What’s that saying? It never rains, it pours. Today we had torrential rain, accompanied by booming thunder and lightning. The flowerbeds overflowed…no, everything overflowed! The Hippo Lawn was like a lake, our driveway like a river... This will be wonderful for the plants, but not so for the Little Swift whose feathers were so drenched he couldn’t fly. We found him in the floodwater on our balcony, so Ian picked him up and put him by the wall, where he was able to clamber up a rock and spread his wings, to try to dry them off. He sat there for ages and did look like he was drying out. Later on, he was gone - I hope he made it, and did not fall prey to some opportunistic predator (like the Genet Cat which comes in and out of the hosue quite happily.)
Now we have to brace ourselves for the bugs, which tonight will be out in hordes. Just as the rain finished and the flying ants started hatching, a mass of falcons appeared, along with a few European rollers. It was amazing to see maybe a hundred or more falcons swooping over the house and across the river, and then off again – five or ten minutes later, there were none to be seen. It was quite difficult to identify them – there are so many similar species, but I think they were Amur Falcons, and have entered them in my bird list as such.
Going back in time a bit: We went for a lovely early morning walk this morning before work – just round ‘the loop’ – out along our top road and back along the bottom road. I couldn’t stop photographing all the new green life – and more and more new flowers…The moss is obviously enjoying the damp conditions (looking at the photos, you’d never guess this is a dry, low rainfall area), and thousands upon thousands of new seedlings are pushing their tiny shoots and leaves above ground. The views out over the property are now as green as can be – what a contrast to just one week ago. In two days, the ‘Little Serengeti’ has gained a green tinge – with all the rain this afternoon, it will soon become a green carpet. The Rock Hyraxes were on their little kopje as usual, poking their noses over the parapet to see what was going on. I managed to take a couple of [poor] shots of a Northern Crombec, a strange very shy bird with no tail (or just a tiny stump of one). It was flitting quick as lighting in and out of the bushes, and I was lucky to even get my two indistinct photos.
At midday, in my lunch-break, I went down to the sandbank (at ‘Hippo Bend’), just to see what was going on. Much of the sandbank was taken by the flood, and replaced by mudflats, which the Yellow-billed Storks were enjoying. The Hippos have all dispersed with the rain and extra water in the river. I don't think there was even one there, in their usual place. As usual, the massive riverine acacias (acacia elatior) were alive with birds – some new to me, so it’s time to delve into the bird book again…
[PHOTOS COMING SOON]