21 October 2021

Kyalami Estates - August Round-up

31 August 2021 - Kyalami Estates

We are heading toward the end of winter and looking forward to the arrival of spring. August wasnt too bad a month and I recorded 63 species for the Estate. Highlights were Grey-headed Bushshrike, Cardinal Woodpecker, Grey-headed Gull, Yellow-billed Duck and a Black Sparrowhawk.

In this month, the first intra-African migrants also arrived in the form of Red-chested Cuckoo and Greater-striped Swallow - so spring is almost in the air.

Around my house and the feeders the usual residents like Cape Sparrow

Female Cape Sparrow (Passer melanurus)

Male Cape Sparrow (Passer melanurus)

And both Sunbird species

Male White-bellied (Cinnyris talatala) and Amethyst Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystina)

In the park, a pair of Yellow-billed Duck were a surprise

Yellow-billed Duck (Anas undulata)

In the same park, a pair of Spotted Thick-knee's were seen in one of the gardens

Spotted Thick-knee (Burhinus capensis)

Whilst at the St Ledger Dam, the near endemic Cape Weavers were frantically building nests and already in breeding plumage

Cape Weaver (Ploceus capensis)

This is where I had the brief sighting of the Black Spa dashing by overhead

Black Sparrowhawk (Accipiter melanoleucus)

Just outside the Estate, I also had a dark morph Mountain Wheatear in an urban setting. They were found inside the Estate a few years back

Mountain Wheatear (Myrmecocichla monticola)

20 October 2021

The last day

26 August 2021 - Kruger National Park/Ngwenya; Day 7

Today was our last day of the holiday, so again we were at the Croc Bridge Gate by 6am and were processed quite quickly. This time we headed west on the S25 toward Hippo Pools and then turned north on and made our way to the S130 to Lower Sabie. 

This morning, although overcast, was really quite on the game front, but we did get a pair of Double-banded Sandgrouse just before Lower Sabie.

Double-banded Sandgrouse (Pterocles bicinctus)

The male Leopard was still in the ditch close to the camp gate and as was expected created a large traffic jam. We had a coffee stop and continued north to Mlondozi Dam where we had good views of Ele and some plains game, including a big herd of Burchell's Zebra

Abstract Burchell's Zebra (Equus quagga burchelli)

At the lookout and picnic point over the dam, two Lionesses had killed a Zebra less than an hour before our arrival, so from a distance we could watch the action. Blue Waxbill were obliging around the lookout point

Blue Waxbill (Uraeginthus angolensis)

We then headed south on the S29 finding a Steenbok in a section of unburnt grass

Steenbuck (Raphicerus campestris)

But more exciting was a daytime sighting of a large Porcupine as it wandered down the road, but then quickly disappeared into the long grass

Cape Porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis)

I enjoyed the landscape on this drive and this lone tree on the horizon

Kruger Landscape

We slowly made our way back to Croc Bridge and said goodbye to the KNP until the same time next year.

Later in the afternoon, I had a last walk around the Lodge grounds finding a feww White-bellied Sunbirds feeding from a flowering bush

White-bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris talatala)

White-crested Helmetshrike's provided some entertainment

White-crested Helmetshrike (Prionops plumatus)

and a Brown-hooded Kingfisher looked the part on a wind vane in the gardens

Brown-hooded Kingfisher (Halcyon albiventris)

Overhead I heard and then saw a pair of Black-winged Lapwings

Black-winged Lapwing (Vanellus melanopterus)

I had a Lizard sp. still to be identified

Lizard sp.

Along with a probable Orange-winged Dropwing

Orange-winged Dropwing (Trithemis kirbyi)

and a Powder-faced Sprite

Powder-faced Sprite (Pseudagrion kersteni)

Back at our Unit there were African Green Pigeon feeding in a fruiting tree, 

African Green Pigeon (Treron calvus)

Later I was enjoying the view over the Crocodile River and noticed that two Waterbuck were very alert. Careful scanning of the habitat along the river bank revealed why - can you see it?

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

What a great way to say cheers to a chilled week at Ngwenya Lodge

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

Enjoyed by our last sundowner's 


as the sun set on another day in Africa

Another glorious sunset

17 October 2021

A Big 5 Day

25 August 2021 - Kruger National Park/Ngwenya; Day 6

As in the past few days, we were at the Crocodile Bridge Gate by 6am and this morning headed north on the tarred H4-2 toward Lower Sabie. Unfortunately, not much was to be seen on this road today, which was unusual. We had a pit stop and coffee at Lower Sabie, before continuing west on the H4-1 to the Nkulu Picnic stop. 

However it wasn't too far along the road when we were stopped by a pride of Lion crossing the road - we were the 3rd car, so enjoyed great views as they settled under some trees and surveyed the Sabie River and surrounds. The male Lion was really pale compared to the females, but also appeared to have a some deformed teeth which made him look a little comical - but a great sighting nevertheless.

Lion (Panthera leo)

It did take some time to exit the traffic jam they had caused, before we ran into the next one. The same big herd of Buffalo as we had two-days ago and again we were surrounded - awesome experience

African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)

Red-billed Oxpecker (Buphagus erythrorhynchus)

We finally managed to get through the herd and hit another traffic jam - this time it was a Leopard in a tree with a kill - but the traffic was chaotic. When we finally reached the tree with the Leopard, it still took some searching to see just a part of it through the thick foliage. Tempers were starting to flare, so it was best to carry on

Spot the Leopard (Panthera pardus)

We had a picnic stop at Nkulu and were greeted by a pair of Bushbuck near the entrance of the car park

Female Cape Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus)

Male Cape Bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus)

On the way back to Lower Sabie, we avoided the main road and instead went on the S30 sand road on the north side of the Sabie River. This was a quieter road and we had a number of antelope sightings, the best being a small herd of photogenic Waterbuck, very close to the road

Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus)

Nearing Lower Sabie, a big herd of Ele's were heading to the river, including a few playful youngster's.

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Another traffic jam just outside Lower Sabie was for a brute of a male Leopard that had recently killed a Warthog, but was resting in a roadside culvert - certainly, a little better sighting than the earlier one

Leopard (Panthera pardus)

We then headed south, back to Crocodile Bridge, stopping for some Zebra before heading back to Ngwenya

Burchell's Zebra (Equus q. burchelli)

In the early afternoon, I enjoyed a short walk around the property where we had a small family herd of Ele come down to the drink in the Crocodile River.

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Walking back from the sighting, I had a White-browed Robin Chat

White-browed Robin-Chat (Cossypha heuglini)

and an unidentified Skipper

Skipper sp.

And a hypnotic Fly species

Fly sp.

In the late afternoon, we had a short sundown drive into the Park and connected with two White Rhino

On the way out of the Park, I stopped at the Crocodile Bridge Gate to photograph an obliging female Scarlet-chested Sunbird feeding on the flowering Aloes, whilst the male remained elusive on the top of a nearby tree

Scarlet-chested Sunbird (Chalcomitra senegalensis)

Another great day in the Park, traffic jams aside

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