Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Bucket List Item: See the Big Game animals of Africa

The lowly dung beetle works tirelessly in its craft.  It is a thankless task, dealing with sh$t and this bug just surrounds itself in sh^t every day and makes it into a ball and rolls it home, making something out of well, just sh&t.  One could watch it work for hours and we almost did until an epiphany happened.  Wait a minute...what is making those huge piles?

We've been winging it across South Africa, staying at Guest homes, a farm, and then we stayed at a club, mind you, a very nice club.  We've been meeting locals, seeing birds, and seeing stuff.  One of the people we met gave us a tip to go to a place north of Port Elizabeth to find some cool animals and almost importantly, they had nightjars after dark, so throwing caution to the wind, we went.  I had a bucket list item that was to see the great animals of Africa before I died and well, we were here, and...they were here

There was just something in the air besides the smell of dung.....something truly odd, but beautiful.  The animals were being distracted
The Lions we stumbled upon were being amorous
And then when done, the male just roared and roared, the call of the jungle.  It was cool, maybe beyond cool.  Then, there was one vervet  monkey trying to rape another, dang monkeys

When done, the one on the bottom slapped the one on top, and a monkey fight broke out.  Nothing is like a full fledged monkey fight. 
So why everyone was getting distracted looking for the large elephants at a waterhole, I spotted two crowned lapwings which were lifer birds right next to the blind, I was taking my shots to the hard left and another couple there were perplexed as to what I was looking at,
"A bird." I said.
"You know there are elephants at the waterhole."
I had almost not noticed.
Then I got distracted by a blue crane turning over elephant turds a different direction.
So much to see and so little time.  We drove around warthogs, Puumba I wanted to yell, and break out in song, but this was no cartoon
There were birds to see and we had to slam on the brakes for
Pale chanting goshawk
Cape starling
A spectacled mousebird putting up his belly into the sun to help digestion right next to the starling, then we drove around and got our path blocked by more elephants

We drove around more and while i was looking at this Croc, a male hippo "mocked" charged us.  More people are killed by hippos than anything here and this hippo was pretty upset

This was all after a day (the day before yesterday) in which we got some spectacular birds like:

African black-headed orioles

 Amethyst sunbird

Great crested grebe (seen in Europe previously)

Long Crested eagle
two kingfishers, four canaries, a woodpecker, a knysna turaco, and a lot of other stuff....
So which day is better?
A day of this..
or these guys?

I'll let you decide, for me, it is the birds, I stopped photographing antelope yesterday as they weren't birds.
So now we've moved up to west of Pretoria, South Africa and the Garden Route is over, and we turned north exactly 9331 miles from home, 9331 MILES FROM HOME!  Amazing!

Also amazing....the birds up here are new again. The first 10 today, lifer birds.
Even more amazing, is that we had four giraffes run in front of our car today  

wow and wow, but it is getting time to get home and our trip is winding down

until then, though more birds! and less sh&t
One less item on my bucket list!


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