South Africa, June 2006

To see a list of birds seen on this trip click here

To see a list of mammals seen on this trip click here

Master of Science field course in South Africa, part of Napier University in Edinburgh.

Saturday 3rd June, 2006

Depart Norwich airport on Flybe flight to Edinburgh. Arrive in Edinburgh 2pm. Then flight from Edinburgh to Paris, arrived Paris 21: 30 hours. Depart Paris 23: 42 local time, arrive Johannesburg 09: 15 hours local time. Air France. Drive 200 kilometres from Johannesburg to Mankwe game reserve.

Later arrived at  Mankwe. Afternoon game drive. Clear. Warm, sunny in the daytime. 20 degrees Celsius in the day, dropping quickly in evening.

Reptiles: -

African Monitor, Rock Python (approximately 2.5 metres long)

Had Hartebeest bolognese for supper, excellent.

Sunday 4th June 2006

 Mankwe game reserve. Morning in camp. Lovely sunny day.

African Monitor (4)

Had Blesbock steak and sausages - excellent.

Monday 5th June 2006

Mankwe game reserve - Grass survey in the morning their trip to the base to see Impala being butchered. Clear, calm. Frost overnight. Daytime temperatures 23-26 degrees Celsius, close to freezing at night.

In addition: -

African Monitor (6)

"Orange Tip", Painted Lady, "Red Darter"

Tuesday 6th June 2006

Mankwe game reserve. Burning in the morning. Cape Eagle Owl (?) calling at 3 am.

Bush Baby (heard a wail like a child at 3am)

Today we did a controlled burn. Exciting and interesting stuff. Had lots of insects trying to escape the fire and insectivorous birds piled in for the feast. Pied crows landed on the ground, Helmeted Guinea-fowl also walked on the still warm embers. Drongos , Rollers and Pipits came low over the surface of the ground to catch the insects. I gave a lecture on digital photography in the afternoon. Then I took a ride on the camp lake on my own in the boat - fantastic, windless. Warm, clear blue sky.

Wednesday 7th June 2006

Day in field in the morning - Veldt Condition Index (V C I). Then in the afternoon, studied animal skulls and then evening game drive from 6pm for two hours. Cold at the end. Another warm day, temperatures up to 25 degrees Celsius.

Spotted Eagle Owl was seen on the game drive.

Thursday 8th June 2006

Another beautiful day, with frost overnight.

To De Wildt Hunting Dogs/Cheetah programme, Pretoria. Reasonably good guide . Then back to the camp by evening. Com African Hunting Dog (30 plus in captivity), Honey Badger (3 in captivity), Brown Hyena (2 in captivity), Wild Cat (2 in captivity), Caracal (3 in captivity), Cheetah (30 in captivity), Nyala (2 in captivity)

Friday 9th June 2006

Walk to send down, then class work in the afternoon. Clear and sunny again though full transient light cloud. Again 26 degrees in the day. Cold at night.

Saturday 10th June 2006

 Mankwe. Early-morning V C I for grasses, walk back to the camp. In the afternoon we had one evening game drive.

Sunday 11th June 2006

A quiet time at the camp in the morning. In the afternoon we had a trip around the  Mankwe reserve. Dry, warmer than of late. Some cloud for half of the day.

Monday 12th June 2006

Mankwe all day. Morning class work, afternoon game drive. Dry. Warm. Clear with occasional breeze.

Tuesday 13th June 2006

A visit to Pilansberg Park. All day trip, from 8am to 6pm. Hazard of fire - somewhat disconcerting! Windy at times which fanned the flames. I was pleased when we left the park.

in addition to the Birds: -

Crocodile (1), Leopard Tortoise (1),

Wednesday 14th June, 2006

Morning game drive, afternoon book work. Dry, clear. Slightly cooler than usual.

Thursday 15th June, 2006

Mankwe camp all day, studying. Dry. Warm, sunny (as usual), cold at night. Ate Kudu stew tonight - quite nice.

Friday 16th June 2006

Mankwe. Mainly in camp. But a brief trip to put out a fire on the reserve late morning

Saturday 17th June, 2006

Mankwe to Johannesburg after a morning game drive. Dry, sunny, warm. A barn Owl 'fell out' of a Hammerkop nest in the game drive. A Darker form than the UK version

Departed  Mankwe at 2pm, and then departed Johannesburg at 8pm. Arrive Paris 0600 hours next day, and then Edinburgh 08:20 hours and then returned to Norwich by train.