Kruger in Autumn

Having just returned from our last little Kruger Park trip, I’m already missing the bush and can’t wait to go back! Let the count down to July?/August begin!

I went to Kruger this time hoping to see a few rarities that have been reported there lately, namely; Lesser Jacana, Sooty Falcon, Caspian Tern and Mountain Wagtail, but of course we didn’t find a single one!  Instead I got a whole bunch of new birds for my year list and a good selection of Lifers!

We stopped off at Lake Panic hide soon after entering the park and found the usual suspects hanging out there.  Some highlights were the Pied Kingfishers, a Giant Kingfisher and a stunning Malachite Kingfisher which I couldnt get a decent photo of, even though it was posing so nicely 😦

Pied Kingfisher (Male on left, female right)

African Jacana

Giant Kingfisher(Male with a chestnut coloured chest)

Another one of the ever present characters of Lake Panic

Our campsite at Skukza was buzzing with birds, I couldn’t even drink my tea in peace without having to jump up and ‘catch’ a new bird or follow the calls!  I got 7 new lifers in our campsite alone – Yellowbellied Greenbul, Sombre Greenbul, Terrestrial Brownbul, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Collared Sunbird, Ashy Flycatcher and White-browed Robin-chat.  It was such a thrill to see so many new birds in such a short space of time!

White-throated Robin-chat

Terrestrial Brownbul

Yellow-bellied Greenbul

Ashy Flycatcher

We drove the road from Skukuza to Lower Sabie and got some nice birds along the way – Yellowbilled Stork with its purple/pinkish wash on the feathers, which I learnt is visible when they are breeding, White Crowned Lapwing (lifer), Three-banded Plover, Fish Eagle with a freshly caught fish in a tree close to the road, Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, African Openbill  and some random Wader.  Well that was my initial thought, they are always random because I struggle to identify them.  Turns out this wasn’t just another random wader, it was actually a Ruff.  When I looked properly in my books at home it was fairly easy to ID although I did ask various people to confirm it for me.  They are Summer visitors to South Africa, returning to the Northern hemisphere during our winter months, although apparently some do overwinter here.  Perhaps this one has decided to spend his Winter here!

Ruff at Sunset Dam

Fish eagle eating a freshly caught meal

Yellow-billed Stork

Juvenile Bateleur and Fish Eagle fighting over a monkey carcass

Goliath Heron in the Sabie River

It was a succesful trip in terms of birds, with many new birds added to my year list and a whole bunch of Lifers, and I have learnt some new bird info as well!

My year total is somewhere around 180 now!





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