It’s Monday 30th October 2017 and Boswell comes to visit

I do hope that you are all well and having a fabulous Monday so far and that the weekend was of course absolutely splendid. So here in the Luangwa, to say things are heating up would be an understatement but we all know that as it heats up it means the beginnings of the rains so we wait with baited breath. However we are not going to be in the Luangwa this week as we have some news from John Stevens of John’s Camp so with a hop and skip we are heading over the border and for this week over to John:

“Our safari car makes its way through the deep sand of the Chiruwe River, the banks are lined with majestic Fever Berry Trees. From this point we enter a vast cotton-soil plain, which we call “The Golf Course”! It is along this section of track that we frequently encounter small flocks of Chestnut-Backed Sparrow-Larks and at this time of the year, they could well be nesting. I observe a pair fairly close by; both male and female birds have small insects in their bills, which is a good sign that they could be feeding their young. My guests and I wait patiently, the midday sun is overhead and extreme heat reflects off the valley floor. Thirty minutes pass by and the Sparrow-Larks have not made a move; they still hold on to their insects. I decide to return to camp with the guests as we have done a lot of walking tracking down a Lion pride; they must be ravenous! I did a quick turn-around and headed back to where I had left the breeding pair; they were still in much the same vicinity and I noticed that the male still hung onto an insect or he had managed to catch another one.

This would now be a waiting game and I was determined to find the nest. An hour passed by and there was no sign of either of the birds revealing the nest’s position. The only change was the female also possessed some small grub. My eyes were by now beginning to tire as I had been in deep concentration for ages. At the bottom corner of my left lens, there was a movement – two tiny orange bills emerged from the ground; they were wide open and beckoning for food. The two parents immediately made their way to the nest site and proceeded to deposit the food into the beckoning bills. The distance from my position was at least fifty meters and it would take all of my concentration to locate the site once I had lowered my binoculars. I certainly did not want to step on the fledglings or in fact disturb them. A blade of grass, which protruded from the nest site, acted as a marker and I was able to gradually make my way in that direction. I must have spent a minute close to this marker but alas, there was still no sign of the chicks. And then – bingo I had them visible three meters beyond the blade. A slight movement within the bowl of the nest had caught my attention! What a wonderful sighting.

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A few guests also had the pleasure of spending a lunchtime break with “Boswell” the elephant, on the edge of the Zambezi River.

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He emerged from a dense grove of Winter Thorns where he had been resting up in the midday heat to make his way down to the water’s edge. Boswell has delighted many visitors to Mana by standing on his hind legs whilst reaching up to normally inaccessible branches to most Elephants. He wears a Satellite Tracking Collar so as to assist Parks staff to know of his whereabouts particularly during these difficult times of Elephant poaching. Of interest, there are not many records elsewhere in Africa where Elephant can be seen performing this act on hind legs!

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To spend time following Boswell on foot is certainly a highlight of ones safari, particularly when he becomes enveloped in a halo of light, which pierces the vast tree canopies above. (A photographers dream)!”

Thanks so much John always great to hear from you and what is going on over the border – I am definitely going to have to head across soon to visit Boswell and the team however I fear that for this season I may have missed my opportunity.

So for this week I am not going to interject as we have had such fabulous stories from John so I shall hang on to what is going on in the Luangwa and will fill you in next week. Between now and then I hope that you all have a fabulous week with lots of smiles and laughter and don’t forget to look after each other.

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