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|Tuesday 10th April 2012, 12:28||#26|
Join Date: Mar 2011
31 January-4 February (final part)
We left Amukela lodge for a drive to Blyde Canyon. The day was spent admiring the spectacular scenery with the well-known highlights of the Potholes, Godís Window and the Three Rondavels. The only birds I could add to our list were Red-winged Starling, Cape Vulture and Red-faced Mousebird
We drove from Blyde Canyon to Entabeni Game Reserve, situated in the Waterberg north of Johannesberg. With mountains, savanne, bushveld and wetlands it offers a great variety in birdlife. On the way there we saw a field full of Black Storks and close to the park we spotted Black-shouldered Kite and European Bee-eaters. We arrived in time for the afternoon game drive with Patrick, who proved to be a dedicated guide and appreciated our interest in birds. Animals included Blesbok, Gnu, Giraffe, Kudu and White Rhino. Birds: Lizard Buzzard, African Fish Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Black-headed Oriole, Pin-tailed Whydah, Rufous-naped Lark, Grey Go-away Bird and Black Flycatcher.
Our game drive in morning and finally produced lions, which we had not seen in any of the previous locations! On many occasions we had wonderful views of giraffes, which were plentiful and also spent some time close to the Rhinos. Birds included: Green-backed Heron, Red-collared Widowbird, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, African Grey Hornbill, Steppe Buzzard. At dusk we saw several nightjars, but it was impossible to tell which species.
We got wonderful sighting of the dominant male walking ( or rather limping) through his domain and of the lioness with cubs, who were enjoying the remains of a young giraffe. Birds: European Bee-eater, Pied Kingfisher, African Hawk Eagle, Yellow-fronted Canary.
The evening drive showed lots of activity with skirmishing Rhinos, a marching herd of elephant and a male rhino, who was constantly denied access to the female and vented his frustration with mock attacks on the car.
Later we had night-time views of the lions again and of a beautiful Spotted Eagle Owl
Much to the relief of Patrick he finally managed to show us the female cheeta, one of only three cheetas in the area. Tracks showed that the males had been near the camp only minutes before we set out on the game drive. Birdwise it was unusually quiet, but we did see the African Fish Eagle again and added Jamesonís Firefinch to the list.
It was pretty hard to leave this beautiful place, in fact it felt sad to say goodbye to this amazing country. It was our first visit to South Africa, but hopefully it will not be our last. We will do our very best to return to some of the great locations we saw this time and to explore new territory. Our bird list added up to 225 species, which I consider a very rewarding total and I managed to come back with quite a few good photos, which will keep the experience alive for us !
1. African Fish Eagle
2. Lizard Buzzard
3. Pin-tailed Whydah
4. Pied Kingfisher
5. Spotted Eagle Owl
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