Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bird sightings during game drives from Imbali Safari Lodge, Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge & Hamiltons Tented Camp. Kruger National Park.








"Right, so I know that this posting is meant to be about birds,
but I thought that I would sneak in and be your field guide"!
"What better way to learn about birds than from an animal
that shares their space on a daily basis"?
"So draw nearer, dear reader, and let us begin"

Nothing is quite as it seems when it comes to bird species.
Many birders will argue ad nauseaum about young, juvenile, sub-adult, adult
in breeding plumage, not in breeding plumage as well as a range
of other characteristics that the bird books only allude to.
This was the case with these two Arrow Marked Babblers
that I spotted on the ledge of the swimming pool at Imbali Safari Lodge.
Placing the image on Facebook was not much of a help either...
It brought more questions than answers, each responder thinking
that they were supplying the DEFINITIVE response.
It seems that the bird on the right is leucistic version of the regular Babbler on the left.
And no, even though the bird has white plumage, it is not an albino
as the pigmentation in the eyes is still correct.
If it was an albino, the eyes would be red.

This is NOT a bird image...
But birds do utilize trees for a variety of purposes.
This is a VERY special tree as it is not only the most Southern Baobab tree
in Kruger National Park, it is also thought to be between 800 to 100 years old!
If it could talk, I wonder what stories it would be able to relate.

A colourful Crested Barbet comes to take a drink
 from the swimming pool at Imabli Safari Lodge.
These birds can be found in urban suburbs where many residents
put up nesting boxes for them to utilize for breeding purposes.

The lip of the swimming pool at Imbali Safari Lodge
was a hive of activity for several bird species.
This is a male Red-billed Firefinch.

Is it a bird?
Is it a plane?
No, it is a small Fruit Bat checking me out.
Part of a small group that I was shown
outside the main entrance to Imbali Safari Lodge.

One of my FAVOURITE raptor species.
The Bateleur, meaning acrobat in French.
It was almost renamed the Short Tailed Eagle,
but managed to dodge the change.
This adult male does not look too happy...
Seen during a game drive from Hoya Hoya Tsonga Lodge

Again, not a bird species, but at least these do have wings.
This is the way that the resident manager keeps the bees 
off the guests food at Imbali Safari Lodge.
So simple, yet very effective.
There is sweetened water in the shallow dish
and the foliage is to make certain that the bees can get to the water source
and out again without drowning

This Forked-tailed Drongo is a master of mimicry.
Their special talent is to "help" meerkats when raptors approach.
In return, the small mammals normally supply food.
If not to his liking, he can mimic meerkat alarm calls 
and grab as much food as he can when they run and hide.
These cheeky birds can get up to 23% of their daily food requirements
from alarm call mimicry...
and then stealing food!

This sub adult Tawny Eagle was keeping a beady eye on us as we drove by.
Morning game drive from Hoya Hoya.

Not a sight often seen...
the highly endangered Ground Hornbill strutting across the road.
Seen during a Hoya Hoya game drive.

When you had had too much to drink at the sun-downer stop,
you might end up with Ground Hornbills that look like THIS.
In actual fact it was a line of four birds,
looking for snacks in the grass.

Every lodge seems to have a resident Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill.
They usually appear around meal times.
Coincidence, I don't think so!
This one was watching me as I ate breakfast at Imbali Safari Lodge

This much maligned bird used to be called a Grey Lourie.
A couple of years ago, for reasons known only to scientists,
it was renamed the Grey Go-away bird,
perhaps because it call sounds similar to the words
"Go away".
It is their alarm call that often warns other species of any threat of danger.
See in camp at Imbali Safari Lodge

The National bird of Botswana
and the unofficial bird of the Kruger National Park.
This is the very photogenic Lilac-breasted Roller.
Spotted during a game drive from Hamiltons Tented Camp

This precariously balanced Burchell's Starling
was seen quenching its thirst at the Imbali Safari Lodge swimming pool.
Just one of several species that can be found in the park.

The alarm call of many bird species will alert prey species
to the fact that there are predators in the vicinity.


The camps that we visited were:
 
 
My camera brand of choice for more than 4 decades!
Photo:

Photo:
When it is time to print out my special images,
this is the company that I rely on to do that.

A new clothing sponsor has come on board...
Welcome to Kallie Khaki.
Bush gear to make me blend in...
in comfort and style.
www.kalliekhaki.co.za

I have worn these shoes in the jungles of India
and on the beaches of Croatia.
Not to mention, many game reserves in Africa.
They are probably the most comfortable pair of shoes
that I have ever owned.

Photo:
When I get home. I rely on this ISP
to provide me with high speed fibre connectivity 
to enable me to get my postings published in record time.

Photo:
This powerbank is my constant companion
 while I am travelling.
It can do up to 4 full re-charges of my phone before
needing to be charged.
Supplied by...


When offered an option...
ALWAYS be Batman.
This time he was standing at the foot of a Baobab Tree,
estimated to be between 800-1000 years old!
The newest of my travelling companions.
To find out more about the collectible Funko range of figurines,
visit:

My new addition, this awesome laptop bag from Solo.
Padded for protection and with enough pockets to keep
almost everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink in,
this is definitely an stylish addition to any business presentation.
Be it in the boardroom or the bush.
This bag can also be worn as a backpack. 
There are straps in a hidden compartment that can be deployed
when you need both hands for other purposes.
To find out more about the stylish Solo range,
visit:


A new "tool" in my camera bag.
This locally made product was indispensable when using a long lens.
The ball and socket might look simple...and it is, 
which is why it should be in the gear bag of every serious photographer.
This locally made, deceptively simple device is ideal 
for tracking birds in flight or animals in motion.
The base can be used on a beanbag or a tripod,
with the ball being fitted to the camera.
The simplicity of the device allows to to move from supported
to hand held in a fluid motion.
There is also a version that can be used on a car window.
To see more about the product, 
visit their Facebook page:
Or order directly from:





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and may not be used without permission

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