Kruger, June 2009

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8 years 8 months ago #12048 by Dewi Edwards
Dewi Edwards created the topic: Kruger, June 2009

The morning after our Borakalalo trip, Jan and I were up early (but not quite as early as the previous day due to the intervention of several beers the night before!) for the long drive North to Kruger. Jan wanted to show me the Northeast corner of South Africa and the border with Zimbabwe, so we headed out on the 750km drive. The scenery was stunning, with plenty of birds to keep us alert. Best of all, a lifer for me in the form of a Black-chested Snake-eagle. Two others were seen on this drive as well as Black-shouldered Kites, Rock Kestrel, Lanner Falcon and Jackal Buzzard. Other birds of interest included African Black Swift, Purple Roller, Namaqua Dove and Southern White-crowned Shrike. Also on the way, we stopped to assist two Zimbabweans who had broken down on the roadside. There wasn’t a lot we could do except to let them have our spare fanbelt and a size 14 spanner, so we headed off as soon as we knew that help would be on the way for them. I hope they made it back home without too much delay.

We entered Pafuri Gate just after 2.00pm and made our way slowly towards the picnic site at Pafuri. On the park roads we came across some great birds such as Red-billed Wood-hoopoe, Cardinal Woodpecker, Purple Indigobird and Yellow-throated Petronia. It then just got better and better with first a stunning Scarlet-chested Sunbird, followed closely by a Dickinson’s Kestrel, with commoner species such as Brown-headed Parrot, Meve’s Starling, Bateleur and Speckled Mousebird all watched. Mammals were also seen with Impala and Nyala being very regular. A group of White-backed Vultures were also noted, sitting hunch-backed in a nearby tree.

White-backed Vultures

As we approached the picnic site, Green Pigeons were busy feeding in a fruiting fig tree and another lifer at the deserted picnic spot in the form of a flock of Crested Guineafowl. Puffback, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Emerald-spotted Wood-dove, Yellow-fronted canary and Grey-backed Camaroptera made up the numbers here also.

Crested Guineafowl

We then had to head South to get to our camp before 5:30pm. We were booked into Punda Maria for two nights, so had plenty of time to explore further the following day. The alarm went off at 5.00am and we were both a bit surprised to find that it was overcast and drizzling. Rain? In Kruger? In winter? Unheard of! Jan was quite disappointed, but to a North-walian like me, this was a nice day! At least it was warm (ish). We set out as soon as the gate opened and were off to explore the famed Mahonie Loop. This loop is a 27km drive along a dirt road that has the reputation of one of the best birding drives in Kruger Park, so expectations were high. First bird was a Nightjar in the road, most probably a Fiery-necked. Impala were all along the roadside and the first cries of Crested and Natal Francolins were heard as we drove along at a snails pace. The more usual common species were all seen, comprising Lilac-breasted Rollers, Blue Waxbills, Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills and Grey Go-away Birds. Dark-capped Bulbuls were everywhere and a Bennet’s Woodpecker was busy feeding on a roadside trunk. Jan noted a large raptor over a nearby hill and from the brief glimpse I had at the time, I suspected it was a Verreaux’s Eagle. We drove to the spot where the bird had disappeared and found an Immature Verreaux’s Eagle sitting in the same tree as an adult Martial Eagle! Needless to say, I was in heaven watching these two spectacular raptors. Eventually the Verreaux’s Eagle flew back towards the hill where it spent some time flying around and landing in the same spot repeatedly, before wandering off and over the hill.

Verreaux’s & Martial Eagle

Immature Verreaux’s Eagle

Within minutes of leaving the eagles, we came across one of our target birds, a Purple-crested Lourie, sitting in a tree. It took off after a while and flew towards us, giving stunning views of it’s colours as it passed close to the Bakkie. While I’m on about the Bakkie, Jan told me that the Zulu slang for an “old banger” is “Skorokoro” after the noise one hears from a clapped out old jalopy. Somewhere along this drive “Skorokoro Safari’s” was born, so if anyone fancies a guided birding trip to Kruger………..!!

Purple-crested Lourie

Lilac-breasted Roller

Skorokoro Safari’s

Further along the track we watched a pair of African Hawk-eagles drifting along the escarpment while a Black Flycatcher hawked for insects closer to the road. Another Crimson-breasted Sunbird was seen, closely followed by great views of a Dickinson’s Kestrel – deja-vu from yesterday!

Heading North back to Pafuri after completing the loop, we saw Cape and White-backed Vultures, Gabar Goshawk, Elephant and more Purple Rollers. Jan pulled the Bakkie over at one point and told me to look below my window. A Forest Cricket was crossing the road and I was quite impressed by this beastie. Apparently they only venture out into the roads when it’s wet. With all the raptors and Rollers around, I didn’t fancy his chances of survival much.

Forest Cricket

We had decided to take Nyala drive, another renowned birding drive, but a bull Elephant was busy feeding in the road and after waiting for a while, we just knew that he was in no hurry to get out of the way. We turned around and headed for Crook’s Corner as an alternative. Here the Luvhuvu river joins the mighty Limpopo where three countries meet. South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The Limpopo River. Taken from South Africa, Mozambique on the right, Zimbabwe on the left

As we approached the lookout, a Trumpeter Hornbill, another sought after species, was watched as it sat high in a tree over the road. A flock of Red-billed Quelea was also here along with Namaqua Dove, Zebra and Nyala. A single Ayre’s Hawk-eagle was soaring above, but would not come close enough for a photo.

Red-billed Quelea

Namaqua Dove


Impala & Red-billed Oxpecker

At the lookout itself, several Nile Crocodiles were sunning themselves on the banks, looking very menacing. White-crowned Lapwing was a good find here, only my second sighting of this species.

Nile Crocodiles

White-crowned Lapwing

Driving back towards Pafuri Picnic site we found a large Water Monitor, a pair of Bateleur Eagles, Saddle-billed Storks and a hunting Lanner Falcon. Two other small raptors were seen and before long we found them both sitting in separate trees - Shikra. Both were hunting, so we watched as one of the birds made repeated attempts at flushing the Laughing Doves and other smaller birds that were nearby.

Water Monitor


A single Boubou was noted which I think may be Tropical rather than Southern Boubou, but these two species are difficult to separate, so I’m seeking advice on this one. A stunning male Paradise Flycatcher was at the picnic site, his tail streamers seemingly acting separately to the rest of his body as he flew from perch to perch.
Three Bohm’s Spinetails were catching insects along the river and a Brown Snake-eagle was noted as it flew along above the thick bush. As it was getting late, we headed back to camp for a well-earned meal and a couple of beers.

Tropical? Boubou

Leaving Punda Maria the following morning in more wet weather (who ordered this stuff?) we decided to head straight South towards Olifants, 208km away if we took the main roads, longer if we took the dirt roads. First stop was at the Babalala rest area to use the facilities and take photos of some of the locals. The usual species were here scavenging scraps from the picnic site and a small herd of Cape Buffalo were nearby.

Dark-capped Bulbul

Laughing Dove

As we drove further South, we saw what at first glance appeared to be Elephant dung in the road, until it moved! A Leopard Tortoise had come out of the grasslands to drink fresh water from the road. We saw several more tortoises during wet weather, and I’m sure we would have missed them had the weather been dry. To be honest, I think we saw quite a few species and behaviour that we would not normally see because of the rain and at the end of the trip, both Jan and I agreed that although we did not get the diversity of species seen during our last trip, it was more than made up for in the quality of our sightings and observations.

Leopard Tortoise

Before stopping off at Shingwedzi Camp for lunch, we took a detour onto the Lamont Loop where we’d seen some great birds last Year. We were not disappointed, but surprised to find not the smaller passerines that we had expected at the waterhole there, but a group of vultures that had obviously finished feeding on a carcase and had come down to bathe. Four Species were present, Lappet-faced, Hooded, White-backed and Cape. Some on the ground near the water, with others perched in nearby trees.

Lappet-faced Vulture

Hooded Vultures

After Lunch, the most notable sighting as we headed for Olifants were some Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, very rare in the park. Other species seen included Vervet Monkey, Black-headed Oriole and an encounter with an old friend from last year, a Tawny Eagle in the same tree as before! I’m convinced that this is the same bird that has gone through a moult since we last saw it.

Vervet Monkey

Black-headed Oriole

Tawny Eagle

After checking into our Rondavel at Olifants, we headed to the lookout over the river for a couple of beers and to watch the world go by below us. We had hoped to see Bat Falcons hunting as the bats swarmed out just before dusk, but had to make do with African Fish-eagles, Saddle-billed Storks, Crocodiles and Hippos in the river and flocks of noisy Swifts flying overhead. We retired to our hut where Jan prepared a braii and we sat outside into the night eating dinner and listening to the roars of Lions, the hysterical whoops of Spotted Hyenas and the deep, guttoral grunts of a Verrau’x Eagle-owl.

The following morning dawned grey with a shroud of mist lying over the bushveld. We decided that there was no use going out for the gate at opening time, so opted to sit on the stoep with a cup of coffee and see what came to us. Pearl-spotted Owlets were calling from out in the bush whilst Lion, Hyena and Verraux’s Eagle-owl were still calling from the night before. As the morning lightened, Swainson’s Spurfowl and Crested Francolin began to call from the fenceline, closely followed by Natal Francolin. Egyptian Geese were arguing with each-other down at the river, while Hippo’s “laughed” belligerently in their territorial disputes. The evocative calls of African-Fish-eagles rang out, carried far by the enveloping mist. As the daylight brightened, we started to see birds in front of our stoep. Dark-capped Bulbul’s, Black-backed Puffback, Chinspot Batis and another stunning African Paradise Flycatcher all made an appearance before a Brown-crowned Tchagra came below the braii to look for scraps. Jameson’s Firefinch, Blue Waxbill and Olive thrush were on the lawn in front of us and a Crested Barbet trilled incessantly from the shrubs behind us.

Crested Francolin

Helmeted Guineafowl

Sabota Lark

Grey Go-away Bird

We decided to move on at this point otherwise we would never get out into the bush! So we packed up the Skorokoro and headed out into the gloom. The light was terrible at this point, so we decided to try our luck at the bridge at Balule. Something would surely show there…….and show they did! First up was a Giant Kingfisher sitting on the edge of the bridge, with two Pied Kingfishers doing the same at the other side. A Hammerkop fished in one of the pools, closely watched by both Pied Kingfishers, no doubt trying to pick up tips!

Giant Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher


As we left Balule, it appeared that the weather was improving, with sunshine breaking out, but it was not to last for long as a heavy downpour soaked the veld and all in it. Animals stood still during the downpour while birds either sheltered in the undergrowth or just sat it out in the open. As soon as the deluge finished, everything returned to normal, with feeding activity resumed. Jan pulled the Bakkie over to show me a millipede that was crossing the road. “Shongololo” he said. As with the Forest Cricket mentioned earlier, they only come out when it rains.

Swainson's Spurfowl





We returned to camp for lunch and heard that there was a pride of Lions less than a kilometre away, so we went over to have a look. We were the second car there, so we took a photo of some sleeping Lions, who looked well fed and were unlikely to move for a day or two, so decided to move on. Not a moment too soon as we saw many, many cars heading towards us. It was worse than the M5 on a bank holiday Monday! Grateful to get away from the mele, we took a dirt road exit and before long were watching a hunting Slender Mongoose as it scurried about looking for insects, birds or small mammals.


Slender Mongoose

Further along the track we found a Kori Bustard, with Red-crested Korhaan close by. At a drift in the road, we found a Martial Eagle nest, with attendant Eagle, and also in the bushes around the drift, birds such as Greater Honeyguide, Marico Flycatcher, Golden-breasted Bunting and best of all, Common Scimitarbill and Grey-headed Bush-shrike. As we headed back to camp for the evening, a Marabou Stork was added to the list as it sat in a roadside tree.

Kori Bustard

Red-crested Korhaan

Greater Honeyguide & Laughing Dove

Marabou Stork

Our “final” day in the park dawned even greyer and mistier than the previous one. We packed our bags and headed South, deciding which route to take. A phone call made our minds up for us. Jan’s friend Sam invited us to stay with him at Skukuza. Sam is one of the chief scientists there, working on big cats and Elephant. We could not refuse this marvellous offer, so headed slowly towards Kruger’s capital, birding as we went.

The mist was thick and gave an eerie atmosphere to the bush. Spiders webs shimmered in the gloom, with dewdrops clinging to them, shining like diamonds. Impala looked stunning in this weird light and a Pearl-spotted Owlet sat out on a branch seemed confused by this change of weather.

Spiders webs


Pearl-spotted Owlet

Eventually the sun started to break through and burnt the mist away, revealing clear blur skies and the best weather of the trip so far. Sabota Larks and Rollers sat on top of the bushes looking for food and antelope of several species were all close to the roadside. Raptors were also out in force, with Bateleur, Brown Snake-eagle, Martial Eagle, Lanner Falcon, Black-shouldered Kite, Hooded and Cape Vulture all seen. Saddle-billed and Wooly-necked Storks were feeding in the grassland and at one point, lots of bright butterflies were fluttering along the verge.

Sabota Larks

Brown Snake-eagle

Black-shouldered Kite

Cape Vulture


Saddle-billed and Wooly-necked Storks

Butterfly (anyone know which species?)



Lilac-breasted Roller

Purple Roller

Brown Snake-eagle

A group of 7 Kori Bustards marching through the veld was an impressive sight and we almost ignored the White Rhinos that were nearby as we watched these huge birds as they stalked along looking for food. A scan of Kumana Dam produced both Little and Black-necked Grebes, with Comb Duck and Red-billed Teal also here. I was surprised to see the Black-necked Grebes as they are not normally present this far East, so am guessing that this was a small movement of several birds, probably pushed East by the weather front that passed over the previous few days?

A stop off at another dam (which I did not make a note of) produced excellent birding with Black-backed Puffback, Yellow-breeasted Apalis, Gorgeous Bush-shrike and Southern Black Flycatcher. Brown-headed Parrots, Common Scimitarbill, Cardinal Woodpecker, Bokmakierie and Lesser Honeyguide all noted during the two hours spent here.

Black-backed Puffback

Yellow-breeasted Apalis

Southern Black Flycatcher

Slende Mongoose

At the low bridge approaching Skukuza we noted two Water Monitors sunning themselves, Hippos in the river and an African Pied Wagtail taking a bath. Arriving an Sam’s house, we sat on the verandah with a beer and soon had a raptor in the trees on the other side of the road. We watched as it hunted then were amazed when it flew towards us and landed in the tree above out heads – African Goshawk! Stunning. Apparently, this species was absent from Kruger until recently and are now seen with some regularity in the Skukuza area.

Water Monitor

African Pied Wagtail

African Goshawk

Sundowners in the evening spent with some of the scientists and students out at Lake Panic was just a bit special. Glorious sunset, great birds nearby and good company, all with a beer in hand. Life just doesn’t get any better than this!

Sunset at Lake Panic

Back at the house we had a braii in the garden with a Spotted Hyena walking down the road just meters in front of us! Sam told us that a Leopard spent some weeks living in the trees between his and the neighbouring property. I decided it was unwise to wander around looking for owls at this point!

At sunrise the following morning we were out at Lake Panic bird hide watching birds such as African Jacana, Black Crake, Malachite Kingfisher and White-faced Ducks with the sun rising behind them and the early morning mist rising off the water. The atmosphere inside the hide was amazing, with everyone enjoying the sunrise and marvelling at the wildlife. If you havn’t been to this spot, I can thoroughly recommend it as one of the places you must visit if you are in the area.

Malachite Kingfisher

African Jacana

African Darter


Water Thick-knee (Dikkop)

African Black Crake

Tawny Flanked Prinia

Water Lilly

Sunrise at Lake Panic

Reluctantly, Jan and I had to leave as we had a long drive back towards Pretoria. As we headed towards Phabeni Gate, we were still picking up good birds along the way, with a small flock of Southern White-crowned Shrike, a superb Martial Eagle and a Bateleur that followed the Bakkie for some distance. For the photographers reading this, the Bateleur pic was taken at a setting of F8 at 47km per hour!

Southern White-crowned Shrike

Martial Eagle


Once outside the park, I kept an eye out for Long-crested Eagles. Last year we saw quite a few of these birds between the park and the escarpment to the Highveld, but this time only one bird was biefly glimpsed. Other than this, the drive home was fairly uneventful.

The following day was spent relaxing in the garden back in Pretoria. The fig tree in the garden was teeming with birds and we were all surprised to find at least three Green Pigeons busily feeding on the fruits. Red-faced Mousebirds were also here along with Cape White-eyes and the other usual suspects on the feeders.

Green Pigeon

Red-faced Mousebird

Cape White-eye

Grey Go-away Bird

Cape Sparrow

Red-headed Finch

Bronze Mannikin

Crested Barbet

Southern Masked-weaver

As with my previous visit to Kruger, my expectations were more than exceeded. This is surely one of the best birding areas anywhere in the world, and so far I’ve only seen it in winter!

Many thanks to Jan & Anke Joubert for inviting me to visit again. I couldn’t have done it without you.


(Those marked with * seen outside of the park boundaries)

Common Ostrich Struthio camelus
Little Grebe (Dabchick) Tachybaptus ruficollis
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
White-breasted Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo*
Reed Cormorant Phalacrocorax africanus
African Darter Anhinga melanogaster
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Black-headed Heron Ardea melanocephala
Goliath Heron Ardea goliath
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Great (White) Egret Casmerodius albus
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis*
Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Hamerkop Scopus umbretta
Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus
Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis
Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus
Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis
African Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus*
Hadeda Ibis Bostrychia hagedash
African Spoonbill Platalea alba
White-faced Duck Dendrocygna viduata
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus
Red-billed Teal Anas erythrorhyncha
Comb (Knob-billed) Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos
Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtes monachus
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres
(African) White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos
White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Black-chested Snake-eagle Circaetus pectoralis*
Verreaux’s Eagle Aquila verreauxii
Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax
African Hawk Eagle Hieraaetus spilogaster
Ayres’ Eagle Hieraaetus ayresii
Long-crested Eagle Lophaetus occipitalis*
Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus
Brown Snake Eagle Circaetus cinereus
Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus
African Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer
Jackal Buzzard Buteo rufofuscus*
Shikra (Little Banded Goshawk) Accipiter badius
Gabar Goshawk Micronisus gabar
African Goshawk Accipiter tachiro
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus
Rock Kestrel Falco tinnunculus*
Dickinson’s Kestrel Falco dickinsoni
Crested Francolin Francolinus sephaena
Natal Francolin Francolinus natalensis
Swainson’s Spurfowl Francolinus swainsonii
Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris
Crested Guineafowl Guttera edouardi
Black Crake Amaurornis flavirostris
Kori Bustard Ardeotis kori
Red-crested Korhaan Eupodotis ruficrista
African Jacana Actophilornis africanus
Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris
Crowned Lapwing Vanellus coronatus
Blacksmith Lapwing Vanellus armatus
White-crowned Lapwing Vanellus albiceps
Water Thick-knee Burhinus vermiculatus
Speckled (Rock) Pigeon Columba guinea*
Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia*
Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
African Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens
Cape Turtle Dove Streptopelia capicola
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Namaqua Dove Oena capensis
Emerald-spotted (Green-spotted) Wood-Dove Turtur chalcospilos
African Green-Pigeon Treron calva
Brown-headed Parrot Poicephalus cryptoxanthus
Purple-crested Turaco Musophanga porphyreolopha
Grey Go-away Bird Corythaixoides concolor
Burchell’s Coucal Centropus burchellii
Pearl-spotted Owlet Glaucidium perlatum
Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle-Owl Bubo lacteus
Fiery-necked Nightjar Caprimulgus pectoralis
African Black Swift Apus barbatus*
Little Swift Apus affinis
African Palm Swift Cypsiurus parvus
Böhm’s Spinetail Neafrapus boehmi
Speckled Mousebird Colius striatus
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
Giant Kingfisher Ceryle maxima
Malachite Kingfisher Alcedo cristata
Brown-hooded Kingfisher Halcyon albiventris
White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides
Lilac-breasted Roller Coracias caudata
Purple Roller Coracias naevia
African Hoopoe Upupa africana
Green (Red-billed) Wood-Hoopoe Phoeniculus purpureus
Common (Greater) Scimitarbill Rhinopomastus cyanomelas
Southern Ground-Hornbill Bucorvus leadbeateri
Trumpeter Hornbill Bycanistes bucinator
Crowned Hornbill Tockus alboterminatus
African Grey Hornbill Tockus nasutus
Red-billed Hornbill Tockus erythrorhynchus
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill Tockus leucomelas
Black-collared Barbet Lybius torquatus
Crested Barbet Trachyphonus vaillantii
Greater Honeyguide Indicator indicator
Lesser Honeyguide Indicator minor
Bennett’s Woodpecker Campethera bennettii
Cardinal Woodpecker Dendropicos fuscescens
Sabota Lark Mirafra sabota
Wire-tailed Swallow Hirundo smithii
Pearl-breasted Swallow Hirundo dimidiata
Lesser Striped Swallow Hirundo abyssinica
Brown-throated Martin Riparia paludicola
Fork-tailed Drongo Dicrurus adsimilis
(Eastern) Black-headed Oriole Oriolus larvatus
Pied Crow Corvus albus*
Southern Black Tit Parus niger
Arrow-marked Babbler Turdoides jardineii
Dark-capped (Black-eyed) Bulbul Pycnonotus barbatus
Olive Thrush Turdus olivaceus
Kurrichane Thrush Turdus libonyana
Groundscraper Thrush Turdus litsitsirupa
Familiar Chat Cercomela familiaris
African (Common) Stonechat Saxicola torquata
White-browed Scrub-Robin Erythropygia leucophrys
(Eastern) Bearded Scrub-Robin Erythropygia quadrivirgata
Yellow-breasted Apalis Apalis flavida
Long-billed Crombec Sylvietta rufescens
Grey-backed Camaroptera Camaroptera brevicaudata
Zitting (Fan-tailed) Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
Rattling Cisticola Cisticola chiniana
Lazy Cisticola Cisticola aberrans
Neddicky Cisticola fulvicapilla
Tawny-flanked Prinia Prinia subflava
Southern Black Flycatcher Melaenornis pammelaina
Fiscal Flycatcher Sigelus silens
Marico Flycatcher Bradornis mariquensis
African Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis
Chinspot Batis Batis molitor
African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp
Cape Wagtail Motacilla capensis
African (Grassveld) Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus
Bushveld Pipit Anthus caffer
Common Fiscal (Fiscal Shrike) Lanius collaris*
Magpie (African Long-tailed) Shrike Corvinella melanoleuca
Southern Boubou Laniarius ferrugineus
Tropical Boubou Laniarius aethiopicus
Black-backed Puffback Dryoscopus cubla
Brown-crowned (Three-streaked) Tchagra Tchagra australis
Grey-headed Bush-Shrike Malaconotus blanchoti
Bokmakierie Telophorus zeylonus
Gorgeous Bush-shrike Telophorus quadricolor
White-crested Helmet-Shrike Prionops plumatus
Southern White-crowned Shrike Eurocephalus anguitimens
Burchell’s Starling Lamprotornis australis
Meves’ (Long-tailed) Starling Lamprotornis mevesii
Cape Glossy Starling Lamprotornis nitens
Red-winged Starling Onychognathus morio
Common (Indian) Myna Acridotheres tristis*
Yellow-billed Oxpecker Buphagus africanus
Red-billed Oxpecker Buphagus erythrorhynchus
Scarlet-chested Sunbird Chalcomitra senegalensis
White-bellied Sunbird Cinnyris talatala
Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis niger
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Yellow-throated Petronia Petronia superciliaris
White-browed Sparrow-weaver Plocepasser mahali*
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow Passer diffusus
Red-headed Weaver Anaplectes rubriceps
Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea
Green-winged Pytilia (Melba Finch) Pytilia melba
African (Blue-billed) Firefinch Lagonosticta rubricata
Jameson’s Firefinch Lagonosticta rhodopareia
Red-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala
Blue Waxbill Uraeginthus angolensis
Purple Indigobird Vidua purpurascens
Yellow-fronted (Yellow-eyed) Canary Serinus mozambicus
Golden-breasted Bunting Emberiza flaviventris


Chacma Baboon Papio ursinus
Vervet monkey Chlorocebus aethiops
Slender mongoose Galerella sanguinea
Spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta
Lion Panthera leo
Elephant Loxodonta africana
White rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum
Burchell's zebra Equus burchelli
Warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus
Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius
Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis
Blue wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus
Tsessebe Damaliscus lunatus
Common duiker Sylvicapra grimmia
Steenbok Raphicerus campestris
Springbok Antidorcas marsupialis*
Impala Aepyceros melampus
Blesbok Damaliscus dorcas*
Buffalo Syncerus caffer
Nyala Tragelaphus angasii
Bushbuck Tragelaphus scriptus
Kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros
Waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus
Tree squirrel Paraxerus cepapi
Scrub hare Lepus saxatilis


Nile Crocodile Crocodylus niloyicus
Water Monitor sp.
Turtle sp.
Gekko sp.



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  • nkgray
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8 years 7 months ago #12081 by nkgray
nkgray replied the topic: Re: Kruger, June 2009

Looks like a great trip, and you are really making me homesick. I have been in South Africa for only 2 nights since May 12th! (although as you know I was in the UK - my planned puffin-viewing Skomer Island trip was called off due to poor weather, but I managed to get to the Farne Islands instead). However, I am booked to stay in timeshare at Hazyview and Crystal Springs in the second half of August, with 4 nights at Shingwedzi/Mopani camps sandwiched in between. I just hope I can come away with a long list like yours - there's a few there that I still need some decent photos of - Hooded Vulture, Greater Honeyguide and Yellow-breasted Apalis among others.


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  • Dewi Edwards
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8 years 7 months ago #12099 by Dewi Edwards
Dewi Edwards replied the topic: Re: Kruger, June 2009
Hi Neil,

Sounds like you had a good trip to the UK. Sorry we couldn't meet up for a days birding. Let me know next time you are in the area and we can sort something out.

Wish I could come over to Shingwedzi with you. Spent a while there a year ago and saw some great birds. Verreaux's Eagle-owl being the best (last pull in/viewpoint on right as you head for the bridge, the birds are in the first few large trees just after this pull in). Collared Palm-thrush in the camp itself, usually over by the toilet block near the camping area, you can whistle it in quite easily. Camp itself is great for African Scops Owls on warm nights. Again, you can call them in by mimicking their calls.

As for the long list, Jan and I spent every daylight hour in the field and this time, we targeted some species as we were more genned up on what to look for in certain areas, and were lucky with others. We still missed some really common species though, or was that due to the birds not being in the area when we visited? If I knew the Larks, Pipit's and Cisticola's better, we might have had a few more to add. I really need to get to grips with calls and behaviour before my next trip out there.

Still need that Tropical Boubou confirming though. Saw one similar in the same area last year, but still not positively ID'd it.

Hope you have a great trip there,



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  • Johann
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8 years 7 months ago #12106 by Johann
Johann replied the topic: Re: Kruger, June 2009
The uniform cream colour looks pretty much like Tropical Boubou to me.

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  • Dave Shedman
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8 years 7 months ago #12161 by Dave Shedman
Dave Shedman replied the topic: Re: Kruger, June 2009
A wonderful report, Dewi, well presented and loads of stunning photographs. This was the best read I've had in a long time and definitely makes me want to go back to Kruger (spent a very hot day there - 45°C - in 1989 but wasn't into birding then). Have you ever considered working for the South African Tourist Association? <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->


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8 years 7 months ago #12162 by Doug
Doug replied the topic: Re: Kruger, June 2009
Awesome shots!

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8 years 7 months ago #12314 by peter sharland
peter sharland replied the topic: Re: Kruger, June 2009
Hi Dewi

Fantastic trip report!

Your butterfly is a Spotted Joker (Byblia ilithyia)

Peter Sharland

P.S. Can you tell us what kit you use for your photography?

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  • Dewi Edwards
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8 years 6 months ago #12365 by Dewi Edwards
Dewi Edwards replied the topic: Re: Kruger, June 2009
Hi Peter,

Sorry, just seen your post otherwise I'd have replied earlier in the week.

Thanks for the ID on the butterfly, I had no idea what it was and have no ID books on butterflies for your part of the world.

I use a Nikon D3 body, and for this trip a Sigma 80-400 lens (which is now broken!). For some of the landscapes, I use a Leica C-lux compact, which gives great results.

The D3 is a superb camera and I'd recommend it to anyone (I think Doug took a shine to it!). All I need to do now is learn to use it properly.



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