Kruger Part I – Wakkerstroom

BirdLife Port Natal

Kruger Part I

Wakkerstroom

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

11 to 12 November 2018

Wakkerstroom Cathedral

Yes I know – Wakkerstroom is nowhere near the Kruger National Park. But we wanted a stay over to break the journey from Howick to Malelane. We drove over 300 kms in just under 4 hours and we had a further 380 to Malelane so this was a good place to stop over in particular for a bit of birding.

The cottage accommodation at Birdlife South Africa, Wakkerstroom was very reasonably priced and comfortable to boot– a bonus. Well worth spending time there in future and taking a guide to see the local specials – Botha’s and Rudd’s Larks, Blue and White-bellied Korhaan, Yellow-breasted Pipit to name a few.

We arrived early – at midday – so we were able to explore the wetland area next to the town during the afternoon.

The…

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Springside Nature Reserve

BirdLife Port Natal

Outing to Springside Nature Reserve
Saturday 1st December, 2018

Report by Terry Walls

The Springside Nature Reserve, proclaimed in 1948, is situated in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal. It conserves 21 ha of forest, grassland and wetland, and is managed by the eThekwini municipality and Hillcrest Conservancy. It was developed jointly by the Wildlife Society and the Hillcrest town board. (Wikipedia)

In Springside Nature Reserve you will find KwaZulu-Natal Sanstone Sourveld – classified as an endangered vegetation type. The Springside Nature Reserve has one of the last remaining relatively unspoilt areas of Sourveld Grassland in Hillcrest. Here you will also find 246 wild flower species, 173 bird species, 75 tree species, 11 mammal species and 10 reptile species.(show me.co.za)

Following a weather report of overcast sky and gusty winds, we were pleasantly surprised with a mildly overcast sky, and a slight breeze.

Fuftails, both Red-chested and Buff-spotted, calling from the reedbed opposite the…

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Kruger Part 2 – Malelane Campsite

BirdLife Port Natal

Kruger Part 2

Malelane Camp

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

12 to 14 November 2018

Malelane campsite

The drive from Wakkerstroom was quite scenic, especially going through Barbeton. After an early start we arrived at the Kruger Park Malelane gate at midday. It was a pleasant surprise that we were able to check in at the gate for the campsite and not have to go to Berg-en-dal.

The campsite was deserted except for us for the two days we were there. The huts were in use. The advantage of being at this campsite compared to Berg-en-dal is that we were able to get out onto the main road towards Skukuza well before anyone from Berg-en-dal and an hour ahead of the main gate opening.

The temperature was in the high 30s on arrival and it stayed as the norm during the days we were there. Nights were a lot…

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Latest Cape and Bearded Vulture tracks

BirdLife Port Natal

Please find attached (Click here) the movements of our Bearded Vultures; Jeremia, Pharaoh, Lehlwa and Mollie and our Cape Vultures; Bennie and N207, for the past week.

News of Inkosi is that sofar the autopsy has not revealed any obvious signs of death. Poisoning is suspected but we await the test results. A team of Bearded Vulture Task Force members spent some time at Inkosi’s nest but unfortunately did not see any sign of a nestling or Inkosis partner, therefore the breeding success of this pair remains inconclusive. Fortunately a flight over the area surrounding the location where Inkosi was found did not reveal further carcasses. Thanks to Pilot Donovan Barton-Hobbs and observer Dean Ricketts for their survey. They did notice that based on her location data, Inkosi had been feeding at a few informal feeding sites/vulture restaurants.

Our nestling has finally fledged- see attached a sequence of photos-…

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Kruger Part 3 – Lower Sabie

BirdLife Port Natal

Kruger Part 3

Lower Sabie

Report by Paul and Sally Bartho

14 to 18 November 2018

Lower Sabie Camp Site

The next morning we left Malelane on our way very early to Lower Sabie for 4 nights.

We had not gone far on the tar when we were accosted by the same pack of 10 Wild Dogs that we had seen the previous evening. Again a lovely sighting with them surrounding our vehicle on their way to somewhere.

Wild dog

Our journey was mostly on the dirt roads – starting with the S25 towards Byamiti before heading north to Lower Sabie.

Animal sightings were few and far between. No Buffalos, no Rhinos and a paucity of Elephants. A remarkable contrast to the previous two days.

We beetled along the S25 reaching the Byamiti bridge in quick time. On approaching the bridge a large male Leopard strolled towards us in the…

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