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Old 04-17-2016, 10:10 AM   #1
Gerhard
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Talking Along the Limpopo river (Pafuri) Picture Heavy

I just returned to the Saudi desert after a two week vacation back home in South Africa.

My 1st week was spend next to the dry/wet Limpopo river in the Makuleke concession of the Kruger Park.

Makuleke is situated basically from where you enter the Pafuri gate as the western boundary going east to Crooks Corner border of South Africa, Zimbabawe and Mozambique and the Levuvhu river in the south as a rough indication.

I joined the Ecotraining team for a week of birding were about 20 bird nuts wanted to learn, see and hear all what Makuleke is all about.

The area in South Africa has a very rich bird population even with the drought that limited us a bit with the water bird species.

Highlights in the mammal sightings for me was finding black backed jackal (not often seen in the Kruger) African wild cat, Eland ( 1st time I find them in the Park) and then the Wilddogs swimming across the Levuvhu river while at Lanner Gorge.

Reptile highlight definately the Black Mamba that the Meve's starlings were harassing but was chilled out enough to give me a photo or 3...

The visit to Crooks Corner was amazing walking in a dry Limpopo river bed.

Walking among the Fever Tree forests mixed with riverine forests was magical.

I am still working through the photos in between catching up with work here in the desert and will share some photos shortly.

Last edited by Gerhard; 04-17-2016 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:10 AM   #2
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Lemon-breasted Canary



Female Redbacked Shrike



Emerald spotted wood dove



Mosque Swallows




Meve's Starling



The magnificent and magical Fever Tree forests...

The zebra is about 200 meters away from me when i took the photo.

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Old 04-17-2016, 10:11 AM   #3
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View from out Sunset stop.



The diversity is absolutely amazing.

From the road looking North towards the Limpopo river you have grassveld savana, palm savana, fever tree forest inter mixed with riverine forests.

Each has its own bit of magic and bird species...

If you turn 180 degrees you will find the ridges with the Mopane right next to the road



We saw and heard Firery-necked Nightjars and Square-tailed Nightjars on the way back to camp.

Scops owls and Pear Spotted Owlets often sang around the camp at night.
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:12 AM   #4
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The Black-chested Snake Eagle was another new species for me







Blue Waxbill's



1st time I get photos of a male and femal Chinspot Batis



The area where we stopped for coffee and rusks is called Makwadi Pan I believe.

I can only imagine the area in a wet rainy season and the abundance of water birds one could find here but during our week it was bone dry as it was for most of the past summer







Some of the riverine brush and trees



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Old 04-17-2016, 10:13 AM   #5
Gerhard
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A few photos of the Ecotraining camp









Neat tented camp with no power except when the generator is started during the morning to pump water.

The ladies in the kitchen did a super job making basic but great tasting food.

One of the biggest + points is that the area has not yet been invaded by cell phone signals.

The location under the bug Nyala berry trees are perfect.
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:15 AM   #6
jerp
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Beautiful photos Gerhard! Thanks for taking us along-
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:16 AM   #7
Gerhard
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Quote:
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Beautiful photos Gerhard! Thanks for taking us along-
Glad you like them... There is a lot of them coming
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:18 AM   #8
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White - bellied Sunbird female





Violet-backed Starling



Scaly-throated Honeyguide



Diderick Cuckoo



Purple Indigobird



Temninck's Courser



African Pitpit

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Old 04-17-2016, 10:20 AM   #9
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My 1st Southern Carmine Bee-eater



A very special bird for me...

Grey-headed Kingfisher another 1st



Spotted Flycatcher



The afternoon drive was to the Levuvu river a new destination for me.

I just love African rivers as each are magical and has their own personality.

Red billed buffalo weaver



Cape Buffalo herd















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Old 04-17-2016, 10:20 AM   #10
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One of the magnificent baobab trees of the Levuvhu





White-Crowned Lapwing

Have a look at the spurs on the wings



Southern Carmin bee eater



White fronted bee eater







Broad billed roller

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Old 04-17-2016, 10:29 AM   #11
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Great pics
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:33 AM   #12
EarleyBird
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Cool.
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:36 AM   #13
atchunter
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Great pics!
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:41 AM   #14
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Wow, what a thread...Thank You!!
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:44 AM   #15
Gerhard
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Sun set at the Levubu River







An absolute magical African sunset
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:46 AM   #16
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Awesome pics! It really is a beautiful area. Thanks for sharing. I'd love to see that area of the world some day. As for the black mamba, the only place I want to see one of those is in a cage at the zoo.
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:49 AM   #17
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Amazing pictures. Love the birds. So many bee eaters. Thank you.
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:50 AM   #18
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wow, great pics, colorful birds, thanks for sharin
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:51 AM   #19
steve corn
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That's awesome. Keep 'em coming.
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Old 04-17-2016, 11:14 AM   #20
Gerhard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pullersboy View Post
Awesome pics! It really is a beautiful area. Thanks for sharing. I'd love to see that area of the world some day. As for the black mamba, the only place I want to see one of those is in a cage at the zoo.
Keep watching...

As things are moving forward I am kicking off my photographic safaris next year Feb.

4 destinations in South Africa will be Kruger Park Lowveld, Elephant Coast, Drakensberg mountain range or the Kalahari of Northern Cape.
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Old 04-17-2016, 11:15 AM   #21
Gerhard
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The next morning was the long awaited walk into the Fever trees and Limpopo Riverine Forests

Photos can not come close to the magic of the sun rise in the forests but hopefully you get the idea ...









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Old 04-17-2016, 11:16 AM   #22
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Despite the heat and an drought we still found a few mud holes



Centipedes are all over the place one of the African Civet's snacks















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Old 04-17-2016, 11:53 AM   #23
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Back into the thick stuff









Beautiful flower of the devil thorn...



Despite the heat and drought new life is still all around



One of a few Golden Orb Spiders I have seen

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Old 04-17-2016, 11:58 AM   #24
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I will be returning to this camp in November for a 30 days.

During this time we will focus on dangerous game approach with people as Trails Guides.

Now imagine walking into an elephant breeding herd, lions or buffalo in this thick stuff.

Be sure to know I will be taking a lot of photos.
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Old 04-17-2016, 12:36 PM   #25
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Amazing pictures.

Those centipedes are huge.

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Our black mamba encounter

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Your pictures are WAY better!
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Old 04-17-2016, 01:10 PM   #26
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Gerhard, great to see your posts again. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Sent from my Galaxy S7 using Tapatalk
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Old 04-17-2016, 01:14 PM   #27
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Thanks for sharing


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 04-17-2016, 04:03 PM   #28
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Nice pics

Thanks for sharing
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Old 04-17-2016, 08:16 PM   #29
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What a variety of birds--how many species on your life-list?
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Old 04-17-2016, 08:52 PM   #30
Gerhard
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Quote:
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What a variety of birds--how many species on your life-list?
To be honest I have no idea...

I have never been worried about marking a species off against a list.

The group in total ID'd around 230 species.

I think I ended up at around 125 odd.

I preferred to walk when possible where the rest of the groups drove around with the open game vehicles covering a lot more ground.

The Lemon Breasted Canary & Racket tailed Rollers were what we call lifers for me and more important for me I did get photos of the species...
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Old 04-17-2016, 08:53 PM   #31
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The afternoon we drove to Crooks Corner...

Now this is super special as we can get out of the vehicles and walk around due to being in the Makuleke concession.

This meant we could go and walk in the dry Limpopo river bed with nothing between us and Mozambique and Zimbabwe but dry sand...

The drive went as follows

Zebra carcass with white backed vulture on the ground as well as a bunch in the surrounding trees





Finally I see my 1st Eland in the Kruger...



I however still need to see all 4 of the spiral horns in one day... (bushbuck did not read the script)

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Old 04-17-2016, 08:54 PM   #32
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At some stage we stopped as the Meve's Starlings were going ballistic Johna stopped the vehicle. Walked a bit closer looked through the Bino's and called us to come have a look...



Relaxed in the tree not at all disturbed by the Meve's starlings is a huge Black Mamba





Absolutely amazing animal...
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Old 04-17-2016, 08:56 PM   #33
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To give you an idea how Crooks Corner looked like



Mozambique


Zimbabawe


However there were some sections still with water with the hippo and crocodiles in attendance...











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Old 04-17-2016, 08:58 PM   #34
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The next morning we did another walk in the Fever Tree forsest...

We left camp just as soon as it was light enough.

On the edge of the grass savanna we found this buffalo herd.

I have seen the broken horn cow on numerous occations...







As can be clearly seen the buffalo's condition were not looking good







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Old 04-17-2016, 09:11 PM   #35
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Absolutely amazing photos!!!

Keep them coming
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:12 PM   #36
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Awesome photos. Thanks for sharing
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:29 PM   #37
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Awesome pics!
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:40 PM   #38
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Great photos, thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-17-2016, 09:59 PM   #39
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Very cool
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:41 PM   #40
Gerhard
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

Very happy that you like the photos
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Old 04-17-2016, 10:54 PM   #41
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Thanks for sharing these amazing photos!
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:41 AM   #42
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:41 AM   #43
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:42 AM   #44
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:42 AM   #45
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For the afternoon session I decided I would want to walk again into the Fever Trees.

Most of the guys tought I was nuts as it was 15:00 and the temprature hovering at 36C with a high humidity.

But I wanted to go experience a late afternoon in the Fever trees and Riverine thickets.

Johna was lead and Varun was back up with me and another birder walking as the rest depart into the open game viewers.

As we walked into the lala palm savanna a little gem sat looking at us...





The little red-billed Firefinch is really one of the lowveld's flying gems...
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:43 AM   #46
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Moving into the Fever trees we had a black headed oriole come and have a look at us or did we look at him...



Little striped skink enjoying the afternoon sun despite the heat...



On one of the trails we found a tree where elephant rubbed againts with mud stuck to the tree easily 1,9m high. Intrestingly also found a tick stuck in the mud... :lol:

As we moved into the thicker stuff we could hear the Trumpeter Hornbills and walked into the direction. The next moment an owl flew from one tree to the next just in front of us and we stalked closer...

Wow, a big Verreaux's Eagle-owl sat in the open looking down at us...



I was again amazed at the amount of movement they have in their necks...





We stood there for probably 5 min admiring this big owl untill he decided to move to the next tree...
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:43 AM   #47
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We were still standing at the same spot discussing the owl when a bird swooped into a tree right next to the tree where the Verreaux's Eagle-Owl just vacated...

Three steps forward and two to the left and WOW!!! :big_eyes:

There is a European Honey Buzzard!!!





A summer visitor from Europe!

I was all smiles how cool is that having seen two such magnificent birds basically standing in the same spot!!!
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Old 04-18-2016, 01:44 AM   #48
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Walking futher into the thickets we found a nest that Jonhna suspects might have been a African Crown Eagle nest.



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Old 04-18-2016, 01:45 AM   #49
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As the sun started moving towards the horizon the late afternoon sunlight started filtering through...

This is what I wanted to see, this is what I want wanted to experience!!!







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Old 04-18-2016, 01:45 AM   #50
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A huge old sycamore in between the fever trees



And then so typical of an African sun set time has caught up with us was time to walk with some speed back to camp before its dark and we might walk into one of the hairy and scary creatures of the night...

But not before I got a last photo...



It was a warm afternoon but once we reached the forest and thickets one could feel the difference in temprature.

Another day in Africa and I was smiling....
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