Sunday, July 3, 2016

South Africa Part 2: Johannesburg to Kruger NP


During our first segment we had explored the Western Cape Province. Now in Johannesburg, we found ourselves in the capitol of Gauteng Province. Pretoria, it’s large neighbor city just to the north, also in Gauteng Province, is South Africa’s capitol. In terms of urban population density, Gauteng Province, while being the smallest of South Africa’s nine provinces is also the most densely populated.
Many crucial historical events with regard to the anti-apartheid struggle happened in this province. Johannesburg is now home to the Apartheid Museum and the Constitutional Court (South Africa’s highest court). The province is also a huge center of learning in South Africa with a combined presence of fifteen institutions of higher learning. However, as promising as all the cultural attractions were, our itinerary steered us away from the urban areas toward the neighboring Mpumalanga Province and the bucolic farming town of Wakkerstroom (billed as a birder’s paradise), a solid three hour drive away.

Johannesburg to Wakkerstroom
Nestled in a valley, it sits on the edge of a spectacular wetland. With a bird species tally of well over 360 species, the town and surrounding area is designated as an IBA (Important Bird Area) owing to the fact that nine of South Africa’s thirteen true endemics call it home. It was here we spent a few days exploring high-altitude grassland, gorges and cliffs, mistbelt forests, and of course the nearby wetlands.

African Crowned Crane
Not long out of the hustle and congestion of the cities we found flocks of Gray Crowned Cranes. Some were putting on breeding displays; dancing, bowing, and running and jumping at one another while emitting booming calls. Even some of the immature birds had joined in reminding us of how our Sandhill Cranes put on similar displays during breeding season as well as practicing their nuptial displays when gathered in large non-breeding “bachelor” flocks.
Wakkerstroom Country Inn
Our lodging for the next two nights was the Wakkerstroom Country Inn. Although there were a handful of other cottages and bed and breakfast establishments, the inn is THE place to stay with a birding group when in the area. Located quite literally in the center of town, it had ten comfortable (if a bit dated)  “stylishly” decorated rooms (we called them eccentric). The inn’s Pub and Family Restaurant was more than large enough to handle our group for all our meals. But be sure to order your happy hour drink well in advance as the bar service, while very friendly, is slow. And, make sure to have a second or third menu choice in mind as they tended to be out of items from one day to the next.

NGK Church and fallen Wakkerstroom Commandos memorial
The front of the inn faced a large, fenced-in grassy town square with a large church as the centerpiece. The church, the NG Kerk Church (Dutch Reformed Church) wasn’t particularly attractive as churches go but of special interest was the church organ. Built in the early 1900’s it is a pneumatic action organ which works by air pressure, not relying on electricity, as do later models. Some distance from the front of the church was a memorial commemorating members of the Wakkerstroom Commandos killed in action during the Second Anglo-Boer War. Wakkerstroom had been witness to several nearby battles. Many of the buildings in town stem from Boer homesteads and British blockhouses. Also occupying part of the same square was St. Joseph’s Catholic Church operated by the Diocese of Dundee. The town itself, was established in 1859. Some of the earliest settlers, against their wishes, had arrived while on their way to Australia as "guests" of the British legal system. They had broken out of their leg-irons and jumped ship in Durban. Wakkerstroom happened to be the nearest place just outside the reach of the Natal Colonial police.

main street Wakkerstroom
From the inn’s covered veranda, a raised and covered walkway lead left and right to other shops; a combination of arts and crafts storefronts, bakeries, art galleries, and a brew pub (under renovation at the time). At the northwest end of the walkway was a a community center of sorts showcasing the town’s various clubs and organizations. Directly behind the inn was a secluded patio with picnic table seating and a small grassy area. Around the inn and town during a few walkabouts, we found African Swift, Common Myna, South African Swallow, Cape Starling, and Rufous-necked Wryneck (in the woodpecker family).

Inside the inn were hundreds of of examples of Zulu weaving and bead work on display. Most of the weaving examples were that of “imbenge”, a shallow saucer-shaped bowl woven using Ilala palm and grass fibers. Imbenge are used as platters for serving dried foodstuffs, and, used upside down, serve as a lid for pots. Collected Ilala palm fronds are pulled into strips, then hung to dry. Zulu women traditionally do the weaving. Basket colors come from extracting natural dyes by boiling indigenous flora (leaves, berries, and bark). Different patterns woven into the baskets carry different cultural meanings. Intricate triangles, diamonds, zig-zags, and checkerboard motifs illustrate many domestic, social, and religious relationships.

The overly large basin-shaped baskets called “isiquabetho” are used for gathering and carrying grain. “Ukhamba”, is a rigid bulb-shaped basket, and the “isichumo”, a rigid bottle shaped basket. The Ilala palm has a waxy surface which when wet, expands and seals, allowing for liquids to be stored or carried.
Zulu men have gotten into weaving as well. Their contribution: baskets woven from wire. Initially they used discarded telephone wire which resulted in a bright kaleidoscope of color (wouldn’t Alexander Graham Bell be interested!). However, due to telephone wire scarcity, wire used today is custom manufactured in South Africa using an annealed steel core incorporating some recycled material (all lead-free).

Bead work historically incorporated beads from bones, seeds, metal, stone, ostrich eggs, seashells, and wood. Glass beads were introduced by Egyptian Phoenician traders and were highly prized. The Phoenicians' glass bead trade was soon taken over by the Arab glass bead trade, which in turn was succeeded by the Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries and the Dutch and English in the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, glass beads are still highly prized and are much preferred to be worn by the Zulu nation while plastic beads are now commonly used for the tourist trade and exportation.
We spent one afternoon in the company of local guide, Lucky Ndube, an expert on where to look for some of the more difficult to find lark and pipit species. With his assistance, and during our time in the area with Andrew and Lisle, we found Larks (Eastern Clapper, Rudd’s, Pink-billed, Rufous-naped, Eastern Long-billed), Cisticolas (Cloud, Rock-loving, Pale-crowned, Wing-snapping), Drakensberg Prinia, and Pipits (Long-billed, Yellow-breasted).
A few stops at the nearby Utaga Bridge on the outskirts of town where it crossed a section of wetland added Intermediate Egret, Squacco Heron, African Rail, Black Crake, Southern Bald Ibis, African Snipe, Wood Sandpiper, Lanner’s Falcon, Yellow-crowned Bishop, African Reed-Warbler, and African Yellow-Warbler.

Fickland Pan
Traversing around the Fickland Pan area on a number of rough and tumble unpaved roads revealed Bustards (Blue, White-quilled, Black-bellied, White-bellied), Wattled Lapwing, Cape Crombec, Black-throated Canary, Long-tailed Widowbird, and Red-billed Quelea. We also found a Wahlberg’s Honeyguide. Most honeyguides are dull-colored and quite unremarkable but it’s their extraordinary behavior we found fascinating. A few species of honeyguides (sometimes called “indicator birds”) have evolved a learned behavior to guide people to bee colonies. A bird attracts attention with rapid wing movement while chattering "'tya' notes compounded with low peeps (imagine Lassie barking to draw attention to something). The guiding bird flies toward an occupied nest while making more conspicuous noises and displays. Once at a nest, honey-hunters incapacitate the adult bees with smoke and open the nest with axes or pangas (machetes) to extract honey. The bird then gorges on the remaining wax and bee larvae.

Wahlberg's Honeyguide
Honeyguides are also brood parasites, laying eggs in the nest of another bird species, particularly in the underground nests of some bee-eating bird species. When the honeyguide chick hatches, it will use its needle-like bill to kill host hatchlings. Such is life in the wild.
Sadly, it was during our afternoon spent with Lucky that we came across a recent traffic accident. As our vans approached a small village (a small cluster of huts) a blanket lay in the road which we first mistook to have been livestock but in fact, beneath the blanket lay the body of a young boy who had been struck by a passing motorist. Apparently the lad, excited to be dropped off in his small village, had darted out in front of the school van just as another vehicle was overtaking it. Even on such remote dirt roads, one has to be ever vigilant of one’s surroundings.
Late that afternoon, with storm clouds threatening, we found a Mountain Wheater. Later on along Hammersfork Road, with darkness approaching, we observed a Cape Eagle Owl hunting from atop large rocks strewn along a river bed.

Cape Eagle-Owl
Wakkerstroom has a small but active bird club associated with BirdLife South Africa. BirdLife SA started out in 1905 as the “South African Ornithologists’ Union”, a strictly scientific organization for the study of ornithology. Since then it has morphed through a few other names until in 1996, it became “BirdLife South Africa”, expanding to include education and conservation action programs. Today BirdLife South Africa has more than 5,000 members in more than 30 bird clubs scattered throughout Southern Africa. It’s official mission statement in part reads, “…strives to conserve birds, their habitats and biodiversity through scientifically-based programs, through supporting the sustainable and equitable use of natural resources and through encouraging people to enjoy and value nature.” On display were several back issues of African Birdlife, the organization’s official publication. The magazine layout and appearance (along with content) reminded us of our own ABA’s publication “Birding”.
After two and a half days we missed finding the endemic Botha’s Lark (but not without a whole lot of effort!). We had, however, been fortunate to find the rest of the endemics Wakkerstroom had to offer. Time to move on.

Wakkerstroom to Lower Sabie Rest Camp
We spent the better part of the next morning driving north-northeast toward Kruger National Park. Through the towns of Ermelo, Carolina, and Barberton; skirting Nelshoogte Nature Reserve, Mountainlands Nature Reserve, and Krokodilpoort Nature Reserve before arriving at Kruger.
South Africa’s first national park (1926), and covering over 7,500 square miles, Kruger is one of Africa’s largest game reserves. It measures 220 miles long (north-south) by 40 miles wide (east-west). It’s bordered by Zimbabwe at the north end and Mozambique on the east side. The Limpopo River to the north and the Crocodile River act as natural borders. Additionally, the Sabie, Olifants, Letaba, and Luvuvhu rivers run through the park.

Kruger National Park location and map
The park’s climate is subtropical. Humid and hot in the summer months. The somewhat cooler rainy season is listed as lasting from September until May although September and October are listed as the driest months and the most ideal time to visit owing to more sparse vegetation. During this time watering holes, being the only source of water, tend to have higher concentrations of animals making for easier and more efficient wildlife viewing.
Park flora life is divided into four main sections. 1) Thorns trees and red bush-willow, 2) knob-thorn and marula veld, 3) red bush-willow and mopane veld, and 4) shrub mopane veld.
As we were on a birding tour we had our sights set on seeing the park’s “Big Six”: Lappet-faced Vulture, Southern Ground Hornbill, Martial Eagle, Saddled-billed Stork, Pel’s Fishing Owl, and Kori Bustard. Well, make it five. We’d already seen Kori Bustard (but wouldn’t mind more looks). Seeing a Pel’s was a crap shoot. Nocturnal hunters, they are rarely seen. But in Kruger it wasn’t just the birds we sought as it would be impossible to ignore the elephant in the room. Or rather, on the road. Literally. Kruger has the “Big Five” animals (African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, White Rhinoceros, African Lion, and Leopard). We  were determined to see them all.

Crocodile Bridge, Saddle-billed Stork
There are nine possible ways - nine entry gates - for modern homo sapiens to enter Kruger legally. Given where we would be spending the first night in the southeastern part of the park, using the Crocodile Bridge Gate entrance made the most sense. And as the name implies, the bridge crossed the Crocodile River. The strict ‘stay in your vehicle at all times’ applied at Kruger as it did at Karoo. But because we crossed the bridge before we entered the park proper, we were allowed out of the vehicles (while on the bridge). This gave us a panorama view of the river and wildlife, including African Nile Crocodile. And it was here where we saw our first Saddle-billed Stork. It’s estimated that there are between 25 and 30 breeding pairs in Kruger but being so large and striking, they’re hard to miss along major water points where they like to congregate.
Entering parks in Africa tended to be a time consuming and bureaucratic process. In part because poaching is still such a huge problem. In the case of sightings of white rhinos, for example, keeping sightings a secret extended to guests not being able to relay to other guests (outside their respective tour group) any white rhino sightings. The fear was that a “guest” just might be a spotter for poachers.

African Elephant
Kruger is huge. Given the time we had allotted, we concentrated only in the park’s far south and mid southern sections with overnights divided between the Lower Sabie and Satara rest camps. Our method of exploration, as with Karoo, was mainly in our vehicles adhering mostly to paved roads. But we were free to stop whenever and wherever we sighted birds and other wildlife. The presence of large wildlife - elephants in particular - caused us to stop whether we wanted to or not. Up to twelve feet tall and weighing 14,000 pounds, they are attention getters. Extremely social, they travel in herds. Females are overly attentive to their young and easily provoked if approached too closely. We always kept a respectful distance whenever we encountered a herd. Males tended to be solitary or kept to small bachelor herds. No matter. If it was a single bull or a herd in our path, we stopped. What absolutely magnificent creatures.

elephant temper tantrum left uprooted, uneaten, and wasted vegetation
While African Elephants are still heavily poached (both sexes grow tusks), their population inside Kruger has now reached levels where elephants are having a detrimental impact on the park’s vegetation. They can consume up to 600 pounds of food (plants, trees, bark, fruits, shrubs) per day. Young bull elephants are frequently aggressive, acting out their aggression by uprooting (killing) vegetation. As a result their numbers need to be culled which as you can imagine, is an emotional topic.
Elephants don’t digest much more than 40% of the food they take in. Much of it passes straight through. As a result, driving over elephant dung is potentially dangerous. Many plants they eat have large thorns - long sharp thorns - that end up being excreted whole and hidden in elephant dung. Thorns that can puncture tires. We didn’t want to get out of a vehicle to fix a flat tire in a food chain where we were definitely not at the top. Avoid the dung.

the king rests anywhere he wants
Other traffic stoppers were the big cats. As word of a sighting quickly spread, it created traffic bottlenecks. Recall how traffic backs up in our national parks whenever wildlife is present (bison, elk, bear, etc.). It was the same in Kruger. In one case, a male lion had decided to lay down in the middle of the road causing a huge traffic backup. However, in this instance, as opposed to the many idiots we’ve witnessed in our national parks approaching wildlife, we didn’t see anyone getting out of their vehicle with outstretched arms attempting to get closeup shots using a cell phone camera. Pity.

possible future nominee for a Darwin Award
Lisle's pic of the stressed Crested Porcupine
We did, however, see this not so rare but potentially endangered idiot out of his vehicle trying to take photos of...well, we don't know what. We pulled around, parked, and waited for him to look our way to see us taking photos of him. He didn't look pleased. Why? Because we could report his automobile tag to a park ranger, use this photo as proof, and the idiot could be fined and or thrown out of the park or both. Or, he might have been attacked while we watched. Earlier in the day we had observed a stressed out Crested porcupine about ten feet off the road. After several minutes we caught the barest of glimpse of the cause - an extremely well camouflaged leopard also about ten feet off the road in dense vegetation (like the dense vegetation in front of the idiot).

short version: if eaten while eating, don't blame us
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill
Around noon we entered the Tshokwane picnic spot to stretch our legs and snare lunch. A small store afforded the opportunity to purchase beverages and place an order for grilled food which was delivered to our picnic table. Around us were troops of Vervet monkeys (kept a wary eye on our food - so did the monkeys) and a few incredibly approachable Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills.

Lower Sabie Rest Camp
Our first overnight was at the Lower Sabie Rest Camp located on the banks of the Sabie River with the LeBombo Mountains as a backdrop. Late in the afternoon was the time to watch hippos emerging from the safety of the river to forage for food. Our bungalows were quite comfortable, equipped with a small kitchen (in brochures always referred to as ‘self-catering’), twin beds, private bath, and air conditioning.
Lower Sabie was also where we experienced our second nighttime safari drive. As in Karoo, we split the group to accommodate getting the entire group on a drive. With only one tour per evening, Harold, Carol and Tom, as we had in Karoo, volunteered to go on the first night.
All our meal opportunities while in the park were found only in the rest camps and at a handful of cooking equipped park picnic sites, all handled by contracted vendors. There were no opportunities for fast food outside these sites (except of course for the naturally occurring ‘fast food’ impalas...and the lions weren't sharing). Situated on a large deck overlooking the Sabie River we ordered our food from the Mugg and Bean restaurant. Interestingly, the seed for establishing Mugg and Bean in Africa began with a couple from Cape Town visiting a south side Chicago coffee shop. Enamored, they brought the concept back and opened the first Mugg and Bean in Cape Town in 1996. Their franchises quickly spread across Africa and beyond. We recommend the upside down marshmallow frozen hot chocolate.

Zebras, White Rhinos by day; lion by night
Normally, relaxing on the deck would have been a calm and tranquil setting - were it not for a large, raucous crowd gathered at THEIR watering hole to watch a World Cup Rugby game, South Africa versus Wales quarter-final match (South Africa for the win). Extremely difficult to do our checklist over the din plus it seriously impacted wait times for meals.
Because of much longer wait times, the three of us signed up for the night safari ran out of time to finish our meals and had to skip completing our checklists. Rushing back to our bungalows to collect extra clothing and lights, we barely made it back in time to board the open-air vehicle. Carol wound up riding up front with the driver while Harold and Tom squeezed into the last open bench seat.

The atmosphere aboard the vehicle was 180 degrees from our previous night safari experience at Karoo. The driver sat well out of sight from the main seating area. There was no park ranger to provide commentary or exert some semblance of order. Participants had simply been handed four powerful searchlights and instructed to “look for eye shine”. If anything of interest was found, to shout for the driver to stop. Chaos reigned. Those with searchlights waved them willy-nilly, severely limiting night vision. A loud and boisterous group behind us clearly had been drinking. When anyone thought they saw something and shouted to stop, the driver often didn’t hear about it until it was too late. As a result little was seen. When a pair of lions was found walking next to the road, a mad rush to stand and take pictures (with their cell phones outstretched over the side) made it impossible for many aboard to get good looks. Those armed with spotlights failed to comprehend respecting the animals' night vision by continually shining lights in the eyes of the animals. All in all, a completely unprofessional carnival ride tour, an utter waste of time and money. Had there been more to see (and who knows that there wasn’t) and a park ranger to oversee the tour, well, it might have turned out better. We arrived back at the camp cold, tired, thoroughly disgusted and in bad humor. It was almost midnight by the time we fell into bed.
The next morning we informed our group of the previous night's misadventure. Josh’s group would be on the next night’s tour along with the rest of ours, and thus forewarned, Lisle, Josh, and Andrew made sure they took charge of the spotlights. Between the three experienced guides, it made for a much more controlled tour. They also had the good fortune of coming across a freshly killed Cape buffalo. While lions fed, other wildlife (hyena, jackal) jockeyed for a share of the spoils. They also observed a few Genet species (small cats), and a Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl. What a difference a night makes.

Southern Cordonbleu
Hammerkop
Emerald-spotted Dove
But once again, it was our daytime wildlife viewing that made it so worthwhile. During our drive from Wakkerstroom and during our first partial day in Kruger, we added Yellow-billed Stork, Natal Francolin, Hammerkop, Goliath Heron, Bateleur, White-backed Vulture, Wahlberg’s Eagle, Brown Snake-Eagle, African Hawk-Eagle, Water Thicknee, Emerald-spotted Dove, African Green-Pigeon, Gray Go-away-bird, Cuckoos (Levaillant’s, Thick-billed), Hornbills (African Gray, Southern Red-billed, Trumpeter), Giant Kingfisher, Madagascar Bee-eater, Lilac-breasted Roller, Barbets (Crested, Black-collared), Shrikes (Magpie, White-crowned), Southern Black Tit, Red-billed Oxpecker, Sunbirds (Scarlet-chested, Mariqua, Purple-banded, White-breasted), Golden-breasted Bunting, Weavers (Red-billed Buffalo-, Spectacled, Lesser Masked-), Widowbirds (White-winged, Fan-tailed), Southern Cordonbleu, and Mannikins (Bronze, Black-and-white).

Red-billed Oxpecker
Leopard
For our first full day in the park we gathered food supplies from the rest camp’s small grocery to maximize our time on the road. We found a leopard resting in a tree with a partially eaten antelope at the tree's base. Unable to pull the kill up into the tree, the cat was using the tree to rest and guard his food cache. It had also expectantly drawn quite a number of gawkers. In fact during each day we spent in Kruger, we came upon a leopard. Alas, other than some scat atop a large stone marker, we missed seeing the other big cat, cheetah.  Maybe they were just too fast for us.

Giraffe, Cape Buffalo
Impala
Greater Kudo
Herds of Wildebeests, Cape Buffalo, more elephants, giraffes…all so overwhelming. In addition to birds we’d already seen, we added Secretary-bird, Vultures (Lappet-faced, Hooded, White-headed), Eagles (Martial, Tawny), White-browed Coucal, African Scops-Owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, Striped Kingfisher, Rufous-crowned Roller, Chinspot Batis, Arrow-marked babbler, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Green-winged Pytillia, Miomba Wren-Warbler, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Tchagras (Black-crowned, Brown-crowned), Bushshrikes (Sulphur-breasted, Gray-headed), and African Penduline-Tit.

south-central Kruger NP
On the morning of our third full day in Kruger, and with most of the group still weary from a late night, we loaded our belongings onto the vans and started out for the Satara Rest Camp, our last overnight stay. Using provisions from the camp grocery we stopped at a picnic spot overlooking a broad plain and watering hole for lunch. Scores of hippos lay on the banks while others floated in the water. A very alert Vervet monkey paced back and forth on the picnic shelter roof, watching, waiting and then with lightning speed, jumping down to snatch unattended food from our table. Another monkey food theft happened in the midst of another nearby group of picnickers when the monkey grabbed a loaf of bread sitting inches away from people ringing a table. Unfortunately, such brazen behavior was  probably the result of previous visitors feeding it (another big park no-no). This would probably cause eventually having to destroy the monkey. The fear was that it would become so unafraid that it might wind up physically hurting someone in an effort to steal food. Wildlife needs to remain wild.

Secretary Bird
Marabou Stork
Birds on the day included Creasted Francolin, a fascinating preening display by a Marabou Stork, Red-crested Bustard, White-fronted Bee-eater, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Red-backed Scrub-Robin, Kurrichane Thrush, Weavers (Village, Red-headed), Cut-throat (a waxbill), and Red-headed Finch.

Our digs at Satara were similar to Lower Sabie although the layout was a bit different. Several circles of bungalows arranged around circular open spaces. While settling in, we were distracted by a commotion on our patio (where our outdoor kitchen was located). A troop of marauding Banded Mongoose were making the rounds. That night we learned from Lisle and Andrew that a Honey Badger (we had gotten distant looks at one) was also scrounging the same containers causing Lisle and Andrew to race about in their skivvies trying to get photos. Honey Badgers are rarely seen so having one so close was a coup. We imagined the sight of professional guides running about in the dark in their underwear is also pretty rare. At least that's what they told us.

African Wild Cat
As we’re big on the Cats Indoors Program back in the states, when we saw a cat in our circle's open area eating what appeared to be a bird (it turned out to be a small rodent), we were a bit taken aback. Upon closer inspection, however, it turned out to be an African Wild Cat, ancestor to today’s domestic cat.  Once we had sorted it out, it became quite clear that in spite of being of similar size and markings, this was no domestic feline.

Eurasian Hoopoe
Green Wood-Hoopoe
In the same clearing appeared a dust bathing Eurasian Hoopoe. In areas where water is scarce, frequent dusting helps maintain an optimum amount of oil on the feathers. Excess plumage lipids, including preen oil, are absorbed by the dust and expelled along with dry skin and other debris. Good for the hoopoe and for us while we watched it for several minutes. And nearby, a very different looking Green Wood-Hoopoe was hunting insects in a knobthorn tree. Another evening meal at a Mugg and Beans while we wrapped up our daily checklist. Unfortunately we had missed two of the top six birds - the Pel’s and the Ground Hornbill. Once away from Kruger, our chances for seeing any would be greatly diminished.

Our marching orders for the next day, the last day of the main tour, had us exiting Kruger at the Orpen Gate then taking a circuitous route back to Johannesburg to drop off Melissa and Jose, who, due to work schedules, would not be participating in the trip extension. A few birding breaks along the way netted us Common Quail, Black-breasted Snake-Eagle, Fan-tailed Grassbird, Wailing Cisicola and just before arriving back at the Africa Journey Inn, a Square-tailed Nightjar.

Satara Rest Camp to Johanessburg
We had arrived back at the inn with time for happy hour and what turned out to be an excellent buffet-style evening meal. Jose and Melissa had made arrangements for sightseeing in Johannesburg the next day before their afternoon flight departed. They had no reason to rise early, and with the rest of us facing an early morning departure (yes, avoiding traffic in Johannesburg), we toasted (numerous times) Jose and Melissa safe journeys and bid them a tipsy goodnight.

Greater Blue-eared Glossy-Starling
Red-headed Weaver
Water Thicknee
Red-chested Wryneck
Chinstrap Batis
Pearl-spotted Owlet
Squacco Heron