OK - I deliberately took a blurred pic because I knew what it was really - a millipede lol. When I knew we were coming back to Kenya and Pete and Mo asked us if there was anything special we wanted I set them a challenge, two things were really easy to arrange but the third and fourth were a real challenge. So what were the four things, BANANAS (easy) :), Sportsman cigarettes which was the brand I used to smoke here and wanted to know if they had changed (easy and the answer is no they have not changed one bit except the packet is an orange/red now and not true red as it used to be), seeing a cheetah which was accomplished three or four days ago - I have no idea what day I am on now, I don't wear a watch often and generally only know what day of the week it is by routine which is rather absent at the moment. The fourth thing was to eat a flying ant!!!!!!!! - yes a bug - shivering at the thought even now. The flying ants come out for a very short period of time just after it rains so a couple of uncontrollable variables here lol. We had not long left Sunari when we came to a fabulous termite hill and the ant were flying - big juicy ones lol. OK, back to how all this came about. As you now know, Pete was a hunter and conservationist 40 odd years ago and I recall him telling me a story when I first met him in 1980 about how he took clients out and they would eat flying ants, lightly fried and tasted of shrimp. My memory is wrong because I am was correctly informed they tasted of peanut butter. I am right out of my comfort zone now, this is something I want to do but am having a hard time even now thinking about directly taking life from a living creature, yes I eat meat which was an animal killed to satisfy me but I buy it in a supermarket, wrapped in plastic or some other cover, nicely trimmed and looking nothing like where it came from - desensitization working a treat. My preference was to try a flying ant lightly fried - it seemed a way to do this but not be quite so far out of my comfort zone, if i achieved the first stage I would try a live one. Well, no change of that, Pete stuck his had out, caught a termite and passed it to me to eat. Oh this was hard, what was I to expect but it had to be done. Very gingerly I put the flying ant between my teeth and then counted to 3 - one, two, three and slowly brought my teeth together, expecting a massive burst of liquid, well that didn't happen, bite a little harder imagining I now have intestines and other animal parts about to squelch out - that didm’t happen either. Now close my eyes and chew a bit then savour the flavour to see if after all these years I have been lied to. WOW - no wriggle legs, no squirty bits, nothing unpleasant at all and tasted like peanut butter. Time to swallow and address my guilt issues of taking this living creature and removing life from it for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity. Pete could see I was a little distressed and explained to me the flying ant is nothing by a flying protein sack, it has no nervous system so would not have felt a thing, no stomach, bladder, etc as it had only just hatched and not eaten. I was then handed another flying ant to see if I would repeat the process - no bother lol, now I can honestly say if a few flying ants were put in front of me again I would have no hesitation about eating them and certainly can assure you that if ever you are starving and in need of nourishment then flying ants are a safe meal and you won’t have a guilty conscience either.
How about a termite nest, this amazing structure is a whole civilization, much of which is under the ground, it does not destroy the environment around it, instead builds in harmony - gosh humans could learn an awful lot from the termites!!!! They colony contains ventilation, gardens etc. amazing stuff. This is actually where the termites flew from into Pete's hand and then ended their journey in my mouth!!
Jane eating her flying ant!!!!!!
Terrapin Lake (not its real name but the name we have given it as, surprisingly it is full of terrapins)
Monitor Lizard sunning himself and being very photogenic
BIRD - lol
Oh dear - another BIRD
Secretary Bird - I have often wondered why this bird was called a Secretary Bird, I personally don’t see any resemblance to being a secretary, no computer, no ability to take short hand and I bet can’t spell either. Now I know why, the word Secretary has stemmed from the Arabic word ‘secutur’ which mean ‘hunter’
Bird of Prey (OK I am getting really bad). This is one of the larges raptors and was way in the distance. Between his feet is his dinner which he has caught, a Dik Dik, a small antelope about 35 cm high.
Here we go again with another BIRD I don’t know the name of but this is the smallest raptor
Ahhh, some Gazelle, sauntering up the road - are the Grant’s, or could they be Thompsons, or one of the other types we have around - where is Pete when you need him lol.
Could this be more elephants
. There were three groups around heading down to the river bank. We ended up following this group to see what they would get up to. Elephants are so majestic, the gentle giants (unless you peeve them off and then they let you know what happens when they throw their muscle around).
Ahhhhh, oooooooo, more ahhhhhh a baby elephant, this one is about 3 months old and what a character. I must have taken about 30 photos in fairly quick succession of his/her antics, so comical and a joy to feast the eyes on.
Driving again and Pete looks to the road beside him, tells Simon to stop the car and me to get out and come look at this. What on earth has he see, leopard tracks?, a snake? a bit of poo that needs investigating? I don’t know and the only way to find out is to do as I am told. On the road are these amazing red furry balls, tiny spiders, well not really spiders, I think they are mites. Only seen after the rain, stunning beautiful, totally new to my eyes, what part of the circle of life to they play I wonder? They are ... (will try to find out and fill you in)
A beautiful Kingfisher. There were a pair of them apparently having a bit of nookie but by the time I realised everybody was talking about the birds having nookie and not the monkeys which is what I thought they were talking about and where I was looking the birds had decided enough was enough and sat on different branches :)
Vervet Monkey - I just love the faces on these beautiful creatures, so full of expression you can almost hear what they are thinking about. One problem with these monkeys is people like to feed them particularly in some of the lodges where they hang out. Please folks, don’t be tempted, you are signing a death warrant for them, they bite and then are destroyed.
The same Kingfisher as before, I had jokingly said a little earlier in the day that I would love a photo of a Kingfisher not expecting to see any and so when we found this pair it was extremely hard to keep the camera off them. As with everything, I take many photos just on the off chance one is in focus.
Swinging the camera round from the Kingfishers I caught this Vervet having a drink, there was another one playing with some elephant poo but I missed that photo. This was a moment when I could have done with three cameras and eight hands.
Anyway time to head off, we had been with the elephants, monkeys and Kingfishers for almost an hour just enjoying all their antics. As we rounded the corner on our way back to the main track, on the road in front of us, was this majestic eagle. Time to turn off the car engine again and watch what he does, walk away, turn his back on us or just vanish from our camera lenses to another quieter spot. Out with the camera again to capture forever this beautiful bird before the opportunity disappeared. Well he didn’t move, he just turned around a watched us, case of OK I can do that too lol. As we started the car engine again he took flight but I had my finger on the button ready and, thankfully due to a fast memory card was able to capture five shots of him taking flight - another WOW moment for me.