Saturday, January 3, 2015

First Critter Party for 2015

Happy New Year to all my blogger friends who join in Eileen's Critter Party here 

Before I continue with today's post, I'd like to reply to several comments about not having a video of Solomon's rendition of the A&M Hymns on New Years Eve. As I started to focus on  Solomon and to record his songs, Mani came to me holding out his Ipad; his wife wanted to greet me personally. When I was finished speaking to her, I lifted my camera. By now, Solomon was halfway through the hymns; Carolyn, Grant and Steve were singing along near me and I joined as well. So no video! 

On Tuesday morning when I went out to greet Michael and help him feed the pups, he pointed to the fence around the pups' enclosure. The preying mantis which I'd seen and photographed out in the street last month, was visiting us! 
I tried to surreptitiously snap this fascinating insect in order not to frighten it 

On New Years Day Grant came home and told me about a huge flock of birds in field near the houses. He'd come to collect me so that we could go and wish the Client people Happy New Year.  I grabbed my camera and we drove up the street. 
The Egrets and Abdim's Storks gorged themselves on the flying ants in the grass

After spending time chatting to Louise and then later Andre and Amanda, we drove slowly through the camp back to the gate. Of course, we were looking for birds or animals! And we weren't disappointed.

A small colony of dwarf mongoose were scrimmaging for food in between the tree trunks...

...providing me with plenty of opportunity to photograph them! 

Approaching the gate, we saw an African Grey Hornbill swoop down onto the ground. It began to feast on the hundreds of wingless flying ants on the ground. I had inadvertently selected a function called "creative shots". One depression of the shutter and you have multiple images with effects. The camera then automatically selects from all effects. 

One such effect was grey-scale and then Grant pointed out the the hornbill looked as if it had a plaster cast on its right leg 
The next image was in sepia and the right leg certainly looked as if it was encased in plaster of Paris! 
The next shot showed the poor hapless flying ant in the hornbill's bill!
And down the hatch you go! 

Grant dropped me off at our gate and returned to the office. At the same time, Michael Makongoro came out of the Guest House gate; he approached Michael, my askari, who was sitting on the side of the road. I saw Michael M hand something to Michael "A" who then dropped it like a hot cake. The two men guffawed. Michael called me and showed me a "tortoise". It was, in fact, the tiniest terrapin I'd ever seen. Michael (askari) was nervous of this creature and jumped back when I picked it up off the gravel. 

A terrapin which measured just on 2cm in circumference!

I put the terrapin in my vegetable garden in the corner of the yard. When I checked on it a few minutes later, it had disappeared! 

And now, as this is possibly the last weekend that the remaining five pups will be together in my garden, here are some photos.

Princess and Bibi relax on the lawn
Yaaaawn, I look just like my mama
All five of the pups together

Today, after a bird outing into the bush, Michael and I will take Bibi and Mvulana over the the Guest House. We'll let them sniff around and get to know the place where they will be living in the future: near or in Edward Askari's hut! We'll return them to our garden until their final meal at 4pm which we'll feed to them at the Guest House again - sort of applying Pavlov's theory here!  Once they've eaten we'll bring them back here to play for the rest of the afternoon and as usual, to sleep with the others in the enclosure tonight. Tomorrow we'll repeat the process, lengthening their stay at the Guest House until finally we feel we can safely leave them with Edward. Originally I'd planned on Bibi joining Nando at the Guest House. But Nando lives at our house now and has stated emphatically that he will NOT be returning to the Guest House!

Nordeen told me yesterday that Sekamenya, our company carpenter will start building a hut on Monday. Nordeen has agreed to take both the remaining "fluffy" females: Mischana Neusi and Mischana Mbili. Grant told him that it would be cruel to separate these two sisters; now both will live at Nordeen's house. Nordeen stressed that the hut would only be used a shelter when it rains and not to lock the dogs up in.  At all the other times he wants the dogs to run around the yard, play with his children and protect them and his property.  He's a man after my own heart! 

The only other male, Colonel, gets to stay here in our garden with his mama Princess and Unca Nando! 

Happy Saturday to you all! 


  1. i like that pups are being placed in pairs! wonderful! great looking birds and love your praying mantis!

  2. You have some interesting critters there. Especially that praying mantis.

  3. HI Jo Grant is right,that Hornbill does look like his leg is in POP.. Lovely to hear the pups will all soon be settled in their new homes.Lovely to see the 5 still together. Have a great weekend.

  4. Hello Jo, what a great post. so many great critters and of course the pretty pups.. I love the stork with the egrets. The praying mantis and terrapin are cool.. The Mongoose are cute. And great sequence of shots on the Hornbill. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post..Have a happy weekend!

  5. The praying mantis was very interesting, as were all your photos. Very enjoyable, thank you. Thought that hornbill was extraordinary and the pups so cute. The terrapin was fascinating too.

  6. Great shots of the hornbill and praying mantis. You will miss the pups when they go. You, your workers, and princess have done a great job at bringing them up

  7. your critter post is outstanding today. so many exotic critters that i have never seen, even your praying mantis is differernt than ours. the last shot of him could be used in a futuristic movie... the pups are so beautiful and so happy and your plans for all of them make me feel good to...

  8. Love how your askari notice the little life in your yard and share it. The pups are Huge and will probably adjust to their new homes quicker than you will them being gone. Well, except for the ones that are staying. ;)

  9. The little dwarf mongoose are so cute ! So the pups will leave their birthplace slowly slowly ! Hope that they will be happy in their new homes !


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