May 11 – Crocodile Bridge

Other than a couple of annoying mosquitoes (that no longer exist), I had a wonderful sleep last night, only waking up as the morning drive noisily started off and then I went back to sleep for another hour. It is so peaceful here, but my tent is right beside the gas station where the drives start. Tomorrow I’ll be on the walk, so I will be up early anyway.

My intent this morning was to drive to Hippo Pools and sit there drinking my coffee.

First critters this morning were the Warthog family inside camp. I wondered where they were yesterday, but it looks like they only come in here in the mornings, since they are already gone and it is not quite noon. I didn’t get their pictures, since I expected them to be here when I returned and it was fairly dark & foggy still. Also without pictures due to the fog, were Impalas & Wildebeests, but I did get photos of other ones a little later including an Impala ram in rutting mode.

Next sighting was a Grey Heron and more Wildebeests in the fog – but I did take pictures of both.

 

Next was a Hyaena walking towards me on the road. I came to a stop to wait for him to be closer and take his picture. But, someone came up behind him and he walked into the tall grass and disappeared. He was a gorgeous Hyaena and I missed his picture. 😦   I managed to convince an Impala to give me a couple of poses and then some pictures of the morning sky.

 

A Swainson’s Spurfowl refused to come out to say hello, but I took a picture anyway.  Then a very co-operative Yellow-billed Hornbill allowed me to take a few pictures of him. An Impala in rutting mode gave a nice pose for me also.  🙂

 

While stopped at Hippo Pools, I saw a Giant Kingfisher fly by as well as several Egyptian Geese, Hadeda Ibis and one Hippo (actually, the Hippo didn’t fly) – but no pictures of any of them.

I took a little video while sitting at Hippo Pools – such a peaceful start to the morning.

 

 

A few Impalas grazing near a large tree and a co-operative Starling who gave me some poses.

 

I found an adult Bateleur with a young one perched on a tree and they were nice enough to stay for some pictures.

 

A couple of Kudu and a Burchells Coucal.

 

Also seen and photographed were Crested Francolin,  and both Red & Yellow-billed Hornbills.

 

A very co-operative Swainson’s Spurfowl then strutted around for some photos.  I wonder if it was the same one who hid on me earlier.  I was on my way back by now.  Maybe he just wasn’t quite ready to face the day yet before.

 

Four male Lions were having a snooze under a bush quite a distance from the road. The dozen or so cars parked there alerted me to this and I was able to get a couple of poor pictures of 1 of them due to the tall grass, the distance and the fact that the sun was somewhat in the way. But they are a start to my 2nd big 5 🙂

 

Apparently I just missed seeing them walking down the road by a couple of minutes.  One of the cars that I met going out (while I was heading in to Hippo Pools) got to where they were very soon after we passed and he took some amazing pictures.  There were 5 in total, but the 5th was following the 4 by quite a bit.   Whenever the 4 realized he was there, they would chase him away.  None of this action happened at this time though – one of the rangers who would be on the walk tomorrow filled us in on these details as the young one has been following the big guys around for awhile now.  The reports that went on latest sightings were just about the 4, since #5 stayed hidden most of the time (obviously for a good reason).

A couple of very handsome male Kudu gave me some poses.

 

I got a couple of pictures of a Crowned Lapwing on the side of the road.

 

I stopped to take some pictures of a large flock of birds.  They may be Wattled Starlings.  I wasn’t sure, but that is what my friend Gerda thinks they are.  There were sure lots of them around anyway.  🙂

Back in camp, a pair of Grey Go Away Birds were teasing me and a man who were trying to get pictures of it.  It took awhile, but I did manage one photo.  It is not a great one, but you can see him.

DSCN3067 (770x800)

I found 4 bat houses that I don’t think were there 5 years ago, but I could be wrong. At that time several bats were roosting in one of the trees by the ablution.  I could hear little squeaks coming from the boxes.  🙂

 

On a quick afternoon drive, I found Yellow-billed Hornbills and some young Wildebeest organizing a road block.

I also found 2 Southern Ground Hornbills hanging out with some Impalas,

and Wildebeest.

Finishing off this short drive were Warthogs,  Helmeted Guinea Fowl and a Giraffe. I was only out there for about 1/2 an hour and probably drove about 5 km total.

During the day, I also saw Elephants and Rhinos, but did not get any pictures.

Click here to start at the beginning of my trip.

 

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