September 2006

14 September

The little yellow bellied Sunbird has completed her nest, laid her eggs and hatched her babies. Her rather glamorous husband has helped to feed them and they have now flown from their cosy, pretty little home (my bathroom feels quite empty now), and I have the pleasure of watching the really enchanting babies trying to fly and fluttering like little feathers from branch to branch…they really are enchanting….so perfect!!

Simple Simon has come back after a few days absence – we have missed our camp hippo – and he makes us aware of his absence, because he is usually resting in and around the camp in one of his many bedrooms. He really is rather a rich man, having so many rooms in one camp!!! Spoilt hippo!!.. He came back last night, resting in his favourite spot, blinking his protuberant eye, and flicking his pinkish ear with a rather snooty look on his face….watching these camp people wandering around, trying to avoid disturbing him, and he really is completely undisturbed!!

I had a lovely walk the other morning. Our guest was sleeping on the boat so I went off with tracker Musangu. We walked through quite a lot of Miombo forest and then came to a lovely plain, and just as we got there we saw what looked like a lions ear. The sun had just risen and everything was back lit with the lovely golden glow. Then the head moved and it was a very big hyena, looking very relaxed in a patch of gold grass.  There were a few vultures in the trees, and a flock of grey guineafowl…all rushing around, making their chirr-chirring sound. They were in fact, looking rather stressed, and the Yellowbilled Kites were swooping and swirling around, in the air, and swooping onto the guinea-fowl. I naturally presumed that they were attacking the guineafowl but they were not. Another very fat hyena rose up in the sunlight, and stood looking at the birds. We crept up to a tree and watched the two hyenas, and then saw a beautiful leopard lying nearby, watching the whole scene with a rather cold stare…switching a very white tipped tail!! We could smell some carrion, and vultures were hopping with that rather menacing lollop towards us. The Yellowbilled kites were swooping, quite literally within touching distance and we felt rather as if we were in the ‘Birds’ movie, almost scary. We watched as the leopard stalked a guineafowl and pounced but missed. The guineafowl all rushed around in a frenzied way, really chirring while the leopard moved towards another anthill, still in view, but looking a tad disgruntled…and lay down again. Then we saw the hyenas, walking towards us, looking very fat, one with saliva dripping from his mouth. We eventually realised that the leopard had actually had a kill up in the tree which we were standing under and that the guts were still in the tree. I presume that the leopard had not had it high enough, and the hyenas had pulled it out, and stolen it. The hyena picked up the carcass and we were able to see that the victim was a female Puku, partially eaten. No wonder the poor leopard was looking so fed-up!!! The vultures, both Lappet faced and White backed were totally unconcerned by us, and one came right up to our feet!!! We watched in fascination until the leopard went out of sight, while the hyena picked up the carcass and moved off, into the thick bush. The vultures and the Yellowbilled kites stayed around, but as it was getting hot we decided not to stay- and went back to the ‘Fly camp” with such a lovely tale to tell….

19 September

We had a lovely ‘drift’ down to the Fly Camp seeing Buffalo, Leopard, Elephant, Puku, Impala, Bushbuck, as well as the most wonderful flotilla of Fulvous Ducks, which were so beautiful, bobbing in golden glory on the water, all thirty of them. The Yellow billed kites have arrived, so the migratory birds are starting to arrive…I think we are in for some early rains….and the frogs have started calling a few days ago for the first time…

We are about to go for another walk, a bit late this morning…so we will go for a short walk, as it is getting very hot!! I have brought another plough disc down for a bird bath as it will be interesting to see what variety of birds come to this bath (as opposed to the bath at the main camp)…I am curious to see if they are all the same! On our last trip down here, we found two perfect little Barred Owlets dead under a tree with no sign of injuries, except for a tiny wound on the back of one – a complete mystery….

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