Wednesday 1 December 2010

Bush Snacks

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
Taking a big bite
We were also lucky enough to see a Pied Kingfisher catch its morning snack.
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


Helen Ginger said...

How wonderful that you get to see first hand, up close, the animals that we get to see only through the bars or windows at a zoo. Also a tad scary, too.

CA Heaven said...

That's amazing. Nature is always impressive. You're lucky to have this wilderness in your country. Btw, I could see the pink tongue when I clicked on the picture >:)

Cold As Heaven

Lauri said...

We went to Pilanesburg during the World Cup it was great. Warthogs are my fvourite and waht a treat to spot those tortoises!

Paul Greci said...

Wow, Judy!! Those are amazing photos. Love the tortoise shots. All of them, really!!

Your bird/fish story reminded me of the time I saw a tiny flycatcher with a big wasp in its beak. It was banging it against a tree branch.

septembermom said...

So many wonders for you to witness. Amazing photos Judy. I could see how a writer would find inspiration with such bounty in Nature all around.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

HELEN: Oh, don’t mention zoos! I can’t bear to visit them and see those animas locked up in little cages. They belong in the wild where they are free as well as beautiful (and only scary if you attack or disturb them)

COLD: Wasn’t that pink tongue just gorgeous??!!? And, yes, even the tiniest things in nature can be so impressive!

LAURI: I also love warthogs! Especially when the run like mad with those little tails stuck straight up in the air! Very cute.

PAUL: I think we need to do a holiday swap – I would give my eye teeth to see your beautiful Alaska (and Sedona!)

KELLY: You are so right! When I’ve been to the bush my writing does have a better quality to it. There’s something about the wilderness that just frees the spirit!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Judy .. great pictures .. and I love the warthog - my favourite .. I spent a few years in SA in the late 70s- 1992 .. and love it!

Great .. I'll be around .. cheers Hilary