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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.
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1829439-992202-thumbnail.jpg Look how many species of animals & birds we've spotted to date at Kulafumbi:

MAMMALS: 43+
REPTILES &
AMPHIBIANS: 18+++

BIRDS: 199+
INSECTS: Too many to count

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« 16th December 2007 | Main | 6th December 2007 »
Sunday
Dec162007

15th December 2007

Ian and I have just returned from spending a week in Nairobi. Apparently, it’s been raining hard almost daily while we’ve been away. As a result, the vegetation has become impossibly thick and lush, and the “Little Serengeti” has now grassed over completely – wonderful! There are some Impala who have taken up residence there it seems, alongside several pairs of Dik-Diks. We saw a couple of Waterbuck there today as well. The Vulturine Guineafowl – both a breeding pair and a flock – frequent it too. How lovely! The Hippo Lawn is looking lush and tempting as well, with thick new grass – including plenty of star grass which should attract the buffalo and hippo when times turn drier. While we were away, my father added an extra layer of red soil on the lawn, which will make it even more “grass-friendly”.

The house was visited by a lion while we were away, which walked right up onto the Hippo Lawn, then skirted the house and wandered on down to the Little Serengeti.

But here’s a story to beat that: Ian and my father were on their way up to the Crocodile Falls this morning, walking along the pathway that leads from our house up along the Mtito River. They had their eyes focused on the river, looking for crocodiles, when suddenly they noticed – just 30 yards in front of them – a beautiful big male leopard on the path. Can you believe it? The leopard did not even seem to notice them (perhaps the sound of the river drowned out their footsteps?), and continued serenely on its way, walking across their path and on up towards the Crocodile Falls. Ian and my father turned back towards the house, not wanting to pressurise the leopard. By not following the big cat, and not making it feel pursued, we won’t antagonise it and it will get used to us just coming and going (no doubt, it’s been watching us coming and going for quite a while now already). The photo below is courtesy of Ian who managed to catch a shot of the big cat through the undergrowth...

leopard-in-bush-15dec07.gif



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Red Billed Firefinches - male on right (click to enlarge)
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Male Common Indigo Bird (click to enlarge)
With all the grass flowering and seeding around the house, we’ve been visited by a host of new seed-eating birds, all congregating in the grass below the kitchen window, including the Common Indigo Bird with its deepest darkest blue plumage, sturdy white beak and flame-red feet, and the Red-billed Firefinch. I need to update the bird list, which will surpass 160 species once I add all the new ones… While we were away, my father saw a Hueglins Courser on the road at night (it’s a nocturnal bird). A Shikra (a small goshawk-like bird of prey) passed by the house too.

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Weaverbird Island (click to enlarge)
The African Golden Weavers are building nests like there’s no tomorrow on the reed bed in the middle of the river in front of our balcony. There are at least twenty nests there now. They’ve been joined by a Grosbeak Weaver too, which is a dark grey-black weaver, with an exceptionally heavy beak. The Weavers are also building like crazy further upstream, in the reed beds where I photographed and came to love the hapless little Plover chicks.


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Small crocs squabbling (click to enlarge)
Two small, bright green crocodiles were having a bit of a set-to today – squabbling over fishing grounds perhaps. Meanwhile a male Rainbow Skink (below), which has become incredibly tame, was practically running over my feet as I was photographing the crocodiles.





rainbow-skink-15dec07.gif

There are a lot of caterpillars around – ugly ducklings en route to becoming delicate beauties…the motion of the loop caterpillar is always comical and fascinating in equal measure…

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Check out these moves...One...
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...Two...
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...Three (click any image to enlarge)












In Pictures: Kulafumbi's Antelopes, from Waterbuck and Impala to Dik-Diks...
In Pictures: Kulafumbi is a crocodile haven...
In Pictures: Kulafumbi's intricate and colourful insect world...
In Pictures: A bird watcher's paradise - Kulafumbi's myriad resident birds...


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