Shipandani & Letaba day 4: Back to Sable Dam

Monday dawned… well, no, it didn’t really dawn in the true sense of the word. I became lighter, but the clouds and the winds were still with us, so no dawn, no sunrise and no sweet light. We were still up and out of the camp early and headed for the S131.

We were only a few kms out the gate, when we saw a few cars parked next to the road up ahead. As we approached, we saw what seemed like a hyena clan, attempting to chase of another hyena – perhaps an intruder? The light was very low, but I managed to get a few nice action shots.

Hayena_1D_3049We continued on, our disappointment at the weather as least half-cured by the awesome sighting!

The first river crossing brought our bird specie count up to 67 with a Wood Sandpiper.

About an hour and a half later, we saw two huge Buffalo bulls at an unnamed watering hole. The two did not seem at all pleased to be sharing the waterhole!

The remaining bull did not, however, seem to mind sharing the watering hole with an Ox-pecker, or two!

Lark_FE5A1374We continued along the S131 at an easy pace, stopping every now and then to identify a bird. We saw another Sabota lark – this one much more co-operative as a model, and then a colony of White backed Vultures, apparently attending a kill that wasn’t visible from the road, since on of the birds were still covered in blood.

Vulture_1D_3312We finally arrived at Sable Dam just before noon, to find the dam once again surrounded by multiple herds of Elephant – what seemed like hundreds of animals! The clouds were coming in again, serving as a light filter and allowing for much better photographs that the ones we took on the first day…

Olifante_1D_3348After spending some time photographing and just generally enjoying the elephants, we headed back to Letaba on the tar road. The weather was quite nasty by now, with high winds, heavy cloud cover and even the occasional burst of rain, so we stuck to birding most of the way.

Bird sightings for the day:

  1. Wood Sandpiper
  2. White-backed Vulture
  3. Rufous-naped Lark
  4. Martial Eagle
  5. Black-chested Snake Eagle
  6. Dark-capped Bulbul
  7. Southern Red-billed Hornbill
  8. Yellow-fronted Canary
  9. White-fronted Plover
  10. White-crowned Lapwing
  11. Ruff

Only when we got back to Letaba and checked our updated species list, did we realise that we had passed our target of 75! So we counted it as a successful day, in spite of the weather.

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