Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Birdman of Botswana (and Zambia)

A funny thing happened in the middle of Botswana. Mr. Deep got really into birds. Over the course of the trip he became more and more excited about photographing birds, talking to the guides about birds and even borrowing and reading the guide's books about birds. At Jacana Camp, I was supportive of this new found interest as birds were a large part of what we were seeing given all of the water. And there were many colorful and beautiful birds to be seen. But when we got to Zambia the obsession continued.  So much so that on our last boat cruise on the Zambezi, when I found out that other guests would be joining us for the first time, I had to gently remind Mr. Deep that not everyone wants to sit and photograph each bird spotted for 20 minutes. But, it turns out my speech was unnecessary as the other guests were just as into birds as Mr. Deep. 
The bird man in action

Fish Eagle
Wattled Crane
Reed Cormorant
African Spoonbills
Spur-Winged Goose
Male and female Fish Eagle
African Black Crake
Saddle Billed Stork
Little Egret
Rosy-Throated Longclaw
Lilac Breasted Roller
Swallow Tailed Bee-Eater
I haven't met many birders in my life but I am positive that Mr. Deep is not typical. I imagine birders to be gentle people who go out at sunrise after doing a bit of light yoga. They lie on the ground or sit in a tree for hours drinking herbal tea from a thermos. They wear Birkenstock sandals. They patiently wait for birds to appear. I also imagine that birders have other friends who are birders and they probably talk for hours about birds, "remember when we saw those blue footed boobies in Galapagos?" And real birders are not saying this because they just think it's funny to say the word boobie. They are truly interested in birds. Mr. Deep is nothing like this except for that his interest in birds is genuine. Yes, he would get up early to photograph wildlife but he would drink coffee and not tea. And although he's seen over fifty Grateful Dead concerts he would never wear Birkenstocks. But perhaps the most notable difference is that Mr. Deep has a very unique way of speaking to the birds he is photographing. Saying things like "f-ing fly you f-er" or "turn around you f-ing bastard" or "stay still f-er!"  

Even though I've known Mr. Deep for over twenty years he continues to amaze. I found myself thinking "who is this man?" when he jumped up from the bar (at least that part remains consistent) and screamed "there he is! The Pied Kingfisher." 

Giant Kingfisher eating a fish
The creation of this blog post was not easy as Mr. Deep wanted to be very involved. I appreciate his help in identifying the birds for the photos BUT, he spent most of Saturday afternoon second guessing my photo selection and I was summoned upstairs to his computer room no less than eight times so he could "make an appeal" for additional photos to be added to the post. He did get some great photos though and many (but much to his dismay not all) are included in this post. 

Goliath Heron
Malachite Kingfisher
Copper Tailed Coucal
African Darter
Egyptian Goose
African Skimmer
Egyptian Geese
Egyptian Goose
Black-Winged Stilt
White-Fronted Bee-Eater
Grey Loerie
Juvenile African Finfoot
Marabou Stork
African Open-Billed Stork
Pied Kingfishers (one happy as he has a fish)
Pied Kingfishers
Water Thick-Knee
Half-Collared Kingfisher
Baby Brown-Hooded Kingfisher
Mangrove Kingfisher (could be a Brown-headed as well) with insect
Red Hornbill 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Jacana Adventures

I'm finally getting back to sharing stories and photos from our recent trip to Botswana. While at Jacana Camp, we didn't see any lions or leopards. It wasn't for lack of trying. Bee took us on several land safaris where we searched and searched for a leopard and her cubs but the brush was very thick and we never saw her. Although I bet she was eyeing us the whole time.

Here's some of what we did see during our water and land safaris.

In addition to riding around in the safari vehicle and cruising on the boat we took part in a few other activities. Mr. Deep was keen (by the way keen is a great word that I am going to work into my vocabulary) to go fishing. Specifically he wanted to try to catch a tiger fish, a predatory fish best known for its large teeth. Geoff told him that there didn't seem to be as many tiger fish in the area as in year's past and that maybe people were fishing with nets further upstream but Mr. Deep wanted to give it a try anyway. He and Bee tried for several hours and although there were a few bites no tiger fish were caught. I tried fishing for a while too but then I got bored with it and instead focused on practicing my photography skills.

We also went out in the mokoros, African canoes. Mr. Deep and I rode in a canoe with a guide named Joshua while Bee piloted his own and kept a lookout for wildlife. The guides stand up and they steer and propel the mokoros using a huge pole. Mr. Deep sat in the front of the mokoro and I sat behind him. I was loving the ride. It was very peaceful and I enjoyed gliding through the reeds and hearing the sound of the water lapping on the side of the boat. But I noticed that Mr. Deep was fidgeting which was messing with my zen so finally I asked him what was going on. Apparently the person sitting in front of the mokoro acts as a human windscreen/net collecting every bug as the boat moves along. Mr. Deep said at one point he actually watched a spider begin to spin a web between his two boots. I felt badly that he wasn't enjoying the experience so I offered to switch spots with him. He assured me that I "didn't want any part of" what was happening in the front of the boat and so I remained in the back. Sometimes it's good to be the wife. 

During the mokoro trip we got out and walked around on a few uninhabited islands.
Standing in a baobab tree

Playing with a hippo skull

About Me

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Hello and thank you for taking an interest in my blog. This blog tells the story of some big life changes. First, my husband and I have just moved to Geneva, Switzerland for a few months following a few years of living in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two places could not be more different. I'm excited to share our adventures, challenges and insights with you! My thoughts and opinions are my own.