30 June 2012
Earl did not have a good night and in this morning decided to stay in bed, rest and drink only water to try and cleanse his system and get rid of his aches and pains. This sounded like a good plan to me. I was convinced that the stress of buying a new car and getting organised for a trip away had taken its toll. “No problem,” I said. “We will bird in the camp and have a chill day.” “No – you must take Heather and Peter on a game drive.” “I’m not going to drive the new car.” “Of course you are. It’s an easy car to drive.”
Now I knew he had to be sick! He never lets me drive! I had tried to rouse Heather and Peter at 6 to tell them not to get up but there was no reply from their hut and we had not yet switched on our walkie talkies. At 7:30 I went over again and they had just arisen. Peter said he had set the alarm for 7:30 instead of 6:30. So it all worked out for the best. We decided to make a slow start to the day and ended up leaving after 10 o’clock for a game drive.
I went to the shop to get more mineral water and a pair of warm gloves and found this ground scraper thrush outside our bungalow.
We decided to go on a short drive and then return to bird around the rest camp. The birding was good. First up we took photos of sociable weavers outside their condominium. Imagine these tiny, community birds building these huge natural blocks of flats. No human can create anything near as good. These nests are cleverly built and their owners are careful to watch out for snakes who might try to enter then to steal their eggs or chicks. Sometimes they share their residence with pygmy falcons.
Secretary Birds were seen frequently – and here is one with its crest up
A young pale chanting goshawk modelled nicely for us.
The great thing about Kgalagadi is seeing so many raptors. This tawny posed in good light.
We saw lots of white-backed vultures but the other species were conspicuous by their absence.
Dalkeith waterhole was once again productive and we enjoyed watching the birds flocking down to drink.
On our drive we saw the usual gemsbok, wildebeest, springbok and jackal but the cats were elusive. We got back to camp at about 3. Earl had slept most of the day and had made himself a cup of soup. We had a rest and then went for a walk around the camp. There were lots of yellow mongoose and ground squirrels – the holes they make can be quite hazardous if you don’t look where you are going.
Earl did not have a temperature but was really feeling ill. I cooked supper and gave him his in bed and hoped that the next day would see him feeling better. But this is where misfortune began.