Birding in Kruger Park

Two weeks in the Kruger Park would probably have yielded 300 bird species for a proficient birder.  Renee and I had to be content with 247, which was a record for us and which included 5 lifers and many interesting glimpses into the lives of birds in the park.

We started in the south spending the first two nights at Biyamiti camp, a small camp with only 15 housing units, but well situated and very quiet.  The floods that had occurred some three weeks prior to our arrival had caused huge damage and many roads were closed and some  bridges and causeways were washed away.  This restricted our travel, but there was still enough area open to allow us plenty of good birding opportunities.

Our travels took us northwards for 2 nights at each of the following camps; Skukuza, Satara, Letaba, Mopani, Shingwedzi and finally Punda Maria.  Each camp had something different to offer, but the ones which we enjoyed the most were Biyamiti, Mopani  and Punda Maria.  Mopani offered very good accommodation and good privacy at the lowest rate, whilst our tent at Punda was very comfortable and gave us a good view over the surrounding bushveld.

Our most exciting birding included the following;  an Orange-winged Pytilia just south of Skukuza; a pair of Orange Waxbills inspecting a number of abandoned weaver nests in an effort to find one that best met their needs; a pair of hungry young Spotted Cuckoos being fed by a frustrated and overworked Glossy Starling, and a young Levaillant’s Cuckoo being fed by some Arrow-marked Babblers.  It is sights like these that make birding so very rewarding and well worth the effort of sitting and closely observing one’s surroundings.

The trip provided me with an opportunity to hone my bird photography skills and it made me well aware that there is still an awful lot to learn.  The pictures shown reflect some of my efforts.   Click on an image to enlarge it.