Day 3 continued
I reached Melkvlei and decided to be an engineer. You know, follow procedure. I stopped and walked around the car to make sure that the tyres were fine and that nothing had mysteriously come loose and was hanging down. Yeay, all good.
I have a special spot for the ground squirrels. Now I know feeding animals is bad, I was brought up to know this. However, on my first (and only previous) trip I was much younger and less obedient (I listen to me most of the time these days, see, much more obedient). And there were mitigating factors. Now, I like to eat and have an appetite that would put most front rows (yes, I mean the three combined) to shame, especially when I was a growing boy, but, somethings are just not edible. I do not eat mieliepap (in case you would like to know, but not relevant here) and I detest bear bread (in fact, anything bitter). And there you have it, I was fed a bitter pretend food, so, so as not to waste the "food", my brother and I fed our portion to the obliging squirrels and pretended we were full. So, although I do not and will not feed them, I can still fondly remember the little guys that helped me out. Photographically speaking, I would like to note how not "zoomed in" this shot is. Although I have a very long lens, sometimes it is beneficial and striking to include some environment and area feel to an image - here the dry ground and burrow add to the story of the subject. Commonly people will complain that only if they had better longer equipment would they be able to get decent shots, sometimes an eye for art and a story is worth more than an expensive piece of glass. Also, the low angle makes the shot more interesting, I was lying on my oats biscuit filled belly for this (please check for thorns and poisonous biters before flattening yourself) - always try, as a default, to photograph a subject from eye level.
Then I figures, I may as well use the facilities. There were gemsbok at the far waterhole and a few springbok at the nearby spot, but nothing seemed too dangerous so I pulled the car closer to the little hut and proceeded to check for lions. The design of the new facilities is impressive with it obvious that someone put some thought into how to let humans in by keep lions out. That said, there are always other possible dangers – like a lack of paper: this is why I always have my own stash of 2-ply in the cubbyhole. Well, a pleasing report is that this ablution, much like all the rest I inspected, was clean, functional, and endowed with some fresh paper. Still, I prefer my softer variety that makes even puppies play in advertisements.
But then, disaster, as in like I am about to die. Snakes I do, scorpions I can handle, spiders are nothing – all of these can easily be kept at a distance while you back away slowly, typically they will not follow. But what does follow and kills like the plague: wasps! Dirty big black super killer wasps that haunt you in dreams and are so scary that Disney shivers at the thought of using one as a baddy, yes, those wasps. Unfortunately, it flew in at an unfortunate time so I finished as quickly as possible and made a calm (by my standards) exit without hands flailing and voices yelping. Safe! Anyhow, the point is to look out for all dangers, like in the bowl etc. if you are lucky enough to be in the park – full inspection! Also, rather keep the doors to the car closed, you never know what may climb/crawl/fly in and murder you at your next lion sighting.
So, I continued a little was north, just to see what would happen where I came upon one of the birdies I had on my most wanted list, a swallow-tailed bee-eater. After more reversing, no a little forward, okay back again, I kept to a spot that may work and rather waited for the colourful beauty to perch nearby. Done, on my list!
Then, moving along a little way, in a sad looking excuse of a tree, I found this guy pretending to cross the road (lame, I know, but he did look left and right and left again). Btw, I have this as a chat flycatcher, correct me if I am wrong - lbjs may fill my list but I am not their ID king. Anyhooo, another new guy to my list, albeit not one I was overly excited about beforehand, getting him now means another on the list, so yeay.
As I approached Kij kij and the entrance to the LDR, I noted this lonely and scruffy springbok. I like different shots, the rain made him look different. To me at the time anyhow. As it had been a slow day, anything resembling a decent shot was a photograph worth taking.