We’ve been getting rain mid-mornings these past few days, so I decided to be up earlier to give Elle and Angel their relief before the drive turns to mud. We were out around 6:15am. Not such a good idea. After untangling leashes and orienting two distracted dogs in the proper direction, what do I see but a large bull elephant directly across the street trying to make sense of the three moving targets before him. He began to cross the street, whether because this was his plotted course or because intentions were of an unfriendly nature, I didn’t wait to find out and the three of us returned quickly indoors.
The rains began about 7:30 and came and went with varying intensity, moving through and clearing by 11am. I then decided to take the dogs for a walk before an afternoon bicycle ride, so we did the loop around Yenzi. As if the elephant wasn’t enough, Elle managed to capture a snake hiding behind a tree. A beautiful little snake, green topside and yellowish below, the poor thing only wanted to get away. A green tree snake, Dipsadoboa viridis, non-aggressive, non-venomous, approximately 30 inches long and very slender. I managed to separate the two of them before anyone got hurt, and the lithe snake proceeded to scale the tree, blending in among the leaves.
My afternoon plans were to relocate my stealth camera to a location along a road near the beach at Point Dick. The road passes through a section of “enchanted” forest bordered by a small swamp thick with sword-leafed pandanus trees. Also known as screw-pine, the leaves of these trees rattle in the breeze overhead, diffusing the light below to create a mysterious forest environment to the accompaniment of frogs, cicadas, the sonorous melodies of cuckoos, and the occasional alarm cries of ibis. I position the camera to monitor one of many animal trails from 10 feet into a tree I have managed to climb. Any exertion in this humid forest environment brings on profuse sweating, so I proceed to the beach at Point Dick to cool down in the ocean breezes.
On my return to Yenzi I detour to explore a laterite road paralleling the coast. A set of huge elephant tracks, sixteen inches from heel to toe, follow the road, perhaps left since this morning’s rainfall. They resemble fossilized dinosaur footprints. I spot a sititunga antelope which has not yet caught my scent and I manage to approach within 20 yards of her before she figures me out. A pool has collected rainwater, and I cross numerous tracks of elephant, sititunga, mongoose and monkeys that have come to drink.
My bicycle ride back to Yenzi bridges the transition from late afternoon to early evening. Hornbills ruffle above the canopy, bands of monkeys peek and scatter through the treetops with various clucks and chirps of alarm, katydids unzip the evening air and a sweet, jasmine-like fragrance laces the shadows along my path.
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