June 6 – Skukuza to Berg en Dal

Moving day again today. I was pretty much packed up last night, so all I had to do was load up the car and be on my way. First sighting soon after leaving the gate was a Giraffe crossing the road. By the time I got to the spot, he had disappeared. Next was a Hyaena, but he was behind bushes and tall grass – so just one picture, before he disappeared. Next was a one picture Kudu.  It was another foggy morning, but things still look pretty in the fog.

It turned out to be another Rhino day and I’ll give you some of the pictures in no particular order – except I really liked this sighting I’m going to post first. The Rhino was right at the side of the road and I stopped to let him cross. My little buddy Zeb had a front row seat. When one of his bird friends landed on the road in front of him, he started following it and when it went back to the original side of the road – so did he. Then he turned around and crossed and he stopped at the other side to give a couple of big squirts. I missed the actual squirt, but you can see the results on the road and on his behind – LOL.

I’ll give you the rest of the Rhino pictures now that were taken throughout the day – I didn’t even take pictures of all of them today, but I got a few. Only the one above had the story to tell.

On the drive into Transport Dam, I stopped for an Impala picture. They just look so nice in the morning light. Then a couple of pictures taken at the dam – the sun trying to get through the clouds and fog, and just a general picture.

Then a Brown-headed Parrot posed for 1 quick picture. I always take one shot from a distance before zooming in just in case the subject leaves before I can zoom in to where I would like to be. That is what happened this time – I took a picture without zooming in much and then he was gone. Luckily the picture was clear enough for a crop. Once the parrot was out of sight, I took a picture of a Yellow-billed Hornbill – just because he was there and didn’t fly away when I zoomed.

Then, a Buffalo bull crossed the road in front of the car – you can see my little buddy Zeb watching him too. The Buffalo was sniffing as he went and was following a trail by the looks of it.

I took quite a few scenery pictures today. I’d forgotten about the mountains around Berg en Dal and they are beautiful. Some of the pictures are huge rock piles that seem to just come out of the ground. It is hilly and suddenly a huge pile of enormous rocks are around the next corner.

I got some fairly decent pictures of a little finch-type bird, but haven’t been able to figure it out. The barred tail should help, but I can’t find it. Hope someone can point me in the right direction.  It turns out that the barred tail did not help me ID it – but a couple of experts in the Facebook page – Birds of Kruger National Park – did help.  Thanks to Juanita and Werner I know this is a Levaillant’s Cisticola.  I was actually looking at these birds in my bird book, but it didn’t show the barred tail and didn’t mention it in the description, so I assumed (incorrectly) that it’s tail did not have any markings to show.

A Magpie Shrike gave me a couple of nice poses.  🙂

This Starling also posed very nicely for me, so I snapped his picture.

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I finally saw some Elephants today. I can’t believe it has been 2 days without an Elephant sighting. The first Elephant wasn’t in a co-operative mood though.

Found another Little Bee-eater again today, but unfortunately only got one picture and it is focused on the branch.  😦  It is good enough to show what it was though, so I’ll show it anyway.

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Saw more Giraffes and got their pictures.

I got one picture of a Hamerkop and then a Kudu and I was suddenly at the gate for Berg en Dal. Just in time too, since my camera battery had just quit on me. Luckily, my bungalow was ready, so I got my stuff inside and set the camera up to charge while I went to get some lunch.

After it was charged, I took a picture of a couple of bat houses and then headed back out for a drive. Two Giraffes were just outside the gate.

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Last time I was here 5 years ago, I remembered a road that went off to the left just before the gate and I wondered where it went. I could have looked at the map then, but didn’t and never did drive it. I didn’t really have much chance to check it out anyway – with the flat tyre taking up a lot of time the 1st day and part of the next (getting a replacement car) and I only stayed 2 nights. But this time I looked at the map and it is just a big circle – so I went on it. I found out that there a a lot of ups and downs to the road too as it goes up and down the mountains around here. There weren’t many critters to be seen, but the views were amazing.

 

I did find some Kudus, Impalas

 

a White-fronted Bee-eater, and

 

a Buffalo (who only showed me (and you) his dirty behind).

 

Then I had a stand-off with a Giraffe. He saw and/or heard me coming and moved to the middle of the road. We looked at each other and then he started walking towards me. He then stopped and just stood there chewing.  After several minutes, I finally decided to move slowly ahead and see if he would move off the road for me. I just moved a few feet at a time and very slowly and he then slowly moved off.  I didn’t know for sure how long this road was and how long this drive would take me, otherwise I would have been agreeable to waiting it out with him.

 

 

Then, I had 3 co-operative Elephants, who didn’t mind me taking pictures of them – so I did.

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When I got back to my Bungalow, I went on a walk on the Rhino Walk (perimeter fence). All I could find was one Bushbuck resting in the tall grass and a Grey Heron (and his reflection) at the dam.

Today I have seen 3 of the Big Five – Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino – so I just need the cats now.

Oh oh – I just realized that other than my little Zeb, I have no Zebras today for my friend Chardon.  Here is a picture from 5 years ago, just so I have some stripes for her.  🙂

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