The Great Migration

The Daily Prompt is “Twilight Zone“.

Photo Credit Danny James
Photo Credit Danny James

The Great Migration is a cycle of life and death, played out on the plains of the Serengeti (in Tanzania) and Masai Mara (in Kenya). Some 1.4 million wildebeest, 250,000 Burchell’s zebra and a smattering of trailing Thomson’s gazelle make this year-long round trip. In fact, around 250,000 Wildebeest and 30,000 zebra perish in this tough trek, mainly younger ones. Along the way, many migrating animals become prey to predators including lion, cheetah, crocodile and hyena.

We were one of the lucky people who actually witnessed this event. The Wildebeest would approach the river that they had to cross in response to a lack of drinking water. There appeared to be a leader who, to me at least, was surveying the crossing for predators. He would approach, look around, sniff the air, and taste the  water. The first couple of times he, along with the rest of the heard just made a circle and returned in a few minutes. What he was seeing was crocodiles in the river and at least 3 lions on the  far side who were also staring at him. Once the stampede began the sound was unbelievably loud with snorts and the water splashing as the Wildebeest began the crossing. Once the leader started across it was like an auto expressway at rush hour. Suddenly a crocodile sprang out of the water and grabbed the Wildebeest and drowned him. Other crocodiles join the fray. The Wildebeest far outnumbered the crocodiles and most made it to the other side. On that side were waiting a dozen or so lions who joined in the feast. The squealing sound was surreal. While having the appearance of a frenzy, recent research has shown a herd of  Wildebeest possesses what is known as a “swarm intelligence”, whereby the animals systematically explore and overcome the obstacle as one.
This picture was taken on our recent vacation in Kenya. In fact on our last day. Our guide himself had not seen anything like this. You think you are alone on the large plains of the Serengeti and Masi Mara but the tour jeeps are in constant contact with each other. Once we found these Wildebeest getting ready to cross our guide contacted other tours and within minutes there were around 10 jeeps loaded with tourist like us. Guides are below:
DSC01104

DSC01464

Moved to Tears

The Daily Prompt:

Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us BEAUTY.

Pyramids

I took this picture riding a camel in the sands of Giza behind the great Pyramids. We rode for around 3 hours to obtain this picture. It was an unreal scene: Young boys riding fast horses beside you racing from one spot to another. I had to pinch myself to remind me that it was the year 2008 and I did live in the US.

My Friend Bill

Meet my friend Bill.

Bill
Bill

Bill and I have become good friends over the last couple of months. He just moved it  down the road. I  met  Bill when I was out on my regular  walk.

Bill is  a kind of mellow type guy. It  took him a few weeks  before  we began communicating. Me with “Good Morning, Bill.” Bill with a friendly snort. The first few times I walked by he  just  glared at me with eyes that were more curious than sad. Bill kind of got  an idea  of what I was doing. One day he gave me  a few hundred feet head start and then roared down along side of the fence that separated us. You could the power of his hoofs made  as they made contact with the  turf. When Bill got to the end of  the fence he stopped, turned around, and snorted at me. Like  he  was saying “Now that’s how  you  run buddy.” If he is  in  the back of the pasture when I walk past  he trots over as if to say “Hello, old man. What’s up?”

Always makes a great start to my day!

Lucinda Maria James

Lucy, as she was called, arrived in my life in late summer 1996 in Longmont Colorado. I had a small apartment and was in the process of leaving Colorado and  heading for Raleigh, North Carolina. The best thing I can say about Colorado was I was glad to  see it in my rear view mirror as I left. It was a very depressing time in my life for various reasons. A few weeks before I was ready to leave this  very small black cat appeared outside my apartment  door. She looked to be in good shape and I figured she had wandered away from her home  and someone would  be looking for her. Once I fed her, I had to go and buy some cat food as I didn’t have any in the apartment, she claimed me. Hell, I didn’t even know if the apartment complex ALLOWED cats. She was a very small cat and  pretty quite so I thought I could handle her until I found her owner.

I could not  find her owner. No one in the  complex would claim her and the results of my attempt  to place flyers up around the neighborhood yielded no results. My thinking was I had around 10 days to get rid of this cat. I had the  bright idea of taking her to  the  vet and give her to them to take  care of. No such deal! They checked  her out and informed me she had been very well taken care of but they were  not  a pet  adoption agency.

I’m getting ready to leave with everything I own in a 4 x 6 U-Haul and I don’t  have any plans to take her with me.

Lucy had other plans! After a few angry meows she settled  in for the trip to Raleigh. I tried, and mostly  succeeded, to find motels that would allow animals. One night I didn’t and left her  in the  room while  I went out for dinner. When I came  back she was between the  window and the  drapes in plain view of  the sign that said no pets allowed.

She later became the member of  our household that at one time  included 5  cats. Lucy was the smallest of them but didn’t  take  crap from any of  the boys. I was always impressed  with the way she walked. Like “You want a piece of me? Well bring  it on.” After 17 years with a cat they become  like  one of your children with their medical bills, different personalities, their attitudes  and habits.

Lucy’s health deteriorated over the last few years  and we had to have her put down yesterday. Today she  sits over  the fireplace in a Urn with her departed playmates.

Take care Lucy. We miss you already.

The Great Migration

DSC01606

The Great Migration is a cycle of life and death, played out on the plains of the Serengeti (in Tanzania) and Masai Mara (in Kenya). Some 1.4 million wildebeest, 250,000 Burchell’s zebra and a smattering of trailing Thomson’s gazelle make this year long round trip. In fact, around 250,000 wildebeest and 30,000 zebra perish in this tough trek, mainly younger ones. Along the way, many migrating animals become prey to predators including lion, cheetah, crocodile and hyena.
This picture was taken on our recent vacation in Kenya. In fact on our last day. Our guide himself had not seen anything like this. You think you are alone on the large plains of the Serengeti and Masi Mara but the tour jeeps are in constant contact with each other. Once we found these Wildebeest getting ready to cross our guide contacted other tours and within minutes there were around 10 jeeps loaded with tourist like us. Guides are below:
DSC01104

DSC01464