27 January 2024

Last Morning Drive from Ngwenya to Lower Sabie

31 August 2023 - Ngwenya and Kruger National Park; Day 7

The family were all gamed out, so I had a solo morning in the Park. But when I woke, there was a thick mist over the river - nevertheless, I thought it may burn off quickly. While waiting in the queue at Croc Bridge Gate, the Blue Super Moon was low in the sky

Blue Super Moon

Once through the gate, I found the perfect foreground for the setting Super Moon, I was pretty pleased with the result

Blue Super Moon

I headed north on the sand road S28 in heavy mist which was frustrating, eary, quiet and beautiful at the same time. I wanted to focus on bird photography, but no chance in these conditions. I was able to make out a Blue Wildebeest in the mist and tried to get creative

Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)

A little further on, an Ele - of course

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

I then had a Swainson's Spurfowl, as it got a little lighter

Swainson's Spurfowl (Pternistis swainsonii)

By now I could see a little sun which gave a dreamy landscape opportunity

Southern Kruger Landscape

A juvenile Burchell's Coucal with it's diagnostic supercilium was out in the open

Juvenile Burchell's Coucal (Centropus burchelli)

Followed by a Yellow-throated Longclaw

Yellow-throated Longclaw (Macronyx croceus)

I found the subcoronatus Southern Fiscal that had been reported earlier in the week

Southern Fiscal (Lanius c. subcoronatus)

and a little later a stunning immature Martial Eagle

Immature Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)

As the mist lifted, a Ring-necked/Cape Turtle Dove

Cape Turtle Dove (Streptopelia capicola)

and once the sun had broken through, a Trumpeter Hornbill flying over.

Trumpeter Hornbill (Bycanistes bucinator)

Close to Lower Sabie, an immature Bateleur trying to gain some height

Immature Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus)

I made a stop at Sunset Dam finding the Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

and a Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

The Yellow-billed Stork numbers had diminished, but there were still a few around - including this youngster

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)

At Lower Sabie, grabbed a coffee and an image of a Camaroptera in the car park

Green-backed Camaroptera (Camaroptera brachyura)

and had one more look at Sunset Dam where a Black Stork was now present

Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)

And this Three-banded Plover

Three-banded Plover (Charadrius tricollaris)

Many Nile Crocs on the banks around the dam

Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)

As well Hippo, this one just visible

Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious)

I'm always amazed at how the Impala walk gingerly amongst the Crocs to come down and drink

Impala (Aepyceros melampus)

African Spoonbill (Platalea alba) together with Impala (Aepyceros melampus)

I then headed south back to Croc Bridge for the last time on this visit and back to Ngwenya. We were notified of some Lion visible down the river from the main hide, so all went to check them out. There was a pride that we had heard roaring in the early hours and they were resting in the shade under one of the trees. There was also a lone Ele present drinking in the river and he didnt take kindly to having the Lion's so close by - so chose to do something about it. They are faster than you think and the male Lion had to create some dust to make some distance between himself and the charging Ele - very entertaining

Lion (Panthera leo) and African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) interaction

There was a big flock of Yellow-billed Stork that were oblivious to the action behind them, perhaps one was aware and raised it's wings to keep the flock together? The Hippos didnt give a toss

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)

Back to our Unit where we saw one of the Hippo's come out of it's pool as the sun set, to start grazing - so many scratches on it's hide

Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious)

I then got a bit creative with the sunset and ripples on the river from the wind - I quite like these

Our last Ngwenya sunset

This was our last night and I was still on 99 species, but whilst packing the car early the next morning heard the Square-tailed Nightjar which brought me to my objective of 100 species and another great week at our timeshare on the banks of the Crocodile River in the southern Kruger National Park

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