Lower Sabie 20th November

Lower Sabie 20th November

Dear Followers, you may have gathered that this site developed a problem which has now been fixed (25th Nov). However, some of the previous posts that I made were lost so I am redoing them and hopefully my memory holds out. Apologies.

A light sprinkling of rain falls during the night. We take off a little later this morning on a dark morning with a cold south wind blowing.

Down the S28 gravel road we go again and then across to the Duke waterhole where we coffee. Whereas yesterday was so busy, today all is quiet no doubt helped by the cold, unpleasant wind. We again join the Gomondwana S130 loop road and travel southward along this quiet but beautiful road. One of the joys is targeting a particular bird and then go “hunting” it. The Stierlings Wren-warbler has been frustrating me all year. His lovely “horses hooves” call is so distinctive but he has remained elusive. Now Gareth is made of sterner stuff and with the bird caller on play, we patiently entice our Warbler out of the thickets. He finally obliges but remains too high up a nearby tree for a photo – but at least we saw him.

Coming back up the main H4-2 road, we come across and breeding herd of ellies with so many youngsters present. Oh dear, how is Kruger going to cope with the soaring ellie numbers?

Vultures range from the beautiful to the positively ugly. Bearded – Lappet-faced – White-headed – Hooded – Cape…….. to the least attractive – the White-backed Vulture. Usually dirty and drab, I often have troubling bringing myself to photograph it. But look at this juvenile specimen……..

He is really beautiful and I cannot recall seeing a more clean and well groomed individual.

Some low bushes (??) are fruiting along the road verge and Parrots, Green Pigeons, Grey Turacos and others are busy feeding off them.

Brown-headed Parrot
The extravagantly coloured Green Pigeons

Back at Sunset Dam we are surprised to see a flock of Grey-headed Gulls.

I have worn a jersey all day, such is the coolness of the day. Word comes through that Satara and Phalaborwa areas have received good rain which is good news.

Now one of the great things about bird photography is that the possibilities are endless whilst patience and persistence are often rewarded. The Stierling’s Wren-warbler is not going to win this battle so at 3.30pm we set out for the Gomondwana S130 road where the many thickets provide a likely habitat to find him. We select a suitable place and incredibly within a minute or two…… there he is.

Now as a minute little bird, this is certainly not a very impressive sight. But when one has been chasing this bird for most of 2019 to finally get him is thrilling. And therein lies the great appeal of bird photography. The field is so vast and the challenges are endless. I love it.

Triumphant we return to the bridge where we are told there is yet another leopard with an impala up a tree 3Km along the H10 road. We drive there but find that the leopard is sleeping in the grass beneath the tree and only finally sits up as we are leaving for camp in the dark. If you look carefully at the photo below you will make out the form of the leopard in the clump of green bush just to the right of the base of the tree.