11 December 2011 – a quick visit up north…
We were up in Gauteng for the weekend as Trevor had to do the last leg of the Canon EOS Roadshow in Sandton on Saturday morning. Margaret had flown up on Saturday morning (Trevor had already flown up on Friday afternoon) so that she could also attend the Canon Expo after the Roadshow. Canon was showcasing all their latest offerings to the world including the new brute of a camera, the EOS 1DX. Looks like it’s going to be a phenomenal piece of equipment and we can’t wait to get our hands on it to put it to the test in the field!
Later in the afternoon, we had left Sandton and made our way north of Pretoria where we would be visiting friends, Johann and Lizet Grobbelaar, and spending the night with them. They live on a wildlife estate near Roodeplaat Dam Nature Reserve and it is quite incredible just sitting on the porch or inside the house and having Burchell’s Zebras, Impalas, etc just walking around on the lawn outside. Trevor even managed to pose for a couple of photos with one of the Zebras as it quietly went about its business eating the grass.
After breakfast this morning, we gathered our stuff and headed off for a bit of birding in the Seringveld Conservancy. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty horrible with overcast skies and intermittent rain, but since we do not get to this part of the world all that often, we thought we’d better make the best of it anyway. Our main target was to try and find Green-capped Eremomelas to photograph as we had never managed to aim our cameras at this species before. It took a while, but eventually, we managed to locate a small party of them and got some passable record shots.
Trevor also wanted to get a shot of a Black-crowned Tchagra as he had never managed to photograph this species in Southern Africa before (only further north in Africa), so after many frustrating attempts, he finally managed to get some terrible record shots of it, but at least it can be added to his SA photographic list now…:) Because of the unsuitable conditions, we did not photograph too much else except a few common species.
Eventually back at Johann and Lizet’s house, the sun started to vaguely come out and there were even a few butterflies around to attempt to photograph.
As we sat outside having some lunch, Lizet picked up a raptor flying overhead. Fortunately, we were able to grab a few quick record shots of it and it turned out to be a pale morph Eurasian Honey Buzzard, a rarity in SA and a great way to end off our visit. Before too long, we were packing up and heading back to the airport for our flight home. It was great to get back into the “bush” again and we will definitely make a plan to spend more time there next year!