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March 2009

Despite the rains, the bush in Gorongosa is as busy as ever and we’ve had some awesome sightings in March.  The month kicked off with a lion trying his hardest to make an aloof lioness like him.  Unfortunately, as is the wont of the female kind, the poor boy just didn’t know what his mate was thinking and after a few hours of mixed signals, he gave a big yawn, sighed, and flopped down to sleep off the rest of the day.  I really do feel his pain…

There followed some great sightings of Crowned Cranes, that really should be Gorongosa’s symbol, for they are as unique and stunning as the Park itself.  Other interesting birds this month included Palmnut Vulture on the access road to Chitengo, such a special and attractive raptor.  There were also great sightings of Spurwing Geese, Longclaws, Vanga Flycatchers, Painted Snipes and Bee-eaters of every type, revelling in the proliferation of insects after the rains.  Our friend, the resident Cuckoo Hawk at Chitengo, was back, making a nuisance of himself as he swooped from tree to tree.  It was also quite fun to watch a persistent Hamerkop trying her hardest to perch on a wallowing warthog, with mixed results depending on which way the warthog chose to lie in his mud bath.  Adapt or die, they say – and so it is in Gorongosa during the wet season. 

The rains also brought on the youngsters of Gorongosa in profusion: oribi fawns, junior impalas and furry little waterbuck were all seen chasing each other around the floodplains in March, whilst the plentiful young warthog piglets are as cute as ever, frightening themselves with their own tails and generally providing the type of entertainment usually reserved for Labrador puppies in washing detergent advertisements.  (Although with all the mud around, it would require a serious sponsorship from said washing detergent company to clean some of our uniforms this month!)

Mud and rain aside, Gorongosa is at its green and fertile best, with the Lake shores having risen right back into the fever tree forests and albida thickets.  Everything from the large crocodiles sunning themselves on the Lake shores, to the tiniest little rodents desperately trying to avoid the claws of the many eagle owls on their nightly prowls, is in its prime at the moment.  And so, as we follow nature’s handbook on abundant life, we at Explore Gorongosa wish you all happy days and abundance!