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South Africa (ZA)   A week at Ngwenya Lodge, Southern Kruger National Park  -  Categories: South Africa  -  @ 04:48:12 pm

Winter Birding - Ngwenya Lodge, Mpumalanga - 13 to 19 August 2011

After a hectic first half of the year, nothing like a break in the African bush to re-charge your soul. This year, we spent a week at our timeshare in Ngwenya Lodge (, situated on the southern boundary of the Kruger National Park, with our Unit overlooking the Crocodile River - bliss! Images by Mike Pope

13 AUG 2011
We had a comfortable drive from Johannesburg to Ngwenya dropping down from the chilly highveld into the more temperate loweveld in and around Komatiepoort. During the check-in formalities, I found a Spotted Flycatcher which appears to have over-wintered as these species are only now migrating through Kuwait.

Spotted Flycatcher

Foraging around the bottom of a shrub, was the normally shy Green-backed Camaroptera.

Green-backed Camaroptera

After unpacking the car and getting sorted in our Unit we relaxed over lunch and later in the afternoon had a stroll around the Lodge gardens finding a few old 'friends' like Dark-capped Bulbul

Dark-capped Bulbul

Lesser Masked Weaver, still in winter or non-breeding plumage - although I did observe some nest building action

Lesser Masked Weaver

Although I was rusty on some calls, that of the African Green Pigeon was instantly recognisable

African Green Pigeon

At the small lake near the restaurant, a White-breasted Cormorant was seen

White-breasted Cormorant

Looking out over the Crocodile River at the restaurant, a Nile Crocodile was catching the last rays of the day

Nile Crocodile

As we got to our Unit, a small flock of Red Helmet Shrikes made a brief appearance

Red Helmet Shrike

14 AUG 2011
As the weather was great, we decided to spend the first day enjoying the Lodge and relaxing on our balconey overlooking the Crocodile River and we were rewarded with a great Lion sighting soon after waking up as a small pride wandered aloing the river bank

Male Lion

Birds that were flying up and down the river included; White-breasted Cormorant

White-breasted Cormorant

The smaller Reed Cormorant

Reed Cormorant

and many Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Goose

in the thermals above the river, we had juvenile African Fish Eagle calling

African Fish Eagle

in the scrub in and around our unit, I found a foraging Speckled Mousebird

Speckled Mousebird

the smart looking Spectacled Weaver

Spectacled Weaver

and a tatty looking Cape Weaver in transition plumage

Cape Weaver

and an African Mourning Dove which is not normally found this far south in the Kruger Park

African Mourning Dove

after a lazy breakfast my son Jaden and I went for a walk around the grounds, finding a secretive Tambourine Dove

Tambourine Dove

and an Ashy Flycatcher

Ashy Flycatcher

a stunning male Collared Sunbird was quite obliging in the coolness of the morning, not quite as much when the temperatures pick up later in the day

Collared Sunbird

Collared Sunbird

at this time of year, many of the Aloe's are in flower and many species of birds were seen feeding on the flowering blooms. The yellow of the flowers rubbing off on the feathers of their heads - here a Dark-capped Bulbul enjoying the nectar from the Aloe

Dark-capped Bulbul

at the small dam near the restaurant, an African Darter was sunning itself on the dead tree

African Darter

I had found a Water Monitor late yesterday that Jaden really wanted to see. At this time of the morning it was still sunning itself on the bank of the small dam and Jaden got up close and personal

Water Monitor

Water Monitor

on the way back to our Unit, Jaden spotted a Kurrichane Thrush at the base of an acacia tree

Kurrichane Thrush

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