May 18 – Satara

I started off this foggy morning with a Helmeted Guinea Fowl road block. Guess they heard that I mentioned that I hadn’t been seeing them around Satara. The sun soon rose with a beautiful sun rise and cleared up the fog for a nice drive.

Today, I had decided to drive south a bit to the S126 and and then west to avoid the morning sun in the eyes. Then I would turn north at the S36 and then east on the H7 and head back to camp.

First was a Yellow-billed Hornbill who nicely gave me a couple of profile views for pics. Soon afterwards was a Baboon lookout – but I didn’t see any of his troop.  I guess, as long as he knew where they were, that was what mattered.

Next were a couple of Crested Francolins, who actually stopped and posed for me. These guys are usually quite shy and disappear before I can get the camera ready for them and although the rest of them did disappear, these 2 stood by my window to pose 🙂

Next was a lone shy Wildebeest, who started running as I drove up and ended up trying to hide behind this tree – without much success.

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Around a couple more curves, I found several Kudu, who were racing around in circles. The male did not seem to be doing anything, but I wondered if he had annoyed the ladies or not. I could hear bird alarms also so I sat and waited for several minutes in case there was something to alarm about, but did not see anything. The birds may have been alarming just because the Kudu were racing around. The male finally walked away and I drove on.

I have been seeing some flocks of quite tiny birds and have failed miserably in getting pictures of them, so I can see what they are. Years ago, I kept several birds and some of them were finches that originated in either Africa or Australia. If I could get a picture, I might be able to see what kinds these are but they always fly off when I stop.. I had just taken one picture where there are actually some showing (but nowhere near enough to tell what they are). As I shut the camera off, I saw a Hyaena – right beside my car! I turned the camera back on again, but he had walked behind my car and looking into the sun, I couldn’t get a picture, so I turned around and went after him. Then he ducked into the tall grass – LOL

An Impala ram gave me a nice pose – so I had to take his picture. I wondered afterwards if he was just delaying me so the birds could form a roadblock. Then another Impala ram posed on the other side of the birds, so I took his picture too.

A couple of Magpie Shrikes were nicely perched on a branch and as I zoomed in, 2 more landed to make the picture more interesting.

Then a Wildebeest stood on the road and stared at me for a bit and suddenly there were several more.

Just around that bend and I noticed my little buddy Zeb getting excited as he saw Zebras ahead. I have to mention that this car has a much better spot for my little Zebra to sit and he never falls over on bumpy roads like in the other car.

Anyway, there were lots of Zebras, Giraffes and Impalas in the next area. I found another little spike in the Impalas who allowed me a picture.

I found a brown hawk-type bird up in a tree and was glad he seemed ok with my pictures. I think he is a Tawny Eagle and have just had that confirmed by the Facebook group Birds of Kruger National Park.

I stopped on the road at Nsemani to take some pictures there. There were a few Hippos and lots of birds, that seem to be mostly Egyptian Geese, although I see one Egret and and maybe some White-faced Ducks and ??  There is also a Grey Heron and a Blacksmith Lapwing on another spot. There was also a large flock of Swallows flying.

At that point, it wasn’t far back to Satara, so I was soon back and picking up some lunch at the little deli type place beside the pizza place.  They have sandwiches,  meat pied, muffins,  deserts and coffee. The bread wasn’t fresh, but the sandwich itself was quite good.

Walking back to my bungalow with lunch, I watched a Red-billed Hornbill with a bug. He held it and put it down and it was getting away when he pounced and grabbed it again. I missed the bug in my pictures, since I snapped just as he threw it up in the air and I only got the open beak, but not the bug. I didn’t see if he caught it and ate it that time or if it did finally get away.  He looks pretty satisfied, so I suspect that he ate it.  🙂

After a relaxing time spent at camp, I decided to head out for a couple of hours in the afternoon. I just got gas and had the windows washed, so I thought it would be nice to just drive on tar roads, and  headed for the H6 to just drive to the end and back again.

An African Grey Hornbill was my first sighting, followed by a Roller of some kind – I think it is a Purple Roller. The sun was in the way a bit so colours are hard to see.

Next were several Zebras, followed by a family of Warthogs that walked across the road in front of me. I wasn’t ready with the camera fast enough to get them on the road, but luckily they were still in sight once they crossed.

Then a peacefully grazing Elephant was at the side of the road. He looked rather suspiciously at me for a minute and then at the safari vehicle off to my left. I was a little nervous and had the car in gear and ready to go, but then he looked back at me and continue to graze.

Then some more Zebras and a Crowned Lapwing and another look at the Roller, which I do think is the Purple Roller.

Next were a couple of Kudu grazing and finally more Giraffes and then I was back at my bungalow.

I guess day 3 is a ‘no critters at the fence’ type of day unless I missed them while out driving.

Tomorrow morning I pack up and head north to Olifants.

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