26 June 2013

Birds in the Kruger Park - post 3

Here is another post of some birds photographed in the  Kruger Park

Blacksmith Lapwing

Crested Barbet, these birds are such characters 

One of the most colourful birds in the Park, Lilacbreasted Roller

Martial Eagle

female Redbilled Hornbill

Redbreasted Swallow

Southern Ground Hornbill with a snack

Tawny Eagle

Verrouxs (Giant) Eagle Owl

Whitebrowed Robin-Chat feeding its youngster

Whitecrowned Lapwing

Whitefronted Bee-eater taken in the rain at Pafuri

Wiretailed Swallows at Letaba during the floods

25 June 2013

Unusual Blackcollared Barbet behaviour

Whilst at Lower Sabie Rest Camp I witnessed some very unusual behaviour by a Blackcollared Barbet at a Masked Weavers nest. After speaking to numerous experts we still cannot come to any conclusions as to why the Barbet was doing this. They don't take over nests and hollow out a hole in a trunk as their nest, there was no eggs or youngsters in the nest and it did not remove anything from the nest. Needless to say the Weaver was close by and actually chased the Barbet away.

Blackcollared Barbet having an inspection

Just looking towards the nests owner that was sitting in a tree close by complaining

Another look inside

Shouting at the Weaver that just attacked the Barbet

A final inspection before being chased away

The Blackcollared Barbet after it was chased away

24 June 2013

Kruger Park Animals - post 2

The second post of some of the animals encountered in the Kruger Park during the floods of January 2013

Dwarf Mongoose, common in most of the camps and throughout the park

Impala doe and a Redbilled Oxpecker have in quiet conversation 

Impala ram. There are so many Impala in the park, they do however serve a purpose in that they are prey for the huge number of predators

This Leopard actually walked across the road in front of the vehicle, unfortunately by the time I stopped and got the camera in my hands this was the best I could do

Lion on the road, this guy is so fat from eating he actually just lay down on the road and rested, not caring about the traffic jam he was causing. Then again its not a bad way to be caught in a traffic jam

Plains Zebra

Sharpes Grysbok, a very uncommon sighting to see, this was actually seen before we arrived at Punda Maria Rest Camp, we had only been the park for 20 minutes and saw them on 3 other occasions. Now what is so uncommon about that

Another photo of the Thicktailed Bushbaby

Waterbuck. Easily identified by the target on its rear

White Rhino. You can no longer tell people where you see these magnificent animals just in case they are scouts for a poacher syndicate. Its sad to think that in a few years they will become extinct unless something can be done to protect them, and the poachers want is the horn as in the east it is said to cure cancer and also used as an aphrodisiac, what a load of rubbish.

22 June 2013

Kruger Park floods - Jan 2013

During January 2013 Kruger Park was hit by some of the worst flooding in history, most of the flooding was caused by rain that fell in the catchment area of the major rivers, which is outside of the park itself. The flooding at Punda Maria Rest Camp and surrounds was due to rain that fell inside the park. This rain started the day before we arrived in the park and the night before the staff at Punda Maria worked throughout the night digging drainage furrows in the camping area. Luckily for us that was the worst of it during our stay, although we did have some heavy rain the days were relatively dry, although as with the whole of the park the dirt roads were closed for most of the time.

The road to Crooks Corner was a total no go

Just outside of Punda Maria Rest Camp

next to the main road between Punda Maria Gate and Pafuri road

the clearing for the electricity pylons soon became a water hazard. The next day this water had all disappeared 
Letaba River as seen from the restaurant on 19th January

Letaba River from the same spot on 20th January
Letaba River from the same area but on 21st January. the fence around the camp was totally under water in some places. The water was 1m below the 2000 flood line, the worst floods in recorded history

21st January, the high level bridge was under water. This bridge is 10 to 15m above the river bed

The Letaba River was flowing quickly and trees were being carried down river

21 June 2013

Birds of the Kruger - Post 2

The next set of photos of some of the birds that I saw in the Kruger, my total count for the trip was 240 species, considering the rain that we had was not a bad total.

African Scops Owl

A poor photo of a very special bird, Black Coucal. Some people visit the park 6 times a year for weekend breaks and never see this bird. It was a long way from the road and there is only so much that you can do with a 300mm lens

male Blackbacked Puffback, in Natal where I stay we have a different subspecies which has an orange eye, not the red eye of this subspecies

immature Carmine Bee-eater, a very common bird in the north of the park

Greater Blue-eared Starling, common throughout the park

Greyheaded Bushshrike, I took this photo at Letaba Rest Camp

Pied Kingfisher looking for lunch in the Sabie River

Redbilled Oxpecker hitching a lift on a Giraffe 

Yellowbilled Hornbill a bird I refer to as a flying banana for obvious reasons

Spotted Flycatcher

20 June 2013

Birds of the Kruger - post 1

The start of many of the birds that I was able to photograph whilst in the Kruger National Park in January 2013

African Mourning Dove. A very common bird in most of the rest camps

Arrowmarked Babbler. Such happy but noisy birds in their family groups

male Bennett's Woodpecker. I took this photo at Berg en Dal campsite, possibly the easiest place to see this Woodpecker. One of the few woodpeckers that is knwn to feed on the ground

Brownheaded Parrot. Taken in Berg en Dal rest camp

Eurasian Roller with breakfast. One of most common birds that we saw on the trip

Greenbacked Heron

Hamerkop on the left and Little Egret on the right

One of favorite bird photo's, this Jacobin Cuckoo was happy just to sit for me

Lesser Masked Weaver at Shingwedzi Rest Camp, 3 days before the camp was flooded and only the roofs of the units were visible. The sad thing is that the birds would have to abandon their nests including any eggs and nestlings

White Stork in flight

Yellowbilled Oxpecker