"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Thursday, July 30, 2020

If Ever I Would Leave You

 If ever I would leave you
It wouldn't be in summer.
Seeing you in summer
I never would go.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The 2020 Africa Journals

Chapter 23:
The Clean Up Crew

 NOTE:   The photos will look best if you open them by clicking on one.   A film strip will appear at the bottom and you can scroll through them by opening each one.   I suggest you read the story then go back and click on the first photo.

“Natural causes,” says our guide as we watch a pack of spotted hyenas rips shreds of tissue from the carcass of an elephant.   I wonder if that’s true or if it’s guide-speak designed to protect our delicate wildlife-loving sensitivities.

There’s little left of the carcass, certainly not enough to guess if it had been a juvenile or an adult.  Bones and hide are about it.    The hyenas are after any bit of soft tissue, which at this point appears to be white connective tissue.


A different pack of hyenas skulks around the perimeter in the tall grass, whooping their displeasure.   They want their chance but can’t have it until the dominant pack moves away.   

 Even closer are several white-backed vultures and closer yet is a black-backed jackal (not pictured).  

These animals and birds are the clean-up crew of the Maasai Mara.  After the larger predators have had their fill, they will pick the bones clean and leave nothing but a white skeleton.

Turn up your sound and play the video below.

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We left camp in the dark this morning and traveled across the Mara in the dawning light,  and I was intrigued by the low-lying fog pillowed across the low lands.   I finally asked the driver to stop and I took a photo, hoping I could make something pleasing out if it.    

No one else took a photo, but I’m pleased with the less dramatic, softer pastels of the morning Mara.

Heavy dew hung on the long grass and glistened in the light.   We came across an unhappy lioness prowling through the wetness.

If you look closely, you can see the large droplets of dew on the grass.

And then came a moment when David’s rule about always shooting out the left side made me miss a great photo of a line of topi, all single-file.   Though the driver immediately turned the vehicle, the line had begun to break up before he stopped. 

I did get a satisfactory shot and it would be featured in the next Show and Tell.

And a bird photo for the day:   lesser gray shrike.   It is predominantly an insect eater.

On the way to our breakfast spot, we passed a group setting up breakfast for hot air ballooners.   It was an extensive set-up and even had its own outhouse.

We stopped on our way back to camp to shoot red-billed oxpeckers on the backs of Cape buffalo.   The animals were acting agitated and we soon saw the reason.

There was a new-born calf almost hidden by the tall grass.  We tried and tried to get a shot of it in the open, to no avail, and eventually, the herd surrounded the calf.

The wildlife show continued back at camp.    I spotted several bulbuls trying to catch moths and other insects inside the lanterns mounted around the boma where we gather before dinner in good weather.  Many were successful.

And then, a tortoise strolled past our tents.   After posing (and hiding) for photos, it found a nice shady spot under a bush and was all but invisible.

Not posing


The tortoise parked itself nose-in to the bush and took a nap.

Seemed like a good idea to me.   Time to download photos and take a nap.