Breaking Free From Lockdown. Day 28 Satara to Timbavati Picnic Site

Apologies for being missing in action for the past two days. The internet at Satara is not that great at the best of times but for the past two days it has been down completely. I will try to catch up as quickly as possible.

Sunday 22 August 2021

Today’s weather was not very pleasant.   It was overcast, windy and cold.   All dressed up in jeans and jerseys we left camp at 07:50 with the Everest in the lead.  We started our drive on the H1-4.  

The first excitement of the day came in the form of two very large birds.

“Oh – look – a Secretary Bird!   Two Secretary birds!”  Then one took off and flew to the other side of the road.  We could not see it but Cathy and Alec could.    

The Earl’s photo
Cathy’s photo

Then just after that another member of the Big Six birds of Kruger National Park made an appearance.

The Heaviest flying bird in the world is the Kori Bustard
Males can weigh up to 19kg

The Big Six Birds to seek are Pel’s Fishing Owl, Kori Bustard, Ground Hornbill, Secretary Bird, Martial Eagle and Saddle-billed Stork.  We have seen five of the six this trip and there is little chance of getting the elusive Pel’s!

At 08:25 we turned onto the Ntomeni Road. As we were looking in the trees for birds the Earl stopped when he saw one that looked familiar. “What’s that,” he asked.  “It looks different to the lilac-breasted roller.”  And it was indeed a cousin, but even in the dull light the Earl noticed something was not quite right.

Purple Roller

We then followed the S40 toward Timbavati Picnic Site. Just before the turnoff we came to the bridge that crosses the river.  A few cars were stationary on the bridge and on the other side.  And for good reason.  Lions had made a kill and were busy with buffalo for breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day
Ready for an after breakfast nap

We managed to get a few photos and then went to the Timbavati where we planned to cook our own breakfast but the wind was gusty and it was very cold so we just had coffee and then returned to the lions before continuing.

I’ve had enough
Still hungry
Timbavati is an unfenced picnic site kept beautifully by a caretaker. In good weather it is lovely to picnic here. It has a good view over the Timbavati River

We followed the S39 and stopped at Ratel Hide but there was not much going on there.  However, we enjoyed watching a crake and Cathy managed to get a photo of a three-banded plover.

I know I am a handsome chap

Back on the road we stopped from time to time to photograph those creatures who would oblige. Some helmet-shrikes flew into a tree and one kindly perched in a suitable position for just the right enough of time to snap his portrait.

Well hello there

Looking down from an omrit overlooking the river we saw a lovely riverside scene.

Yellow-billed Storks and Grey Heron
Lazing by the riverside

There were plenty of impies about.

We like doing things together

At 11:15 we turned onto the  H1-4 and continued to see more creatures

Buffalo looking curious
I’m tired of leaves, think I’ll try some dry grass

Back at camp we made scrambled eggs for brunch, had a rest and then went back for a drive on the S100. We saw herds of zebra, wildebeest and waterbuck but we dipped on the lions that are often found on this road.

Two species in one tree – Lilac-breasted roller and glossy starling
A road block

And to end, a lovely Emerald-spotted Wood Dove.

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