South Africa Travel Diary - p 2 Lion-closeup (90774 bytes)

22 August 2006
At Nossob camp now, in the northeastern section of Kgalagadi.  Last evening produced the first lions.  Another photographer had spotted them and told us to watch the tall grass.  After half an hour of seeing nothing, two males rose up, just like that, and began to feed on a recent kill.  Wow!   This morning when we drove back to the spot, half a dozen parked cars indicated that they were still around.  They were trying to nap near the road, but the tourist commotion was too much.  They finally rose and grumpily walked over the hill out of sight.







Lioness-&-youngster (89594 bytes)23 August 2006
The local population of gemsbok abruptly decreased by one last night.  Two birders at the Nossob blind first spotted the kill, about 500 yards north of camp.  As word spread, there was a stampede of cars out and up the road for a better look.  Now with full tummies, the pride of about ten females and youngsters was feelin' good, and strolled down to the pool at the blind for a drink.  Then, being cats, they dispersed into the tall grass for a nice long nap.  Soon the only animals to be seen were black-backed jackals, busily finishing the last of the gemsbok feast.





24 August 2006Namaqua Sandgrouse (81075 bytes)
The action at Kgalagadi takes place in the Nossob and Auob riverbeds that run through the park.  But this being harsh semi-desert, water actually flows in these rivers only once every few decades.  The riverbeds still collect enough water to support the sweet grass so relished by gemsbok, wildebeest, and springbok, which of course attracts their prey.  To be sure that no one goes thirsty, SANParks has built waterholes at various intervals.  These also attract bird life.  So far we've recorded at waterholes Bateleur eagle, Namaqua Sandgrouse, Cape Sparrow, Yellow Canary, Red-headed Finch, Common Waxbill, Red-billed Quelea, Sociable Weaver, but most of all flocks of doves:  Cape Turtle-Dove, Laughing Dove, and the handsome Namaqua Dove.





Rock Kestrel (72135 bytes)Everywhere along the the riverbeds and adjacent banks are burrows of mice, gerbils, rats, and ground squirrels.  These tasty little animals naturally entice the true avian stars of the Kalahari, the birds of prey.  I've never seen so many, and of such variety.  The most common is Pale Chanting Goshawk, but Martial Eagle, Bateleur, Tawny Eagle, Black Harrier, Lanner Falcon, Black-shouldered Kite and Rock Kestrel also provide long looks and sometimes pose obligingly for the camera.  This must be one of the best places in the world to photograph birds of prey.











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