Food is one of life's great pleasures. In the African bush, though, it's not so much a pleasure as hard work. Many years ago we saw a python with its recent kill of impala. It was awe-inspiring watching this snake devour its much larger prey. But, out of respect for the python's hard work, we didn't take photos as the noise of the shutter opening would have scared the python into regurgitating its hard-won meal, and it may have been weeks before it had another successful hunt.
On our recent trip to the Pilansberg Game Reserve we didn't see anything quite as unusual, but we did get to see some interesting bush snacks.
Leopard Tortoise : This little fellow had a feast on a pile of calcified dung it found. Because their camouflage is so clever, these tortoises are not easy to spot. We were lucky enough to have twenty minutes in his (or her) company.
|Tucking in with gusto (notice the little pink tongue) |
|Holding the food steady|
We were also lucky enough to see a Pied Kingfisher catch its morning snack.
|Taking a big bite|
|A successful dive. The fish, stunned by being slapped against the branch, was almost as big as the bird itself. |
|Swallowing food whole isn't a good idea...unless you're a kingfisher!|
|We were too late to see the actual lions, but this is the remains of a day old zebra kill. You can clearly see the ribs picked clean by the vultures and other scavengers. |
|This fellow grubbing around for food is not a rare sight; warthogs are common enough in most game reserves. However, this old man had such an impressive set of tusks, I had to include a photo of him.|
The bush holds so many pleasures - from the susurration of the warm wind through the dry pale grass to the raucous "go-way, go-way" cry of the grey loeries - that it's hard to say what draws me back time and time again. Perhaps it's because I never know what we'll see next. Or perhaps it's simply that, in the bush, primal and serene, time stands still and the soul is restored.
All photos by Beric or Judy Croome