May 23 – Letaba

I took the morning drive this morning and as usual lately, there were only 4 of us on it. Too bad they don’t have smaller vehicles available for this drive when there are so few taking it.

We saw Impalas (of course) and Wildebeests before it was light enough to take pictures, so our first photography victim was an Elephant. Actually there were 2 Elephants, but one failed to show anything other than one tusk. Our guide pointed out a Fork-tailed Drongo while we were watching the Elephants, so I grabbed 1 picture of one of them perched with a dove.

Next was a Saddle-billed Stork and then a little Steenbok.

A family of Baboons behaving properly in the wild, got our attention next as they went about their business.

A flock of Red-billed Queleas and then some Hippos entertained us for a few minutes.

Then some quick pictures of a Waterbuck, Elephant, Blacksmith Lapwing, Impala and Mariboo Stork.

It was a fairly uneventful drive, but our guide provided us with quite a bit of information on the various critters we saw and heard.

I have taken a few morning drives this trip, and there is certainly a difference in rules. I don’t know if the camp sets the rules or the guide does. Some allow flash photography at night and others do not – some insist that children sit on the inside with an adult at the window and others do not, some do not allow any part of the body to be outside the veihcle (ie – an elbow on the window ledge) and others do (a child’s head sticking out).

Back at my bungalow, I got picture of an African Grey Hornbill, a Waterbuck, Crocodiles and Elephants. The difference in the 2 pictures with 2 Elephants is a flock of Quelea flying.

There is a pair of Wire-tailed Swallows (I think) that are setting up a nest in my patio. I don’t know if they had a nest and it was removed, or the obviously removed nest spots were from other years, but they are in and out constantly.

I am not sure what this bird is – so any suggestions would be appreciated.

I spotted an African Fish Eagle circling and then he suddenly dropped to the bank in front of my bungalow. After a minute, he jumped into the water and dragged something out (I presume a fish). He ate for a couple of minutes and then I heard another Fish Eagle call (and he obviously did too, because he responded). Before long the other eagle landed and they seemed to have had a bit of a disagreement. It was really just some wing flaps. After a few minutes the new arrival flew away.

Shortly before heading out for an afternoon drive, I noticed one Hippo out of the water from my patio and then a few more just across the water.

Besides the Impalas on my drive, the first critters were a few Waterbuck by the edge of the water in one of the little turnouts.

Next were a couple of Giraffe a bit further on.

At the next turnout, There were more Hippos, another Waterbuck and a Cape Buffalo.

Then some Water Thick-knees and a Blacksmith Lapwing.

Next were Wildebeest and Zebras.

I got back home to see plenty of Waterbuck on the far side of the river and 1 young one on this side. He (or she) wanted to get over there but was quite nervous. He finally made it over the first bit of water to a small piece of land and looked at the next hurdle for awhile before finally jumping to get through it. Then he disappeared into the bushes and I never did see him come out closer to the other side anywhere.

 

Finally, a lone Elephant wandered by.

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