So good to hear from you all on this adventure of a lifetime. Kruger in the middle of the night and not just a night drive!!
Sorry for bolding some of your lines, Cherries... but you hit the nail squarely on the head! The BBW is accentuated by the special and unique birding effort put in on Saturday... starting at 02:00, nowhere else can you enjoy that kind of a night adventure! culminating in 17 hours of non-stop birding in the company of equally crazy birders, under the direction of some of South Africa's best KNP birding experts. By quitting time your insatiable craving for all things birding has taken a decent hit, leaving you tired but still charged!
But to get back to the previous evening's pennant-winged nightjar event: some 'mites and I may have already have alluded to it as being special in itself! Where else in KNP can you park and wait for this exceptional species to show up - as consistently as the sun setting in the west!? I have done a couple of PWNJ- watches at this spot and the nightjar has never disappointed... True that on this occasion it arrived later than usual, giving only glimpses of its large nightjar shape... The first time I saw it was also during a BBW in February, and I also felt dissatisfied with the sighting. I booked a trip to Punda in November that same year because that is when these nightjars are in full stepouts! What a spectacular difference! It leaves your hand so shaky that making THAT TICK is not possible for some time after the sighting! Subsequent sightings fixed other features in my mind… like its sound and its large size! Its flight is very fast and agile.
We arrived at the PWNJ spot quite early with daylight still dominating. The HRs quickly set out a cheese-and-wine fare. We Stiffies yakked expectantly and then camp leader, HR Chris Spies, called us to order...Large view
Chris eloquently directs our attention to the sounds of the night and gets us all to shut up and listen... In the distance Friday night human activity blares out of a multitude of boomboxes, but we filter the party noise out mentally and listen to the song of the day making way for the night.
Expert Chris Patton reads out an impressive list of species that bid the day farewell or announced their awakening as night’s creatures... It is time for the nightjar show! 'mites start to seriously scan the skies...Large view
...some with binoculars...Large view
...others rely on sight only..Large view
...and others listen intently...Large view
...while some do the bino shuffle, alternating between peeks through the glasses and naked eye effort...Large view
Some are oh sooooo prepared for that bird... "Show yourself! I am ready to nail your feathers!"Large view
And then there were the revelers! They celebrated the PWNJ sighting AHEAD of time!