.jpg

 

 

1954047332_AfricanGreenPigeonII.jpg.9ab56ac711761929c306950db378c5eb.jpg

 

 

1656116001_AfricanGreenPigeonIII.jpg.d1706a3b50c6a548c6e2b53f07e9c77c.jpg

 

 

And right by the dock, a Meyer's parrot peeking out from her nesting hole.

 

946196408_MeyersParrotIIIPSD.jpg.da25ce24b064092e73ad1f2ccac9387d.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by Alexander33
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Atravelynn

Beautiful G&T Leopard!  You had a lot to toast at sundowners.

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Alexander33

We had the boat to ourselves.  @AndMic, Doug, and I stayed on the lower, covered area, while, for the first half of the excursion, Michael and JB braved the bright sun and sat atop.

 

The landscape was just as I had expected the Okavango Delta to look, long watercourses and exposed islands built up from sediment over time.  Our driver did a masterful job of navigating the shallow waters.

 

1772403352_BoatRideI.jpg.331e2d24a95fa77285c7c874bf531924.jpg

 

 

1111315592_MoremiMorningLandscapeII.jpg.f91cb319bfe3edc7689e6cdb940f4de6.jpg

 

 

1879959919_MoremiMorningLandscapeIII.jpg.c878c3a6676c447af73fccfd07410ccc.jpg

 

 

765132745_MoremiMorningLandscapeIV.jpg.0eaef28dedf95fcd80e5ed7945763a9e.jpg

 

 

1856856063_MoremiMorningLandscapeIX.jpg.9d3be135251eb6654ce1991450c3d4b5.jpg

 

 

1542836497_MoremiMorningLandscapeV.jpg.f4c601c1231eaca0200e0a744d71f575.jpg

 

 

758693895_MoremiMorningLandscapeVI.jpg.a403746d4d62792d8b6dbf97ff135534.jpg

 

 

1640819369_MoremiMorningLandscapeVII.jpg.05910741c3fc88e5823e504aa79d9d3a.jpg

 

 

355870296_MoremiMorningLandscapeVIII.jpg.781332c36e9f15f24e9009f06d818721.jpg

 

 

We encountered several herds of elephants on some of the larger islands, but they were in no mood to get acquainted.

 

794044272_OkavqangoElephantsI.jpg.0783457391d2c22f41e117ac1940b438.jpg

 

 

565089928_OkavangoElephantsII.jpg.4a5c9338811ddcd9f55502c875461efd.jpg

 

 

A fish eagle soared overhead, inspecting everything.

 

605421692_FishEagleI.jpg.3f0946d11921d5eefe6ee186241ff037.jpg

 

 

At this point, let me make a confession.  I’m not really into water and shore birds, unless they are particularly colorful (like the kingfishers or gallinules, for example) or have some exceptional feature (like spoonbills).

 

This shy little guy seemed to stir up a fair bit of excitement on the boat.

 

Lesser jacana

 

1230052389_LesserJacanaIPSD.jpg.20327cc0e2bc82271c72f88e33a84c8f.jpg

 

 

What can I say?  I’m from Texas; we like big, showy, tacky, gaudy, colorful things.  I often call them “birds with bling.” 

 

Like this (another great spot by Michael when we stopped for coffee on one of the islands):

 

Pin-tailed whydah

 

1957295849_Pin-tailedWhydahIIPSD.jpg.24ea34448577e5f875726078a68259d6.jpg

 

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I like seeing and learning about water birds, and I thoroughly enjoyed our boat tour.  It added a valuable element to the context of our trip, and I’d go on another one in a heartbeat.  But since @michael-ibk knows a lot more about this subject than I, I’m going to return us to land at this point and let him round out our narrative of the boat excursion, as he will be able to do it much more justice.

 

 

Edited by Alexander33
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Alexander33

Our afternoon drive began fairly slowly, with my arch-nemesis green wood-hoopoes coming out to taunt me behind tall grasses and in deep shade.  Grrrr.....

 

1367993406_GreenWood-hoopoeIII.jpg.72b4bdae9427f7886240d3439201514d.jpg

 

 

1390047437_GreenWood-hoopoeIV.jpg.f55b0c732326d64100212e9eaa38aa65.jpg

 

 

As afternoon turned to evening, I was beginning to think it would be a very uneventful outing.  At that moment, my frustration was assuaged by MT the Leopard, who appeared almost out of nowhere.  (Has anyone taken up Michael on his challenge to guess why he dubbed her that?  His post was littered with clues…..).

 

2125998740_Leopard.Night2I.jpg.9ad4e43943d3a1869a93b6b9e744c164.jpg

 

 

She ambled by our vehicle, completely ignoring us as only cats can do, and walked up a termite mound to inspect her surroundings.

 

343452217_LeopardNight2II.jpg.abad621f1c5c5aa3259525cbf4496eb9.jpg

 

 

1477202815_LeopardNight2III.jpg.96923102fc584281b3d78a672c802b13.jpg

 

 

2084938932_LeopardNight2IV.jpg.d5e7061d1fd40647bda9b9c4a0975e83.jpg

 

 

But she didn’t linger.  It appeared she was on a mission and had little time to spare before nightfall.

 

40073334_LeopardNight2V.jpg.297c19fc05b28a2c22b7ebeda4378f9a.jpg

 

 

1942989721_LeopardNight2VI.jpg.dcca6e8477f53db126abe37a02b1a3b3.jpg

 

 

428414746_LeopardNight2VII.jpg.b41b6494a00b2cfddb4bf2a822ba9e9d.jpg

 

 

As she wandered on, she scared a poor, startled spurfowl straight up into a tree.

 

Spurfowl.jpg.5ec179eb8f1a5fe4f3998c64a3238527.jpg

 

 

We stopped for sundowners near an open field, where this side-striped jackal (I think our only one of the trip) began his evening rounds.

 

150100075_Side-stripedJackal.jpg.2ece487ba7b5d6b3ed1e7d75965e8c9a.jpg

 

 

We reflected with gratitude on our day, having seen the full range of the Okavango environment, and buoyed by our repeat sighting of the female leopard.

 

Little did we know then that she was holding back on us.

 

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Kitsafari

@Alexander33 arrrgghhhh how could you stop at that juncture and leave us hanging on in suspense!

 

On 6/15/2019 at 2:57 AM, michael-ibk said:

.. @Atdahl already alluded to this, say "Niiiight ... and daaaay" and you know the "rhythym". Their canopy behaviour is apparently instinctive, captive birds even "go umbrella" over a plate of food.

 

strangely, your description roused up a memory in the past when a group of us would gather for EPL (English premier league football) games and of a friend who used to order his meal before the game started. when the food arrived, he would spread one arm protectively around the plate while he tucked in. if he had wings, he would have been like the Black Egret too. 

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Atravelynn

The boat ride through the sunny delta is just what I needed on this cold and gray day here!

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michael-ibk

Let´s see what can I add to our first day in Moremi?

 

727_TR_IMG_2853.JPG.9cc0fae44d5bace80a7fda401d579600.JPG

 

Well, this report is titled "From Dawn till Dusk" so let´s do some dawn first.

 

728_TR_Botswana_2720_Moremi.JPG.c487eb51fb50123ab29e008c4b689126.JPG

 

We had plenty of time to admire the sun (barely) coming up since we had a flat tyre. Not a big problem two minutes out of camp, quickly fixed.

 

977141897_734_TR_Botswana_2738_Moremi_Saddle-BilledStork_(Sattelstorch).JPG.fdac091fd9df7bb90c4c44cd03437648.JPG

 

Saddle-Billed again, this time without killing helpless little frogs (unfortunately ;-)).

 

737_TR_Botswana_2755_Moremi_Impala_(Schwarzfersenantilope).JPG.1ec53c6018cbae40568ba869296999fd.JPG

 

One can´t help but wonder what kind of mischief these two little guys are up to.

 

583291508_739_TR_Botswana_2762_Moremi_VervetMonkey_(SdlicheGrnmeerkatze).JPG.97b3e892d6afa7168f4d49d798e4f51b.JPG

 

1274761491_747_TR_Botswana_2803_Moremi_MourningCollaredDove_(Brillentaube).JPG.a1591aec640efbc31a852e8c72149615.JPG

 

African Mourning Dove

 

881950582_748_TR_Botswana_2809_Moremi_Black-CollaredBarbet_(Halsband-Bartvogel).JPG.361a32dd3f6f59cae142db239b20be76.JPG

 

Black-Collared Barbet

 

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Ah, our boat trip. I just love these things, always so soothing and relaxing, a completely different atmosphere than driving around on bumpy tracks. And of course the constant breeze just feels wonderful in the Green Season heat.

 

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It´s a problem when doing a report months after the trip, I really cannot remember if we did not see all that many Hippos or just did not bother taking pictures of them.

 

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15 hours ago, Alexander33 said:

At this point, let me make a confession.  I’m not really into water and shore birds, unless they are particularly colorful (like the kingfishers or gallinules, for example) or have some exceptional feature (like spoonbills).

This shy little guy seemed to stir up a fair bit of excitement on the boat.

 

Pffff... Texans! ^_^;)

 

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453597458_773_TR_Botswana_2904_Moremi_LesserJacana_(Zwergblatthhnchen).JPG.59a7b5cf92fc2cb009472832e6c8a18a.JPG

 

Lesser Jacana was actually one of my top birding targets for the boat trip so I was very happy to find a couple of them. Much, much rarer that their familiar cousins and a lifer for me. A near-threatened species. It´s frequently excluded by the much bigger African Jacana and is therefore retreating to areas of floating grass inaccessible to its heavier rival.

 

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Some more familiar feathered fellows:

 

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Pied Kingfisher

 

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Squacco, ready to strike.

 

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We regularly had to stop for our captain to remove all this thick stuff entangling the motor.

 

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Another lifer for me, White-Backed Duck.

 

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432939887_774_TR_Botswana_2911_Moremi_PurpleHeron_(Purpurreiher).JPG.f2be5f08485390cd4f25196b479d6da2.JPG

 

Purple Heron, very common deeper inside the Delta - but shy.

 

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Our boat, a really good design. It was easier to get BIFs (like the Fish Eagle) from upside, and in general this is the better position to spot stuff, but photos are more pleasing from below. I climbed up and down a couple of times. We had two pretty frustrating "Almost-sightings" - Doug alerted us to Otters but where he pointed I could only see a splash of the water. And half a minute later he went "Sitatunga". When I climbed up the roof I could see the movement in the reed but not really anything of the animal itself.

 

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African Pygmy Goose, another classic Delta bird, and one of the prettiest of the Duck/Goose-type group IMO.

 

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While our venturing into the Delta had been very laid-back and slow-going our captain picked up the speed on the way back - which was fun as well.

 

 

The afternoon was more quiet. All the ususal suspects were around but since it was pretty grey and gloomy there was little point in taking photos.

 

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Although I can never resist a Hoopoe, especially when it´s going Crest up.

 

576244052_TR_Botswana_3029_Moremi_GreatWhitePelican_(Rosapelikan).JPG.f6c0824594ea427570aa5671be5304d2.JPG

 

And we had our only sighting of Pelicans.

 

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M.T. obviously was the star of the drive, and again we had her all for ourselves. Matambo did alert the other cars but when the first one arrived on the scene she had just gone off in the bush.

 

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Sometimes you just have to hate twigs and similarly obnoxious green stuff!

 

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We had our sundowners at Dead Tree´s Island, very close to - fittingly - "Doug´s Island".

 

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Edited by michael-ibk
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michael-ibk

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We set off to an all-day tour next morning, all the way down to Xini Lagoon and back via First, Second and Third Bridge.

 

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The weather was nice enough at first.

 

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And I used the second of our two flat tyre stops to stalk some Little Bee-Eaters. It was a good thing another Letaka team was nearby to help us out with a new tyre.

 

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All in all, this turned out to be a mostly long, exhausting but unrewarding day. We drove and drove and drove but really did not find anything of particular interest.

 

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And even as a hardcore birder I will confess a game drive in Moremi with Woodpeckers as highlights is certainly lacking.

 

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Woodland Kingfisher, a quintessential Green Season bird. They only start to arrive when the rains come, and then their lovely "Trrrrrrrrrr..rrrrr" is everywhere. I really missed this sound a lot when back home. Even wanted to title this report "Call of the Woodland Kingfisher" but @Hads had the same idea and was quicker. :)

 

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Ultimately it was just one of these days when luck runs out, and of course one cannot expect to have top sightings all the time. Especially in this period of abundance when animals widely disperse to find more tasty stuff away from the dry season "best" areas which are hammered all the time and where vegetation builds up way more chemical repellents against herbivores.

 

So no need to grumble, right? No, but of course everybody wants to have top sightings all the time so obviously we were a bit frustrated, spoiled brats that we are. B)

 

2146506212_TR_Botswana_3363_Moremi_DwarfBittern_(Graurckendommel).JPG.13c5b2bb54a34d724b96447e70eb0b26.JPG

 

A Dwarf Bittern, also a new species for me. We saw three individuals.

 

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We had our only Buffalo herd sighting but that also did not exactly set the world on fire.

 

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The area between Second and Third Bridge was very game-rich but the sun was nowhere to be seen and our hope to see cooler predators than Jackals (no offence, little guy!) would be disappointed.

 

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Crossings were fun, more than once we thought there´s not way to move on now but Matambo did some pretty awesome submarine tricks. Whenever we thought this is finally a dead end he just shrugged and went "Yes we can!". And we could!

 

 

1235717661_TR_Botswana_3428_Moremi_BlueWildebeest_(Streifengnu).JPG.dfb3029d882bddf002668f94ecab3437.JPG

 

Young Wildebeest having fun.

 

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Especially for @Peter Connan - another Greater Painted-Snipe.

 

So, all in all a pretty sub-par day? Yes, no need to deny that, it was. But only after 07.30. Because early that very same morning we had the absolute top sighting of the whole trip, and it was probably only fair that the Safari Gods decided we had seen enough goodness for one day.

 

I´ll leave it to @Alexander33 to show you what I´m talking about.

Edited by michael-ibk
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Peter Connan

You're not helping @michael-ibk

 

Lovely photos! And a great sighting of the Little Bittern as well.

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Towlersonsafari

Lovely report and was it called MT  @Alexander33 because those type of vessels make most noise?

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LarsS
On 6/15/2019 at 8:00 PM, michael-ibk said:

 

Hatab 9, between Gamdhabu Plains and Sithshi Pool.

 

Found it on the map. Looks like a very good spot for a campsite. Just on the boundary of dry and wet roads. I was very curious about the wet roads and how landscape would like there, but we didn't risk problems on wet crossings like in your video. We did a few, but shorter ones where we would get out of the car to check it on foot first and then drive through. Those longer crossings look like fun to drive through!

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Alexander33
9 hours ago, Towlersonsafari said:

Lovely report and was it called MT  @Alexander33 because those type of vessels make most noise?

 

 

Good guess, but, under the circumstances, that might have been a better rationale if we had been trying to devise a temporary moniker for @michael-ibk  :P.

 

Nope, everything you need to know is contained in this one post:

 

 

On 6/14/2019 at 1:34 PM, michael-ibk said:

Since I shoutedcalled this Leopard I feel entitled to honour my fabulous spotting skills with a few more pictures.

 

The lady was behind some bushes right next to the road, and since I was sitting in the last row and therefore higher up she was in plain sight for me, obviously not for the others. It was such a surprise seeing this beautiful cat here that I burst out even worse than Peter described I´m afraid. :o

 

I have to confess this is a bit of a thing with me, so you should never join me on safari. We were chatting with some guys in the Aberdares when a Black Rhino (a super-rare thing to see there, the ranger wanted my photos afterwards) decided to join in on the conversation and looked at us right from the middle of the road. My "RHINO!!!" shocked the poor thing so badly that it almost slipped when it frantically ran off. And when we were Gorilla tracking we were told to be quiet and not point at them when we´d find them. When we did (I was first of the group to see them, arrived right in the middle of them after a bend) I pointed at the biggest meanest Silverback and spluttered "Go-go-go-go ... Gorilla!". B)

 

We followed this spotted Queen for more than half an hour on the road - completely undisturbed, not a single other car present for all of that. And that in Xaxanaxa, probably the  most busy area of Moremi NP. All hail the Green Season!

 

I think Matambo told us the name of Mrs. Leopard, obviously she is not a shy one and well known to the guides. But the name was too uncool for us, and so we decided to give her a new one.

 

Since I was the glorious spotter we decided it would have to be something Austrian. Ultimately it came down to "M.T." - if anyone finds out what that stands for I will hand out a very cool prize, like finding a Giant Pangolin or something like.:)

 

 

 

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