The big, the small and the journeymen returning – life amidst August rains in Selous.
Whatever time of year you decide to visit Selous, you will be visiting a place – an ecosystem, constantly changing, its community of living species adapting and reacting to constantly changing circumstances, they don’t read our scientific journals, they don’t watch our documentaries, they fight to survive and to reproduce and they do whatever it takes to do so. Some of it we understand, some of it we don’t even know about.
Its why every safari is different, its why we will never stop learning, its why nature always has the potential to amaze us.
Why do I write about this now? – Well it rained overnight on the 31st of August, enough rain to create puddles of standing water in places and to make the soils (at least superficially) a bit slippery and sticky, this is highly unusual for this time of year and prompted our guests Fred and Judy to ask a great question as we headed out on morning drive:
How will this rain affect the bush and animals?
To answer this question fully and completely would take a lifetime of research just to scratch the surface, and I feel highlights why the natural sciences is such a fascinating group of subjects.
However I can give a few predictions of things we could potentially see on our drive as a result– the rains are likely to prompt an increase in activity of arthropod, reptile and amphibian life, so we should look out for possibly snakes, frogs, maybe some millipedes or maybe even an out-flux of elate termites from their colonies. Our cat species who in general are not overly keen on getting wet if they can help it, may move out into areas without long wet grass, notably onto the roads. With increased insect activity will come increased feeding behavior of numerous rapturous or insectivorous bird species, these are just a few things we can look out for.
So what did we see: well as soon as I had finished talking with Fred and Judy, we came across a millipede crossing the road and later a beautiful male Common Diadem butterfly (Hypolimnas misippus) – The small.
Next up we find lions laid in the road, we watched these lions for a good 2 hours, first as they tried to hunt impala and then when that failed they played together and enjoyed climbing and playing in a Milkberry tree (Manilkara mochisia) – The big
Then on the way back we found the Journeyman, a Wahlbergs Eagle, an intra-African migrant who arrives here in southern Tanzania in time for our rainy seasons.
When we go on safari, its great to see these animals.
But when you start to really understand what is happening out there, and why! then you can really appreciate how wonderful nature is!