24 September 2023

Tourist Route

28 June 2023 - Crystal Springs; Day 3

We had an early breakfast as we had planned to drive the tourist circuit through Robber's Pass to Pilgrims Rest and on to God's Window and then Blyde River Canyon. It had been many years since we had visited this area, so it was almost like doing it again for the first time.

We were at God's Window relatively early, but it certainly filled up with many tourists while we were there. There were a few view sites on the walking path and the views really are spectacular looking west toward Mozambique.

One of the views at God's Window

I was really hoping to try and connect with a Black-fronted Bushshrike, but no luck. However, I did manage to connect with a few forest specials like Sombre Greenbul

Sombre Greenbul (Andropadus importunus)

A skulky Chorister Robin-Chat

Chorister Robin-Chat (Cossypha dichroa)

and my best ever views of the equally elusive Barratt's Warbler, in a bush next to the busy walkway

Barratt's Warbler (Bradypterus barratti)

We then drove to Blyde River and the view site for the famous Three Rondavels. I was astounded at the number of tourists and busses that traversed this scenic route

Three Rondavels at Blyde River Canyon

We then headed back to Graskop for coffee and pancakes, before returning to Crystal Springs in the late afternoon. I had a walk around our chalets and had a surprised Brown-backed Honeybird

Brown-backed Honeybird (Prodotiscus regulus)

Quite a few Cape Canary's

Cape Canary (Serinus canicollis)

And some backlit White-crested Helmetshrikes, an image I quite like

White-crested Helmetshrike (Prionops plumatus)

However, the absolute highlight was finding the rarely seen Four-toed Elephant Shrew, named for the 4 toes on its hind feet. I kept my distance and was able to spend quite some time with it as it went about its business and then enjoyed the late afternoon sun in the rocks adjacent to our chalet.

They are the 'Elephant' representative of the little 5 with the others being Ant Lion, Rhinoceros Beetle, Buffalo Weaver and Leopard Tortoise.

Four-toed Elephant Shrew (Petrodromus tetradactylus)

It was then back to the chalet for sundowners and to enjoy another spectacular sunset. It was at this time a Side-striped Jackal made a brief appearance and there was no time to get my camera before it disappeared.

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