Before I drove to Stapelkop Dam, I first drove a couple of kilometers along the Shongololo Loop. I found a Warthog and some Impalas.

Warthog   Impala

A beautiful Martial Eagle was sitting in a tree next to the road.Martial Eagle

Some of the other birds along the short drive included a colourfull Lilac-Breasted Roller, Crested Barbet and a Yellow-billed Hornbill.Lilac Breasted RollerCrested Barbet   Yellow Billed Hornbill

The road to Stapelkop dam was very quiet. There were one or two Drongos and Sabota Larks. I had a distant sighting of another Martial Eagle. Then I saw a little Steenbokkie and one of my favourite trees.

Steenbok   Baobab

CrocodileWhen I reached Stapelkop dam I found a spot to Park and enjoyed the scenery. There was quite a lot of little birds around. There was a Pied Wagtail, a few Sandpipers, Open-billed Stork and an African Darter. I spotted a Three-banded Plover and a Black-winged Stilt. An African pipit and Kittlitz’ Plover were foraging in the grass while European Bee-eaters and Red-breasted Swallows flew overhead. An African Fish Eagle was sitting on his perch. On the other side of the dam I spotted Warthogs and some Waterbuck. Closer to my car was a crocodile and a Blacksmith Lapwing with an adorable little chick. When he walked along the edge of the dam he looked really tiny in this big open space.Blacksmith Lapwing

But it was the Collared Pratincoles that stole the show. There were lots of them flying up and down.Collared PratincoleCollared Pratincole

They came quite close to the car, and for the first time I could get a really good look at them. They are really pretty birds.Collared Pratincole Collared Pratincole

I noticed a few sitting on the ground very close to the path where I was parked.Collared Pratincole Collared Pratincole

I realised quickly why that was. One bird landed nearby and I watched her for a few minutes to see where she would go. I managed to see the little treasure she was protecting.Collared Pratincole Collared Pratincole Collared Pratincole

Once I knew they were breeding I did not want to put any pressure on them so I moved away.

A large troop of baboons approached. Luckily they changed direction before they reached the area where the birds were breeding. I was worried that they would eat the eggs if they found them.Chacma Baboon Chacma Baboon   Chacma Baboon

A herd of Impalas came for a drink. Their nervousness confirmed they knew very well that there were crocodiles in the dam.

Impala   Impala

I spent a few hours at the dam watching all the birds and animals come and go. It was really wonderful. The the Pratincoles were without a doubt the highlight of the morning. They are not birds that I have seen a lot before, and never really close. These wonderful sightings were really special. And seeing the egg will be one of the most memorable moments of the entire trip.

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