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Birding krugerpark (1 Viewer)

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
A couple of years ago but we were seeing tens per day in the South. The only problem with Jos's idea of heading North is that there are far fewer large mammals.

I think we spent two weeks in the park, moving all the way down from Pafuri and we were in to the second week before we started seeing anything other than the odd Elephant or Giraffe, far more animals in the lower half of the park.

Yes and no, parts of north can be hard going from a mammal side, other areas can be excellent. Some central parts also very good, but with a fraction of the tourist numbers of the busiest parts of the south.
 

PeterBird

Well-known member
Netherlands
I agree with the others about the 'South African Birdfinder. Very good information. Around Crocodile Bridge Camp I found the S114 )From Malelane to Crocodile, running parallel to Crocodile River) quite productive with both Verreaux's Eagle Owl and Barred Owlet in late afternoon. The turn-off to the Hippo Pool may also be worthwhile. Also the S28 dirt road, which turns off from the paved H10 only a few kilometres form the rest camp. Bateleur, Tawny Eagle, and quite a few others. Staying at Crocodile Rest Camp we had lunch at Lower Sabie twice, which produced soem nice birds, both within the camp at at the bridge crossing the Sabie River. Have fun, anyway!
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
In a dozen or so visits to Kruger, I personally have never encountered any park employees that have been anything but friendly and courteous. Regarding traffic jams, travel north of the most touristed sections of the south and it is very easy to be totally on your own, as it is indeed along some of the less visited back roads in the south too.

These were not park employees. The park employees were all very professional, as you note.

The people I am talking about are "volunteer rangers." They pay a fee and get to put a sticker on their car (that apparently lets them harass other park visitors).
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
Don't forget to pick up your 'Wildcard', much cheaper than paying by the day and collectible at several named gates on entry but must be purchased in advance.

https://www.sanparks.org/wild_new/

Valid for a year and at all other National Parks in SA.

And the main page for Kruger if you haven't seen it, really makes me want to go back.

https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/

Wildcard can be bought at those gates, not just collected ...always done this. Note, it is not valid for all other national parks in South Africa, but is for most (not valid for quite a number in Kwazulu-Natal for example), but is also valid for a couple in Swaziland/Eswatini.
 

PeterBird

Well-known member
Netherlands
It's still a bit confusing, at least to me. On my recent trip to the Gambia, the guides invariably referred to them as Black Kites , but in both the IOC and the Clements taxonomy they are a full species (I think). In E-bird it is treated as a subspecies.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
It's still a bit confusing, at least to me. On my recent trip to the Gambia, the guides invariably referred to them as Black Kites , but in both the IOC and the Clements taxonomy they are a full species (I think). In E-bird it is treated as a subspecies.

Pick a list, IOC, Clements et al and stick with one, far simpler that way and it's entirely up to you which list you choose, the decisions are then made for you.

I and an increasing number of others, use the IOC and I keep my list using Scythebill software which is free to download and use. It allows you to keep parallel lists when you put in all your sightings so you can compare IOC and Clements with the click of a mouse, superb bit of kit.

http://downloads.scythebill.com/
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I do use the IOC list. I'll have a look at Scythebill, thanks.

Depending on the size of your list, it can be a big job, putting in your sightings but it's well worth it. You can include any races you've seen and any splits will be automatically enacted in your list with the next update.

Another superb facet is that it contains all the World, country lists which you can select. Once a list is selected, it will then display how many ticks there are for you in any one country, based on your own listing input, and highlight them on the list in bold. You can then print the checklist to take on your trip and it provides a quick reference to what you do or don't need.

Once your data is in, you can also switch between Clements and IOC for an easy comparison so it's actually very easy to keep both lists, in fact it's automatic.

I really cannot speak highly enough of this programme.
 
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Tony Knight

Well-known member
Had a hyena attempt to steal a joint of beef that was being cooked at the end of our table at Nottens in Sabi Sabi reserve a few years ago. Owner shooed it away like a naughty dog....
 

Tony Knight

Well-known member
I can 4th (or 5th - what are we up to?) the birdfinder book recommendation. Truly excellent.

What is the best time of year to visit Kruger for both birds and mammals ? We went in mid November back in 2009 after a recommendation but the park was almost deserted and it then proceeded to rain non-stop for about 4-5 days (it didn't stop between the time we checked into Letaba, checked out, checked into Shingwedzi, and checked out) and the sand roads were out of bounds for days. Were we just unlucky or is there a better time to visit ? i would really like to go back, especially due to missing much of "the middle section".
 

DMW

Well-known member
I can 4th (or 5th - what are we up to?) the birdfinder book recommendation. Truly excellent.

What is the best time of year to visit Kruger for both birds and mammals ? We went in mid November back in 2009 after a recommendation but the park was almost deserted and it then proceeded to rain non-stop for about 4-5 days (it didn't stop between the time we checked into Letaba, checked out, checked into Shingwedzi, and checked out) and the sand roads were out of bounds for days. Were we just unlucky or is there a better time to visit ? i would really like to go back, especially due to missing much of "the middle section".

I'm no expert, but I think conventional wisdom is that the end of the dry season is generally best for mammal-viewing, so Sept-Oct probably the optimum months.

Bird-wise I guess Dec-Feb probably has the highest species diversity as the intra-African breeding migrants should be present, and Palearctic migrants certainly will. Weavers etc should be in breeding plumage too. However, you also have to contend with high temperatures and humidity as well as rain.

Local school holidays are another consideration, and best avoided.
 

Tony Knight

Well-known member
I'm no expert, but I think conventional wisdom is that the end of the dry season is generally best for mammal-viewing, so Sept-Oct probably the optimum months.

Bird-wise I guess Dec-Feb probably has the highest species diversity as the intra-African breeding migrants should be present, and Palearctic migrants certainly will. Weavers etc should be in breeding plumage too. However, you also have to contend with high temperatures and humidity as well as rain.

Local school holidays are another consideration, and best avoided.

Thanks. Yes I remember the need to make sure we missed the summer holidays last time we went !
I think we went mid November as a compromise so that my wife would get to see the mammals before the growth became too lush and green and I got to see some of the summer visitors. With the solid rain I'm not sure it quite worked though !
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I'm no expert, but I think conventional wisdom is that the end of the dry season is generally best for mammal-viewing, so Sept-Oct probably the optimum months.

Bird-wise I guess Dec-Feb probably has the highest species diversity as the intra-African breeding migrants should be present, and Palearctic migrants certainly will. Weavers etc should be in breeding plumage too. However, you also have to contend with high temperatures and humidity as well as rain.

Local school holidays are another consideration, and best avoided.

Our last visit was 3rd Nov-3rd Dec and we had some horrible weather, cold and wet, even in Kruger in the top end.

Here's a Bateleur in the rain.
 

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Tony Knight

Well-known member
Our last visit was 3rd Nov-3rd Dec and we had some horrible weather, cold and wet, even in Kruger in the top end.

Here's a Bateleur in the rain.

Yes it seems that the only compromise for good bird and mammal viewing means being there in the rains. The official stats state only 6-7 days with rain expected in Nov & Dec so it sounds like we were both unlucky so maybe worth another try !

Nice pic by the way. We did get to see the annual event which is the River Shigwedzi starting to flow again following days of constant rain.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6813820583/in/album-72157629162035733/ 15 minutes later it was a proper river ! https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6813821695/in/album-72157629162035733/
 
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DMW

Well-known member
Our last visit was 3rd Nov-3rd Dec and we had some horrible weather, cold and wet, even in Kruger in the top end.

Here's a Bateleur in the rain.

I'm not sure what your point is. You can experience unusual weather anywhere - heavy rain in the dry season, drought in the wet season. I've seen snow in Jersey in May. Your experience doesn't alter the fact that Dec-Feb is Summer in South Africa, and it is normally hot in Kruger in these months.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I'm not sure what your point is. You can experience unusual weather anywhere - heavy rain in the dry season, drought in the wet season. I've seen snow in Jersey in May. Your experience doesn't alter the fact that Dec-Feb is Summer in South Africa, and it is normally hot in Kruger in these months.

If you'd used my quote in the context that it was in response to someone else mentioning rain during the period mentioned, you wouldn't have to be unpleasant.

The fact is, it seems that some bad weather at this time is fairly reglular and it is not always hot and sunny.

The pic attached is a storm we drove in to as we arrived at Wakkestroom, hail stones so intense that I thought they''d damage the car.
 

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