Gecko #81 Goes to Kruger -Tsendze Day 3

27 November 2019

When we left camp at 07:40 it was 24 degrees C and climbing.  By 6:50 we were on the Mooiplaas Loop where we saw Kitlitz plover.  I was surprised that he was quite far away from water but on consulting my field guide I found out that he is sometimes seen in open fields.

IMG_5335 Kitliz Plover 2019-11-27 6-59-54 AM.JPG

Kittlitz’s Plover

On the S50 we had some good birding.


Levaillant’s Cuckoo

Suddenly the Earl said, “What’s that in the dead tree?”   I nearly fell out of the car in excitement. “It’s an owl”   We just haven’t seen all that many during this year’s visit to the park.

IMG_5395 Pearl-spotted Owlet 2019-11-27 7-31-42 AM

Pearl-spotted Owlet

A little later the Earl screeched breaks and said, ‘Oh, sorry – it’s just a branch on the ground.  I thought it was a Kori Bustard.  The words were not cold on his lips when a real one appeared!

IMG_5398 Kori Bustard 2019-11-27 7-39-29 AM

The magnificent Kori Bustard – the heaviest flying bird in Africa.

IMG_5402 Red-billed buffalo-weaver 2019-11-27 7-45-19 AM

A rather scruffy Red-billed Buffalo-weaver

IMG_5414 Red-crested Korhaan 2019-11-27 7-53-25 AM

Always great to see – Red-crested Korhaan

We had to stop for this guy who just didn’t have any road sense.

IMG_5436 Lilac-breasted Roller 2019-11-27 8-29-54 AM

Lilac-breasted roller catching insects on the gravel road.

I like to stop at every puddle just in case something decides to come for a drink.  The Earl says there is so much water lying in the bush that no self-respecting creature is going to need a roadside puddle.  But today I yelled – STOP!  The Earl was irritated but then saw that I had indeed seen something more than a common Cape Turtle Dove in this puddle!


Female Namaqua Dove


Male Namaqua Dove

We also saw some hogs

IMG_5431 Warthogs 2019-11-27 8-03-25 AM

The warthogs simply ignored us

Before leaving camp we packed a picnic breakfast and flask to have when we got hungry as we were not going to be near any facilities than offered food.   By the time we got to the Nyawutsi Hide we felt peckish so had our snacks there.  We spent about an hour in the hide and saw some interesting things but photography was not easy.  There was a fish eagle, a water monitor that disappeared before I could snap him, some distant hippos and terrapins, a monkey and a crocodile.  We also saw a Woodland’s Kingfisher and heard the Brown-hooded Kingfisher. A Black-crowned Tchagra made a brief appearance but disappeared before I could snap him. Lots of swallows were flying around too.


View from the hide

P1180868 Croc by Earl 2019-11-27 9-53-04 AM

Scary Crocodile

On our way back to camp we had some more interesting sightings.   There were big herds of impala and wildebeest and also of buffalo


No, these are not cows on their way to milking but buffalo heading to the waterhole



When you have an itch, it’s important to find a scratching post!



The compulsory giraffe photograph

We also went back to the causeway to see if there was anything happening

IMG_5526 Hippos 2019-11-27 1-54-12 PM

Hippos were wallowing

IMG_5529 Green-backed Heron 2019-11-27 1-58-00 PM

Green-backed herons were fishing – this one on my side of the car


And this on the Earl’s

IMG_5521 Little Egret and YB Stork 2019-11-27 1-51-16 PM.JPG

A Little Egret and a Yellow-billed Stork were also on the scene.

As we continued, I saw some little birds fly into the trees, drop to the grass and then disappear from sight.  I had to see what they were so insisted we stop.   For a while, we saw nothing.  Then more arrived and we realised they were foraging in the long grass.  They were not still for a minute but I managed to get one reasonable photograph.

IMG_5539 Jameson's Firefinch 2019-11-27 2-00-40 PM

Jameson’s Firefinches are usually seen in pairs or small groups of up to ten as we saw them today.  They feed on fallen grass seed.

We went to Mopani and shared a chicken mayonnaise wrap for lunch. Then we worked on our computers for an hour or two before returning to camp.  It was 16:30 when we got back.  We braaied before dark and also packed up the canopy and groundsheet for tomorrow’s departure.  We sat outdoors in the dark for a while, then both of us took cold showers hoping that would cool us down.  It didn’t help!   But we eventually managed to get to sleep in spite of the heat. Sleeping on a towel, wrapped in a wet sarong is the answer when there’s no airconditioning.   I’ve done that in Kgalagadi but didn’t think of it this time!


5 thoughts on “Gecko #81 Goes to Kruger -Tsendze Day 3

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