May 17 to May 19: The sightings

May 17th Today I drove north to work up at another camp for the weekend.  I always love the drive up there and today, as usual, it was stunning! In 170 kms there were some lovely moments. Among them… Four cheetahs who happened to cross a road right in front of me. A good reminder that I live in one of the most privileged places on the planet. My ‘traffic’ on the way to work was a cheetah who didn’t want to leave the road. Three separate Slender Mongoose sightings today! The Slender Mongoose is one of those special little sightings – you do see them, but it won’t be often. They’re seriously shy. And they’re the colour of milk chocolate when it melts in the sun. Love. A group of 33 Ostriches too! Most were young ones, but nearly full grown. It was quite the sight and I got to see all of their footprints in the sand. There’s no weirder footprint out here than an ostrich. But if you want to talk about weird, forget their footprint and start talking about the sound they make. I also saw the first Double Banded Coursers i’ve seen during the day. This weekend i’ll be on the lookout for the Emerald Spotted Wood Doves that have been spotted up here in the last week. I love it when birds show up in places they aren’t supposed to be. Wood Doves tend to give themselves away with their very distinctive call (sounds a little like doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo….), so fingers crossed! May 18thMy favourite thing to do when i’m up here is sit at the hide. And my favourite thing to watch at the hide are Wildebeest. You haven’t lived until you’ve watched them try to drink. I say ‘try to drink’ because rather than treat the waterhole like the small, safe concrete trough that it is, they treat it like a crocodile infested swamp down a dark, dodgy alley.  You just want to shout ‘It’s OKAY!’ at them as they edge closer and closer to the waterhole.  They try approaching from every possible angle over the course of an hour, only to be scattered by the slightest grasshopper or butterfly.  It’s frustrating for me so I can’t imagine how frustrating it is for them.  You can actually see their thirst. In the end, there are always a few who haven’t got their drink and need to wait for the next episode. And in a few hours, it happens all over again…

Trying to drink…

May 18 Night Drive I couldn’t describe how eager I was to get out tonight! It’s been a whole week since I last took a drive. Holidays are nice, but i’m ever so thankful to be back at ‘work’… The night is absolutely beautiful. It’s not too cold yet and there’s no moon, so the stars are shocking. This must be one of the best places in the world to stare up and gawk at the sky. Using the star program on my computer, I learned that there’s a whole section of sky where all the stars are abbreviated to ‘Boo’. There’s ‘G Boo’, ‘k Boo’, ‘BY Boo’, ‘v2 Boo’ and countless others. Whatever symbol you can put before ‘Boo’, they’ve thought of it. I like that. ‘Boo’ in this case is short for ‘Bootes’ which is a constellation, but I wish I didn’t know that. The wildlife was great tonight too. Three good sightings of African Wild Cat but the big event of the night was meeting two gigantic porcupines in the road. What I love most about porcupine sightings is that once they’ve left the road and disappeared into the grass, you can still hear them for a very long time. Porcupines just cannot move silently through the bush. That can’t be healthy for them. Tonight’s sightings: Bat Eared Fox Jackal Cape Fox Porcupine African Wild Cat Kori Bustard Springhare Scrubhare Springbok Gemsbok Spotted Eagle Owl Verreaux’s Eagle Owl Southern White Faced Scops Owl May 19th Sunset Drive Tonight was a little on the quiet side, but again, it was a seriously beautiful night and I was so happy to be a part of it. The sighting of the day was when a Gemsbok and Wildebeest decided they didn’t like each other anymore and had a head-bashing session with one another! There didn’t seem to be any hard feelings, because afterwards they wandered off into the sunset together. Tonight’s sightings Bat Eared Fox Jackal Springhare Wildebeest Gemsbok Springbok Red Hartebeest Spotted Eagle Owl Ostrich Kori Bustard Secretary Bird

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