7th to 11th October 2020
With Malelane behind us on a cool Wednesy morning with rain threatening, we headed for Skukuza. On arrival we were told the campsite was only 50% full. That was definitely not the case as we struggled to find a spot for our off-road trailers. Our friends found a tight spot where they could set up together and eventually we parked in a spot where others were leaving. Fortunately on level ground.
The camp birds were very vocal and some quite friendly too. Lovely to hear their call especially first thing in the morning.
During the four days we were there we made good use of our time and birded as far afield as Tshokwane, Orpen Dam, Pretoriaskop, Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge. The weather remained overcast but the rain had abated for now.
Some photos of the terrain:
Lake Panic was virtually dry so we wasted no time there. Sabie river was flowing strongly – presumably from all the rainfall up river. The river side was very quiet bird-wise but hordes of Buffalo enjoyed a good soaking.
On several of the bridges Giant Kingfishers hung about. On one bridge a Kingfisher let us get right alongside.
Elsewhere a Lappet-faced Vulture took off and headed straight at us.
And a Dark Chanting Goshawk was seen polishing off what looks a bit like the tail end of a snake.
Then there were the waterbirds we saw:
Of course there were animals too:
There were many bush birds about. In Pretoriuskop there were Red-headed Weavers and Brown-headed Parrots. It was there that we heard unusual calls from a flock of very small birds in an open tree. Sally was convinced they were Green-capped Eremomelas. We had fleeting views of them as they bobbed around in one of the trees. Pity I was unable to get a photo.
Here is a gallery of bush birds we photographed as we travelled around:
Another surprise for us was to see a YELLOW-billed Oxpecker so low down in the KNP. On a buffalo at S 24.87; E 31.748.
Altogether in our time at Skukuza we identified 144 different bird species.
On Sunday 11th October we left Skukuza to join our friends at Satara for 3 days. The story continues in Part 3.
Paul and Sally