Rufousnaped Lark

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Flashback: Kgalagadi National Park - Part 2 Twee Rivieren

Twee Rivieren

25 Sept 2009 - After a liesurely breakfast at Augrabies, we packed up our camp and set off to Upington for supplies. The town was very busy as it was probably payday and everyone had hit the shops to get groceries. Supplies replenished, we filled up and travelled the 260 odd kilometers to the park gate at Twee Rivieren. People had told me stories of the terrible condition of the roads to Askham but this seems to be a thing of the past as we had beautiful tarred roads all the way to the Twee Rivieren gate. One thing I could mention is that the roads have several curves which could be tricky if travelling too fast and not concentrating. I was eager to get to the park so we did not stop for any birding along the way.

The Park gates eventually loomed into view looking like a setting from a Star Wars movie, you know .... on the planet Tatooine..

Kgalagadi National Park gates at Twee Rivieren

  The facilities at Twee Rivieren are very neat and there is a swimming pool for a welcome dip after a long drive. We stayed in a one of the chalets which was clean and cool inside.

Twee Rivieren Chalets (2)

As soon as we stopped in front of our chalet to offload a Familiar Chat flew in to inspect the front bumber of the vehicle for freshly killed insects...the Afrikaans name for this species is "gewone spek-vreeter" (common fat eater) so called for its habit of eating the grease used to lubricate the axles of the ox-wagons.

Familiar Chat

Ground squirrels are very common in the camp and their burrows can be seen everywhere.

Ground Squirrel

All the animals around camp are fairly tame and allow a close approach which is good for photography. Once we had un-packed and got the braai started we were visited by a Yellow Mongoose who sniffed around, hoping for something to eat.

Yellow Mongoose

Hopefully this meant there weren't any snakes about!

Another common bird in the camp is the White-browed Sparrow-weavers whose nests looks as if someone has thrown handfuls of straw into the trees. These birds have a rather raucous but not unpleasant call.

White-browed Sparrow-weavers

Early the next morning I got up for a walk to see what was about. The tracks in the sand indicated that it had been a very busy night.

Tracks in the sand

I heard a Pririt Batis calling from the trees to the east of the camp and immediately set off in search of this neat looking bird. I quickly found it foraging through the thorn trees but getting it to pose for a piccie was a mission as it stayed on the opposite side of the tree from me wouldn't come out into the open. I got some record shots but nothing really special.

Pririt Batis

The birds had started out on their morning foraging trips and I ticked quite a few for my trip list. Some worth mentioning were..Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Bokmakierie, Brubru and Marico Flycatcher which were all seen within a few metres of the chalet.

Ashy Tit

Marico Flycatcher

Once everyone was up, we once again packed up, deflated our tyres as per the park rules and set off on the long dirt road to Nossob which was to be our base for the next 3 nights.

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