Friday, December 26, 2014

Stuff hiding in plain sight! Again.

As I observed yesterday, almost everyone out there in internet-land will be twiddling their thumbs in the aftermath of Christmas - and as tomorrow and the next day are a weekend, I think today is a good time to post one of my famous 'stuff hiding in plain sight' series. Two postings in two days is my gift to you for 2014.

(For newbies to the 'Sorry for that' Blog - you can see all previous 185 postings at the top right of this page - what a great way to spend a lazy rainy weekend?)

So - stuff hiding in plain sight, and apologies to regular readers as I once again feature my favorite 'hider' - a chameleon. I just love them!

The first hiding thing is an egret. These medium-sized birds are often found in game areas, and walk along next to the animals, periodically jumping up and pecking at ticks and other nuisances. They follow buffalo, cattle and the larger antelope, and most often you notice them flying when they are against the dark thunderclouds we get here - their stark white stands out.

They are kind of like our version of a seagull I guess.

Except Zimbabwe doesn't have a sea.


Until global warming kicks in properly.

With the season's rains starting in earnest just before Christmas, we had a sudden profusion of white lilies in the fields as you enter Pamuzinda - right next to the block of rock salt we set out for the wild animals as a salt-lick.

It was into this field of flowers that a couple of egrets wandered - looking for snails and other yummy stuff, though I only managed to photo one at a time.

Here then is a slightly harder task - find the egret. (In this pic he looks a little like a duck!)

And now the big egret challenge - where is he?

Just to show you the difference the rains make in Africa - here is a photo of the same patch of grassland - what we call a vlei (pronounced flay) as it is an old dried-up watercourse. In fact, the lilies pictured are called vlei lilies (not to be confused with the 'flame lily' -the national flower of Zimbabwe) and there are a couple of interesting facts about these lillies:

- they produce a beautiful and heady scent (described as 'romantic' by one of our guides!) at night, and then as a defense mechanism the scent changes to that akin to the smell of rotting meat during the day. How cool is that?

- there is a 'beer' produced from the bulb of these lilies which is extremely potent. Any alcoholic beverage in Zimbabwe is referred to as 'beer'. The same guide assured me that people who drink it lose their minds and walk around naked, so I shall keep my camera at the ready just in case this occurs in our patch. A good reason for you to keep reading the blog?

You can see the difference between the green of the previous pictures, and this more common view. Our rains - what we call 'the rainy season' generally stretch from November through to the middle of March, (though this year they only started properly just before Christmas) and then not much in between. This year I don't think we had rain for 6 months straight.

Just look at the difference in the color of the grass to the right of the trees.

The question is - did you spot the animals hiding in plain sight? And did you see all three - or just two? They had come down to the salt-lick mentioned earlier. One is actually licking the rock salt block on the ground.

OK - chameleon time! We'll start with the easy ones and get more difficult as we go along.

Where is the chameleon?

Maybe too easy? So here is a slightly more difficult challenge - here he is making his way to safety in a large bush, and only the white stripe down his back gives him away . . .

So - slightly harder now.

Where is the chameleon?

Regular blog readers will, by now, be pretty adept at finding my hidings - so here is a real challenge. If you didn't find the last one - don't even bother with this one!

Where's the chameleon?

Hope you found him? If not, let me know, and I'll tell you where.

Right - I told you in my last blog-post that Father Christmas was to be found working in the restaurant at Pamuzinda. Here he is (in a slightly blurry photo) to prove it to you:

The question is this (and the answer is in plain sight in the picture, I promise) - how did Father Christmas get into our dining room?

The correct answer is - through the door in the background of course!

I bet some of you said 'fireplace' or 'chimney'. How odd would that be if Maxman came to work down the chimney every day? Gee.

Have a great day! (Oh - and please click on the Facebook icon just below and 'share' the blog with your friends if you have enjoyed - just scroll down a fraction. Thanks).

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