SUE AND GORDON’S NOTEBOOK OCTOBER 2010
No alarm clock needed! That’s so true when you have red billed hornbills in camp. These little blighters hammer on our windows very forcefully with their beaks at the ludicrously early hour of 05:00 am each day.
As soon as you put seed out on the verandah the hammering stops and all one hears is the tapping of their beaks as they have their fill.
It isn’t only just the “flying chillis” that enjoy their morning ritual of seed
Of late we are visited each morning by a large Spurwing Goose.
A very unexpected inhabitant of the waterhole is a very large catfish (barbel) who arrived about two months ago. I didn’t realise that these fish are able to travel distances on land which is what this fellow obviously did. The nearest water source is over five kilometres away.
We have a family of warthogs that regularly bath and roll in the waterhole to cool down in the heat. On more than one occasion we have watched them head for the waterhole only to see the catfish leap out and splash down on the surface chasing them away. They have to move to the other side of the waterhole to get any peace!
Our “company car” (The Skorro) has been brought back into service . This is the very old Landrover series 8 that after cosmetic surgery (her cab roof was removed )is used as the maintenance vehicle. She stoically carts stone, gravel and wood around the camp and concession.
Her duties have also extended to switching on and off the Lister pump each day which is some 2kms out on the reserve, It is quite an art to drive her out on these daily runs .There is no luxury of power steering, shock absorbers and to rather a large degree any brakes. You need to clutch the steering wheel while deftly slamming the driver’s door which tends to fly open on an irregular basis. All of this leads to much mirth as it is not easy keeping her on the road whilst bouncing wildly over the rather rocky road to the pump. We found to our detriment that if there are not very heavy rocks on the back for ballast you come horribly close to being bounced OUT of the cab altogether. Muscles are given a full workout.
However when it comes to the crunch the Skorro does us proud.
Gordon floored the accelerator pedal and The Skorro sprang forward barrelling at the fastest pace I’ve ever felt her go. Two flattened bushes later and with hearts racing we made our escape! The guests and staff back at the lodge had heard the commotion and were frantically radioing us to see if all was OK.
Return visits seem to apply not just to our guests but also to the animals that come down to drink! These young male lions visited us for three mornings in a row. They came to for a drink at exactly the same spot near the log before settling down to relax in the shade and watch the day unfold.
A large male leopard is visiting on a very regular basis and also has a particular spot that is his favourite. We only have the rather grainy pictures taken with the webcam but it’s great to know he is getting
Temperatures are well into the late thirties at the moment and we are desperate for rain. There was a small promise last night which amounted 20 drops at best. There have been all sorts of ludicrous suggestions on how to bring the rain, including dancing naked on the front lawn.
Jeanette took this picture of a very hot and harassed tree squirrel trying to get respite from the heat. He was stretched out on a table outside her flat and didn’t seem to have the energy to move.
Our ground squirrels seem totally unfazed by the heat. Perhaps it has something to do with that they use their tales as inbuilt umbrellas when they need shade. Jacques was able to get up very close to this chap.
Take good care of yourselves and we hope to see you soon,