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Bush Blog: February 2009

Not too much time spent in the bush this month although Rob did manage to beat the rains for a week at the beginning of the month, and had a great time by all accounts. February is traditionally quite a wet month - but this does have its rewards, with the entire park at this time taking on a stunning series of variations on the theme: green!

In his brief visit, Rob was able to join the park’s Head of Conservation (& wildlife vet extraordinaire), Carlos Lopes Pereira, on a walk along the Msicadzi River. Beautiful views across a really full Msicadzi towards the Gorongosa Mountain in the distance made for an impressive welcome. This time of year there is less smoke around from bush fires so vistas are generally in the class of amazing to splendid. The park has that rich, sweaty, “alive” feel that the bush gets during the warm and wet summer, and life appears good for the beasties and boidies of Gorongosa. There were many nursery herds of impala around with proud rams in attendance. They’ll be beefing themselves up for the upcoming rut and so won’t be getting too complacent just yet. There was also plenty of evidence that the ele’s have been having some fun with the fever tree forests. It didn’t need Horatio and his CSI team to tell Carlos and Rob that the resident pachyderms have been enjoying the fruits of summer!

On their way in, they bumped into a serval close to the remains of a porcupine (well, some quills and a blood-slick). The serval almost certainly did not kill the prickly rodent, but would have been sniffing around the area in the name of curiosity. It was great to get such a close-up view of one of the common, albeit rather elusive, grassland cats of Gorongosa. Spare a thought too for the poor lion wondering around the park with a prickly case of quill-in-paw.

The renowned Gorongosa feathered fraternity are alive and well and Rob reports some great sightings of Crowned Crane flocks in the floodplains, as well as numerous other sightings of waterbird, fowl, raptor and LBJ alike. One great interaction involved a particularly feisty nest-building pair of Paradise Flycatchers who in the space of an hour saw off the attentions of a curious Lizard Buzzard, as well as a particularly relaxed and persistent Cuckoo Hawk that was eventually mobbed to the point of fleeing. Rob assures us he was taking this all in whilst “hard at work” but we somehow don’t believe him. Still, at least he was keeping the hammock warm for our first guests, expected in early May!

Until next month - from a hot and seriously green Gorongosa… ciao!


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