|Pickett calls up a herd of eland|
This was the day to track the white rhino, but first Pickett took us out on a dawn bushwalk. We learned a great deal about termite mounds (fascinating!), porcupine scat (pointy tips), what pythons smell like (rank!), all the characteristics of all sorts of tracks.
|Elands gather in the distance|
In tracking school, instructors circle tracks, then students inspect them and draw their conclusions.
|Tracking instructor methods|
|Sandy tracks the white rhino|
|Some flowers in winter|
|A very sturdy dung beetle!|
|Some sort of lizard|
A lovely little lizard visited for awhile, and I relaxed as I sketched in the winter sunshine, lifting my binoculars now and then to spy on go-away birds and fly-catching sunbirds, and a shy but curious tree squirrel.
That night I spent a long time working on my picture of the dung beetle, trying to get it just right. Dung beetles aren't pushing great balls of dung around during the winter, so I didn't get to watch one in action, alas.
It was cold that night, in the 30s, and I was fervently glad I'd brought along my thermal underwear ~ I'd almost set it aside to avoid the extra weight, which would have been a major blunder. I wore them almost every day. Thank goodness for modern-day wash & wear!
In the following days, I'll spend time with warthogs and guinea fowl at the waterhole, sketching them and the nyalas, vervet monkeys, and a three-banded plover who are hanging around. If I'm to help students make the most of their South Africa experience next year, I'll need to know what is available and possible for them to experience and take advantage of.