September 2005

8th September

Stephen Coxwain arrived back from Lufupa, saying he had bumped into a hippo, and seen two big lions…. I’m in camp, doing chores!!! feeling a bit like death, trying to ward off Chris’s dreaded ‘lurgy’, which I seem to be catching!!!

Anyway, I couldn’t resist, so, after a staff meeting, staff and I all piled into the banana boat, and went looking for the ‘golden lions’….no where to be seen, but six giant elephants on the bank, (everything seems twice the size from the banana boat, after the Fish Eagle!!)…and so many hippo’s, most of our concentration was taken up avoiding the snorting monsters….next minute we were up in the air, we had bumped a hippo, who was NOT amused, and rose like a trout, with us on his back!!! We hung on for dear life, the staff and I a uniform grey colour at this stage!!! The banana boat rocked like a mad thing, thankfully settled the right way up!!! and there we saw the ‘golden lions’….lying like kings on the bank, regally looking into the sun…quite stunning, like two paintings, and really gold!!! BUT…only a lousy photo, as the hippo became a problem, and we had to moor the banana boat on the opposite bank, and throw stones at them, and then race through the pod at a nerve wracking speed….VERY dramatic!!! The lions were totally oblivious of the life and death drama being played out in front of them….I did think of going back in the Fish Eagle, but decided not to, as it was quite a long way down stream!!!

Otherwise, all is well here, so lovely when it is so quiet, and such a beautiful light….but it is getting very hot, I’m walking round in my wet shawls again!!!…and some wretched poachers started a fire and our whole area is blackened…walking is like walking on a black moonscape…NOT NICE!!!!..and my francolins are all here, and a bushbuck is eating the maroon sausage tree blooms, really making a scrunching, noisy chewing sound….

Chris has taken some clients back to Lusaka, and I am really enjoying not having to do that trip all the time. Today I am just relaxing, doing a few chores, cleaning out some trunks on the Fish Eagle, and sorting out camping equipment, the camp is delightfully quiet, and the bush buck have come out to eat the sausage tree flowers, the sunbird’s are in abundance, drinking the nectar from the same blooms, and making such a racket!!! I have discovered a white bellied sunbirds’ nest near my room, looks for all the world like a small clump of dry leaves, but if I lightly tap the nest with a twig, the tiniest little beak shoots up, a lovely yellow/orange colour….quivering with eager hunger, and the parent birds start twittering, so I hide again, and watch them. Fascinating stuff!

09th September

Have just been watching four elephants crossing the river in front of the lounge/dining area, they took ages to cross, and had such fun in the water, splashing, submerging, trunks up in the air….the river is very low, so I imagine they must be lying down in the water….luckily crocodiles do not bother them, because there are a lot of crocodiles in the Kafue…. ….and a small Barred Owl has just caused great consternation amongst all the sunbird’s, arriving unexpectedly, and all the sunbird’s have surrounded him/her, twittering and fluttering in a most threatening way, I’m glad I’m not the owl!!!  I’m listening to a piano concerto by Mozart, very softly… the bird sounds are quite intrusive!!!!

Lions in camp last night and on the opposite bank….roaring in frustrated fury at each other…..I got up (about 4. a.m.) and saw a big male walking past my window, he stopped for a moment when I switched on my torch, cold, golden eyes, with small pupils, looked at me straight in the eye for a few seconds, then walked on, much too intent on quelling the wretched interlopers on the opposite bank…..a leopard coughed behind my chalet at 4 am, and gave mama Bushbuck and tiny baby a big fright, they barked and barked, but although I got up, I didn’t see the spotted cat….and six elephants, another group, gently single-filed past the camp site, having had great fun crossing the river, splashing and rolling and washing themselves…they were very quiet, no ominous branch breaking, thank goodness, as they are breaking a lot of trees down at the moment!!! I suppose they were quiet because of the lions! I only saw one, but two were roaring near my hut, and two on the West bank, and one near the airstrip!!!! All in all, a very dramatic night!!!

As you know, I have built my hut next to my favourite tree, the Kigelia Africana (Sausage tree) and it is quite exquisite at the moment with jewel like blooms hanging in clusters, full of sunbird’s during the day, knocked down by squeaking bats during the night, and eaten by bushbuck when all is quiet…hence being able to watch this tiny baby bushbuck, so little, fragile, delicate, nervous, but copies mama in every move….a real treat to watch….wish you were here!!!!

11th September

Such perfect dawns…as the sun rises it just splashes everything with soft, cool shades, belying the heat to follow, as it climbs the sky…saw seven knob-billed ducks on the bank, in front of the camp…dramatic black and white colouration, with the extraordinary knob on the male’s beak…they are relaxedly bobbing, some with heads under their wings, some in the water, others right at the water’s edge… saw two elephants in and around the camp at dawn, also coloured with the rosy dawn glow!

All very relaxed…

The lions roared all around the camp during the night, and a leopard near the camp site gave his rasping cough….Puku alarm calls all along the dambo….

12th September

Very dramatic elephant night, with all five or six bulls around chalets, compound, campsite….Claude and Barbara made us laugh…they thought the elephants may try to get into their hut, so they moved around the bed!!! The elephants actually did lean against their bathroom, wall- it’s a bit bent, but no damage! All the bushbuck in camp, eating up the lovely Sausage tree blooms. The whole office smells wonderful at night, the blooms from the roof sausage tree give off a very rich, sweet smell, and as the moon rises, one can see the bats flitting and darting from flower to flower, I have now watched them, and they grasp the flower with their wings and put their doglike snout into the flower, hang for a few seconds, obviously drinking, and then wheel away…they chatter every now and again, in a shrill, sqeaking bark, then silence again… After looking them up in a Mammals book, I believe they are Peter’s Epauletted Fruit Bats, which occasionally do suck nectar, although their main diet is fruit….I have watched them for a long time, a fascinating sight as the moon rises, the tree leaves, a lot lacy from insect bitten holes, are etched against the bright night sky, and the bats wheeling and swooping and squeaking joyfully through the tree, hanging on to the amazing flowers, swinging back and forth before swooping off again….

13th September

Mayfields leave today….

14th September

Morrisons leave today…..

I am going to do a few chores, then relax….. the camp is companionably quiet….lots of birds, bushbuck, puku, hippos….trees rustling in the wind, leaves fluttering around like little birds…

16th September

Another perfect dawn, after an eventful night……last night, the night as bright as day, a bushbuck spent the part of the night under the Sausage tree outside my hut, noisily eating the blossoms as usual, in the moonlight shade of the great tree, when along came another male, creeping quietly, hardly making a sound as he stepped over the dry, dry leaves, and the two munched together, they suddenly took off like two jack rabbits, (so did I!!) as a leopard grunted right outside my bathroom….so loud, and rather menacing, actually!!! I had been sitting watching this, but decided my bed was a better option so crept to bed…to hopefully sleep the night away!!!! ….having heard the leopard for most of what was left of the night.

After the usual morning chores, I decided to go and see if the old hippo we had seen lying under a tree the day before yesterday, at 6pm, (unusual!) was still alive, on the way I saw a whole lot of vultures coming down on the other side of the Mushungashi Crossing, so I decided to take Lackson and go and have a look. Before crossing the dry, rocky river bed, we saw many vultures coming down, with the exciting way they have of putting their feet down, bat-hawking their wings and making that formidable whirring sound…we decided to explore the of the river first, but could see nothing at all, except the constant stream of vultures, so we then crossed… Nothing to be seen, then we saw some Lichenstein Hartebeeste spoor, and then some lion spoor, so we became extra cautious, and crept very slowly and quietly through the dambo grass, along the tree line…really very carefully, because the lions and the grass are very much the same gold!….Searching each spot as we crept from tree to tree, suddenly all the vultures flew up in a great whoosh….and sat in nearby trees….then I saw a movement under an acacia tree about +-twenty metres in front of me…looked cat like, so I hand-signaled Lackson to stand still, he was a few metres behind me, it was scary if the small pride of lions was that close… then I saw… it was a very large leopard, eating something…could not see through the grass what the meal was, but could see him chewing and licking…. We decided, once again, that discretion was the better part of valour, and, inch by inch, began to back away…checking him every few metres…. Suddenly, he looked up, and looked me straight in the binocular eye….gulp, another cold, golden stare….he became motionless, so did we…..after what seemd like an eternity, we started to inch away again, and slowly got to safer ground, near the crossing…..he obviously did not follow us, as we could still see his head under the now far off acacia tree….

We crossed the Mushingashi again, and went off to look for the old hippo, who was thankfully nowhere to be seen, then we froze as two reedbuck and a female waterbuck came towards us….the reedbuck had not seen us at all, and came within a few (maybe four) metres of us…..then the herd of puku all rushed off, and so did the trio….we went up to Spring No 2, but saw no sign of lion, although there was not a lot of game on the plain…saw a couple of huge warthogs, +- 10 Puku resting under a tree, and a few Impala…checked the Leopard Orchid, still looking quite beautiful…and suddenly found the spoor of maybe +-7 zebra….right near the Leopard Orchid…..getting hot, so off home to a nice cup of leaf tea….

I have lent Lackson my spoor book, as I am not sure if it was Lichtensteins Hartebeest spoor, it was so big, and triangular….and whilst sitting here at the computer, there is a huge commotion on the plain, either the leopard defending it’s kill-against what?? or the lions are fighting nearby….I have looked through my binoculars, but seen nothing…it is quite a blood-curdling noise, I must say….. …and now, such a lovely sight…on the spit of land now in the Kafue River (because the river has dropped so) a very big Waterbuck is drinking with two Puku, and as I take a photo, a tiny hippo chased both the Waterbuck and Puku away….I hope my photo will show this…I did click away…

…and Stephen (Coxwain) has just arrived carrying two small Red-Headed weavers which were fighting, and fell onto his house, they are still fighting if he puts them together!!! I quickly found a basket, but it was not bird tight, and they both flew away, hopefully all quarreling forgotten… Saw +- 10 Lichtensteins Hartebeeste on the West bank, opposite my hut in the late afternoon….

17th September

A very quiet day, all the Francolins around, as there was very little human activity….I was watching a great white butterfly flying untidily across the Kafue, from west bank to East… and thinking how exhausted he must, then thought he would alight on a Hippo’s head, he hovered there for a moment, then he continued his flutter to the waters edge, and just as he was alighting a beautiful European bee-eater snapped him up. I was watching through my binoculars, and the small green bird sat with the great white wings sticking out of his beak…then flew out of sight, maybe to feed a young one, or to eat in a more comfortable spot…poor, floppy butterfly…..such a long flight to end in…just being eaten….

All the Bushbuck are in camp today, all five females of varying ages and sizes, and the big male…the tiniest one has been eating the old maize I put out for the Francolins…really the most fragile, pretty creature, and so small… The two Fish Eagles are calling a lot today, one has just flown over the river, and is calling, with the strange head movement, down and up, down and up…. And about eight Puku drinking on the spit…six open billed storks and for the first time ever, a medium sized croc lying there….it shows how low the water is getting, as he is at least half way across the river, and obviously lying on sand, as he is completely exposed. I have made a small bird table just outside the office, from a picturesque piece of wood I found on a walk, and it is interesting to see how bossy, and territorial the different birds are, and how quickly they have all come to the table….

The Schalows Turaco is breathtaking, I have been watching her for a while, and the colours are quite amazing, blues to greens to purples, all irridescent and brilliant, she has been having a lovely time in the bird bath, splashing and ducking her head….I think she has a nest nearby, but she is very shy, when I try to follow her….. I will persevere!! On my way to my hut last night I saw a movement on the river bank, and on going a little closer saw it was the old elephant again, he gently ambled up to the Campsite Sitting area, and just stood for a while…The sun was setting in a blaze of intense brilliance…as usual, everything tinged with residue sun colours, including the elephant….on the opposite side, The moon was rising peach huge, soft gold against the Sausage tree then the lions started roaring, quite early on…and I thought someone was shining a torch through my window, the moon was so bright… the leaves are still so dry, even a mouse rustles them, to wake-up loudness….bushbuck with dainty, careful tread sound mammoth…a rustly, noisy close-by sound to keep one watchfully awake….

18th September

Last night the gentle giant elephant was in the camp the whole night….it is the brightest full moon, so night is as day, and he looks silver, his tusks, polished silver, and he just stands, and tummy rumbles, and eats a few branches, and tummy rumbles again…I get up in the night and watch from my hut, and the bushbuck were eating the last of the Sausage tree blooms…sadly they are nearly over, and the tiny ‘sausages’ now appearing, soon to be huge!, and a civet walked past my verandah, and then the lions started…there are two golden males on the West bank of the Kafue river, and they have the temerity to come opposite our camp, and give full blooded roars…doubly dramatic, as they echo over the still water!!! Of course, our resident black-maned lion immediately comes to the camp, to roar back at the dastardly intruders, and there is a true war of the roars, as they hurl insults at each other across the river!!!!

I got up at 6 am to see if I could see them, on either bank, and was a tad apprehensive, as the ones on the East bank seemed to be very close, by the sounds, but they were moving away from the camp, so taking my trusty tracker, Lackson, I went to the Mushingashi crossing, saw a lovely Liechtenstein Hartebeest watching me, then saw another just behind it, a hippo trundling back to the river, and a bushbuck barked at me, I nearly jumped out of my skin!!! then as I crept onto the plain, I saw one lion, a lioness I think, as I couldn’t see a mane, but the grass was quite long, so it could have been one of the teenage lions that are with the pride….anyway, it was 6.45 am by this time, so, as usual, discretion being the better part of valour, I decided to come back to camp for some leaf tea!!!

It really is the best time of day…..the brilliant, iridescent sunbird’s are busy chittering and chattering as they also get the last of the nectar from the Sausage tree blooms, and the bees are all very busy in the flowering trees, everything gets quieter as the heat progresses, and oh! boy, it is getting hot in the middle of the day!

This really is a wildlife paradise!

The staff came to call me to collect firewood, so loading rifle, staff, binocs and camera off we went, in the trusty Landrover, but decided to have a look at Spring No3, as the lions last roar was heard round about there at about 8 am. Stephen said he had seen vultures going down in that area….whilst cutting the firewood, anyway we saw fresh lion tracks going from beyond Spring No3 towards the spring, so we turned around and listened, heard nothing, and saw no sign of vultures, saw five reedbuck with their funny rocking/running away from Spring N03, so we climbed the anthill…saw nothing, stopped a bit further on, heard baboons making a din on the other side of the Mushingashi, then all of a sudden a great roar split the now warming air…10.15am exactly!!! Too hot, and no way we could get the car there, so we collected the firewood, and came home….wonder what was potting with Mr Lion, as he was at the camp at 6.15am, at the 3rd Spring roaring at 8 am, then over the M/river, roaring at 10.15 am!!! I will be all ears to see if I can hear anything else!!

The elephant spent the whole night in the camp….breaking down one or two good branches, right near the office- I’m afraid a stiff letter will be coming his way! I have told Steven Nightwatch to clap his hands when it breaks branches, but he tells me he is “afeared to do it, madam” and actually, when I see how close it was to the office, I don’t really blame him!

Three hippos grazing in front of the camp, and a fish eagle has just caught a very big fish….he very nearly didn’t make it out of the water, it was his splashing that attracted my attention, but he has managed to get airborne, and is sitting on the dead log, opposite the camp with a very big fish, I am not sure what it is, as I cannot see clearly through the binoculars…I wonder what would happen if he couldn’t get airborne?

Another ghastly croc, lying in the middle of the river, much bigger than the other one yesterday…wish he’d push off……

19th September

Awful Hippo fighting noises through the night….near the Mushingashi Crossing… The Francolins really are the bossiest birds…they have come into the office, not  realizing I am here, one even has the temerity to jump on the office chair!!! and a real fiesta has started, they have discovered the underneath of the new bird table, and oh! delight! such delicious things have fallen down….the joyous cluckings are very loud! The two Bulbuls are letting lots of crumbs through….one shouldn’t anthropomorphise but there is one little francolin who really gets into trouble if he/she gets too close to the delicacies… the others peck at him and cluckingly quarrel, and he walks away, for all the world like a chastised child, head down, making the lost wail that sounds like a kitten’s mew!!!

Lots of Open billed Storks around…

For the first time ever I saw two female waterbuck on the dambo plain in front of our camp…(I mean in front as you drive in, not the river side!!) What a lovely sight…yesterday two Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest, today two waterbuck…I think that big fire has a lot to do with all the bigger game around, because I also saw zebra spoor again, near Spring no 2…..

The little white bellied Sunbird has left it’s nest, the parents are still around my bedroom window, but I don’t see the baby, so I guess he must be sitting in a safe spot, wings trembling, as he waits to be fed!! and the Grey Lourie is still sitting on her nest next to “Nest House” I do wish I could find the Schalow’s Turaco nest…she is here every day, and starting to be less shy, as she bathes and drinks…. The beastly croc is still lying at the end of the sand spit, in the middle of the river, really looks as if he is floating!

Let’s see what today brings!!!

Lunch time, not a soul to be seen, and the male bush buck within touching distance outside the office…the birds enjoying the bird table very much, when who should appear, in a very secretaive manner, but Starfish himself, having made a huge fuss this morning outside the kitchen, I had looked to see what was causing the commotion but could see nothing that would alarm a little squirrel….anyway, he has crept over the roof of the office, and is creeping, in a very stealthy manner down a thin branch to the bird table…how DO they find out where all the new eating places are??? The yellow Bulbul is not amused, and is chattering at him in a very agitated manner…Starfish is VERY nervous, and darts and stops, tail flicking, time and again….now he has run off….funny little chap!

I think this note, taken from a very old (1961) National Geographic, is GOOD “It is a mistaken kindness to feed any wildlife here, and it is prohibited to do so, because there is ample natural food. Artificial feeding encourages vulnerability to disease, dependence upon man, and an unnatural situation.”” I think I should put this up in the campsite, where I saw someone putting out cabbage leaves for the bushbuck.

20th September

I discovered something interesting today, the little white bellied sunbird goes back to it’s nest at night….I thought it had flown the coop, but very early this morning the male was excitedly chirruping, and so I went to watch from behind the palm, if I go any closer he pushes off, anyway out of the nest came what looked like the female, but I think it must have been the young one, and flitted off after the male….Interesting too, that all the Impala and Puku are drinking on the “spit” of land in the river at 6.45 am….the croc does not seem to have moved an inch since yesterday….and the Barred owl is still calling…I have tried to find it, but it is in the thick palm tree area outside Nest House, which is aptly named, as there are dozens of new nests going up all over the place, and Mrs Grey Lourie is sitting on hers. I only hope the thatching of the new bathroom doesn’t disturb her!!! For the first time, a family of Warthogs are drinking on the spit of land, the babies look like little mosquitos, they are so tiny, there must be about fifteen Impala and Puku mixed, plus the family of Warthogs, I just hope the crocodile stays where he is…..there is a very bossy baby hippo who seems to think it is his duty to chase all other animals away, and just as I was focusing for a photo he trundled over and chased them all away, I must say I don’t think they are particularly worried, as they have just moved off a few feet….he/she really is very bossy, and very funny, quite one of the smallest hippos I’ve seen! There are two of them, twins maybe? as they are the same size, but one is definitely the “boss”…a very big hippo has followed them out of the water with a completely pink left front foot…not limping, so it is not an injury, but the pinkest of pink in colour!!

Everyone has gone off for lunch, the camp is so quiet, no francolins today, but the big male bush buck is in front of the office, I am lying on the couch, and Starfish has just appeared, still as nervous as usual, and grabbed the old, dry piece of mealie bread, and with great dexterity and skill has balance his way back up a thin branch, to obviously enjoy a snack away from the pesky birds who are chattering at him…. Our gentle giant (resident old elephant bull) is crossing the river walking on the spit, he has just poohed right next to the crocodile, who is lying with his mouth open, he really is a very big croc…..and the elephant has taken no notice of it at all…slowly walking through the shallow water, now standing for a bit, now slow walking on….he has reached the other side, and the waterline on his side is barely over his belly….the river really is very low….I hope the Fish Eagle will be able to go downstream………

So many Puku in front of the Camp today, at least 12, some lying down in the heat…they have all run off, and I think they have been chased by a very big Puku, as I cannot see anything else chasing them….it’s much too hot to run!!

21st September

The lions are roaring again, from the same spot…I hope they are alright, and not hanging around because of injury…or whatever…unusual for them to be in the same place for three nights in a row!! I heard that tree cutting sound again yesterday…just hope that it is not poachers…. A beautifully thin, bright green snake in River house, slowly climbed up into the roof of the bathroom, and disappeared from view!

Must get more Jeyes Fluid…they really do not like the smell of it!

22nd September

Loads of sounds in the night, lions roaring very close by, leopard grunting from the campsite to the Lodge area, hippo just behind our hut, and lots of hippo fighting? mating? noises… Two really big hippos were lying down behind our hut, nose to tail, just having a late morning snooze, I left them still asleep at 6.15 am!! Stephen told me he had heard something being killed on the plain, last night, so we went to look and found a slightly eaten male Reedbuck…absolutely no spoor to be seen .Vultures were already on the kill, at 6.15am in the morning….I told the staff to complete the repairs in the River house and took Lackson with me and went to look for the lions….we found that four of them had crossed the road near the Mushingashi Crossing, going towards the Bushbuck Anthills near the compound, which is where we found the Reedbuck…so we walked along, back-tracking them, and I decided to go to my lookout anthill, and there we saw the lions, lying in the long grass, near Spring No 2…saw three without manes and one with a mane, but did not see him so well, the biggest, presumably the female got up and walked towards the Mushingashi…we watched them for ages, then backed off, and went to see where they had re-crossed the road, we found they had re-crossed near the tree that has fallen over the road… We went on and looked at the vulture on her nest, she has a nestling with a very white head, and she is very protective….huddles over it when we get near…found a few small porcupine quills…saw Meyers Parrots, Schalows Turaco, Grey Louries, Wattled plovers….and a lone Lichtensteins Hartebeeste with a herd of Impala… and another Reedbuck male, not as big as the one that was killed, they have such a distinctive, rolling run…

back to camp…

That mean little hippo has just chased away two Waterbuck drinking at the spit, and two warthogs have also run off, very big one too, it’s 2.45…the crocs have both gone… The Spider orchids are flowering, and both the Sunbirds and the Schalows Turaco eat something from them….not sure what though, as on closer inspection, it just looks like the tiny, exquisite white flowers…

23rd September

I was kept awake last night by a rather ferocious sounding hippo, snorting with the loud, bark like snort, loud, and close…I could see him from the bathroom window, he was just standing there, making that explosive sound…..and the lions and leopard started up their nightly sounds, close by, from about 10.30 onwards…I just wish there were guests here to enjoy it all, it is truly dramatic! What a sight to greet one at 6.25 in the morning… about 15 hippos pretending to be little rocks in the shallow water, and right out almost to the middle of the river on the spit there are Spurwing geese, Puku and Impala and Waterbuck, a Fish Eagle, and an opened-billed Stork, with a mussel in his bill, walking purposely towards the bank… and two HUGE hippo walking into the water in front of the camp…. The two Hueglins Robins are on the bird table, thoroughly enjoying a “flop” mealie meal cake, the Schalow’s Turaco is already at the bird bath, and it’s not even 6.45 am yet…but still no Francolins, they were not here yesterday, and the day before they were on the roof of River House, I hope they haven’t been frightened away by something???? I miss their bustling little personalities….

I rushed out to see a black, male sable crossing the dambo plain, I only caught a glimpse of him, he had just gone behind one of the Anthills, so I went up to the camp-site to try to intercept him to get a photo, but he was no-where to be seen…I found two different types of Nightjar in the camp site, and disturbed one, who flew up, and got chased by a hawk, which one it was, I’m not sure….I got a lovely shot of all three bushbuck under our sausage tree, at the cottage, Mother, last year’s daughter, and this year’s little one….such a pretty buck, I watched them for ages….

Re-did the bookcase in our bedroom, and read a bit, then came through to check e-mails…dismal really, as still no sign of my Francolins…I’m missing them! Its 4.45 pm and the male lion is roaring near Spring Number 3, early this morning his last roar at 7.20 am was at Spring No 2…I thought I heard a shot last night, so, once again, being rather cowardly about possibly meeting up with armed poachers, I did not go for a walk…which is a nuisance, as I am starting to really enjoy my rambles….Steven and I were not sure if it was a shot or an elephant breaking a branch, but we both heard it, last night, and then again this morning…..The WPO’s are still down stream…

All the hippos are back in the water, pretending to be little rocks…amazing how such bulk can disappear into such a small shape, in such a shallow river….apart from the occassional great pink and yellow yawn, you would be forgiven for mistaking them for boulders!

The little Barred Owl has just flown into the bathroom of River House… On my way home I passed the “wild wisteria” near Hippo House, and it was full of the prettiest bumble bees, with a shiny white bar across their abdomens…lovely, busy hummimg sounds, it’s a comforting noise, I love it, and the purple grape like clusters of flowers are beautiful….tiny ants are also enjoying them, as are some minute bees, with tiny yellow bodies and wings….

24th September

The shower water was still lovely and hot, so I had a dawn shower, and afterwards the little olive Bulbuls came and showered in the water on the floor, great joy and enjoyment, splashing, and ducking, and singing too….went over to main camp at 6.30, walking along the plain side, and a very slow, very large hippo was coming out of the kitchen path, so I sat on Hippo veranda and watched him….very slowly making his way to the Mushingashi….very few Puku on the plain, and no bushbuck in camp, but great joy, the Francolins are back, exceptionally nervous, but all five together, one sitting on the dining room roof, stridently calling….I do wonder what has made them sooo nervous!

A rather grubby looking youngish warthog eating? moving around? the remains of the poor Reedbuck, the remains are starting to smell pretty bad….. I went to our house at lunch time today, so have no idea if my Francolins came, or the bushbuck….but on my way back I nearly bumped into a thoroughly alarmed, and irritated little squirrel…..who dashed for the nearest tree….help! where is the darned thing??…he skittered around, then jumped up the Jackalspessie near the kitchen wall, and disappeared up into HIS Albizia tree over the kitchen….Most inconsiderate of me to have disturbed him…..he really is very amusing!

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