Mountain Zebra 11-12th September

Mountain Zebra 11-12th September

Friday, 11th

I am keen to revisit my puddle in the road down on the Ubejane Loop near the maingate. The number of very varied birds visiting there bears further attention. So stocked up with two water containers to top up the puddle, I pass out of camp at 6.30am. But it is dull and dark this morning – not good for decent photographs. So I recharge the puddle and continue along the loop without seeing too much – except the mystery Goshawk.

“Melanistic” Gabar Goshawk

I do confess to being driven by my camera so if conditions are not right, I quickly lose interest. I am back in camp at 8am but not long thereafter, the sky suddenly clears.

September is a remarkable month in southern Africa. It starts off as cold, drab and wintery but by the end of the month summer is really getting into its stride. Which means that October can be really hot and unpleasant before the rains begin – usually in November. This usually brings in the migratory birds which is why we are in the Cape at present and only get to Kruger in early November.

Armed with the water containers, I set off again at 3pm for my puddle on the Ubejane Loop. After topping up the fast shrinking pool I continue along the loop passing an ostrich – effective against the sun.

Then I begin my vigil at the puddle but apart from the Cape Robin, Red-Billed Queleas and a variety of doves, nothing extraordinary arrives.

Bathing Cape Robin swamped by Red-billed Queleas
Red-billed Queleas
Laughing Dove
Helmeted Guineafowl

Yesterday was a bumper day, today rather quiet – but enjoyable.

Saturday, 12th

We are at full strength today as Renette and I leave the unattended camp gate at 6.20am. Again, we make the steep ascent above the camp just in time to catch the sun slipping over the horizon.

We then idle through the grasslands taking in all the little scenes that are being played out. Renette has taken over one of my cameras and readers will no doubt be seeing some unusual photos.

Black Wildebeest

Eventually we head for our favourite little dam which usually dishes up some interest.


As we arrive there, a very regal Egyptian Goose is busy dispatching the Shelducks.

Female and Male South African Shelducks (My library)

Soon a loud roar can be heard not far off but rather frustratingly we cannot see its owner – one of the magnificent male lions resident here. I include a photo taken on our last visit to Mountain Zebra.

The Egyptian Goose will not allow any others near the dam and is constantly seeing off ducks and geese that would like to visit. Here he is returning from one of his attacks.

But something that does not bother the goose are some small and beautiful African Quail-finches which only occur in the central region of the country. In fact this is the first time I have photographed these little gems so I am well pleased.

Male African Quail-finch
Female African Quail-finch
Sickle-winged Chat (?)

So much do we enjoy our time here that we are determined to return tomorrow at daybreak.

A rather brazen Ground Squirrel blocks our path on the way back to camp at 10am.

This afternoon a strong north-west wind starts to blow and conditions deteriorate. The puddles are drying up but I do manage some Red-billed Firefinches.

Red-billed Firefinch (My Library)

We are meeting an increasing number of people who have sold their homes and are now living in their caravans – rather like us. What a life.