Tembe and Kosi Bay *

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Dewi
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Re: Tembe and Kosi Bay

Post by Dewi » Sun May 20, 2012 9:39 pm

J an I were up early to get out of the gate as soon as it opened. A & K were having a lie in as it was K''s 2nd birthday. The early morning game drive was getting ready as we got to the car park and the guide told us that the Lions had been located and they were off to see them. We decided to let them go first as they would not be stopping for anything along the way, and followed slowly behind. After stopping a few times to see different birds and antelope in the gloom of the morning, J noticed tracks ahead and said "Black Rhino." We followed the tracks, which were on top of the game drive vehicles' tyre tracks and J said we had better be alert as they were very close. We pulled up at one spot to look at the spoor. We thought the Rhino had been spooked by the game vehicle and had run off deep into the bush. I was looking around when my eyes suddenly focussed on three Black Rhino in the bush close by, two adult females and a calf! They snorted and turned to run off before I had a chance to raise my camera and I thought I'd lost the opportunity for a photo. J said to wait a while as they often circle around to see what has disturbed them, so we waited and sure enough, the one with the calf popped her head up close by. She looked at us haughtily, calf by her side, before moving off slowly into the thick bush. We never made it to the Lions on this drive and found out later that the game drive had missed seeing the Rhino.

Black Rhino with calf.
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We noticed that her right ear was damaged.
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We did catch up with the Lions late in the day and were the only car there. Three Lionesses and a Male were present, dozing at the side of the track. Little K was roaring at them in the back seat, nose pressed hard against the glass. She would not quieten down and the Lion gave us his best "go away" stare and looked at one point as if he might charge, so we drove away and quietened K down before returning to watch again.

One of the Lionesses suddenly perked up and stared off into the distance. We looked and looked, but it was a while before we first heard, and then saw what had piqued her interest. A swarm of Bees were on the move and flew over the bush above. We were glad to be in the bakkie at this point and closed all the windows just in case they decided to pay us a visit.

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Bee watching.
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Dewi
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Re: Tembe and Kosi Bay

Post by Dewi » Sun May 20, 2012 9:40 pm

Kudu were seen on every drive, but were often hidden behind thick bush to get decent photos. The best place to view them out in the open was again at Mahlasela hide where the males came down to drink with a group of females.

Heading for cover.
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Quenching his thirst.
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My girls.
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Waterbuck were very common here, with sightings almost on a par with Nyala. They look to have coats that would be more suited to a colder environment and I often wondered how they cope with the heat.

Female Waterbuck & Red Duiker.
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Coming down for a drink.
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The white "target" markings must be tempting to a predator?
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Head studies.
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Dewi
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Re: Tembe and Kosi Bay

Post by Dewi » Sun May 20, 2012 9:41 pm

Hmmmmm? My old age is creeping up on me. I was convinced that we saw the Black Rhino & Lions on the same day, but I should have read my notes - we saw the Lions on the evening before we saw the Rhino and there were 4 Lioness, not 3 as I mentioned in the post. :shock:

Anyway, back at the hide, the Elephants were having a whale of a time sparring and spraying water everywhere. It was really great to watch the interactions of the young bulls who approached each other to test out their strength and practice for future battles. I'm convinced that they were signalling to each other before and during these fights and tried to look for how they were communicating, but failed. It surely had something to do with body language, but I could not distinguish any obvious signals.

Two young bulls test their strength.
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Taking a breather.
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Trunk wars.
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Strolling in for a drink.
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Refreshing.
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I tried to get these three synchronised, but one would always be out of sync with the others.
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Testing the air.
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Blowing water.
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Dewi
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Re: Tembe and Kosi Bay

Post by Dewi » Sun May 20, 2012 9:42 pm

The nice thing about Tembe for me when birding was the mix of regular and hard to find species. Lemon-breasted Canary could be seen singing away on the tops of the thornbushes from the hide while queleas, doves and batis flitted around everywhere. African Broadbill sat out on the perimiter fence in broad daylight at midday, which suprised us all. Eastern Nicator were seen on quite a few occasions and Red-backed Mannikins were common along the boundary fence track. If seeing them was easier than I'd expected, getting photos was another matter entirely, but at least I managed to get some record shots.

Black-bellied Bustard.
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Lemon-breasted Canary.
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Red-eyed Doves.
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Emerald-spotted Wood-dove.
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African Harrier-hawk.
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Yellow-throated Petronia.
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Eastern Nicator.
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Red-backed Mannikin.
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African Broadbill (Sorry, the best pic I managed).
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Yellow-throated Longclaw.
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Common Fiscal.
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Bateleur.
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Chinspot Batis.
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Yellow-fronted Canary.
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Dewi
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Re: Tembe and Kosi Bay

Post by Dewi » Sun May 20, 2012 9:43 pm

Kosi Forest Lodge is a fantastic place to simply chill out and get away from it all. There are no herds of large mammals except for the resident pod of Hippo's in the lake, but the variety of birdlife makes the place well worth a visit.

I loved wandering the trails here looking for birds. There were also other things to marvel at such as the irridescent glow of a spider's web in the early morning sunshine.

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Along the trails in the Rafia Palm forests, the sound of the breeze in the palms gave you a feeling of inner peace.

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You could spend the day happily scanning the trees above.

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Take a canoe ride in the many waterways.

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Relax at the pool and watch the view over the lake with it's resident Hippo's.

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Or search out the glistening, multicoloured Lizards around camp.

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Get up close with Red-capped Robin-chats.

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Or watch the Southern Black Flycatchers in action from the comfort of your hammock.

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African Hoopoes searched for insects in the bark of a tree.

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Or enjoy the pink glow of a flock of Flamingoes as they came in to roost at sunset.

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The sunsets themselves were worth more than a passing glance.

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And even when darkness fell, there was always something of interest to keep you transfixed.

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Dewi
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Re: Tembe and Kosi Bay

Post by Dewi » Sun May 20, 2012 9:43 pm

It was nice to sit at the bar here, sipping a cold beer and watching the Mousebirds flitting from bush to bush. The manager, Blessing, is an absolute gem of a host and catered for all our needs with a broad smile and friendly banter. He told me that there was a small hide in front of a bird-bath in the forest, so I walked down to see what was about. Square-tailed Drongo's were sitting in the bushes above the trail on the way there and after sneaking into the hide as quietly as I could manage, peered out to see an African Dusky Flycatcher in the bushes above the bath. It came down for a bathe and a drink, followed by a Dark-capped Bulbul, Spectacled Weaver and an Cape White-eye.

Walking the trails around the camp found me chasing Collared Sunbirds with my lens, tricky with all the dense foliage here, but I managed a couple of pics of them. Burchell's Coucal bubbled from somewhere nearby, then popped up for it's picture to be taken.

Satisfied with my little stroll, it was time to head back for another beer and a chat with Blessing.

Speckled Mousebird.
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Square-tailed Drongo.
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African Dusky Flycatcher.
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Dark-capped Bulbul.
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Spectacled Weaver.
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Cape White-eye.
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Collared Sunbird.
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Burchell's Coucal.
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Dewi
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Re: Tembe and Kosi Bay

Post by Dewi » Sun May 20, 2012 9:44 pm

It's not just the birding that's interesting in this area, there are myriad smaller things to fascinate you as you wander the trails here. Fungi were growing on the sides of fallen, decaying branches or shooting up out of the ground.

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A colony of Ants had constructed a beautiful nest of leaves woven together fron the living tree.

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A colourful Cockroach scurried about in camp.

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While a humbug coloured wasp alighted on the comfy seats.

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Moths were scarce this trip, and this is the only one I managed to take a photo of.

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And the butterflies were a delight to see as they fluttered from flower to flower.

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Dewi
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Re: Tembe and Kosi Bay

Post by Dewi » Sun May 20, 2012 9:45 pm

A bit of a mix of species from different places we visited for you this evening.

On the shore of the lake at the lodge, a Kittlitz Plover was running along the water's edge.
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In the bushes nearby, a female Black Cuckooshrike stunned us with her intricate markings as she flitted from bush to bush.
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While a Fiscal Flycatcher was also nearby.
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In the grassland as we left the camp, Croaking Cisticola sat atop a bush calling. This one has the heaviest bill of all the Cisticolas found here.
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Nearby, the ubiquitous Common Fiscal sat and posed nicely for it's photo to be taken.
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In the channels between the lagoons, Jacanas trotted amongst the lillies.
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And at Kosi Bay, White-fronted Plovers graced the sandy expanses, running like little clockwork toys along the beach.
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Moving to Masizwane Lodge, the birding was just as good as elsewhere.

Southern Boubou sang next to the restaurant.
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With Burnt-necked Eremomela seen along the trails.
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But the best by far amongs these was a Gorgeous Bush-shrike, skulking in the thick cover along the trails.
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Dewi
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Re: Tembe and Kosi Bay

Post by Dewi » Sun May 20, 2012 9:46 pm

Thank you Flutterby. \O

At Masizwane Lodge, the birding was quite a relaxed affair. Either sitting at the restaurant sipping a beer and checking out the nearby bush, or taking a leisurly stroll through the forest along the trails that wind through the area. The perimiter fence with Tembe was also a great walk, with the added chance of something big and hairy being seen through the wires.

On the paths behind the restaurant, Pink-throated Twinspots were always present in the thickets either side, but getting a photo of them was very tricky. I took this one in almost total darkness, hence the motion blur.
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In the bushes above, a juvenile Thick-billed Weaver gorged on Berries.
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And Forest Weavers were always somewhere overhead as they scoured the seed-pods for tidbits.
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At the edge of the parking area, Ashy Flycatchers flitted out from the branches to catch insects in mid air.
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And Southern Black Tits were performing acrobatics in the tree near the reception area.
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Along the boardwalk between the cottages a Green-backed Cameroptera peered down at me.
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While a Rudd's Apalis skulked in the thickets.
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Along the boundary fence a Yellow-breasted Apalis performed some gymnastics for the camera.
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Emerald-spotted Wood-doves hid in the old man's beard draped over the branches of the trees here.
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While Scaly-throated Honeyguide tried to tempt us to follow it in search of honey.
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This White-crested Helmet-shrike was hopping mad about something.
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But soon calmed down and went in search of food.
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steamtrainfan
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Re: Tembe and Kosi Bay

Post by steamtrainfan » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:55 pm

Lovely TT Dewi and the most amazing photographs. Thank you for sharing.

Going to Tembe is one of many items on my bucket list.
Faith is the bird that feels the light while the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.

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