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This weekend I did a follow-up visit to Lakenvlei. During my previous visit I did not have time to really experience the glory of Lakenvlei, and needed to see this for myself – intimately and personally.

So Friday I packed up and hit the road. I arrived at the farm by about four, had coffee with the farmer and an insightful chat of what it takes to farm successfully in South Africa. He then took me to a recently cut field next to the wetland where I pitched camp. My goal was to capture great images of Grey Crowned Cranes, Long Tailed Widows, and if lucky a Wattled Crane. I got all I wished for, and more, except for the Wattled Cranes – which I knew was a lot to ask for.

With potential diamond and coal mining in close vicinity to this area chances are that it will not remain this way. I hope that sanity prevails and the mining license applications will not be granted.

If you like these pics, you can visit http://franzfuls.smugmug.com/ to view more in higher resolution and for prints. I am not sure if I will stay with smugmug, to contact me on my email if you cannot find it – franz.fuls@gmail.com, or visit my other photo page.

Special thanks goes to Danie Holtzhausen for making his property available for me.

Here’s the photostory, hope you enjoy!

Shortly after arrival I was greeted by twelve grey crowned cranes on their way home.

Shortly after arrival I was greeted by twelve grey crowned cranes on their way home.

Here's by weekend place of residence and birdhide. The twelve cranes are flying into the wetland behind.

My place of residence and bird hide for the weekend. The twelve cranes are flying into the wetland behind.

Saturday morning I was up early, witnessing first light. Even after 6am light was still poor due to mist covering the valley. Everything was wet from heavy dew and I had to be very careful with my equipment.This long tailed widow made up for the frustration with a great display!

Saturday morning I was up early, witnessing first light. Even after 6am light was still poor due to mist covering the valley. Everything was wet from heavy dew and I had to be very careful with my equipment.
This long tailed widow made up for the frustration with a great display!

This little lady kept a watchful eye over her brood, chasing away everyone that got close. She had quite a unique teepee-like nest that fits the description of the long tailed widow nests, but her hubby had yellow instead of white on the wings, plus a short tail. I gotta check this out in the reference books!

This little lady kept a watchful eye over her brood, chasing away everyone that got close. She had quite a unique teepee-like nest that fits the description of the long tailed widow nests, but her hubby had yellow instead of white on the wings, plus a short tail. I gotta check this out in the reference books!

Then, of all times, 13h30 two grey crowned cranes arrived. They flew over my camp and landed less than thirty meters from me!

Then, of all times, 13h30 two grey crowned cranes arrived. They flew over my camp and landed less than thirty meters from me!

Meanwhile, on the other side of my camp, the widow-like birds were having a male-female chase-down!

Meanwhile, on the other side of my camp, the widow-like birds were having a male-female chase-down!

A spur-winged goose gave his matremonial blessings to a newly-wed duck-couple...

A spur-winged goose gave his matremonial blessings to a newly-wed duck-couple…

while others showed complete disinterest in the wedding!

while others showed complete disinterest in the wedding!

After a noon-nap I found this guy about three meters from the hide. Another one for the reference guides.

After a noon-nap I found this guy about three meters from the hide. Another one for the reference guides.

Then the Long Tailed Widows started showing off!

Long tailed widow

Long tailed widow

Long tailed widow

Long tailed widow

Long tailed widow

Long tailed widow

Long tailed widow giving chase to the female of the species...or at least trying to! .

Long tailed widow giving chase to the female of the species…or at least trying to! .

Late afternoon a Swainson's Francolin arrived with his 'krrrraaaaa krrrrraaaa krrrrraaaaa' announcing his arrival. This was a perfect ending to my first full day!

Late afternoon a Swainson’s Francolin arrived with his ‘krrrraaaaa krrrrraaaa krrrrraaaaa’ announcing his arrival. This was a perfect ending to my first full day!

The last birds I recorded on Sunday were a swarm of Wattled Plovers that flew over my hide and landed close by.

The last birds I recorded on Sunday were a swarm of Wattled Plovers that flew over my hide and landed close by.

Lastly, a few random shots…

The Lakenvlei peatland in full glory.

The Lakenvlei peatland in full glory.

My campsite-birdhide illuminated by my camp light.

My campsite-birdhide illuminated by my camp light.

Bales in the mist

Bales in the mist

The bird hide - from inside.

The bird hide – from inside.

That's me, recapping on the weekend before packing up.

That’s me, recapping on the weekend before packing up.

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2 thoughts on “Lakenvlei Birding Trip

    • So true. Today I was at a public meeting of Msobo Coal / Xstrata. They want to mine in the Chrissiesmeer Biodiversity site (between Chrissiesmeer and Carolina). A report on this will follow soon.

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