by John Jamieson
MSc Conservation Biology
The day started like all of my days at Kwakuchinja camp, with a 3:45 am alarm call! Being far from a morning person, stirring at such an obscene hour could only be driven by a rare opportunity to work with some fascinating animals. In this case my motivation took the form of the Lesser Bushbaby and its relatively unstudied ecology. Combining a cute, large- eyed nocturnal primate with the chance to work in the African savannahs I was helpless to resist the challenge. Little did I know that my subject would turn out to be some sort of squirrel-wallaby cross whose rapid leaping movements would have me scrabbling through the Acacia’s in the dark just to keep up! All of today’s subjects successfully evaded my best attempts to follow but with practice I hope I will start to think more like a bushbaby and get one step ahead of them soon!
The rest of the day was a camp day with the opportunity to catch up on my field notes and take part in some new survey technique lessons. This however did not mean there was not wildlife to spot and by mid-morning camp was on high alert as a large group of Olive Baboons was nearby ready to make the most of any open tent! Soon after a large monitor lizard was spotted by the river that had the herpetophiles scurrying for their cameras. Birders, like me, were not left disappointed as a stunning Pygmy Kingfisher was caught in one of our mist nests. Somewhat beyond the capacity of the mist nests, a majestic Vereaux’s Eagle Owl was latter seen casting a beady eye of camp goings on. Last but not least two Disney icons came skipping into camp in the shape of a couple of inquisitive Warthogs. It all goes to show that a quiet day in camp need not be so when the safari comes to you!