Mapungubwe/Kruger trip

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11 years 1 month ago #2919 by nkgray
nkgray created the topic: Mapungubwe/Kruger trip
Just back from 7 nights away. 2 nights at Mapungubwe, then into the Kruger at Pafuri, overnight at Mopani, out at Paul Kruger, then 3 day trips into the Park from Hazyview.

When they were small, my kids (youngest now 25) decided that when we went into Kruger on day trips (we lived in Barberton for a while), if the first animal (4-legged kind) that we saw was an impala it would not be a good day's game-viewing. Its quite surprising how often the converse was true. So in birding terms when we entered the Park at Pafuri Gate and my first two ticks were Retz's Helmetshrike and Broad-billed Roller I thought I was in for a few good days of birding. In the end a trip total (Alldays to Mapungubwe road, Mapungubwe, Kruger, Hazyview-Sabie-Lydenburg-Dullstroom-Belfast road) of 206 wasn't too shabby. Amazingly no Red Bishop on the list!!!!!

Several birds still conspicuous by their absence (both sight and sound):
All cuckoos except Klaas's
Whitethroated Swallow
Southern Carmine Bee-Eater
Woodland Kingfisher
European Roller
Spotted Flycatcher
Red-backed Shrike

I did pick up my first Steppe Buzzard of the summer, many Wahlberg's Eagles and several sightings of Klaas's Cuckoo, European Bee-Eater, Willow Warbler, Violet-backed Starling and Barn Swallow.

I was amazed at how aggressively smaller birds were dive-bombing the larger raptors. I actually got tired of counting how many times I saw it happen. I'll post a pic of a Tawny Eagle that was literally having to look over its shoulder to avoid a pair of Drongo. I saw several instances of Wahlbergs being mobbed by Drongo, Crowned Lapwing or swallows(!), and even a Fish-Eagle that was having problems with a Blacksmith Lapwing.

Highlights were three sightings each of Retz's Helmetshrike and Broad-billed Roller (this one as far south as Paul Kruger Gate), Cuckoo Hawk, Lizard Buzzard and Ovambo Sparrowhawk (see Photography Forum), African Hawk Eagle (or is it Ayres - see Identification Forum) and Senegal Lapwing with a juvenile (Photography Forum). Added bonus was a Blue Crane in the Dullstroom area this afternoon on the way back.

Neil Gray

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