Monday, December 3, 2018

Birding from Lush Private Game Lodge, Black Rhino Reserve, Pilanesberg.


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This was my view when I awoke.
A 05h00 moment of quiet gratitude before the knock on the door,
signalling the that coffee and rusks are ready for the guests,
 before we head out on a game drive.

The vehicle sits quietly in the early morning light...
The silence yet to be broken by the throb of the diesel engine.
Almost predator like, it squats...
waiting, not for prey, 
but to be filled up with guests, keen to see what awaits
 outside the perimeter of the camp fence.
Often guests will request certain species 
but those can never really be guaranteed.
The field guide's bush knowledge and often
 "right place, right time" is involved.
That being said, some animals are creatures of habit and 
can therefore be found at specific locations.
Not always a fail-safe method, but it sometimes works.
The same can be said for some bird species.
A favourite tree or fence post...and "Hey Presto"
there they are...again.

Black-shouldered Kite.
One of my favourite of the smaller raptor species.
Raptors can often be difficult to identify,
but with eyes like this, you can be 100% certain of  your identification.

 Pied Crow.
This particular species often gets ignored as there are so many of them.
You can find them at your lodge, you can even find them at 4000m on Mt Kilimanjaro.
But like Impala, they get passed over for more exotic species.
This juvenile caught my attention as it puffed up
in the early morning sun trying to warm up.

Swainson's Spurfowl...
scratching for breakfast.

Pale Chanting Goshawk.
Another easily identifiable raptor,
this time due to the colour of its legs.

Back to camp for breakfast...
And what a spread it was...with splendid bread from the lodge owners bakery! 
Aside from the usual cereal
 there were a variety of cheeses and cold meats.
Still hungry?
There are an assortment of hot breakfasts on offer as well.

These are watermelon pizzas
served to guests at high tea before once again heading off on a drive

Red-crested Koorhaan.
Also known as the "Suicide Bird" due to its mating ritual.
The males fly straight up into the air,
tuck in their wings and plummet earthwards.
The one who pulls up closest to the ground is able to claim mating rights.
That is assuming that the female has remained to watch
and not taken off with another fellow.

Lesser Grey Shrike.
This was a first for me.
One of two species that I have not seen before.
I do not keep a "twitchers" life list,
so I have no idea how many species I have actually seen.
However, I do get excited when I see a "new" species for the first time.

Yellow-throated Sandgrouse.
This is the other first sighting that I mentioned.
There was a group of these scuttling around in the middle of the road.
An interesting fact: The collective noun for grouse can be either;
A gripe, a grumbling, a grain or a dune.

What would sun-downers be without snacks?
And Lush would not be luscious without this deli-like spread.
On offer, pate, dried wors, roasted almonds as well as
dried apricots and mangoes.
And if THAT is not enough, there is fresh bread, and a variety of cheeses.
Did I forget anything?
Oh yes, the olives and the figs!
Together with a beverage or two to wash them down
this is a snack fest worthy of a lodge of this nature.

With the disappearing sun lighting up the tree line 
it was time to head back to camp.
What a splendid day it had been.
And two new species for me...
an a plethora of others that I had seen before,
but was excited to see again.

If I had thought that breakfast and high tea was substantial,
then the plated dinner was an unexpected example 
of the attention to detail executed by the staff .
Meat, fish and vegetarian dishes were on offer
on the two nights that I was in camp.
Well done to the Chef and her staff for actually reading
my dietary requirements and making the necessary adjustments 
to the relevant dish.
In this case it was the fact that I do not eat chocolate,
and they therefore made certain that there was none on my dessert.
I am often amazed that on many occasions I am served dishes
that I have specifically said I cannot/won't eat.
Not so in this case...

To find out more about this lodge and what it offers,
please visit their website:


 

The latest addition to my sponsors list...
The Olight SRS2UT Intimidator.
Marketed locally by:

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.

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.
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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