Thursday, May 1, 2014

PILANESBERG NATIONAL PARK - Day Excursion and BUMPER PHOTOGRAPHIC POST!

Twelve hours is a long time to spend in a motor-vehicle, but it was totally worth it!

After looking at the prices of over-night accommodation in the Pilanesberg National Park, we decided to take our chances, cut costs and simply spend a single day in this glorious place.
Having packed our picnic basket, we left home at 5am and entered the Bokubung gate in the south of the park at 7.30am. During the morning, we slowly made our way north-west finally stopping for lunch in the middle of the park.

The web of dirt roads is tricky to navigate in places. Heavy January rains have left a mountain of repair-work for the park officials.  But the animals are thriving and the bush is lush. We were rewarded with some wonderful sightings.

Our picnic spot overlooking a dam was very pleasant indeed. We were lucky to watch a herd of elephant lazily made their way to the water while we nibbled on our sandwiches. Clear-blue skies forced the temperature up to 29 degrees C – quite a hike after the thermometer had rested at 3 degrees in the early morning. This is so typical of early winter on the Highveld of South Africa.

It was tough going in the car and by 3pm, we decided to call it quits. Finally, we made our way back in the city and the bustle of metropolitan life.

In summary, it was a wonderful day-excursion despite us feeling rather stiff this morning.  As South Africans, we so often forget about the beautiful natural heritage which surrounds us. What a privilege it is to be able to simply pack our bags and escape for a few hours to the peace of the bush. 
 Rocky outcrops all around.
 Hippos, Darters and Fish-eagles at rest in the lazy African sun
 A little Klipspringer hides in the long grass.
 Terrapins in the murky water.

 Hippopotamus
 "Donkey in pyjama"s - Burchell's zebra
 Tranquillity interrupted

 Breakfast at a 'hide'.

 Impala on the run.

 A wildebeest follows.
 A Hippopotamus baking in the winter sun.
 The animals are so well camouflaged.
 A crocodile soaks up the sun at the water's edge
 Even the butterflies are enjoying the sun.
 A baby waterbuck looks at us suspiciously.
 Her father is nonplussed.
A lapwing roams nearby.

 "So, what's the weather like up there?"

 Wildebeest rest in the shade...until they are disturbed by a game-vehicle.
 
 The SPRINGBOK - South Africa's national symbol.
 This big elephant kept us in a road-block for about 45 minutes.  He claimed the road as his own (his right!) and the traffic piled up on both sides of him.  We all gave him his space while he foraged on the green bushes along the side of the road. 


  Beautiful bee-eater.
 The higher the view, the better.
 Our lunch-time picnic spot.  
 We watched the elephants come down to drink. This old chap panned the water for danger before taking a long slurp.
 Frolicking warthog.
Impala against an azure backdrop.

What a wonderful, beautiful day. All I can say is
"Thank you, Lord, for our magnificent heritage"

Happy Workers' Day everyone!

Sending lotsaluv to all my friends across the world.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

SPOTTED EAGLE OWL : UPDATE: TWO WEEKS!

Hello there everyone
Many people have asked me about the latest news of 'OWL', so this is a short post to address this question.  Quick answer: Yes, she is still in our midst.

 It's been 15 days now and hopefully she is here to stay. We've had extensive rain in the past two weeks, but she's simply let the weather slide off her feathers.  Nonplussed. 
Every morning, just before the sun rises, she finds a place in the palm tree to roost for the day.  Some days its ON the telephone pole, other days her choice is on one of the palm fronds. She settles in, shuts her eyes, and ignores the ever-persistent voices of disdain from the garden birds.

At dusk, she opens her beautiful yellow eyes and begins her routine of preparation.  Night-time jaunts require feathers in pristine condition, so she preens and preens.  Then she stretches her wings and examines her talons.  A few good shakes and then she scans for flight options. Soon she's gone - to hunt in the green belt below our house.

I continue to feel so privileged by her presence although she's still not shown any interest in the owl box.  I've not seen her mate either. Hopefully, OWL is here to stay.

Some pictures...







 A 'lucky' glimpse of the nictitating membrane across OWL's eye



A short video clip of OWL being pestered by the garden birds:

Sending lots of love