PHALANX

BACK HOME, OL PEJETA. PART THREE

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post-50530-0-58315100-1491214627_thumb.jpg post-50530-0-79378700-1491214441_thumb.jpgOl Pejta' stars were also doing very well, both Black & White, and there were many calves to be seen.

In fact it was difficult not to see them on a game drive so well are they breeding.

The whites were always in small groups, but the black were generally in pairs, mother & calf, or alone. post-50530-0-78545400-1491214493_thumb.jpgpost-50530-0-24358200-1491214519_thumb.jpg

A nice piece of interaction I observed was between three whites. They were moving across a plain with great purpose then stopped when they came across a pile of dung. They all took great interest in it and in turn each sniffed at it for several minutes. post-50530-0-17191100-1491214569_thumb.jpg

Then the largest of the three defecated, without the usual spreading of it's dung with it's back legs, then they all moved off, again with the same urgency they had shown before. I was fascinated by this. Firstly this site was not a midden, there was no spreading of the dung at all, so was this literally a message? It certainly appeared to be, for after they had absorbed it's content, they then left their reply and went on their way.

It was all so simple, and so fascinating.post-50530-0-72903000-1491214595_thumb.jpg

 

Ol Pejeta is one of the few places in Kenya, if not the only place, to see Jackson's Hartebeest. post-50530-0-49029600-1491215960_thumb.jpg

In Uganda they are as common as Cokes Hartebeest are in Kenya, so it was nice to see that they were also breeding well, though I did hear that one fell prey to a Cheetah.

 

As I have said, the conservancy was extremely dry with inch wide cracks in the ground around the camp. The marsh was green but bone dry leaving the Defassa waterbuck a little confused. There was water in all but one of the dams, though far from full. Elephant dam had a little water when I arrived but within a week it was dry.

All this is in stark contrast to my second afternoon in camp. Each day rain clouds would build up in the distance around Nanyuki, the sound of distant thunder could be heard intermittently, but nothing ever developed from this. post-50530-0-63358100-1491216434_thumb.jpg

But, during that second afternoon all that was to change. After lunch I was sitting outside of my tent having a cup of coffee, the rain clouds & thunder over Nanyuki went through their routine, but this time I could smell the rain. Within half an hour the sky darkened noticeably and it became very cold. The wind had also picked up appreciably and for a moment I thought we may just get some rain. Hold that thought, "may" get some rain. Within fifteen minutes the first drops started to fall creating little puffs of dust as it hit the parched ground. Ten minutes later I was scrambling into my tent with my coffee, camera & binoculars, then frantically trying to zip up the tent & windows, which was proving difficult as the wind was blowing directly at the front of the tent causing it to bow dramatically. By now the rain had become a storm and I could barely see the waterhole as I peeked out through the corner of one window.

post-50530-0-88534100-1491216641_thumb.jpg

Standing there I felt my feet were wet. Looking down I could see water coming through the zips which were being forced apart by the strength of the wind, and as the rain was being blown directly into the front of the tent it was running down, no cascading down the front like a waterfall. I tried as hard as I could to push the front of the tent outward hoping the zips would close a little but it was like it was alive. As much as I pushed the front outward the wind would lift the bottom and the rain would come in there.

Thankfully, after about twenty minutes the wind turned and was now blowing across from left to right. I took this window of opportunity to get some towels and lay them along the bottom zips. This stopped any more rain getting in, but when I checked the zips when it was all over the wind had torn the zip lining away from the tent itself. The fundi man(maintenance)was very good & quick in repairing the damage and my tent was ready for the next storm.post-50530-0-54693300-1491216707_thumb.jpg

After two hours the storm had passed and the light rain stopped half hour later. The camp grounds were waterlogged but within a couple of hours you would not had known it had rained, apart from the ground being soft. Twenty four hours later after a day of sunshine the ground was bone dry again. Over the next few days we had some showers in the evening but no more rain. As I write this I have heard that it has not rained again since I left.

 

In the cool evening air the game was noticeably more active, especially the Waterbuck who are normally quite sedate in their evening routine. The impala were running to & fro with no obvious reason for their activity other than enjoying some relief from what had been a very hot day before the storm.

The waterhole was relatively quite that night, unlike other nights while I was there.post-50530-0-45454800-1491217021_thumb.jpg

 

More on that next time.....................

Edited by PHALANX
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