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  1. 30 likes
    On our second full day we left the lake for our morning drive and explored the area South of Konkamoya. It was much drier here of course, but not as barren as one could expect that late in the season (Zambia had good rain this year), and the wildflowers sparkled up the landscape. Game was much sparser (TseTses were not) but it was a very nice and tranquil morning. Spot the Jackal. Warthogs were quite common but did not appreciate our presence too much - we mostly saw their tails. By a small creek we found a colony of White-Fronted Bee-Eaters. All of this area should be perfect terrain for Kudu but we did not see too many of them. It´s pretty obvious this area is nowhere near its carrying capacity yet. If I understood correctly (probably not) this plant is kind of living upside down. What we see is just a tiny part of it and 90 % of it grows and expands subterraneanly. Many Impala females were already very pregnant, they were just waiting for the rain to drop their young ones. We did see one baby (probably one of the very first of the season). Here with some Reedbuck in the background. Watching this Gymnogene was very cool - it actually changed colour from red to yellow! I knew they can do that but had no idea that fast. What kind of Baboon is this? Actually a rather complicated question. The general thinking was it´s Yellow Baboons to be found all over Zambia but most authorities now consider the so-called "Kinda Baboon" a full species in its own right. Kindas are apparently a bit smaller and have shorter faces than their yellow cousins. According to IUCN there are only Kindas in Zambia but it appears to be quite a confusing matter - some people apparently are of the opinion both species are present in Kafue, and to make it more complicated, are even hybridising a lot. Zambia, as Doug said, is blessed with water. I was thrilled to finally get a photo of a Giant Kingfisher - a bird I´ve been hoping to see for many trips now. A large flock of Great White Pelicans was soaring above us and then coming down, always something special to see.
  2. 26 likes
    One last batch and then it´s over, promise. Once in a while a Zebra or even a very brave Impala would come down to drink at the pan. Bloodthirsty people that we are we were hoping for some action but the Dogs were in no mood for sports. I often wonder why we like them so much - many people don´t. I´m sure most of you will have gotten the same reaction. When I show holiday pics to friends and family and they see the Dogs they say "Oh, that´s a Hyena, yes?" or a "They are not very pretty, are they?". Yet for many of us a good Dog sighting often is the highlight of a safari. I´d guess it´s their social nature, that they take care of each other, have very strong bonds, and that´something that resonates with us. Or we respect their efficiency, that they are so successful as predators. Or it´s because their pups are so cute. I don´t know. But I do know that sitting with them for this morning made me very, very happy.
  3. 25 likes
    I´m sorry I cannot offer much information about this pack. There are three around AFAIK and they all have very complicated names, Nyamamatusi, Chiruwe, Nagasomething, and I´ve become far too lazy to do notes on trips these days. @Atravelynn, another very good reason why you should come with us for every trip. What I can say is that they were very cool and splendid Dogs to spend a morning with. The interesting thing while watching Dogs is you barely seem to register for them, most of the time they completely ignore you. It´s as if we´re on two different planes of existence (yes, sorry, I´m one of these SciFi nerds). Sharp teeth indeed. Dogs are fearsome, super-effective predators, but I do not worry at all in their vicinity. I have a huge respect for Big Cats and would never be as comfortable in their presence as with Dogs on foot. Why is that? It would be so easy for them to gang up on one human lying there next to them, presenting his well-nourished meaty form, and just rip you apart. But they never do, I do not think there have been any reliable recordings of Dogs attacking man. So maybe it´s that knowledge why us safaristas don´t fear them? Or just because they look so much like our family dogs? An Egret just to get a bit more White into this post. Wikipedia tells me there are five subspecies of Dogs. Here in Southern Africa it´s the Cape Wild Dog (Subspecies picturs), the other four are East African (darker), West African, Chadian and Somali (smaller). The pack numbered 15 I seem to remember, seven pups among them - and of course these are just adorable to watch. The elders much more aloof.
  4. 23 likes
    And indeed, Doug soon found tracks, and we were heading away from the flood plains, still hoping to find our canine friends. We stopped at Shumba Pan - and struck gold! The pack was there, lying in the shadows at the other side. I wouldn´t even have noticed them and that is why probably nobody else was around - they were all ours! So we took our gear, walked over and enjoyed 90 private minutes sitting with the Dogs. They liked to decorate themselves. As it was still early (07:30) they were still active, were playing, running around, interacting - wonderful to watch for us!
  5. 21 likes
    We had a mission the next day - find the Dogs, come what may! It was again very hazy and cloudy - here at Chisasiko. A Buffalo herd interrupted our hunt. One of my photographic missions - find a Buffalo whose face says "Oh, I´m so happy and this is such a great day." It´s a difficult quest but I haven´t given up hope yet. More obstacles coming up - an Elephant herd was enjoing their breakfast tree on the road. It was a nice sigthing and we watched this family for quite some time. See Buffaloes, this is how it´s done - life is good. But we had to move forward, time was ticking away, and soon the Dogs would go rest and sleep, we had to hurry. - Hey Starling, have you seen the Dogs? Yes, just follow the Kudu guys, she will lead you there. We´ll see.
  6. 17 likes
    This a belated and brief report on a trip taken to Naboisho and Olderikesi from 17th to 24th August 2017. It may be of limited interest to those, like me, who hadn't realised that such a thing could be arranged. My wife and I had, for some time, harboured the wish to take our grandchildren on safari. The problem, collectively, was the age disparity. The youngest grandson was very young to consider taking, but I'm getting very old. We decided to go for it this year as the optimum, though less than ideal, time. The party was originally to consist of self, wife, son, daughter-in law, grandson of 5 and granddaughter of 8. It was increased by the decision of my daughter-in-law's parents to join us. I undertook quite a lot of research without, at first, finding an ideal destination. I was looking for a genuine wildlife and wilderness experience at a budget price. I thought that Gametrackers' wilderness camps in Kenya might suit us, but was informed that they wouldn't accept children below the age of 12, quite understandable given the probability of other safari-goers having to put up with the small children of strangers. I found Kingfisher safaris in Botswana, which might have worked, but for the extended travel time. I then e-mailed Zarek Cockar for ideas and he was able to arrange the trip for us (with a variety of destinations offered). I hadn't previously realised that licensed guides can book exclusive camp sites in the Mara Conservancies that are not available to others. Zarek hired in the cooks, vehicles, drivers, camp staff and tents from Nairobi-based companies which specialise in safari outfitting. We settled for the two Mara Conservancies mentioned above. On arrival in Kenya, we spent the first night in a Nairobi hotel before flying from Wilson to the Olseki landing strip in the Mara. Zarek met us with two safari vehicles (a third, with trailer, acting as the supply vehicle was at the camp) and we game drove our way back to the Naiboisho campsite at which we spent 4 nights. We then moved to a beautiful campsite in Olderikesi for 3 nights. We flew back to Nairobi via Keekorok and thence to our international flight without having to spend another night in Nairobi. While at Olderikesi, we spent two half days (equal in cost to one full day) in the National Reserve where most of the party saw two leopards and a serval plus, of course, many other species and even an exclusive mini crossing (drama-free in respect of casualties) of the Sand River by wildebeest and zebra. The great advantage of our arrangement was that we travelled as an exclusive group, having both campsites to ourselves and thus not having to worry about bothering or being bothered by other safari-goers. The cost was no greater than we would have expected to pay in Gametrackers' Adventure camps. Given that it was August and high season, we saw remarkably few other vehicles on game drives and had all but one of the major sightings (one of the two leopards). to ourselves. The only downside of this time of year is the exorbitant cost of international flights, unavoidable because of the children. I had expected Zarek to be a highly informed guide, being one of only a couple of handfuls to have aspired to gold level. I was not disappointed! What I couldn't necessarily have anticipated was his enormous empathy with the children which went way beyond the call of duty. When not busy showing them things and educating them, he was inveigled into playing elementary card games instead of afternoon siestas and made to indulge in games of "wink murder" around the fire after dinner. Grandson George was inconsolable when he finally had to depart from his new best friend. In fact, on the flight home, he was demanding an imminent return trip. There was one downside to the trip in that my wife had a severe gut problem of 12 h duration on our last night at Naiboisho and then we had to get to Olderikesi next day. Accordingly, I plugged her with immodium, but she became very dehydrated so that she eventually ended up in the Health Clinic in the Maasai town of Ololaimutiek on an intravenous drip. Anyway, she recovered, but she and I missed the leopard and serval sightings in the National Reserve despite catching up with the rest of the party there later in the day. I'll finish with a few photographs that are an attempt to highlight the less typical parts of the trip. Please don't take them as an indication that we didn't see a lot of wildlife. We certainly did and greatly appreciated our time, both in the Conservancies and in the much less crowded south east of the National Reserve. On the first afternoon there we entered through the Ololaimutiek Gate and left via the Sand River Gate. Next morning, we entered direct from the adjacent Olderikesi Conservancy before getting to the Keekorok airstrip a few hours later. Sleeping arrangements. Longdrop and bucket shower behind Kitchen Messing arrangements Whistling thorns and ant associations proved an interesting topic for discussion What's under this rock? Oh, a lizard, watch it go! Hang about though! There's still a beetle here (below) Faecal examination requires a lot of concentration But a bit of unscheduled muck spreading allows for subsequent relaxation. The armed bush walk is a classical activity, but, my God, does it have to preceded by so may instructions? serious stuff takes massive concentration and it can prove a bit tiring. The bed of the sand river at Olderikesi provided opportunities for lessons in elementary volcanology. Photography, of course, is all part of the deal Getting granny to the health clinic had its exciting moments and, finally, a few of many animal shots - just to prove we were being serious. Missing are shots of hippos and vervets, which, for some reason, proved to be George's favourites.
  7. 14 likes
    Thank you @AandA Our camp was situated on the banks of a shallow marsh. It was interesting to watch animals coming down to drink. After lunch, I decided to take a brief nap. But the tent had become quite hot and it was difficult to sleep. I decided to spend my time lying in the shade of a large tree in front of the camp. It was quite cool under the tree and gentle breeze made it even more comfortable. Some camp photos. Bar/ Tea-Coffee station Closer Look Dining tent Lunch made by Flo. Simply delicious Lunch Bread Post Lunch Siesta/ Game viewing We headed out for our afternoon drive at about 4 pm. We came across a Tawny Eagle A Mieve's Starling Double banded Sandgrouse- Female Male Photographing a dead tree with interesting pattern: Theo and Senthil Didn't turn out too well. It would be much more interesting at night with star trails in the background We found some lion spoor and searched for them, in vain. Instead we found Wild Dogs, again. It was very brief sighting and we lost them in thick bush. It was soon getting dark and we headed home. As compared to yesterday evening, today was a quiet day. At night while having dinner, we heard some commotion in front of our camp. We heard wild dogs calling from our right side followed by response from our left. Brian guessed that the pack was somehow split up and now the members were trying to get back together. It was followed by laughing sound of hyenas, for me the quintessential sound of Africa. Brian scouted the marshy area in front of the camp with his torch. No surprises there. 3-4 hyenas were running across, whooping excitedly. Their whooping was immediately followed by contact calls of wild dogs. Soon a lone wild dog was running across from our left to right. He briefly encountered the hyenas, but without hesitation ran around them and probably reunited with his pack. After watching this interesting interaction, I called it a day and retired to the tent. Tomorrow a new day in the bush awaited!
  8. 13 likes
    Due to my terribly limited photography skills I wasn't able to take the photos which I wanted of all the dreams animals that I saw for the first , second or even third time. Nevertheless I did get a lot of good shots of antelope. I have never seen so many sable bulls before as well red hartebeest.
  9. 12 likes
    A: Me, now. I'm not as clever with my words as @michael-ibkand @pault, but I have some surprises up my sleeve for my trip report. Most days held new treats; some of which I'm still trying to track down the answers. A little background information for new readers: I agonized for months about my first trip to Africa until finally surrendering to the fact that I would have to leave hubby Harry home in June 2017. A colleague and I, along with our teenage daughters, went to Kenya for two weeks. When I had to cancel my second, previously arranged safari to Zimbabwe scheduled for early November due to Harry's unforeseen foot surgery in late October, I hoped that we might get to travel to Africa while his foot healed before returning to work. All of the stars aligned, and we knocked out a trip in less than a week, and took off three or four weeks later. So... Will I finally see the migration after missing it in the Maasai Mara by two days? Any new species on the list? Which cats played a prominent role? Have I improved my photography skills? Any new friends made? My first question of this post: How old is the cub below and where is mama? Did she end up as a meal? Still no answers. Tarangire National Park. (Lion was tenderly grooming the cub; looked like he was tasting her.)
  10. 12 likes
    After a nine year wait I was able to return to Africa. After reading so much about Doug and Mana Pools on this site, I knew this is what I wanted. The Zambia part was suggested by Doug as he had already had a trip planned to Kafue and Liuwa Plains with a client who wanted other people to join in order to keep the costs down. I was originally concerned about going in November but the price was right and I didn't want to wait until next year. We arrived in Victoria Falls on November 9, stayed at Bayete Lodge and took a flight to Hwange the next day. Doug was not joining us until we got to Mana. We had a great guide at Davison's Camp saw elephant, buffalo, hippo, wildebeest and eland on our game drive from the air field to camp. Upon arriving at camp about 6:00pm we heard a lion close to camp and jumped back into the vehicle and found a beautiful male. After dinner that evening when we were escorted to our tent we saw the lion walking through camp not far from our tent. It was wonderful to hear his calls during the night and I was thrilled to be back in Africa! The next day we came upon two lionesses with their kill and the rest of the day produced zebra, buffalo, impala, sable, eland, giraffe and lots and lots of elephants. Sundowners were at a water hole where dozens and dozens of elephants keep coming to drink. It was great to see how calm they were even with their young. I found Davison camp much less regumented then the Wilderness camps we were at in Botswana eleven years ago.
  11. 11 likes
    And in the hide, a wonderful sighting of the Common Moorhen (already counted, No. 135, Post #222): First time I have seen a chick, and to have been able to capture it being fed was special.
  12. 11 likes
    198) Diederick's Cuckoo Diederikkie Chrysococcyx caprius A personal favourite which, just for once, posed at eye level and in half-decent light, so apologies for the overload... Now just for one with a clean background... 11 November, Siyaya Lodge, Dinokeng
  13. 11 likes
    We then went to Lake Baringo where we stayed at Tumbili Cliff Lodge. We also made an excursion to Lake Bogoria.
  14. 11 likes
    I flew back to Nairobi and after two nights I went on safari with @Zarek Cockar We went to Aberdares, Kitale, Saiwa Swamp National Park, Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria and Kakamega Forest. I was fortunate enough to see giant forest hog repeatedly as well as sitatunga at Saiwa Swamp National Park, two species which had long been high on my list dream animals. My sightings of birds and monkeys were just fantastic. Needless to say i throughly enjoyed the scenery everywhere I went.
  15. 11 likes
    386/E162.) Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) / Ringdrossel Westfalenhaus, Lüsental, 26/8/2017. Another alpine specialty. A juvenile here, and the only one I´ve found this year of this species. And a pair of Siskins just because I really liked that pose.
  16. 10 likes
    So today was my last day on home turf and I failed miserably. Heck I even took my camera when shopping. Nothing of note. So friends and followers, no more Manx birds to go in this year's total. Sob! (That's not an American expletive but an expression of grief.) But all is not lost for 2017. My BY will end where it started. Namibia (although technically Jan 1st was Kasane in Botswana on the way to the Border.) Hopefully a mid day start on 9th Dec in Windhoek should kick start somethng and then a slow run through the north and west to end the year on Dec 31st at Sossusvlei. A lot of what I hope to see will be duplicates of course but I remain hopeful of a few more new ones. Surely both Flamingo and White-fronted Plovers won't let me down? Target birds are Angola Cave Chat, Cinderella Waxbill and Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush. I know @PeterHG is following i my tracks in February so if I find some good stuff I will leave some bread crumbs as markers. Doctors orders limit me to one glass per day but I will raise it to you at Christmas and New Year. Cheers.
  17. 10 likes
    I also saw waterbuck, as well as colobus, skye's monkey, and olive baboons. I did manage to see living elephants, bushbuck and waterbuck. Alas, I only managed to get photos of skye'a (blue) monkeys and waterbuck and these photos of skittish at a distance. I was surprised to see that there are living elephants in the Aberdare's, but I don't know how many. I feel that Aberdare's could be and should be thriving National Park again if either the Ark or Treetops could be renovated and upgraded or a new lodge could move in. It's a shame that park receives very few visitors since it's so green and lovely; it could receive more visitors with little more effort.
  18. 10 likes
    No matter how many times I've seen rhinos before I'm never tired of them. Who wouldn't be? Of course I'm glad that these rhinos are totally safe from poachers.
  19. 10 likes
    Today was our last day in Moremi as tomorrow we would be heading to Khwai. We started before sunrise, so that we could find an interesting animal to photograph in good light. We headed to open areas where we could have better chances at shooting some good photographs. The grass and wild sage bush was quite tall in most places, making finding and photographing animals quite difficult. Brian put it down to some late rains in the delta, which had sustained the growth of grasses and the bushes. We came across a large pool of hippos just as the sun was rising. Came across a fish eagle perched nicely on top of a relatively short tree. I couldn't resist in trying my hand at some flight shots. There were some other opportunities as well as there is no dearth of birds in Okavango! An African Darter in flight. Driving on we came across a really big herd of buffalo. Brain was really excited to see such a big herd. (He must have seen buffaloes a zillion times, but it was really nice to see his genuine enthusiasm which I admit was quite infectious). Tried some backlit shots. A mother and calf African debt collector! That "Don't you dare mess with me" look A poor attempt to be creative After spending some time with the impressive herd, we moved close to the third bridge area. There were some cheetah tracks on the road. We tried to find the owners, but the search was not fruitful. We crossed the Third Bridge to see what's happening on the other side. A lonely Yellow Billed Stork was busy fishing in the stream. Close up of the beautiful bird Some more birds on the other side. An African Spoonbill A pair of male lechwes engaged in ?mock fighting We came across a lodge vehicle while watching these lechwes. The guide told us that he had seen a couple of cheetahs in the morning, just where we had found the tracks (on the other side of Third Bridge). He gave us an idea about where they would be resting. We turned back and followed his directions. After some searching, bingo! There were 2 cheetahs, one male and one female. Looking at their manes, they looked like subadult siblings which had probably just separated from their mother. The male was resting in the shade of a termite mound, close to the road while the female was some distance away, lying under a thick bush. The male was quite relaxed, but the female didn't like us much and slinked into thicker bush. We decided to wait and see if they deicide to hunt. But it was starting to get hot and the chances of anything exciting happening were next to nil. After some time, the male got up moved next to the female. We headed back to camp for lunch and siesta, deciding to come back in the afternoon. When we came back at about 4:30 pm, the female had moved into another bush but the male was out in the open, posing for some close ups. There were some impalas coming down to drink in a nearby pool. He seemed to be taking some keen interest in them. But after showing some intent, he just flopped down and went back to sleep. As we waited, there were plenty of birds around to keep me busy. A Pelican and some spoonbills. Some of the birds had decided to call it a day and were flying to their roosting sites. A spoonbill in flight A grey heron We positioned our vehicle in such way that we had the cheetah between us and the sun, hoping for a silhouette. We just forgot to inform the subject of our plan. I had to settle for this. As the sun dipped below the horizon, we headed back to the camp. We had a significant distance to cover in a short time. As luck would have it, we had a familiar sighting. Well that was the end of Moremi part of our trip. Tomorrow we head to Khwai!
  20. 9 likes
    326) White Wagtail One of a pair of stowaways that travelled from Hong Kong to Vietnam on our cruise ship. White Wagtail. Motacilla alba by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  21. 9 likes
    Thank you @Tdgraves, @Galana and @xelas Indeed... 203) Red-chested Cuckoo Piet-my-vrou Cuculus solitarius This year is only the second time I have seen this bird, but I saw it twice, in different locations. Neither time was it being particularly co-operative though. 18 Noivember, Rust de Winter 24 November, Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, Roodepoort
  22. 9 likes
    Since Wednesday's near miss on a target bird I have persisted when the weather permitted a couple of hours out. Still looking for a Common Kestrel and whilst one was sighted I failed miserably to get closer. Ah well. The quest continued today and whilst waiting in the forest I took the opportunity to "refresh" #57 & #59. #57. Goldfinch. Ballakesh Plantation. IOM. and:- #59. Dunnock. Ballakesh Plantation. IOM Note they are feeding on conifers where I hoped to finds today's target at last. But first I got a bonus bird that has dropped by on the cold north winds. 490. Common Redpoll. Ballakesh. IOM. An uncommon winter visitor. and then my luck and patience paid off. Less than 10 to go for #500:- Britain's smallest bird surrendered at last. 491. Goldcrest.Ballakesh Plantation.IOM I was prepared to resort to EBC for this lovely mite as they are very agile but one did sit still for a nano second and I nailed it. Now for that bloomin Kestrel.
  23. 9 likes
    Thanks @Dave Williams Considering that some of the places I go to have got bird lists far in excess of my count in very small areas (Marievale for instance is a couple of square kilometers and have a bird list in excess of 350), I should probably be able to do better even without travelling, Whatever the case may be, I do enjoy the time spent searching for new birds, and the challenge of trying to get decent photos to share. 202: Pearl-spotted Owl Witkoluil Glaucidium perlatum Walking around in the campsite early in the morning (still before sunrise), I came across a tree with some unknown noises eminating from the upper branches. Searching and sercahing, I noticed about four little fluff-balls rather high up. A few high-ISO, low SS shots gave me an inkling, and I waited right there untill the sun came up, taking a couple of shots every 5 minutes or so. Of course, they buggered off before the sunlight caught up with them... 18 November, Rust de Winter
  24. 9 likes
    Not at all, @SafariChick , very good advice indeed, am considering getting this stuff for March now. Of course, sorry if I gave a wrong impression, wouldn´t want anybody to think leaving your tents open would be advisable. As mentioned we only opened up the back flaps which open up to the "bathroom", so of course there still was a full barrier to keep unwanted guests outside.
  25. 9 likes
    197) Steppe Buzzard Bruinjakkalsvoel Buteo vulpinus 11 November, Dinokeng
  26. 9 likes
    Finally we come to the end of the East African Trip. I hope my different way of grouping the photos did not confuse anyone and helped prevent inadvertent duplications and miscounts. Woodpeckers:- 469. Nubian. Ithumba Camp. Tsavo East, Kenya. 470. Green-backed (sometime Little Spotted) Woodpecker. Lake Chala, Tanzania. 471. Grey Woodpecker. Tarangire NP. Tanzania. 472. Bearded Woodpecker. Tandala Camp, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. . 473. Elliott's Woodpecker. Ruhija, Bwindi Forest, Uganda. Back home now. If anyone would like further details of this trip just ask. For my taste there was a tad too much driving which got in the way of birding sometimes or slowed us down when we did not let it. Total species count was 420 so quite a few 'got away from the camera' so I need to work harder if there is a next time but I can only take so much staring into green canopies per day/hour. Now to try and boost the 'local' list.
  27. 9 likes
    As always, I was delighted to see that my favorite animal African wild dogs had returned to Tswalu Kalahari. I have to thank my buddy @Kitboey for informing me that the dogs had returned to Tswalu Kalahari. Of course it increased my tremendous enthusiasm to return there.
  28. 8 likes
    426/ZZ59.) African Finfoot (Podica senegalensis) / Binsenralle Kafue River, 11/10. A rarely seen species and therefore a birding highlight of this trip. We saw a couple of them on the river. The adults were very shy and fled immediately on the banks, the juvenile was much more relaxed about us.
  29. 8 likes
    425/ZZ58.) Common Buttonquail (Turnix sylvaticus) / Laufhühnchen Busanga Plains, 15/10. Very ebc. Seen a couple of times crossing the roads but only ever after dark or before sunrise.
  30. 8 likes
    423/ZZ56.) Red-Necked Spurfowl (Pternistis afer) / Rotkehlfrankolin Musekese Camp, 9/10. The most common of the genus in Kafue.
  31. 8 likes
    422/ZZ55.) Natal Spurfowl (Pteristis natalensis) / Natalfrankolin Pioneer Camp, 6/10.
  32. 8 likes
    421/ZZ53.) Crested Guineafowl (Guttera pucherani) / Kenia-Haubenperlhuhn Kanga, 24/10. Not uncommon away from the flood plains. Also one sighting in Kafue, near Lake Itezhi Tezhi. -/ZZ54.) Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) / Helmperlhuhn Seen pretty much everywhere in Zimbabwe and Zambie. Here from Mana Pools, 20/10 They look a bit different in Kafue, with a more golden crown - gives them a more striking look IMO. Here at Kafue River, 11/10. This is apparently the subspecies marungensis, occurring in the Southern Congo basin to Angola and Western Zambia.
  33. 8 likes
    Nothing new in this post, but a few doubles just because the snowy conditions make for a different kind of photo. With the snow of the meadows acting like a giant reflection screen the flying birds get more light under the wings than usually and I do like the effect. Greylag Geese A juvenile Black-headed Gull And a great Egret. The lighting makes it look almost transparent against the misty skies. As the sun had gone by then, some blue appeared in the whites. I converted it to B&W, except for the colours of the bill
  34. 8 likes
    324)Dusky Crag Martin Flying round the hotel nr Delhi Airport. Dusky Crag Martin. Ptyonoprogne concolor. Delhi by Dave Williams, on Flickr
  35. 8 likes
    Somehow I am still struggling to get decent shots of even the most common birds in my garden... 210) Dark-capped Bulbul Swartoogtiptol Pycnonotus tricolor 22 October, my garden, Kempton Park, Nikon D3 2 December, same place, Nikon D500
  36. 8 likes
    411/ZZ35.) Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) / Kampfadler Musekese, 12/10. Only one sighting of this powerful raptor.
  37. 8 likes
    Could be if the wee Krankie gets her way!! However just as you were asking that and I was loading the "Weavers", the clouds rolled back and I could not resist an outing to chase off the last of my 'flu. Thanks for the incentive! 452. Fieldfare. Ballacrye, IOM. 15.26 GMT today. AND then on the way home look what else I found. 453. Whooper Swan. St. Judes, IOM. 15.43 GMT. 1st November 2017. About 15 in the herd. @Dave Williams I owe you one.
  38. 8 likes
    I just spent no less than 10 days at Tswalu Kalahari. I was fortunate enough to be guided by Kale and thanks to @Sangeeta's recommendation I had Jonas as my spotter. I will undoubtedly return to Tswalu Kalahari. I did get to see a pangolin, one animal which has been highest on my list of dream animals as well as cape fox. I saw mountain zebra for the first time. I did see an aardvark for only the second time in my life. I can say the same for aardwolf and brown hyena. I saw meerkats on several occasions. I also saw the resident pack of wild dogs as well as lions, cheetahs, and white and black rhino. The antelope sighting were just marvelous. Unfortunately my skills as a photographer still don't measure up. I especially need to start using the night flash on my camera Here are my first photos which were of bushmen rock carvings. I found it just fascinating that the bushmen left these carvings to help guide other bushmen through the desert. They also recorded the wildlife to leave a record to other bushmen. Kallie was a superb guide and Jonas was absolutely the best spotter that I've ever had. I will definitely ask for him again.
  39. 8 likes
    As an afterthought I couldn't resist posting some photos of the botanical garden in Cape Town. I have to say to I enjoyed it far more than I expected. I usually find botanical gardens boring but I really enjoyed this one. I also loved staying in Camp's Bay.
  40. 8 likes
    I saw both mountain and plains zebra at Tswalu Kalahari. It was quite an unforgettable experience watching mountain zebra climbing up the rocks. It was simply breathtaking. As I mentioned earlier I had never seen mountain zebra before. They have fantastic camouflage as shown in my photos.
  41. 7 likes
    This is the start of a report of a solo trip I made to Majete. The purpose was to learn about African Parks' past, present and intended future conservation plans for this, its first Reserve. I stayed at Thawale Lodge, originally built and run by AP, but now leased to Sunbird, a Malawi hotel group. While essentially staying as a tourist, I was also lucky enough to have been able to arrange meetings with several of the Reserve Management team which were invariably helpful, open and highly informative. Majete is a Reserve of 700 sq km in the southern part of Malawi some 2 hours by road to the south west of Blantyre. It is surrounded by a perimeter fence of 140 km length. Permanent water is available from a 10km stretch of the Shire River in the north eastern section and from some 12 artificial water holes (water from bore holes). Only the north eastern quarter of the Reserve (about 175 sq km) is developed for tourism. Of this, 75 sq km has access restricted to visitors at the Robin Pope Safaris' luxury lodge, situated in the extreme north east. Thawale Lodge is situated inside the Reserve, 3 km from the main gate. It has an adjacent water hole about 150 m from the Lodge verandah which is well visited during the dry season by many species of mammalian wildlife (I saw 11). Very close (about 15 m) to the verandah is a raised circular tank into which clean water flows. This overflows into a muddy ditch. Individuals or groups of many of the species using the water hole to bathe in move up to the clean water to drink. In addition, some drink from and bathe in the ditch as do a large selection of birds. Thus, the Lodge itself represents an excellent game viewing area as do the two outlying hides reached by vehicle and each overlooking their own waterholes. I spent most of my activity time on game drives and hide visits, but took two boat trips on the Shire River upstream of the hydroelectric dam. Two post sundowner night drives were undertaken. Walking trips were available, but it was hot and I disqualified myself on grounds of infirmity and old age. The Reserve was more or less bereft of mammalian wildlife when AP took control in 2003 because of very heavy meat poaching. It has now been re-stocked and is reaching or has just reached capacity for herbivores. Predator numbers are still lower than targeted (e.g. currently 11 lion against a target of 30). The area is unsuitable for agriculture. The ground is very undulating and stony. Along the river, there is very attractive riverine woodland which gives way to mixed and then to miombo as one moves south. There are well-maintained roads in the tourist zone and ,in addition, a couple, less used, that head south east and south west. It takes a one way drive of 2.5 h to reach the southern boundary from Thawale Lodge, but I only ever got halfway. My enjoyment of the trip was much enhanced by meeting up with other Safaritalkers for some of the time. @Bugs and his friend, Ted Newton, flew up from Joburg and arrived more or less simultaneously with my flight on Ethiopian from Addis. We were able to share a taxi to the Lodge, pre-arranged for us by Sunbird Thawale. @Bugs and Ted stayed for 6 days. @Soukous was also present when we arrived and we spent the whole of the following day with him, but he thereafter departed, but not before laying down a challenge which @Bugs found irresistable. @Soukous had just come from Zambia and, when he left, he had amassed a bird list of 122 from both countries. @Bugs was determined to beat this from Majete alone. With extremely able assistance from our excellent guide, Jimmy, and armed with Robert's Bird Ap(p? - I don't own a mobile phone, nor know whether aps have one or two ps), he managed to accumulate 134. This was an education for me - mainly enjoyable. Bohm's bee eaters and twinspots were very pretty and I was delighted when they were pointed out to me by the others, but I was somewhat underwhelmed, albeit relieved, when the long search for rock pratincoles was fulfilled. Of course, once they had found one, they popped up like London busses. Anyway, for serious birders (and I doubt you could get more serious than the lot I travelled with), I can state that we clocked 67 on day 1 and 100 by the end of day 2. In my second week, focusing on mammals and trees, Jimmy and I added 6 further bird species to reach a total of 140. My mammal list summed to 31species, with which I was happy, particularly as it included five firsts (suni, grysbok, tree squirrel, Lichtensten's hartebeest and, surprisingly, nyala - which were prolific in the Reserve. I will mention the weather because my visit fell within what is sometimes described as suicide month. I was somewhat dreading the expected high temperatures and humidity that typify the build up to the rainy season. I was lucky in that I dodged the worst of it and only had one day of 45 deg C. Most were below 40. The rains came slightly early and Jimmy demonstrated that his weather forecasting wasn't on a par with his many other attributes, having elected to put us in an open boat and take us way upstream just as a thunderstorm dropped about 12mm of rain on top of us - certainly cooling. The greening of herbage within 2-3 days of this first rain was dramatic. By the second week of the trip, many animals and most birds had stopped coming to the Lodge, though one of the water holes serviced with a hide continued to produce. I am not intending this to be a day to day account of the trip, but I will attempt to show potential visitors what they might expect to see on a stay of more typical duration than mine. I will, therefore, conclude this section of the report with photos of what I saw from the Thawale Lodge verandah. I would also like to refer readers to @Africlan's excellent Malawi trip report. His photography is infinitely superior to mine, but I would have to say that his description of the raised circular tank near the Lodge verandah as a birdbath was inaccurate. The only bird visiting on my trip was a pied crow! This is more or less the best I could do for the waterhole with my camera. It needed a longer lens to do it justice. (I was using a Nikon D3200 with 70-300 lens). @Africlan's visit was in June and there's much more green vegetation in his shots. I did have one dusk sighting of a serval at this waterhole. These 3 female nyala were much closer and drinking from the muddy ditch formed from the overflow from the circular tank as was the waterbuck (below). Nyala mother and calf at the circular tank (birdbath!) This waterbuck is wearing a very pale jacket. Jimmy explained this on its having been forced to exist on browse rather than the typical grazing diet, something of which I'm a bit sceptical. The strategy of emptying the tank to encourage inflow of even cleaner water from the tap failed on this occasion. The tap had been turned off. Much sucking at the point of inflow probably resulted in a stomach full of air and much subsequent belching. This nyala wasn't going to let a couple of buffalo stop it from drinking - well, only temporarily. The path to my tent (5), from which there was also a good waterhole view, often had a sentry on duty. We occasionally had company in the dining area, but the baboons were generally quite respectful and only raided when no people were present.
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    443/ZZ91.) Grey Go-Away-Bird aka Lourie (Corythaixoides concolor) / Graulärmvogel Southern Kafue, 8/10. A few birds seen pretty much everywhere.
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    439/ZZ86.) Emerald-Spotted Wood Dove (Turtur chalcospilos) / Bronzeflecktaube Kanga Pan, 23/10. Probably the bird we saw the most. -/ZZ87.) Namaqua Dove (Oena capensis) / Kaptäubchen Mana Pools Floodplains, 20/10. Rarely seen, only in certain dryer spots of Mana.
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    438/ZZ85.) African Green Pigeon (Treron calvus) / Rotnasen-Grüntaube Mana Pools Floodplains, 21/10. Only one sighting of this shy bird - they could not resist a very ripe fig tree.
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    433/ZZ70.) White-Crowned Lapwing (Vanellus albiceps) / Weißscheitelkiebitz Mana Pools Floodplains, 20/10. The default Lapwing there. -/ZZ71.) Crowned Lapwing (Vanellus coronatus) / Kronenkiebitz Southern Kafue, 8/10. The only sighting of this bird.
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    428/ZZ61.) Wattled Crane (Bugeranus carunculatus) / Klunkerkranich Busanga Plains, 15/10. A vulnerable species but you can´t miss them in Kafue.
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    Anybody who does not wish to look an even bigger pratt wearing a white bushhat in a bloody snowstorm? And who hates having to shed his boots four times in Airport Security!! As Davesays we are wherewe wished to be with a growing list. And as @xelas says there is aprize for exotic locations how does this measure up for #492?
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    I know that these aren't great photos, but at least I did got some photos of lions. The contrast with the red sand is simply stunning.
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    Here are my personal photos from Tswalu Kalahari. I was guided by Kallie who was an excellent guide. My tracker was Jonas who was recommended to me by @Sangeeta. It's true there's no better set of eyes than him. If I go back to Tswalu Kalahari I'll definitely request him long in advance. He's also a very kind man who has a great sense of humor. He's truly passionate about his work. As you can see I'm looking grizzled in these photos due to my absent mindedness, I left my razor in my hotel room in Cape Town. In the future I'm going to take two razors, blades and two tubes of shaving cream on my safaris. I'm also overweight in these photos, but good news is that I have lost weight since then and I will continue to do so.

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