Thursday, January 17, 2019

Red Arrows, RAF Scampton, Lincoln

So good to have a few pics to put on this blog. Despite walking and birding every single day, this year has been really hard work with very few birds. Infact, every day we have simply taken our binoculars out for a walk !  Lets hope that things improve. 

But it is so good to be able to see the Reds practice. Today we had beautiful, clear blue sky.....but bitterly cold wind blowing straight from Siberia !  We will certainly miss the Reds when they move to their new home. Better make the most of these practice sessions and really looking forward to this years displays.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Male Hen Harrier

An excellent start to the new year with a self found male hen harrier in North Lincs !

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Dave Pitman

A lovely guy, good laugh, kind heart, but sadly taken too soon. Enjoyed a week in Spain with him, looking for bears and failing miserably. Being the only person with a smittering of Spanish, he ordered the evening food. Casserole?...yes please. What arrived was a casserole dish full of pigs trotters, with trotters all facing upwards complete with full feet...hilarious ! God bless you xx

'Team Bear' with Dave on the left, still smiling after a week of failing to see bears. Happy times x

Friday, December 28, 2018

Our recent trip to Kruger National Park, South Africa

Just back from the best trip ever, a month in Kruger. It was without doubt, the best holiday we have ever done. We thought we would stay a while as we have lots of time now and we wanted to see the whole of Kruger. But even so, we could have spent longer there, never bored and always something to see. We flew into Johannesburg and stayed the night at an airport hotel, catching the first flight out to Kruger the following morning. The internal flight was as expensive as the international one and lasted just 45 minutes compared to 13 hours !  

We hired a Duster which was perfect and gave us that bit of extra height which we did need at times. The roads were fine and a car would have done but it was the height we needed. We were soon off and  heading to Kruger stopping at the big Spar shop near to Melelane Gate. It's advisable here for one to shop and one to remain with the vehicle. Lots of 'wide-boys' cruising the car park and tourists do stand out a mile, so better to be safe than sorry. A big shop done and into Kruger we went. Our first stop was Berg-en-Dal for 2 nights, followed by Skukuza, Satara, Letaba, Mopani, Shingwedzi, Punda Maria, Shimuwini, Oliphants, Lower Sabie and ending up back in the south at Crocodile Bridge. 

Our favourite camp was Punda Maria, a lovely quiet camp in the north with a floodlit waterhole in the camp that was full of elephants for the 3 days we were there. The staff were lovely and friendly, a bungalow that looked like a hobbit house and was spotless clean.  From this camp we went up to Parufi Picnic Site at the very top of Kruger. This was not for the feint-hearted as we saw a male Boomslang devouring a frog as soon as we got there. Lots of birds were added to our list and we were chatting to the picnic site warden when Simon saw a rat fall from a tree straight infront of him. Followed immediately by a Snouted Cobra with a Black Mamba following closely behind. Oh my dear lord above ! We stood back and watched them through binoculars.....the warden told us you have about half an hour left if you get bitten by a Black Mamba !  We never thought we would see any snakes but you always form your 'wish list' in your head and Black Mamba was on ours. The birds dried up mid morning as the temperatures reached their usual 40 degrees. If there was one fault, it was far too hot, unbearable at times. Parufi is not too far from the border where South Africa meets Zimbabwe and Mozambique. 

Lots of good birds and mammals were added to our trip list with 44 lions, 10 leopards, 6 cheetah, white rhino, black rhino, honey badger, African wild cat,  1000's of elephants, zebra, giraffe, water buffalo, wildebeest, snakes, antelope and 300 species of bird. It was certainly a fantastic trip. Hope you enjoy looking at our photos and videos. 

Cheetahs, Lower Sabie, Kruger

What a day !  These two cheetahs were, without doubt, the find of a lifetime. Driving north from Lower Sabie at around 7am and Karen yells 'cheetah - stop'! And then we couldn't believe our eyes when another one walked out. Male and female. They walked straight towards us and we had to keep backing up and still they came. Finally settling under a tree in the shade for a short while before the female wanted to be up and off. She strolled off and crossed the road and the male followed. We watched them as they walked into the golden long grass in the sun and simply walked away. One of life's magical moments that we will remember forever. 

Crocodile Bridge, Kruger

Banded Mongoose - lots in our camp 

Black-collared Barbet 

Cheetah starting the hunt for breakfast, and failing ! 

Very distant cheetahs relaxing under a tree. 4 cubs and mum are seen regularly in this area. 

 Crowned Plover

Tawny Eagle 

Elephant reaching over and grazing on our garden greenery, around 10 metres from our bungalow ! 

As we were there in a dry season, flowers were very scarce. This was quite large and growing high up on  a tree. Could be an orchid.  

Go-away Bird 

Our hut at Crocodile Bridge for the last 3 nights. It was lovely, so peaceful and a perfect end to our Kruger stay. 

Pearl-spotted Owlet 

Red-backed Shrikes. None in the first week of our stay, then we saw one......and towards the end of our stay they were literally everywhere. 

Crocodile River...full of hippos ! 

Lilac-breasted Roller 

Vervet Monkey dragging it's young around the camp