What is your definition of a magical moment? For me, it is often a moment spent peacefully at one with nature. The mornings here at Kulafumbi offer many such opportunities.
Spending ten quiet minutes before work out behind the kitchen with the dik diks, hornbills, doves, sparrows and squirrels is a truly special experience, no matter how often one does it - seeing these wild animals coming out of the bushland to wander around by your feet, accepting the gift of food from you...It's hard to express the feeling in words. Observing these wild animals at such close quarters also increases your respect for them and your appreciation of how perfectly they each fulfill their role in nature.
The Unstriped Ground Squirrel and the two Dik dik behind illustrate how well-camouflaged these bush creatures are, perfectly blending in with the colours of their surroundings.
The mother Dik dik (baby behind) has got some strange white marks on her nose - it looks like a fungus of sorts. However, she looks in prime condition, so whatever it is does not seem to be bothering her.
The baby Dik dik (behind) has a shorter, stubbier snout than the adults.
A Squirrel feeds on maize side by side with the mother Dik dik, with an African Mourning Dove in the background, picking up millet.
African Grey Sparrows dance around in the bushes around the Dik dik, plucking up courage to come down for a tasty meal of millet.
The male Von der Decken Hornbill does not bother either the Dik dik or the Squirrel. They are all too intent on filling their bellies as fast as they can!
The Dik dik father behind his offspring. Dik dik males have tiny horns and are somewhat smaller than the females, so depending on whether this baby is male or female, it may grow up to be bigger than its father.
The whole family: Baby in front, mother directly behind it and father off to the right behind.
Speaking of families, this immature female Von der Decken Hornbill turned up behind the kitchen for the first time yesterday. It must have been out of the nest for quite a while already, but you can tell it is not yet fully grown by the shorter beak and the still-speckled wing coverts. Considering we are at the end of the dry season, it is a strange time for young birds to appear - normally they would hatch in the wet season when food is plentiful. Certainly, the adult Hornbills are courting, and look like they are getting ready to mate as we also wait expectantly for the imminent rains.
The Red-billed Hornbills also have a youngster in tow. Again, you can tell by the immature bird's much shorter beak (on the left).
Magic is also watching a herd of elephants, sporting an abundance of babies of all sizes, crossing an African river in the grey light just before dawn breaks fully: