October 2007

18 October

Had a really delightful evening last night. It was that lovely time before the sun finally sets. All the wonderful golden, crimson sunset colours, tinged with the gloaming silver. There must have been five puku grazing in front of me in the ‘Dining’. The little water dikkops were running like clock work toys along the bank and back again, having fun? I was watching them all with my binoculars and noticed a small bird with the one young male puku. At first I thought it was incidental… The light on the river made it hard to identify the bird at first, but after a while I realised that the little bird was actually playing with the puku. It would run up to it, twitter around it’s mouth and nostrils. The young puku would shake it’s head and carry on eating. The little bird, which I finally identified as a young wagtail, would run after the puku and start again. This went on for ages. The puku came towards me quite fast and I thought that would be the end of the game, but the little wagtail ran as fast as possible and chased the puku, again playing around it’s mouth and nostrils. The puku shook it’s head at the little thing several times. I thought perhaps the puku was displacing some insects for the little thing to catch, but this did not appear to be the case as the little bird did not eat, or catch anything. It just played with the puku. At this stage all sensible little birds should have been safely tucked up in their roosting places, but these two continued their game ’till I couldn’t see them any more in the dim, twilit evening.

There is also a little scrub hare that runs across in front of the ‘Dining’ from the Mushingashi side to the open area. He is so silent. You just see him bobbing past on cotton wool feet. I can almost tell the time by his dash every night

19 October

The heat is intense!! I walk around all day with a wet shawl around my shoulders, which keeps me quite cool. The bush is looking lovely, and I have been sleeping in the lounge on the lovely snug-cozy couch for fun recently. The ‘no walls’ appeals to me. It has opened up a whole new dimension of the camp for me.

There is a newish moon at the moment which casts quite a dramatic light, and I can see so many things around the ‘Dining’. Last night the bushbuck, the mother and her little baby, arrived and ate the mealies we had put down for the guinea fowl. The noise they make whilst chewing the kernels is amazingly loud. At about three o’clock the big male bushbuck came and drank from the birdbath. He is also not a quiet drinker! Quite a slurping sound he made as he stood on his hind legs and drank noisily. Then he went off and started scrunching mealie kernels,  almost sounding like a lion crunching bones. I got up to have a look. Hhe gave me a baleful glare as I shone my torch on him, but continued, undisturbed.

I heard a stealthy creeping through the dead leaves and sat up to see a large genet walking past,  quite unaware of my presence. He was probably after some poor unsuspecting ground birds eggs, I imagine- I think he must have found some as there was a huge hullabaloo and the wattled plovers made a shrill and determined racket. Lets hope the genet did not succeed.

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