Monday, October 6, 2008

Capetown: Beach

What a beautiful day! Spent it on various beaches with Melissa and Otis. First a surfing beach where we walked around and found this beached jellyfish. Ugh. Then around the bay to the whaling spot.

So, you see the rocks of the shoreline, then there's some water, then it looks like more rocks? Just maybe 10-15 away? That's a whale! :-) After that down to visit the penguins. A great day!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Exeter: Morning Drive

Our final game drive of this trip, and it was packed. First we found a lion and stayed with it for a while, until we left it because it was too boring, and we had more exciting lions to go see. We went to see these lions eating an impala they had just killed - you can see its head in the bottom left area. Lions are not neat and clean and polite eaters. They are messy and pushy, and there was a lot of growling and swatting at each other. Intense! A jackal was waiting around for scraps, but I don't think there was any left after this crew.

Then we saw this vulture, I am not sure but I think an African white-backed vulture. Followed closely by the African hoopoe, we saw these a few times but this is the best picture. A very cool looking bird! Then there was this grey duiker, another small bambi-ish antelope. Then we found this leopard, and older one (you can tell by the thick jowls) with leftover impala in the tree. He brought it down and ate it while we tried not to gag from the scent. Crossing the river we saw again the goliath heron and croc, this time with what I think is a blacksmith plover.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Exeter: Afternoon Drive

This drive we went to the dam and found this huge lone rhino having a drink. Then we went along our merry way to find this cheetah lounging on a termite mound, looking around and seeing if anything was worth chasing. The hyena nearby did not like the cheetah being around. It moved in slowly and tried to chase the cheetah off. It was quite a showdown! The cheetah was not impressed by a single hyena, and the hyena did not call in for reinforcements. Instead it sort of slunk off. The cheetah continued lounging.

Exeter: The Room

From our room today, we of course saw elephants. We also saw this beautiful saddle-billed stork, the only time we saw one.

Exeter: Morning Drive

The morning was off to a great start with these two, the brown snake eagle and the Wahlberg's eagle. This trip we also saw several Bateleur eagles, but didn't get any good pictures of them.

After the eagles it was all about this leopard! When we got there it was in a tree, but it did come down and we stayed with it for a bit. Then we went to the riverbed and saw these elephants looking dramatic on the sand. Crossing the river we saw our old friend the goliath heron keeping enough distance (apparently) from the croc. On the way from there was a herd of impala. Then we went to see these elephants having a drink, while some little bee-eaters hung out showing off for us. Then we couldn't go back to the lodge without a giraffe completing the experience!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Exeter: Afternoon Drive

This was another game drive filled with great sightings. We started with this giraffe, we see them really ridiculously often! Then the hippo in the water, yawning for us to show off its teeth. Another steenbok, you can really see the characteristic pattern inside the ear on this one.

Then a mother and child rhino, followed by the jackal.

Exeter: The Room

It was quite an afternoon at or room. First a giraffe came to the river. This is quite rare! Our ranger called to confirm that he was taking us to see a sister property, and I said, "Just so you know, there's a giraffe by room 4." He said, "Oh, stop making stuff up. See you in a few minutes." It was hilarious! We had been bragging about how many giraffes we had been seeing. :-) We went to see the sister property, and then when we got back I settled in for more watching the nature channel.

This crested barbet kept me company for a while, which was lovely as Jack was napping. Then I spotted the giraffe across the river and through the .... field. And an elephant parade started! There were a total of about 30 elephants parading past, with the giraffe looking on, just as I was. It was beautiful!

Exeter: Morning Drive

Another exciting game drive! First we came across this leopard lounging about. It went for a walk and we stayed with it until.......

We left to go see these lions! There were cubs playing in the tree. :-) Near the road there was another yellow billed hornbill, we saw these all the time. Then some elephants, with the impala just as interested as we were. This was I believe a brown snake eagle flying over us.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Exeter: Afternoon Drive

This afternoon was an amazing experience. First, this is the best picture we got of the starling. We saw these all the time, but this is a great picture with the light hitting it just right. Then another giraffe sighting, this is getting to be par for the course! Then the zebra, with impala and waterbuck friends nearby.

Then we went to the dam and waiting for the buffalo herd to come (we got a call they were on the way). When we got there the dam was empty. They started trickling in over the crest of the hill, slowly then faster, and they just kept coming! They filled the dam pretty much completely. In this shot, you can see that the dam is ..... full. There are still more coming over the hill. A contingent has decided not to even try to get into the dam, but go to the next water. Across a field, a hyena is watching, just as interested as we were! Much later we went back to the dam, the buffalo had moved on, and these rhino were there.

Exeter: The Room

While on our patio we noticed that there seemed to be a large next in one of the trees by our suite. I checked it out, and there is a hooded vulture nest! I got into the habit of checking it everytime I entered or left the suite, and was able to see a youngster there one day. It was great! Also from the patio we saw this male nyala, and this lovely warthog.

Exeter: Morning Drive

What a morning! We spent most of our time hanging out with these lions, who looked full and snuggly and content to lounge all day. Sometimes it's good to be a lion! We swung by the river crossing and found these crocs, just..... waiting......