The story of a rock kopje in the northern Serengeti, and daily life in the Serengeti's best new camp hidden within it.
Tue, Aug 26, 2014
Came the excited cries from Jana and Yassin (second chef and trainee guide).
They led me by the arms down to the mess area, chattering like excited vervet monkeys, only to stand perplexed - looking up at the Small Sour Plum that makes an archway over the steps at the bottom: "hmm in hindsight we should have found a different spot to leave him!"
It took a while but eventually we relocated this Giant East African Stick Insect.....Can you find him?
Not quite so well camoflauged on Jana's top - he still walks with a cryptic jerky movement to help immitate the twigs that normally surround him, much the same as a chameleon.
Here you can see his forelegs held out in front of his head - making him all the more sticky.
Did you know....?
Stick insects can shed and then re-grow their limbs to escape attacks by predators - this behaviour is called autotomy.
Stick insects can reproduce "parthenogenetically" - without the need for males!! (Sorry chaps, although young born through this method will all be female so you're not completely redundant and if you look on the bright side it must mean you are significantly outnumbered by the opposite sex - gotta love those odds fellas!!)
Stick insect eggs resemble seeds so they will blend into the forest floor to escape predation.
In the pictures above you can see what I think is a light sensitive organ called an "Ocellus" or "little eye". Many flying insects have these in various forms, they co-exist with the compound eyes on either side and are a second, completely seperate visual organ. In stick insects it is only the males that have these.
Our man Yassin - happy to break up the day with a spot of entomology.
Doing the crazy "Jurassic Park" thing and suddenly revealing his fantastic wings (only boys have wings, se he is definately a he!!) increased mobility and a startle/distraction display.
Sat, Aug 16, 2014
The question came from a certain Richard Knocker - Nomad specialist guide - we didn't know the answer....so we gave it a bash and now I'm pretty convinced we do.
All told with photographer scout and ranger - we've hit 28.
It's a little precarious up here with this many - we chose a more spacious spot to pour (and drink) the gin and tonics.
I'm really pleased we decided not to hold the wedding (see June Blog) up here - there were some very un-sensible shoes kicking about, I wouldn't have been able to watch!
Remind you of anybody?
Seeing a similarity?
Fri, Aug 8, 2014
It's been a pretty wild few weeks with the migration swarming through the Northern Serengeti in full swing.
They've been back and forth in front of the lodge, in incredibly dense herds one day then seemingly scattered and dispersed the next.
It really changes the entire atmosphere of the landscape - I cannot describe it, I doubt that anyone can.
Many a drive heads out towards the Mara River in the hope of striking lucky and catching that all important crossing!
Here are some of the season's finest photographs so far, with credits to some of the brilliant Lamai photographers kind enough to share them with us.
Michael and Deborah Sobolik captured the moment when a massive heard of Wildebeest bunched up on the northern side of the Mara river before heading east.
With thanks to Morton Rawlin for this brilliant shot.
Michael Liu shot this atmospheric crossing on his way from Kogatende airstrip to the lodge - not bad for your first day!!
Roger Bender caught this huge Nile Crocodile zoning in on the herd.
Another dramatic moment photographed by Roger Bender - spectacular.
Tue, Jul 29, 2014
On the main road to Kogatende airstrip a flick of a tail caught one of Mr. Jairo's exceptional eyes!!
Can you spot what he's staring at?
This beautiful female leopard had decided to make use of a ranger platform in this Sausage Tree - a perfect place to rest.
We've had little time to leave the lodge this last month - so imagine our delight that on this morning`s mad dash for supply (some sort of yogurt emergancy!) we were rewarded us with these fantastic pictures.
The grimace above signifies a behaviour called flehmen - drawing the air over the vomero-nasal organ allowing these animals to test hormone signals in the air. Males tend to do this as a method of testing the reproductive status of potential partners. A female up in a tree like this is likely using it to get a better understanding of the scents around her. Perhaps the car was making her nervous and she was checking the air before deciding whether or not to move from the safety of her perch.
Wed, Jul 2, 2014
While driving through a clump of acacia woodland last week, we came across this tiny bird of prey. The very beautiful Pygmy Falcon.
I spent a number of weeks in the Kalahari searching for this little bird (amongst others), they set up nests in the enormous Sociable Weaver nests down there.
Here in the Serengeti they also favor squatting but the "land lord" species of choice is the white headed buffalo weaver.
This is an adult female, you can tell by the chestnut brown patch on her back - absent in males.
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