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1724670-982768-thumbnail.jpg 'Kulafumbi' is our family home in Kenya, East Africa. 'Kulafumbi' is a play on the Kiswahili words "kula vumbi", which mean "eat dust", because it was so hot and dusty building our house in this remote, wild, wonderful place. Kulafumbi borders the Tsavo National Park - with no fences between us and the Park, the wildlife comes and goes of its own free will and treats our land as its own, which is exactly how we like it. In turn, we provide a protected area for the wild animals to do as they please. This protected area also creates an important buffer for the river, which forms the boundary between us and the park.
House & Land - more info
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1829439-992202-thumbnail.jpg Look how many species of animals & birds we've spotted to date at Kulafumbi:


BIRDS: 199+
INSECTS: Too many to count



"We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems..."



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« 24th November 2007 | Main | 22nd November 2007 »

23rd November 2007

Last night, we could hear the chorus of frogs, celebrating all the way up the newly-flowing Mtito River…but when we got up this morning, the river had almost completely stopped flowing again – it literally had been a ‘flash flood’.

There is frantic (and vocal) bird activity everywhere: the Diederik Cuckoos are calling non-stop and chasing each other around; the Wren Warbler is sitting in the tree tops emitting his regular chit-chit noises, like a stuck record; the Fish Eagles are calling and displaying all around the house (beautiful!); the Dikkops were whistling all through the night – perhaps because the moon is big and the night was very bright – it’s full moon tomorrow…

The plants are keeping pace with the bird activity – more and more are springing into flower. It’s hard to keep up with all the changes. I photographed more tiny blue Commelina flowers opening in the jungle beneath the little Baobab by our front door; also full of grasses in full flower, and some Heliotropium flowers (don’t ask me the precise species). The garden Baobabs are sending out new shoots at a rate of knots. (Follow their progress in my Tree Watch). More and more Bauhinia are flowering too – it is hard to stop photographing them for each bush and each flower seems more staggering than the last.

We went out to photograph an extraordinary yellow flower, with a dark brown stem, which has come into blossom today – I think it must be from the Commelina family, when looking at the shape of the flowers and the leaves, but I can’t identify it exactly (perhaps someone else can, and will let me know?). The water drops collecting on the underside of the petals and buds made a pretty picture.

While we were there, we noticed another bush coming into bloom, with cascades of delicate pink flowers. But what savagery is hidden in the beauty of nature: In amongst the flowers, we spotted a stationery bee…a little strange, why a bee stays still so long. Upon closer inspection, we realised the bee had been killed by a spider, which was slowly sucking it dry. Upon closer inspection still, we noticed all the Jackal Flies, scavenging off the kill. And all around, the flowers were more beautiful than ever…

The insects too are not to be left out during this time of procreation and plenty. The flying ants (now wingless) were out in force, there were hawk moths with their extraordinary tails and hooked legs on our windowsill this morning (so were the Swallows, still determined to nest either in our office or on the ceiling fan in the kitchen). Extraordinary furry bright red mites, a centimetre long, were out on the bare earth of the road. Another miniscule insect was also busying itself on the open road – bright red too, and the size of a pin-head.

The Athi River came up at 4pm, slowly but steadily (no raging flood this time), bringing with it the results of the heavy rain falling in Nairobi. The level stayed fairly high the rest of the day.

We went back to our “dam” on the Mtito River in the evening. What a changed scene! The river had stopped flowing and all that was left was a few stationary pools. We could see the tracks of a huge crocodile which had walked upstream from the Athi, and now was lying hidden in one of these stagnant pools on the Mtito – beware, the sly hidden predator… Tracks also betrayed the passing by of a terrapin (or possibly a tortoise) and noisy shrieking betrayed the presence of baboons in the riverine trees.

Can you believe it? The Hammerkops look like they are re-asserting their ownership of the nest, which first the bees and then the geese hijacked. The Hammerkop pair were busy collecting nesting material from the riverbed, and re-furbishing the old nest – but every now and then they would return to the newer nest with some nesting material too. It seemed like they couldn’t quite make up their mind which nest to use. It was so late in the evening and the light had gone, so it was difficult to get any decent photos, but the moon was rising right behind the nest tree, a gloriously tall doum palm, and that made for a couple of interesting images. Needless to say, if time allows, I’ll be back to photograph the Hammerkops in better light soon…

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