Southern Africa Vacation 2014 – Birding

Hawaii and Kwajalein 2014 – Birding
December 25, 2014

November 16, 2014

I finished my construction safety management project near Chingola, Zambia and spent the night at the Michelangelo Hotel in Ndola, Zambia. The accommodations were impeccable. During my evening swim I noticed thousands of large bats migrating south, they were huge! At first glance I thought they were night-herons. It turns out that millions of these bats migrate through each year. Tomorrow I fly on to Livingstone, Zambia to meet my wife Rebecca, whom I haven’t seen in over 100 days.

 

November 17, 2014

Rebecca Bauer at Victoria Falls

Rebecca Bauer at Victoria Falls

What a sight for sore eyes! Rebecca! That’s Victoria Falls in the background on the Zambian side. The Zimbabwean portion of the falls is in the distance. Not much water this time of year, it is still the dry season.

 

Greg Baker at Victoria Falls

Greg Baker at Victoria Falls

My turn for a photo op.

 

Rebecca Bauer at Victoria Falls

Rebecca Bauer at Victoria Falls

Incredible views. What a gorge!

 

Mosi O Tunya - the smoke that thunders - in the background

See the mist in the background? It is Mosi O Tunya – the smoke that thunders.

Here we are on top of the falls.

 

Here we are on top of the falls

Here we are on top of the falls

I saw a large bull elephant here in September, and there is plenty of dung around here, so we are on the lookout.

 

November 18, 2014

Game Drive Mosi O Tunya National Park

Game Drive at Mosi O Tunya National Park

Rebecca and I visited Mosi O Tunya for a White Rhino game walk. We were accompanied by a ranger and a guard – carrying an AK-47.

 

A beautiful day at Mois O Tunya National Park

A beautiful day at Mois O Tunya National Park

Very dry here, perhaps 10 kilometers from the Zambezi River, yet hippos roam this far away from the river this time of year! The lower vegetation has been heavily grazed, but is just starting to come back, “greening up” after a few rains.

 

Dung Beetles

Dung Beetles

Two Dung Beetles and their golf ball-sized sphere of dung. When these insects take wing, they are about the size of a hummingbird. It just goes to show, in nature practically anything is possible.

 

Red-billed Hornbill

Southern Red-billed Hornbill

A Southern Red-billed Hornbill. They are about 18 inches tall.

 

Rebecca and our armed guard

Rebecca and our guide

Rebecca and the ranger pause to check out “signs” – aka “large mammal poop”.

 

Cape Buffalo

Cape Buffalo

Cape Buffalo just a few hundred meters off. This species kills several humans every year, so we give them a wide berth.

 

White Rhino

White Rhino

Finally a large female White Rhino!

 

White Rhino

White Rhino

White Rhino

White Rhino

What a strange-looking beast!

Juvenile White Rhino

Juvenile White Rhino

That’s a young one on the right.

The two hour walk was worth it. However, it turns out the animals were right next to where we parked. The guide simply took us on a long natural history walk, saving the best for last…Or so we thought. Actually, the drive back with the guide along the Zambezi River to Livingstone was teaming with large mammals! Here, we’ll show you a few below!

The Zambezi River, still inside Mosi O Tunya National Park. We head back along the river to Livingstone.

The Zambezi River, still inside Mosi O Tunya National Park. We head back along the river to Livingstone.

The Zambezi River – perhaps 20 kilometers upstream from Victoria Falls, inside Zambia.

 

A Nile Crocodile

A Nile Crocodile

A distant Nile Crocodile. These consume humans every year, primarily natives who visit rivers to bathe and do laundry.

 

Wart Hog

Wart Hog

A wart hog or “pumba”.

 

Wart Hog

Wart Hog

When they kneel down like this, they are at risk of attack from predators.

 

White-cheeked Bee-eaters

White-cheeked Bee-eaters

African Hoopoe

African Hoopoe

Zebra wintering habitat

Zebra wintering habitat

Zebra wintering habitat, only a few hundred meters away from the Zambezi River.

Zebra

Zebra

The animal on the left is pregnant.

Zebra

Zebra

African Elephant

African Elephant

Rebecca’s first wild African Elephant.

African Elephant

African Elephant

African Elephant - a close up

African Elephant – a close up

 

November 19, 2014

Crossing the Zambezi into Botswana

Crossing the Zambezi into Botswana

Today we are crossing the Zambezi River into Botswana. We are headed to Chobe National Park for a morning boat tour, and an afternoon game drive.

 

Crossing the Zambezi into Botswana

Crossing the Zambezi into Botswana

The Zambezi River is very wide at this point, not far from Namibia.

 

To be identified

A species of Roleer to be identified

We paused on the Botswana side waiting for a few additional passengers. In the meantime I saw this distant roller, which was a life bird or “lifer” for me. (I have this and the following birds identified and checked off in my African field guide back in Portland, Oregon…Unforutanely I did not take it with me to Kwajalein Atoll where I am working and catching up on my blogs. Today is New Years Day 2015, so I have some time!)

 

To be identified

A species be re-identified

And another lifer to re-identify.

 

To be identified

White-browed Sparrow Weaver

To be identified

A White-breasted Cormorant

Rebecca settles in to our tour boat

Rebecca settles in to our tour boat

Finally we boarded this small vessel for our morning river tour out to Sedudu Island. Sedudu means herd of hippos.

 

Open-billed Stork

Open-billed Stork

An Open-billed Stork at our Customs stop.

 

Open-billed Stork

Open-billed Stork

It appears to be the same individual I photographed two months earlier in this very same location.

 

Nile Crocodile

Nile Crocodile

A very large Nile Crocodile.

 

Cape Buffalo

Cape Buffalo

A Cape Buffalo resting on Sedudu Island.

 

Hippo

Hippo

African Elepant along the Chobe River

African Elepants along the Chobe River

A couple of elephants contemplate crossing the river.

 

Ruff

Ruff

A type of shorebird called a Ruff.

 

Ruff

Ruff

Several Ruff in flight. These are likely Eurasian Birds overwintering here.

 

A Common Sandpiper riding a hippo

A Common Sandpiper riding a hippo

A Common Sandpiper – a close relative of North America’s Spotted Sandpiper. It is also a tail bobber.

 

Hippos

Hippos

Hippos also take out several humans every year. One assertive bull went after our boat from the water, but we were much too fast for him.

 

Sedudu Island = many large mammals congregate here during the dry season

Sedudu Island – many large mammals congregate here during the dry season

We often paused to comment on the beauty of sky, water, and landscape.

 

Yellow-billed Stork

Yellow-billed Stork

A Yellow-billed Stork at rest.

 

Water Buck: male (left); female (right)

Water Buck: male (left); female (right)

Cattle Egret and Hippo

Cattle Egret and Hippo

Hippo

Hippos

More hippos (less cowbell).

African Jacana

African Jacana

Goliath Heron

Goliath Heron

Goliath Heron

Goliath Heron

The same bird. The largest heron on earth, I believe.

 

Impala

Impala

Impala

Impala

A closer view of the same Impala.

 

Water Thick-knee

Water Thick-knee

A Water Thick-knee.This is a plover-like type of shorebird.

 

Pied Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

What is this?

What is this?

What is this?

 

Juvenile African Skimmer

What is it?

The same bird. What is it?

Juvenile African Skimmer

What is it?

One final guess?

Juvenile African Skimmer (left), adult (right)

Juvenile African Black Skimmer (left), adult (right)

It is a fledgling African Black Skimmer (left). The adult is on the right.

 

Sedudu Island

Sedudu Island

That does it for the boat tour. Next: Game Drive.

 

The afternoon game drive

The afternoon game drive

The Game Drive. Passengers are required to stay inside the vehicle. Our companions included folks from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Turkey.

 

Baboon

Baboon

Distant Sedudu Island and large mammals

Distant Sedudu Island and large mammals

The Chobe River and the tip of Sedudu Island off in the distance, dotted by Cape Buffulo.

 

The adjacent woods have been stripped by browers

The adjacent woods have been stripped by browers

Again the sky and landscapes are remarkable!

 

A young Impala

A young Impala

A newborn Impala.

 

A mother Impala with several youngsters

A mother Impala with several youngsters

A mother Impala and a group of newborns.

 

Red-billed Oxpecker

Red-billed Oxpecker

A Red-billed Oxpecker gleaning pesky insects from an Impala.

 

Bateleur

Bateleur

A large eagle-like raptor called a Bateleur.

 

A distant Nile Crocodile

A distant Nile Crocodile

Collared Pratincole

Collared Pratincole

Common Sandpiper

Common Sandpiper

A male Sable with oxpecker hitch hiking

A male Sable with oxpecker hitch hiking.

Baboon

Baboon

Baboons

Baboons

Two baboons are better than one.

 

Lilac-breasted Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller

Male Kudu

Male Kudu

Male Kudu

Male Kudu

Male Kudu

Male Kudu

African Elephants

African Elephants

Hammerkop

Hammerkop

Hammerkop - a close up

Hammerkop – a close up

I was so happy to find one of these nocturnal Hammerkops out foraging in broad daylight. In German, hammerkopt means “hammer head”. Well that does it for our day trip with Kalahari Tours.

 

November 20, 2014

Livingtone's Protea Hotel where we stayed

Livingtone’s Protea Hotel where we stayed

Our pool at the Protea

Our pool at the Protea

Goliath Beetle

Goliath Beetle. I rescued this beetle from the pool.

Livingstone's artisan's market

Livingstone’s artisan’s market

Livingstone's artisan's market

Livingstone’s artisan’s market

Christmas shopping in Livingstone. Time to dicker over prices.

 

A handsome young lad

A handsome young lad.

Bec admires a handsome young Zambian boy.

 

The Livingstone Museum

The Livingstone Museum

Rebecca with new knee brace, standing just outside the entrance to the Livingstone Museum.

 

A typical exhibit at the Livingstone Museum

A typical exhibit at the Livingstone Museum

An exhibit of an early African. Very low tech, typical.

 

Downtown Livingstone

Downtown Livingstone

The streets are pretty tidy around Livingstone; elsewhere in Zambian cities, litter and garbage seem to be everywhere. Municipal garbage pick up is non-existent; garbage piles up; some is burned in backyards and along roadsides; no one recycles.

 

Laughing Dove

Laughing Dove

A Laughing Dove which I photographed from the swimming of our Protea Hotel.

Below are a few other birds photographed around the hotel grounds.

Female finch to be identified

Female finch to be identified

Male finch to be identified

Male finch to be identified

Weaver

Weaver

Weaver

Weaver

How do you suppose this bird got its name?

 

On our way to Cape Town, South Africa

On our way to Cape Town, South Africa

Airborne. On our way to Cape Town!

 

About to land in Cape Town, South Africa

About to land in Cape Town, South Africa

Coming in for a landing in Cape Town.

 

November 21, 2014

View of Lion's Head, before sunrise, from our room at one of the Protea Hotels

View of Lion’s Head, before sunrise, from our room at one of the Protea Hotels

Lion’s Head, Cape Town. A view from our room in one of Capetown’s Protea Hotels.

 

View of Table Mountain, before sunrise, from our room

View of Table Mountain, before sunrise, from our room

Table Mountain as seen from our room.

 

The park across from the Protea Hotel

The park across from the Protea Hotel

What is the bird on the apex (highest point) of the building?

 

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

It is an Egytian Goose. They are quite common in South Africa. Escapees have established a breeding population in Florida…unfortunately!

 

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

What are these?

What are these?

What are these?

An Egyptian Goose gossling

An Egyptian Goose gossling

They are gossling Egyptian Geese.

 

What is this?

What is this?

An apparent exotic Gray Squirrel

An apparent exotic Gray Squirrel

I am guessing it is an Eastern Gray Squirrel imported from the US, with our fast food franchises.

 

Rock Dove or Rock Pigeon

What is this?

And what might this be? If you guessed Rock Dove, or Rock Pigeon, you are correct. Yet another unwelcome invasive species.

 

Yellow Eye

White Eye

A species of White Eye to be re-identified. My first! However, several hundred more to follow during this trip!

 

Hartaub's Gull

Hartlaub’s Gull

A Hartlaub’s Gull. Again, a lifer!

 

Hartaub's Gull

Hartlaub’s Gull

Hartaub's Gull

Hartlaub’s Gull

A close up of the same bird.

 

Protea Hotel

Protea Hotel

The first (of two) Protea Hotel where we stayed in Cape Town.

 

A view of Table Mountain from our room at the Protea

A view of Table Mountain from our room at the Protea

Cape Town's tourist bus line

Cape Town’s tourist bus line

Cape Town has a great double-decker tour bus system that makes scheduled loops and stops. This service makes it very easy to get around Cape Town. We never rented a vehicle the entire trip!

 

A view from the top deck of the tour bus

A view from the top deck of the tour bus

World Bird Center

World Bird Center

The World of Birds sanctuary and rehab center.

 

A hornbill

A hornbill

This and the next six photos were taken inside World of Birds. Some species of hornbill.

 

Hornbills

Hornbills

A pair of the same hornbills.

 

A lourie or turraco

A lourie or turaco

A turaco – a type of African lourie.

 

African Crested Crane

African Crested Crane

An African Crested Crane.

 

Ground Hornbills

Ground Hornbills

Ground Hornbills. These are very large birds. Almost a meter in length.

 

Saddlebill Stork

Saddlebill Stork

A Saddlebill Stork.

 

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A close up of the same bird.

 

Informal township housing

Informal township housing

A township where the less afluent dwell in informal housing. We could have “toured” this township, but it did not feel right to us.

 

A typical Cape Town beach

A typical Cape Town beach

Bec enjoying a liesurely stroll along the Atlantic’s surf.

 

View of the Twelve Apostles

View of the Twelve Apostles

A view from where Bec is resting (on the right). The Twelve Apostles on the horizon.

 

A view from where Rebecca sits

A view from where Rebecca sits

Yet another view from where Bec sits!

 

Lion's Head

Lion’s Head

The backside of Lion’s Head, I think…

 

Breath taking!

Breath taking!

Much warmer here at 33 degrees south lattitude, compared to Portland, Oregon at 46 degrees north!

 

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

A Cape Wagtail – my first. Yes they wag their tails.

A cormorant and three Hartaub's Gulls

A cormorant and three Hartlaub’s Gulls

 

The harbor's clock tower

The harbor’s clock tower

The famous clock tour on the waterfront is a landmark where people meet. In the late 1800’s it was the harbormaster’s building.

 

Mileposts at Cape Town harbor

Mileposts at Cape Town harbor

The harbor. The sign states “San Francisco, 16,690 kilometers. That’s 10,360 miles! So we are probably  just as far from Portland, Oregon.

 

Greg and a large beaded elephant

Greg and a large beaded elephant

Here’s Greg in front of an elephant sculpture. The structure is metal framed; the entire “skin” is made entirely of tiny blue beads.

 

Street dancers perform for tips

Street dancers perform for tips

Dancing to a native drum. They are good and earn tips.

 

A sub-adult Kelp Gull

A sub-adult Kelp Gull

A sub-adult Kelp Gull. Another life bird for me.

 

Sub-adult Kelp Gull with pink legs and feet, and very warn plumage

Sub-adult Kelp Gull with pink legs and feet, and very warn plumage

This bird has pink legs. It’s flight feathers are very worn and it will need to molt shortly.

 

An adult Kelp Gull

An adult Kelp Gull

For comparison, an adult Kelp Gull, at least four years old I am guessing.

 

Head shot of an adult Kelp Gull

Head shot of an adult Kelp Gull

Kelp Gull. Close up head shot.

 

Adult Kelp Gull with yellow-green legs and feet

Adult Kelp Gull with yellow-green legs and feet

The adult’s feet and legs are greenish yellow, unlike similar, large, dark-mantled gulls back in North America.

 

Adult Kelp Gull taking off

Adult Kelp Gull taking off

Adult Kelp Gulls have white tails and rumps, and a lot of black on the underside of the wing tips, see?

 

Hartaub's Gull

Hartlaub’s Gull

An adult Hartaub’s Gull. We noticed these birds dining and dashing away with unguarded french fries.

 

A cormorant and three Hartaub's Gulls

A cormorant and three Hartlaub’s Gulls

A cormorant and three Hartaub’s Gulls.

 

A tern

Great Crested Tern

Tern

Great Crested Tern

Tern

Great Crested Tern

A Great Crested Tern in flight. These are large terns, about the same size as a Caspian Tern.

 

Dove

Ringed Dove

That’s all for the 21st.

 

November 22, 2014

The line for the aerial tram to Table Mountain

The line for the aerial tram to Table Mountain

Our trip up Table Mountain. We are just about to depart the arial tram near the top, at over 3,500 feet elevation above sea level.

 

On our way up Table Mountain

On our way up Table Mountain

Impressive but limited views today because of the clouds rolling in (aka “the table cloth).

 

Typical mountain top habitat and terrain

Typical mountain top habitat and terrain

Typical habitat and terrain.

 

Male Red-winged Starling

Male Red-winged Starling

We were quickly greeted by this male Red-winged Starling.

 

Female Red-winged Starling

Female Red-winged Starling

…and this female Red-winged Starling.

 

Thrush

Cape Rock-Thrush

Thrush

Cape Rock-Thrush

The same bird with a distinctive orange rump.

Thrush

Cape Rock-Thrush

A close up.

 

Dassie

Dassie

A Dassie – a type of hyrax, like North America’s Pikas/Conies, but 3 or 4 times larger. It’s closest relative – the elephant! I am not making this up!

 

Dassies

Dassies

A mother Dassie with Pika-sized young.

 

Dassie

Dassie

A close up of a youngster.

 

Dassies

Dassies

They cuddle up to stay warm.

 

Dassie

Dassie

Dassie or Ewok?  You decide.

 

112214.14

A final close up. There were 30 of these creatures next to the outdoors cafeteria, just behind the stone wall.

 

Male Red-winged Starling

Male Red-winged Starling

An male Red-winged Starling hoping for handouts. Do not feed the animals!

 

Female Red-winged Starling

Female Red-winged Starling

An assertive female Red-winged Starling also foraging at the outdoor café.

 

Female Red-winged Starling

Female Red-winged Starling

This female Red-winged Starling, on my dining tray, posed temporarily for a close up head shot. They are much larger than the more familiar European Starling.

 

Speckled Dove

Speckled Dove

My first Speckled Dove. These turned out to be quite common in Cape Town and in Wilderness.

 

Male sunbird

Male Orange-breasted Sunbird

A male Orange-breasted Sunbird.

 

Female sunbird

Female Oranged-breasted Sunbird

A female Orange-breasted Sunbird…At least this is what I presumed, based upon an apparent association with the male.

 

Female sunbird

Female sunbird

The same female. Sunbirds have long curved bills adapted for gathering nectar (and presumably insects) from flowers, like hummingbirds. Some folks call them hummingbirds; however, hummingbirds are absent in the Old World (Africa, Eurasia).

 

What a view!

What a view!

The tram’s lift station and finch habitat.

 

Finch

A finch or canary to be re-identified

Cape Town's soccer stadium

Cape Town’s soccer stadium

That’s Cape Town’s 2010 World Cup Soccer Stadium in the distance.

 

The clouds slowly roll in and out

The clouds slowly roll in and out

It is getting very foggy and chilly so we decide to depart.

 

View as we descend on the tram

View as we descend on the tram

Spectacular. What more can I say?

 

View as we descend on the tram

View as we descend on the tram

Habitat and typical landscape as we desend.

 

View as we descend on the tram

View as we descend on the tram

Downtown Cape Town and the harbor in the distance.

 

Final view as we descend on the tram

Final view as we descend on the tram

Here is the station where we started our ascent and ended our descent.

 

November 23, 2014

Trip from Cape Town harbor to Robben Island

Trip from Cape Town harbor to Robben Island

Cape Town harbor.

 

Leaving Cape Town harbor for Robben Island

Leaving Cape Town harbor for Robben Island

We are on a boat headed towards Robben Island.

 

Leaving Cape Town harbor for Robben Island

Leaving Cape Town harbor for Robben Island

On our way towards Robben Island, we appreciate Table Mountain, shrouded in table cloth, far behind.

 

Which species resides here?

Which species resides here?

We hopped on a tour bus. We made a brief stop here to look for a specific type of bird. Which one? Do you see them?

 

Which species resides here?

Which species resides here?

Now do you see them? What are they?

 

Distant African Penquins, magnified greatly

Distant African Penquins, magnified greatly

They are African Penguins, my first! They are also called Jackass Penguins because of their voice.

 

Robben Island Prison

Robben Island Prison

Robben Island penitentiary, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 of his 27 years in prison.

 

Robben Island Prison

Robben Island Prison

The sign at the prison entrance. “Welcome”

 

A former inmate is our tour guide

A former inmate is our tour guide

Ironically, former prisoners serve as tour guides of the prison, which is now a museum.

 

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

An interpretative sign with a photo of a middle-aged Nelson Mandela (left).

 

A gathering room where prisoners could congregate at the end of each work day.

A gathering room where prisoners could congregate at the end of each work day.

A room where the cell mates were allowed to congregate after a day’s hard labor in the lime pit.

 

The view from Nelson Mandela's cell

The view from Nelson Mandela’s cell

A view from Nelson Mandela’s cell.

 

Looking into Nelson Mandela's cell

Looking into Nelson Mandela’s cell

The entrance to his cell.

 

Nelson Mandela's cell

Nelson Mandela’s cell

Minimal comforts.

 

Bedding

Bedding

A typical bed roll. Thanks to the Red Cross and resulting media attention, prisoners eventually received metal beds.

 

Hadeda Ibis on the prison grounds

Hadeda Ibis on the prison grounds

A Hadeda Ibis forages on the lawn just outside the prison gate. Time to meet back at the boat.

 

Hartaub's Gull

Hartaub’s Gull

While waiting for our boat I had time to photograph a few birds. Here is another Hartlaub’s Gull – one of only three typically expected gull species in South Africa.

 

Grey-hooded Gull

Grey-hooded Gull

An adult Grey-hooded Gull.

 

Grey-hooded Gull

Grey-hooded Gull

Close up head shot of the same bird.

 

 

Cormorant

Cormorant

A Cormorant to be re-identified.

 

Cormorant

Cormorant

For comparison,another cormorant species to re-identify.

 

Heading back to Cape Town

Heading back to Cape Town

Heading back by boat towards Cape Town.

 

Sacred Ibis

Sacred Ibis

Sacred Ibis

Sacred Ibis

What are these flying low over the water? They are Sacred Ibises.

 

Heading back to Cape Town

Heading back to Cape Town

Again, distant Table Mountain and Lion’s Head covered in clouds with Cape Town harbor, below.

 

November 24, 2014

Day trip to the Cape of Good Hope

Day trip to the Cape of Good Hope

Day trip to Cape of Good Hope. A stop along the way south with typical vegetation and scenery.

 

Canary

Canary

A species of canary to be re-identified.

 

Entrance to the Cape of Good Hope National Park

Entrance to the Cape of Good Hope National Park

The entrance to Cape of Good Hope, part of Table Mountain National Park.

 

We walked up here for the vista, but it was too foggy

We walked up here for the vista, but it was too foggy

We hiked up this trail, but unfortunately fog limited our views.

 

Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope, I believe.

 

Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope

A brief lifting of the fog and a better view.

 

Milepost

Milepost

Another sign post reminds us that we are over 10,000 miles from home (Portland, Oregon).

 

A female sunbird of some sort

A female sunbird of some sort

This unidentified female sunbird poked out briefly for this photograph. It’s bill was laden with pollen from the flowers above.

 

Typical terrain shrouded in fog

Typical terrain shrouded in fog

The clouds rolled in and out. The terrain was rocky grasslands, without trees.

 

Ostriches

Ostriches

Now here is something you don’t see every day, meandering along the side of the road! Two ostriches. A life bird for me!

 

Female ostrich

Female ostrich

A close up head shot.

 

Terns

Great Crested Terns

Great Crested Terns loafing slightly above the pounding surf.

 

Gannets

Cape Gannets

Gannets

Distant Cape Gannets, highly magnified

A close up of the distant Cape Gannets. Another life bird! They appear very similar to our Northern Gannents back along the New England coast.

 

This about as far as one can get in southwest Africa

This is about as far as one can get in southwest Africa

This is about as far south as one can get in the southwest portion of the African continent.

 

Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope

Greg and Rebecca at the Cape of Good Hope.

 

Cape of Good Hope with Richie, our transporter

Cape of Good Hope with Richie, our transporter

Greg and Rebecca with our college student transporter and guide, Richie. He is a recent Cape Town U. graduate, but not a birder – yet! Perhaps after this trip he will fine tune his new birding skills?! We spent several hours over many days with Richie. A fine young man with a promising future in finance, for certain!

 

An unidentified species of antelope as we leave the park for Boulder Beach

An unidentified species of antelope as we leave the park for Boulder Beach

Time to head back north and then east. But first a brief stop to photograph this unidentifed antelope.

 

The Indian Ocean off Boulder Beach

The Indian Ocean off Boulder Beach

The Indian Ocean (I believe) near a well-known colony of African (Jackass) Penguins at Boulder Beach.

 

Boulder Beach and distant African Penguins

Boulder Beach and distant African Penguins

Penguin habitat at Boulder Beach. See the birds?

 

African Penguins

African Penguins

Here are a few!

 

African Penguins

African Penguins

Here are several more.

 

African Penguins

African Penguins

They nest in burrows.

 

African Penguins

African Penguins

Those holes are their nest sites.

 

African Penguin

African Penguin

A non-breeding juvnile.

 

African Penguin

African Penguin

A breeding adult female.

 

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

A juvinile head shot

 

African Penguin

African Penguin

A juvnile starting to molt.

 

African Penguin

African Penguin

A breeding adult male with pink spot around the eyes.

 

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

African Penguin

A female

 

African Penguin

African Penguin

A male

 

Distant African Penguins

So long Boulder Beach. So long penguins!

 

November 25, 2014

Trip to Wilderness Garden Route

Trip to Wilderness Garden Route

Greg and Bec stop briefly on our 5 hour drive east towards Wilderness.

 

A beautiful bay off the Indian Ocean

A beautiful bay off the Indian Ocean

A scenic bay and the Indian Ocean on the far left.

 

A brief stop to check out birds

A brief stop to check out birds

A town along the way.

 

Distant flamingos on the river

Distant flamingos on the river

A river with distant Flamingos on the water.

 

Another brief stop to check out birds

Another brief stop to check out birds

We stopped by this river because it seemed like good plover habitat.

 

Plover

Plover

My hunch paid off! A lifer plover to be re-identified.

 

Blue Crane

African Blue Crane

An African Blue Crane, the national bird of South Africa.

 

Antelope and a Wildebeest

Antelope and a Wildebeest

We stopped briefly at a game ranch. That is a Wildebeest behind the antelope.

 

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

A little closer view of the Wildebeest.

 

Pied Starlings

African Pied Starlings

African Pied Starlings. A life bird for me.

 

At last, oue destination - Wilderness Manor B&B

At last, our destination – Wilderness Manor B&B

Wilderness Manor B&B, where we will be staying for several days.

 

The view from our room

The view from our room

The view from our room.

 

The extensive boardwalk along the lagoon

The extensive boardwalk along the lagoon

The board walk along the lagoon. A great way to view grebes, ducks, coots, and rails.

 

November 26, 2014

Sunrise over the lagoon at Wilderness, South Africa

Sunrise over the lagoon at Wilderness, South Africa

Sunrise over the lagoon at Wilderness. I slipped out early to bird. Many lifers are in store, for sure.

 

Time to bird along the lagoon at Wilderness while Rebecca sleeps in

Time to bird along the lagoon at Wilderness while Rebecca sleeps in

The lagoon facing west. Wilderness is part of the Garden Route and a national park.

 

The Indian Ocean and pristine beach at Wilderness, South Africa

The Indian Ocean and pristine beach at Wilderness, South Africa

The beach and the Indian Ocean at Wilderness.

 

Yellow-billed Duck along the lagoon

Yellow-billed Duck along the lagoon

A Yellow-billed Duck, a lifer!

 

Cape Sugarbird

Cape Sugarbird

A Cape Sugarbird.

 

Cape Sugarbird

Cape Sugarbird

A close up of the Cape Sugarbird.

 

Cape Bulbul

Cape Bulbul

A Cape Bulbul. Notice the distinct eye ring.

 

Cape Bulbul

Cape Bulbul

Another Cape Bulbul.

 

Sombre Greenbul

Sombre Greenbul

A Sombre Bulbul basking in the morning sun.

 

Southern Boubou

Southern Boubou

A Southern Boubou, I believe.

 

Juvenile Cape Robin-Chat

Juvenile Cape Robin-Chat

Another juvenile Cape Robin-Chat, out on its own.

 

Cape Wagtail

Cape Wagtail

Finally, a nice shot of a Cape Wagtail!

 

Ringed Dove

Ringed Dove

A Ringed Dove.

 

Dabchick or Little Grebe

Dabchick or Little Grebe

A type of grebe called a Dabchick.

 

Juvenile Blacksmith Plover

Juvenile Blacksmith Plover

A juvenile Blacksmith Plover near the lagoon.

 

Blacksmith Plover

Blacksmith Plover

An adult Blacksmith Plover attempting to distract my attention away from its offspring.

 

Blacksmith Plover

Blacksmith Plover

Adult Blacksmith Plovers have dark red irises that are difficult to capture in a photograph. That does it for early morning birding. Time to fetch Rebecca and go for a stroll along the Indian Ocean!

 

The beach end of the lagoon at Wilderness

The beach end of the lagoon at Wilderness

This time of year – still the dry season – the lagoon does not flow into the ocean; it terminates just a few meters away from the shoreline. During the rainy season the lagoon will become a river again.

 

Rebecca and the Indian Ocean

Rebecca and the Indian Ocean

Rebecca and surf at the edge of the Indian Ocean.

 

Snail with pseudopod spread out across my hand

Snail with pseudopod spread out across my hand

A fast snail. These burrow into the wet sand and can vanish in seconds.

 

A large jellyfish

A large jellyfish

A beached jellyfish, about the size and shape of a hard hat.

 

Streaky-headed Seedeater

Streaky-headed Seedeater

A Streaky-headed Seedeater.

 

Speckled Mousebird

Speckled Mousebird

A Speckled Mousebird. They spread their wings out, lean back, and bask in the sun.

 

Speckled Mousebird

Speckled Mousebird

Our hosts at the Wilderness Manor place sliced apples out every morning, which draws in a few species.

 

Speckled Mousebird

Speckled Mousebird

Head shot of a Speckled Mousebird.

 

Yellow Eye

White Eye

The owners of Wilderness B&B maintain several sugar water feeders. Here is a species of white eye to be re-identified.

 

A female Southern Double-banded Sundbird, I believe

A female Southern Double-banded Sundbird, I believe

A female sunbird.

 

Male Southern Double-banded Sundbird, I believe

Male Southern Double-banded Sundbird, I believe

A brilliant male Southern Double-banded Sunbird.

 

Olive Thrush

Olive Thrush

An Olive Thrush, I think.

 

Need to identify

Need to identify

An unidentified species…perhaps a female or juvenile Sombre Greenbul?

 

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

A Knysna Lourie – a type of turaco.

 

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

It likes the the apple slice – a regular 7 am visitor.

 

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

What a beauty!

 

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

A close up head shot.

 

The view from our room at Wilderness Manor B&B

The view from our room at Wilderness Manor B&B

The lagoon view from our room. Time to go for a hike and work off a bit of the gorme food served here at Wilderness Manor B&B.

 

We hiked Pied Kingfisher Trail up to Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

We hiked Pied Kingfisher Trail up to Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

Our hosts JD and Gerald recommended a hike up both Kingfisher Trails, starting with Pied Kingfisher Trail.

 

Fork-tailed Drongo

Fork-tailed Drongo

A Fork-tailed Drongo.

 

Fork-tailed Drongo

Fork-tailed Drongo

A close up head shot of the drongo. It hawks insects like a flycatcher.

 

The river and canyon along Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

The river and canyon along Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

The river and canyon that we are about to hike along towards a waterfall.

 

Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

We sign the log book at Half Collared Kingfisher Trail and off we go. I did see one of these birds here, another lifer!

 

Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

Here’s Bec complete with her knee brace – what a good sport!

 

Pontoon Crossing

Pontoon Crossing

We will have to ford the river when we come to it, but no sooner!

 

Fording the river via pontoon boat

Fording the river via pontoon boat

See what I mean? No bridge!

 

Fording the river via pontoon boat

Fording the river via pontoon boat

To cross we must fetch the pulley-operated pontoon boat and pull, pull, pull.

 

Fording the river via pontoon boat

Fording the river via pontoon boat

Here it comes!

 

Fording the river via pontoon boat

Fording the river via pontoon boat

And away we go!

 

The river and canyon along Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

The river and canyon along Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

Here is the view upriver, from the pontoon.

 

 

Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

Much of the trail up the canyon is on board walk. The river is small creek at this point.

 

Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

It is a strange riparian habitat.

 

Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

Half-collared Kingfisher Trail

Just a trickle of water through dense short vegetation.

 

A striped mouse

A striped mouse

A striped mouse of some sort.

 

A striped mouse

A striped mouse

It reminds me of a chipmunk back home.

 

The waterfall, finally!

The waterfall, finally!

At last here is the waterfall…perhaps 15 feet high.

 

Just downstream from the waterfall

Just downstream from the waterfall

Below the waterfall the stream is as dark as coffee, presumably from tannins and leaf litter.

 

A Wood Hoopoe

A Wood Hoopoe

A Wood Hoopoe. By now we are almost back to the trailhead where we started.

 

Streaky-headed Seedeater

Streaky-headed Seedeater

A Streaky-headed Seedeater. We are back on flat ground, hiking home at this point.

 

A female Amethyst Sundbird, I presume

A female Amethyst Sundbird, I presume

Back at Wilderness Manor B&B. Time for a few more bird photos and then a rest! A female Amethyst Sunbird, presumably.

 

Knysna Louries or Turacos

Knysna Louries or Turacos

I quickly kick back on the deck for some armchair ornithology. The Knysna Louries are back!

 

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

When they take off, brilliant red flight feathers become exposed and are hard to miss.

 

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

Knsysna Lourie. What a beautiful bird!

 

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

Knysna Lourie or Turaco

One final close up head shot.

 

Male Southern Double-banded Sundbird

Male Southern Double-banded Sundbird

A male Southern Double-banded Sunbird.

 

Male Southern Double-banded Sundbird

Male Southern Double-banded Sundbird

And another.

 

Male Southern Double-banded Sundbird

Male Southern Double-banded Sundbird

And another…

 

Male Southern Double-banded Sundbird

Male Southern Double-banded Sundbird

And finally this one. When the sun hits them that appear iridescent, like hummingbirds.

 

Cape Robin-Chats

Cape Robin-Chats

An adult Cape Robin-Chat (left) tending a begging juvenile.

 

 

November 27, 2014

Day trip to Knysna

Day trip to Knysna

A brief stop for shorebirds on our way to Knysna. I spotted several Whimbrel here.

 

Black-winged Stilts, Greenshanks, Curlew Sandpipers

Black-winged Stilts, Greenshanks, Curlew Sandpipers

What luck! My pre-study of satellite photos tipped me off that this might be a good shorebird pond. My hunch paid off. That is a sleeping Pied Avocet in front, at the left. The larger shorebirds are Greenshanks. The smaller shorebirds are Curlew Sandpipers (lifer!). The Curlew Sandpipers seem very similar to North America’s Dunlins. This is the shorebird I was hoping to find today! A few distant Little Stints were present as well (another lifer bird).

 

Black-winged Stilts, Greenshanks, Curlew Sandpipers

Greenshanks and Curlew Sandpipers

Black-winged Stilts, Greenshanks, Curlew Sandpipers

Black-winged Stilts, Greenshanks, Curlew Sandpipers

Cape Shovler (rear); Red-billed Duck (foreground)

Cape Shovler (rear); Red-billed Duck (foreground)

Both life birds!

Black-winged Stilt on nest

Black-winged Stilt on nest

A nesting Black-winged Stilt.

A Black-winged Stilt

A Black-winged Stilt

Another Black-winged Stilt.

A Black-winged Stilt

A Black-winged Stilt

And another view as the sun peeps out for a few seconds. How do you suppose this bird got its name?

A Black-winged Stilt

A Black-winged Stilt

A close up head shot of the same bird.

 

Nearing the headlands at Knysna

Nearing the headlands at Knysna

Looking back up at the bay and estuary at Knysna

Looking back up at the bay and estuary at Knysna and the Knysna River

The headlands at Knysna, west side

The headlands at Knysna, west side

 

The headlands at Knysna, east side, and the Indian Ocean

The headlands at Knysna, east side, and the Indian Ocean

Here we are at Knysna Headlands. This is as far east as we made it, perhaps 7 hours drive east of Cape Town

Here we are at Knysna Headlands. This is as far east as we made it, perhaps 7 hours drive east of Cape Town

Rebecca and Greg pose by the headlands of Knysna.

 

Time to say so long to our wonderful hosts at Wilderness Manor B&B

Time to say so long to our wonderful hosts at Wilderness Manor B&B

We pose for a bon voyage photo with Gerald and his trusty yellow lab. JD was off in Knysna. Our stay Wilderness and the Wilderness Manor was fantastic!

 

Wine country northeast of Cape Town

Wine country northeast of Cape Town

A brief stop inland through wine country on our way back towards Cape Town. I spotted a lifer.

 

Red Bishop

Red Bishop

Here is the lifer – a brilliant male Red Bishop!

 

November 28, 2014

Cape Town

Cape Town

A steep walk up hill in the morning from our hotel yielded this view of Cape Town and the harbor.

 

Cape Town

Cape Town

And a nice view of the soccer stadium.

 

Our room at our latest Protea Hotel

Our room at our latest Protea Hotel

Here is our room in the second Protea Hotel we stayed in at Cape Town.

 

The view from our room

The view from our room

And another view of Lions Head and Table Mountain from our room.

 

Cape Sparrow

Cape Sparrow

On our way to the harbor I picked up this lifer.

 

November 29, 2014

We took it easy today. No photos. Some shopping. Dining out. Resting in the hotel room.

 

November 30, 2014

Green Market Square

Green Market Square

Green Market Square

Green Market Square

Green Market Square

Green Market Square

Christmas shopping. We always seem to be every vendors’ first customer of the day.

 

Some very old street musicians

Some very old street musicians

Street musicians performing near the harbor. One final dinner out in Cape Town. We head back for the states tomorrow.

 

December 1, 2014

So long Africa. USA here we come!

So long Africa. USA here we come!

See? I wasn’t kidding. We had a wonderful vacation of a lifetime and would return in a heartbeat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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