December 2007

19 December

From the camp the news is always wonderful. As we drove away to come to Lusaka to sort out admin/technical/chores etc I felt sad as there were baby paradise flycatchers about to hatch and the little chin spot bat was sitting outside her nest, twittering and fluttering her tiny wings, waiting for treats from her very busy parents. We have had such joy and pleasure watching the little thing hatch, poke her little head over the rim of the exquisite, tiny, lichen woven nest, gradually getting bigger and bigger, until the mother sat around, on the nearby branches, no longer on the nest.

The little barred owl is causing consternation in the camp by sitting in clumps of thick leaves, watching everyone in the bird and lizard world with great golden eyes, and making all the small birds twitter and call and hover, making such a din and watching most carefully, until, on silent wings the little owl swoops away to another area, and peace reigns again.

The schalow’s touraco is still exerting her magic with the breathtaking colours as she shyly takes a bath in the middle of the day….flashing those ruby red wings, coyly dipping her pouty beak, her emerald green body glinting metallically in the sun light.

There are new visitors…three long legged mongoose stalking silently through the camp – looking very lean and grey, watching everything with intense, dark eyes, and surprisingly, enjoying the bird bath on the ground. One even sat in it for a moment, much to the annoyance of the hueglin’s robin who had been having a wonderful ablution.

The little bushbuck came to eat the mealies we had put down for the guineafowl. When the big male bushbuck came down, the baby went down on it’s knees and crept away. I have never seen anything like this before.

An ousted male puku has made our camp his “spot” and every lunch time he comes and grazes around the rooms. He is big and fat and has obviously been in a territorial battle as he has some cuts on his neck.  Otherwise he seems relaxed and well, and enjoys the solitude of the camp. The other male puku, with his harem of shy ladies and big eyed babies, is around the Dambo area so our puku is on his own.

The hippos continue to snort and chortle and grumble, pretending to be rocks for most of the day, and then showing their great bulk in the evening as they rise up out of the sunset strewn river and make their way to their grazing spots. This is easier and closer now as the rains have made everything green.. We often hear them chomping their way through the camp, lawn-mowering the new green grass which is all around.

The white faced whistling ducks stand like little sentinels on the waters edge, which is lined with the most delightful yellow sedge-like flowers. The egyptian geese have finally managed to hatch four babies who follow their parents like little soldiers in a line. The spurwing babies are growing at a pace and keep flapping their wings, pretending to be grown ups. it is a wonderful sight to see five or six spurwings flapping their wings together-

The lions continue to roar, nearby and in the distance. We love the sound of the roars, and often go out in a soft, gentle drizzle to look for them. Walking in this weather is a joy as everything is gentled by the rains, the ground, the leaves, the birds, the animals…very beautiful.

But I could rhapsodise for ever about this magic place, so let me get on with our news…

Chris is working on his manuscript, sorting it into some sort of order and organising photos, many of which have been taken by our wonderful guests, and coming to grips with the new computer which takes up a great deal of his time. In the camp we are re-building our kitchen, and are planning to add another storeroom to it. We re-built two rooms last year, and will re-do another two later this year. I must say, for a bush camp our rooms last a remarkably long time. All credit to our staff who build them.

It is Christmas time, and we wish you much joy and peace during this special celebration….and hope that you will have a blessed and happy New Year, with all that you wish for coming to you.