Daily Bulletin from Villiers:
As planned we went straight to he backwater where we had enjoyed such a magnificent sunset last evening. There were so many Guinea Fowl simply everywhere there and the sheer numbers made the sight was quite marvellous as they dust – bathed, splashed in the water, and ate along the edges of the water. We captured images in the shining early light, including perfect reflections in the still surface of the water.
We drifted slowly back to the houseboat, and stopped again when we spotted the troop of baboons from yesterday. Some of the little ones were pretending to be tree ornaments as they dangled enticingly from branches while others teased them and tried to get them to fall.
Again the birdlife was spectacular – beyond mere words. Different types of Kingfishers – Malachite, Pied, and Half-collared hovered, dived, fished, and flitted around, while Herons searched in the shallows for a meal.
We drifted past the houseboat to photograph Fish Eagles perched on dead tree branches, and waited patiently to catch them as they took off to fly – wings spread out wide.
The Giant Kingfishers really tried our patience. We waited, hardly daring to breathe, knowing that at any moment they would take off – uh oh! Gone! They are just so quick and even though we thought we were ready time after time, getting that take – off shot proved to be really difficult as they are just so fast!
Then we stopped to enjoy the White-fronted Bee-eaters as they swooped in and out of their nests on the river bank. They had butterflies in their beaks to feed their nestlings, and looked really dazzling with their striking colours.
Of course there are hippo pods up and down the river. Today they seemed to be quite lazy, and content to doze, yawn a little, and blow from time to time.
Back on the houseboat we were surrounded by animals on the banks again – at least 300 impala, many Kudu, and a large herd of elephants all visible at one time.
This afternoon seemed to be all about elephants. We started at Puku Flats where a herd numbering at least 500 grazed, played, dust-bathed, drank, and played – all in the glorious golden afternoon light. We practiced some panorama shots which we will stitch together, and also zoomed in on babies, moms, – you name it, we probably did it!
Further on we found Kudu, impala, – and Fish Eagles drinking at the river. We waited to snap those wonderful take-off shots when the Fish Eagle had enough to drink. Then we returned to the elephants for magical sunset images, enjoying the tranquility as the sun changed from orange to red, and provided a vibrant, iridescent backdrop for the huge animals.
It was so peacful that we were able to drift right up to the bank, next to the elephants for some untra close-up work. The elephants did not even bother to look up as our boat nudged the bank. To say that it was magical is understating the reality.
Tomorrow we are hoping to see some of the predators that sometimes lurk around this area …