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Everything posted by xelas

  1. Because they are so cute
  2. @ice, would you be so kind to share your rental car company with us? Because 300 euro per week, that is an excellent deal, and Toyota Fortuner an excellent vehicle!
  3. Re. driving vs. flying, I have had same/similar dilemmas when doing our (2 persons) trip back in 2016 (see trip report in Self Drive section: Rental car was more expensive then in Namibia, as an example. But after hearing from another client about owners excellent customer service support, even thou that I did not have the misfortune to need it, it felt good to have the company so close, in case of any problem with the car. The car rental company was Kalahari 4x4. Tyre gauge and air compressor are standard equipment, to my knowledge. There are gas stations in Mata Mata, Nossob and Twee Rivieren. Plus any other fellow traveller/driver inside the park will go to great lengths to help you out of any possible sand traps etc. (not that I have experienced any in our only 2 visits to KTP ... always talking about main roads, not 4x4 tracks!). Even with 80 l fuel tank, you will be close enough to above mentioned gas stations for refuelling. And for buying some ice cream . By reading several trip reports that contain Kgalagadi you will be well informed!
  4. Congratulations on you BY 2017 #300, @Dave Williams! What a beautiful set of Common Kestrel (which does not look common at all) fro close distance. As for the motivation / demotivation, I can feel you. Same here. While first 6 months were busy, second 6 months are/will be much less. And much less colourful, and birds at much greater distances. The Big Year 2018 cannot come fast enough .
  5. Beginner's luck was on our side in 2016, and total of 434 bird species a complete surprise to us ... and to others. Repeating similar number in 2017 will be impossible, and as every bird will count, not even a winter break to Caribbean paradise should not be birding-free. No big birding detinations are planned but a series of shorter trips will hopefully kept us in the game.
  6. BY250 / SI046 Great Spotted Woodpecker - Dendrocopos major BY251 / SI047 Grey Wagtail - Motacilla cinerea (race feldegg)
  7. BY248 / SI044 Common Shelduck - Tadorna tadorna BY249 / SI045 Short-toed Eagle - Circaetus gallicus
  8. BY246 / SI042 Little Bittern - Ixobrychus minutus BY247 / SI043 Squacco Heron - Ardeola ralloides
  9. BY244 / SI040 Little Ringed Plover - Charadrius dubius BY245 / SI041 Common Redshank - Tringa totanus
  10. When @PeterHG stopped in Slovenia, where else to rake him and his wife then to Škocjanski zatok. This time it was Zvezda having the camera. BY242 / SI038 Little Tern - Sternula albifrons BY243 / SI039 Common Tern - Sterna hirundo
  11. And one more photo from June balcony birding; also this ID with a little help form my friends . BY241 / SI037 Linnet - Linnaria cannabina
  12. On my two visits to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park I have used Toyota Hilux 4x4 on both occasions. The 4x4 traction was engaged only when driving the dedicated 4x4 tracks. All other roads (4 in total) are driveable in a sedan type of car; the smallest I saw was Chevrolet Spark ! So any 4x2 SUV will do its job. The main advantage of large vehicles like Hilux is its very high seating position; some roads do have quite high sand banks that will obscure the views to those driving in lower seating position cars. Toyota Avanza does not have an excessive ground clearance but it has very high seats , and very large windows, and for this reason is the most affordable option for any self-driving game park. I have used similar Honda model in Kruger and it worked really good. Only downside of that particular model was that rear door windows did not went down all the way so photographing was not as comfortable as from rear bench in Hilux. Older models have squarer doors/windows that retracts all the way down (or almost). I did fly from JNB to Upington, to save time. Next occasion I will drive. Hope some of this will be helpful. Kgalagadi is a fantastic place to visit, specially for big cats!
  13. Very nice close-up of a tiny bird!
  14. One more photo from April visit to Škocjanski zatok; those 1st and 2nd winter gulls are so tough to ID but with a little help form my friends ... BY240 / SI036 Herring Gull - Larus argentatus
  15. The month of June started with a few days of "balcony birding": BY236 / SI032 Black Redstart - Phoenicurus ochruros BY237 / SI033 Blackcap - Sylvia atricapilla BY238 / SI034 European Greenfinch - Chloris chloris BY239 / SI035 European Serin - Serinus serinus
  16. Revisiting Škocjanski zatok Wetland Reserve on my own, I was able to grab a couple of new birds. It was still April: BY233 / SI029 European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis BY234 / SI030 Marsh Harrier (Western) - Circus aeroginosus BY235 / SI031 Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola
  17. This year our Big Year progress is not as smooth as it was in 2016 . Yet we are still enjoying it, and here is one bird I was hoping to get a better photo but now, chances are slim to none, so I will just post this EBC, taken near our house way back in January. Distance was huge, and so is the crop, almost 100%! BY232 / SI028 Common Kingfisher - Alcedo atthis
  18. By the looks of your photos, the training days in Costa Rica were successful! I feel like being there right by your side (just not when the silverback has been passing by ). Hard work yielded excellent results. And the adventure is still to begin ...
  19. Well, I am here, 16 years later, to tell the story . But being named "King of the self-drive" is an overstatement! Not even "king of self-drive in Namibia", at least until conquering the VanZyl's Pass. That was one Close Encounter of the Rhino Kind you have had in Palmwag !
  20. Many thanks for this addendum, @Alexander33, as it is very useful for our upcoming trip. As for your list of places to be visited, absolutely add San Vito with Wilson Botanical Garden, and Rio Magnolia Nature Lodge on the Pacific side. I am looking forward to read your reports from those sites !
  21. From Desert Breeze Lodge maybe? And thank you for mentioning this location; while Swakopmund is not as excellent location as many others are, it is a crucial stop-over between South and North of Namibia. Staying away from the ocean might be beneficial as there was very damp inside the town camps. What was dampness at Desert Breeze Lodge, @elefromoz. I can feel your heart beating when overtaking the long haul truck with bulldozer. Probably at the same rate as mine when I have to overtake the road train somewhere deep in the Northern Territory. The bloody truck just never ends . Erongo Wilderness Lodge ... Namibia has so many lodges located at such fabulous locations!
  22. Plenty of "big piles of sand" on your route so far! And excellent photography also. We were not thrilled by Bagatelle either, yet Wolvedans tent looks like a place to go one day. Why staying at Sesriem camp or Sossus Dune Lodge?! To get the light as it is on your Wolvedans view, and to beat the heat and the crowds.
  23. What a selection of hummers you?ve photographed at Rancho, @Alexander33! I can only hope that we will be as lucky as you were. And more hummers at Paraiso de Quetzal Lodge! I do remember how owner took us over the hills in search for one; hard work but so rewarding when finally seeing the splendid bird! "Go" is what should be reply to anyone asking about Costa Rica.
  24. OK, I do acknowledge the fact that I am eagle-eyed (at least with my glasses on ) but smoking brakes ?! Those were smoking tires, @michael-ibk !! Indeed the road was main but the traffic was slow, and my brake lights worked . Great selection of excellent photos. Being in a company of two friends and exquisite birders like Michael and Andreas was the highlight of this trip! Thank you for ID the birds, You have made my job much easier .
  25. As former owner of Nikon D7100 body, which was the one that @AmyT is using, I can confirm it has 2 slots for SD cards, so settings can be done in a way that Slot 1 is recording RAW and Slot 2 is recording JPEG. However, the second JPEG is really redundant; each and every RAW image has embedded JPEG image, and there is no need for any processing of RAW. Both proprietary Nikon softwares ViewNX-i and Capture NX-D can extract those JPEGS automatically. Thus you will have RAW for anyone with knowledge to play with, and JPEG as it is recorded according to camera settings. Finally, this is what using Capture NX-D I was able to bring out of original photo; I have to admit that @JohnR attempt is better. original size cropped

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