Sunday, December 2, 2012

I like the pretzels best

I've been shaking out my boots before I put them on every morning just in case a scorpion has crawled in overnight. From here out, I will give every article of clothing a good jostle before donning it. A dull throb emanates from my hip while I type cuz a scorpion was in my skivvies. "It wasn't a black one was it?" No it was yellow brown. "Good, if it was black you'd be dead." Then why bother asking me if it was black?

The rains have come with some regularity. We're up to 53 mils at Eagle Island- 25 of which came in half an hour. It hasn't made the channel rise much but it has greened things up. The baobob trees bloomed, which makes them look even more like they belong in a Dr. Suess book. The story goes that the creator got sick of them bitching about this and that so he turned them upside down to shut them up. Now their roots face the sky. Their flowers open at night and are half-closed during the day. Supposedly some have red flowers but I've only seen white.

It's fascinating to see how quickly things take advantage of the rains. New shoots come up within two days of precipitation. Termites, mosquitoes, and other winged nuisances buzz about before the water has soaked into the sand. Several species of frogs lie below the ground waiting for rain. They can live up to three years without water. But once rain falls they need to sing, breed, and lay eggs within a couple of days. Between the thousands of termites flying to the light and the noise of the frogs, it's hard to talk after dark. You need to yell over the frogs, but through gritted teeth so nothing flies down your throat.

The most amazing adaptation to the rains comes from the mammals. Zebras, wildebeest, impalas, and kudu can all adjust their gestation periods. If the rains come early, they go into labor. If the rains are late, they wait until the last day to give birth. The result is that nearly all the young are born within a day or two of each other. It's like Chex Party Mix for the lions.

And speaking of lions, two out of three airstrips had big cats yesterday. I did a scenic at Piajio and the folks were taking photos of a lone lioness 50 meters away while I refueled. Then I hopped over to Mombo to do a guest transfer. I saw vultures circling as I approached. I stayed above translational lift to do a fly-over of the helipad. Only the red-stained fur on the lions' mouths remained of whatever they killed. I decided to land where the planes do their run-ups instead of the pad and by pad I mean area free of brush full of just-fed lions.

1 comment:

Eric E. Magnuson said...

Nicely done on the Chex Mix/young furry snacks shtick. 'Tis the Season, no matter the Continent.