The moon, the stars and the sky

One of the things that I love the most about living in the middle of nowhere is the sheer amount of stars that we see on a nightly basis.  I can barely remember ever seeing the Milky Way back in the UK, whereas we see it often here. As well as the stars, the Moon seems so bigger, brighter and more magnificent in the African bush.  In fact, a Moonrise is just as impression as a sunrise!  The other night we were standing on top of the water tower that overlooks some of CCF’s land watching the moon rise above the Waterberg Plateau; a beautiful sight.
We are unfortunately saying goodbye to our vet (who also happened to be a doctor for me on many occasions) as she has been offered a fully-paid PhD studying pygmy hippos in the Ivory Coast!  We were out on the Big Field a few nights ago for a sundowner (drinks in the bush whilst watching the sun go down).  Usually we climb up Carl’s hide (a thatch-roofed hide that overlooks the Big Field and Waterberg) to get a great view.  However, when a few of us wandered up there this time, we unexpectedly stumbled across an owl family, complete with a cute fluffy owlet.  Sadly, the owlet got so scared that it made a jump for it and plummeted to the ground, bouncing along the way with its downy feathers.  We ran down the stairs and went to check on the little fluff-ball to see if it was OK after dropping a whole 15 m.  Fortunately it just seemed a little dazed and confused.  As there were going to be a lot of people in the hide that evening, we decided to put the owlet in a box for a few hours in the quiet before placing him back up in his house once we’d all left.
 There was sheer amazement at CCF a few days ago when, upon leaving our houses in the morning, we were met with CLOUDS!  We haven’t seen clouds for about three months now as we’re in the middle of the cool, dry season.  Namibia is the most arid country in sub-Saharan Africa, with an average annual rainfall of approximately 600-700mm around here, all of which falls between November-March.  So it was quite bemusing to see clouds in the sky the other day!  Maybe it is getting me slowly prepared for the grey and dreariness of the UK....
 This month’s game counts have started off well: on the afternoon count we saw a huge herd of springbok on the field, a large family of kudu by the airstrip - complete with dad, mums and kids - and a family of grazing giraffe by the rhino gate!  We were a little nervous about getting out of the car to open the gate to get out of the rhino reserve, being that daddy giraffe was only a few metres from the gate!  Then on the night count we were lucky enough to see a tiny baby porcupine no bigger than a tennis ball and an aardvark!  This was only my second aardvark here in Namibia, so it was great to get such a good sighting this time round.  The rest of the month will be filled with game counts too because we have our annual strip and waterhole counts in July, so every week I’ll be out in the bush counting animals.  Not such a bad day job!


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