Late post due to distractions…The proverbial observers…A bulb supersedes…

Notice the pellet crumbs on her nose. Often, there are lots of crumbs in the huge bags of pellets. Most wildlife is happy to lap up the crumbs if we place them on the tile steps.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Big Daddy showed up, and then he and Wildebeest Willie let us know pellets were expected.

We love these animals. It’s hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t experienced the beauty and magnificence of wild animals in their presence daily.  Not only do we relish the opportunity to see them each day, as we patiently wait for the sounds of the rustling of leaves in the bush as they approach, but we’re literally entranced by their behavior.

Although they’re used to being around humans while we all share the rustic terrain in Marloth Park, they are still wild animals. They aren’t domesticated beings, like dogs and cats. They don’t want to be touched, nor should we attempt to touch them.

In the forefront is the baby bushbuck we’ve seen grow over these past months. To her left is her mom, as shown in today’s main photo. Behind her is “auntie,” who’s helped raise the baby.  The three of them visit together at least once a day. They prefer to eat pellets and vegetables from the stone steps as opposed to in the dirt.

They fend for themselves in this wild place; mating, giving birth, raising their young, and interacting with one another in ways we often find astounding as we, the proverbial observers, glean this unstoppable sense of somehow belonging to their world, if only in a minuscule way when they visit us.

They don’t belong to us. This isn’t a zoo. This isn’t a rehab center for wildlife, although at times, for the more endangered species, medical intervention may occur in specific cases. But, most of the animals here are subject to illness, injury, and recovery on their own, as they best know-how.

We’ve named him Wildebeest Willie, now that he’s quickly becoming a regular visitor.

A huge benefit for them is the lack of natural predators here in the park, save for an occasional lion, leopard, or wild dogs entering the park through a break in the dividing fence between Marloth and Kruger Parks.

Recently, with the influx of tourists and, unfortunately, some residents, 13 animals have been killed on the roads by speeding and careless humans, not driving their vehicles with “them” in mind. 

Wildebeest are notoriously shy. The more he sees us, the more at ease he is hanging out in the garden. He stayed for several hours last night, unusual for a wildebeest.

Sure, occasionally, an unsuspecting driver may be unable to stop when an animal dashes into the road, day or night. But, then, we all should be driving at a snail’s pace to avert even those situations. 

Since the holiday season began, we’ve seen three cases where young children ranging from five to 12 years old have been driving SUVs, the youngest on the parent’s lap and the older on their own. 

When the pellets ran low, Wildebeest Willie didn’t waste any time approaching the veranda.

Who could think it is wise to let a child drive a vehicle in this place or anyplace, for that matter? They aren’t experienced or equipped to handle a massive vehicle if a wild animal suddenly jumped onto the road. 

And even if the parent had the child on their lap, the adult’s response time would be greatly hindered by the situation, unable to react quickly enough to avoid hitting an animal, let alone a person walking or riding a bike. What are these people thinking?

When we didn’t jump up right away, he held his ground at the edge of the veranda, waiting for us to respond.  We did.

We especially question this when day after day and night after night, we’re blissfully blessed to see these amazing creatures grace us with their presence, accepting our intrusion into their space, their terrain, their world.

Last night, we were in awe of them when we experienced one of the best wildlife watching experiences since we arrived in Marloth Park on February 11th. Not only did we have no less than eight playful and funny warthogs, but we had Frank and the Mrs. (francolins) in attendance, a loud chirping bullfrog for background noise, Wildebeest Willie, and Big Daddy adding to the entertainment factor.

He seems to get along well with the warthogs, which are nightly visitors. At this point, he and Little Wart Face shared pellets without incident.

And during the evening hours, bushbucks stopped by; mongoose visited, duikers delicately danced through the garden, along with a continuing stream of hippo and bullfrog sounds wafting through the air. 

We hardly had time to eat our dinner when every few moments we jumped up to toss another slew of pellets, a fistful of apples or handfuls of cut carrots to our “guests.” They couldn’t have been more pleased. We couldn’t have been more pleased.

And when later in the evening, as the “crowd” thinned out, the bulb in our garden light burned out. Subsequently, when we usually shop for groceries on Thursdays, we were off this morning to the Obaro Hardware store in Komatipoort for another bulb (we actually purchased two) when we couldn’t dare miss one evening of festivities. 

They seemed to get along well.  Only once did Big Daddy tap the ends of his giant antlers on the ground to let Willie know to back off?

We purchased groceries for our upcoming dinner party on Friday night and for us for the next week. After we put everything away, I asked Tom to please make sure the bulb worked so I could have peace of mind while preparing today’s post that nothing would hinder the joy of yet another evening on the veranda.  It worked, and we now have a backup.

Today, folks, it was a bulb. That’s why today’s post is late by no less than four hours due to going to Komatipoort to purchase the bulb and grocery shop while there.  For us to miss posting by our usual time, it must be a very critical situation; a drive into Kruger, a road trip, a special event, or a travel day.

Thanks for your patience, and enjoy your evening listening to the sounds of nature wherever you may be.

Photo from one year ago today, July 3, 2017:

One year ago today, we dined with our old neighbors/friends. From left to right, Doug, Jamie Tom, me, Sue, Nelleke and Dave.  For more details and photos, please click here.

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