The recorded ramblings of an unschooled writer, aspiring biologist, amateur equestrian, ardent bookworm, avid music appreciator, increasingly addicted runner and college student spending the summer in Ely, MN.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lions and jackals and leopards, oh my!

October 18, 2009

Again, catching up on the 20th, but I kept notes in the back of my old Kiswahili notebook about what I wanted to write about today. This has been one of the best days in my life. Here is why:
1. I saw lions! Several were lounging together on the ground, a young male (with just the barest hints of a mane beginning to develop) was taking a nap in a tree and two females were in another tree, alternately dozing and surveying the world around them.
2. We drove through Tangire National Park, which hosts the largest concentration of elephants during the dry season. Not only did I see many elephants up close (their trunks are so dexterous!), but off in the distance along the horizon past the marshes I could see the black dots that were elephants that were so numerous in number I couldn’t even begin to count them.
3. We stopped and had lunch at a picnic area overlooking said marsh area and its elephant residents.
4. We saw a leopard hanging out in a tree!
5. Even cooler was the single silver backed jackal who was running circles around the tree and barking in an increasingly more agitated manner as time went on. This is very atypical behavior for a jackal, especially as they are normally seen in pairs and it was so interesting for me to observe an interaction that even my teachers didn’t have an explanation for.
6. There were birds everywhere: plovers, storks, herons, pelicans, barbets, parrots, mousebirds, eagles, hawks, vultures, ostriches, spur fowl, warblers, weavers, sparrows, starlings, bee eaters and shrikes, just to name a few. And I’m going to learn how to identify so many of them! So far I can only identify the lilac breasted roller and the superb starling reliably, but hopefully I will get better soon!

I took so much cool video and can’t wait to get home and take a look at it! I wish I was a better videographer, with steady hands…hopefully too much of it won’t be motion sickness inducing. I’m beginning to think though that my love of videos and editing them might be an asset in the biology field. After all, if I just carry a camera all the time, I’m bound to catch something cool sooner or later!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then is a moving picture worth a million? Needless to say, I think I’ll stop writing now and let the videos speak for themselves when I return in December.

Thinking of you in Tanzania!

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