Day 3 – September 9 – 2011 – Continued
It was now after 9am and the sun was well and truly shining brightly as we turned onto the detour road for the first time. The road was much better than expected but difficult to pass when any vehicle approached from the opposite direction.
We saw this hornbill on the ground and by chance we glanced over.Southern Yellow hornbill
They feed mainly on the ground, where they forage for seeds, small insects, spiders and scorpions. Termites and ants are a preferred food source in the dry season. It may catch snakes, which kills beating them strongly on hard surface. It swallows the whole prey, and rejects indigestible parts. Yellow-billed Hornbill is seen solitary, in pairs or small groups. When calling, bill is pointed downwards and wings are raised. It is active during the day, but mostly at dawn and dusk. It roosts high in trees during the night.
Yellow-billed Hornbill nests in a hole in tree. This cavity is lined with dry grasses and leaves. Female lays 3 to 4 white eggs in closed cavity. Incubation lasts about 25 days, by female alone, fed by male. Chicks are fed by female in the hole during three weeks with regurgitated food. Then, female leaves the nest, and young reseal the hole themselves. They stay 40 to 45 days more in the nest, fed by both parents. When they fledge, they perch a few days in the tree on the nest site, moving their wings before to take off. They reach their sexual maturity at one year. This species produces only one brood per year. Ground Squirrel
They don't climb trees, but live on the ground and in their widespread underground caves. They feed on grass seeds, leaves and roots. The Ground Squirrel, also known as the Cape Ground Squirrel, uses its tail as a sunshade, holding it in a bent position over its back while feeding. When the squirrel moves its tail up and down, this is an alarm signal to other members of the pack, and is accompanied by a long, drawn out whine, which functions as an alarm call. Colonies numbering up to 30 live in a complicated network of interconnecting burrows: they are poor climbers, and so remain mostly either on or under the ground.
The warren may be shared with Suricates or yellow mongooses, although the mongooses sometimes kill older ground squirrels. They live in the drier parts of southern Africa, and are predominantly vegetarians; their diet, however, does include insects. They sunbathe with their bellies to the ground and all four legs stretched out. They dust bathe in the same way and every now and then scratch the sand all over their bodies before shaking it off. Small colonies consist of females and their offspring, with the female defending the territory against intruders. Males are accepted into this society only when a female is in heat. One or two young are born.
We reached the end of the detour at Kij Kij and had a quick stop for coffee and breakfast as the drive so far had been quite hectic and we had not managed to have breakfast. We had packet many different serials for this trip with long life milk which was a nice change.