Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Trip away report- 17th-21st September 2013 Ndumo Game Reserve

Photos by Andy Ruffle (unless otherwise credited)

Attendees: Liz Blomeyer, Eileen Brannigan, Doug & Angie Butcher; Stan & Val Culley; Stanley & Asothie Gengan; Margaret Jones, Cathy Lee, Vic & Kay Neilson; Sandy Olver, Herbie & Jeanette Osborne; Noeleen Phillips, Andy Ruffle, Irma Smook, Bob & Hazel van Rooyen; Ron & Elaine Whitham; Barrie Willis & Sue Hansbury. (24 attendees).

Due to the length of this post, please click 'read more' below

Tuesday 17th September 

After a tiring journey, we all safely settled in to our various accomodation and later met for a braai at the boma.
The night was certainly not peaceful in the campsite due to numerous Fiery-necked Nightjars
heralding their presence right above our tents.

Wednesday 18th September

Red Cliffs picnic site
The morning excursion was to the Red Cliffs overlooking the Usutu River and Mozambique on the far bank. Birding on the way, we arrived just in time for breakfast.

A lovely setting for our breakfast
No sign of the African Cucko-Hawk, this time, but we were treated to African Fish-Eagles and a 'Mozambican' African Crowned Eagle. Buffalo were also seen crossing the river, carefully avoiding lurking crocs.

Buffalo cow leads her calf across the Usutu River
 (Photo Cathy Lee)
Four Giraffe as we left the Red Cliffs
Our route back to camp was via the Diphini Hide which, we discovered, no longer exists.

Thursday 19th September

Thursday morning started with a short walk around the camp before leaving at 10h00 for Tembe Elephant Park. Our game drives were booked for 11h00-14h00, so not a good time for birding, but it did give us the opportunity to see this special reserve.

One of three vehicles used for Trogons drives
The highlight for this visit was seeing Isilo, the largest tusker in southern Africa, at the Mahlasela Pan. Isilo, which means 'king of kings' in Zulu, sports tusks about 2.5m in length and weighing 55-60kg.

Mahlasela Hide
Isilo prepares for a dust bath
View from Mahlasela Hide
Wahlberg's Eagle, Yellow-billed Kite, African Goshawk, African Wattled Lapwing, Square-tailed Drongo and Rattling Cisticola were some of the birds seen at Tembe.

Today was another special day, it being Asothie's birthday. As a treat she made us a delicious mutton curry, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Barrie & Sue did a wonderful job of decorating the tables.

(Photos to be added)

The memorable day didn't end there though.
On returning to the campsite, this is what Barrie found.

Lucky escape for Barrie & Sue

A tree limb had broken off and crashed down on top of their tent. Luckily, we had been putting the world to rights, which had delayed them going to bed earlier.

Salvage team at work

After salvaging what they could, Barrie & Sue spent the next two nights in Ron & Elaine's 'lean-to'.

So much for the saying 'It'll all seem better in the morning'

Friday 20th September

Our last full day started with a drive to the Nyamithi Hide, via the vulture restaurant.
Apart from a Hippo head, there was little activity at the restaurant, with no signs of Senegal Lapwing this time.

Nyamithi Hide
Birding was interesting, with plenty to keep us occupied. The Wire-tailed Swallow was once again nesting in the hide.

Wire-tailed Swallow nesting in the Nyamithi Hide
Some of the group had opted for a guided walk around Nyamithi Pan. Lesser Jacana was reported on this walk, but a subsequent visit to Pelican Pan on Saturday revealed plenty of juvenile African Jacana, shedding an element of doubt on the sighting.

With the evening braai, another very successful trip away came to an end.

Whilst some made their way home in the morning, others headed off to Sand Forest Lodge for an extension to the trip.
For a report from Sand Forest Lodge click here.

For bird and other photos from the Ndumo trip click here.

Birds recorded: Great White Pelican, Pink-backed Pelican, White-breasted Cormorant, Reed Cormorant, African Darter, Grey Heron, Black-headed Heron, Goliath Heron, Purple Heron, Great Egret, Little Egret, Yellow-billed Egret, Black Heron, Cattle Egret, Squacco Heron, Green-backed Heron, Hamerkop, Abdim's Stork, Woolly-necked Stork, African Openbill, Saddle-billed Stork, Yellow-billed Stork, African Sacred Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Hadeda Ibis, African Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Lesser Flamingo, White-faced Duck, Egyptian Goose, Yellow-billed Duck, Hottentot Teal, Red-billed Teal, African Pygmy-Goose, Comb Duck, Spur-winged Goose, Yellow-billed Kite, Wahlberg's Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Bateleur, Palm-nut Vulture, African Fish-Eagle, Little Sparrowhawk, African Goshawk, African Harrier-Hawk, Crested Francolin, Natal Spurfowl, Helmeted Guineafowl, Crested Guineafowl, African Purple Swamphen, Common Moorhen, Red-knobbed Coot, African Finfoot, African Jacana, Lesser Jacana, Kittlitz's Plover, Three-banded Plover, African Wattled Lapwing, Terek Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Ruff, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Spotted Thick-knee, Water Thick-knee, Whiskered Tern, Red-eyed Dove, Laughing Dove, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Tambourine Dove, African Green-Pigeon, Klaas's Cuckoo, Burchell's Coucal, African Scops-Owl, Fiery-necked Nightjar, White-rumped Swift, Little Swift, Speckled Mousebird, Pied Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Brown-hooded Kingfisher, Striped Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Lilac-breasted Roller, African Hoopoe, Green Wood-Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Trumpeter Hornbill, Red-billed Hornbill, Crowned Hornbill, Black-collared Barbet, White-eared Barbet, Red-fronted Tinkerbird, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Crested Barbet, Greater Honeyguide, Scaly-throated Honeyguide, Lesser Honeyguide, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Cardinal Woodpecker, Bearded Woodpecker, White-throated Swallow, Lesser Striped Swallow, Black Saw-wing, Black Cuckooshrike, Grey Cuckooshrike, Fork-tailed Drongo, Square-tailed Drongo, Black-headed Oriole, Pied Crow, Southern Black Tit, Dark-capped Bulbul, Sombre Greenbul, Yellow-bellied Greenbul, Terrestrial Brownbul, Eastern Nicator, Kurrichane Thrush, Groundscraper Thrush, Chorister Robin-Chat, White-browed Robin-Chat, White-throated Robin-Chat, White-browed Scrub-Robin, Bar-throated Apalis, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Green-capped Eremomela, Rattling Cisticola, Tawny-flanked Prinia, African Dusky Flycatcher, Ashy Flycatcher, Southern Black Flycatcher, Pale Flycatcher, Chinspot Batis, African Paradise-Flycatcher, African Pied Wagtail, African Pipit, Common Fiscal, Southern Boubou, Black-backed Puffback, Brown-crowned Tchagra, Black-crowned Tchagra, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike, Grey-headed Bush-Shrike, White-crested Helmet-Shrike, Retz's Helmet-Shrike, Common Myna, Cape Glossy Starling, Black-bellied Starling, Red-winged Starling, Red-billed Oxpecker, Purple-banded Sunbird, Neergaard's Sunbird, White-bellied Sunbird, Grey Sunbird, Olive Sunbird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Collared Sunbird, African Yellow White-eye, House Sparrow, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, Yellow-throated Petronia, Dark-backed Weaver, Spectacled Weaver, Village Weaver, Southern Masked-Weaver, Lesser Masked-Weaver, Pink-throated Twinspot, Blue Waxbill, Yellow-fronted Canary, Golden-breasted Bunting. (176 species).

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