For the Birds

The sun is shining on this lovely March day in Nairobi–a rare occasion lately, as we have had seemingly nonstop rain for the past 10 or 12 days. But the rain has restored the color green to nature’s palette and the sun is being photosynthesized by a legion of happy plants cranking out rich, luscious oxygen by the bucketload.  Continue reading “For the Birds”

The Little Cardinal

His parents were wise, building their nest high under the eaves of the house, where the downspout from the gutter formed a sheltered platform inaccessible to all but the most determined of predators. I noticed them early in the spring, flitting about the back deck, gathering materials for their home construction.  Continue reading “The Little Cardinal”

The Myth of Wild Africa

For nearly 100 years, the land that is today the Bubye Valley Conservancy (BVC) of Zimbabwe was not wilderness. The land was a cattle ranch. Wild animals were intentionally wiped out, for fear of disease transmission, and to eliminate predators that would kill cattle. For nearly a century, the land hosted a cattle monoculture, devoid of wildlife; and elephants, rhinos, leopards and lions were completely wiped out. For a century this land was the furthest thing in the world from wilderness.  Continue reading “The Myth of Wild Africa”

Not Yet Sprung

The raucous music of birds foraging at the feeder beneath my window wakes me just after sunrise. The metallic click of Dark-eyed Juncos, the buzzing trill of the Carolina Chickadee, the clear bell-like chime of the Song Sparrow. Local residents, the migrants having not yet returned from their long winter vacations to Mexico and Brazil, boasting of their travels and flashing their gaudy breeding plumage. Frost still coats the windows, a crust of ice covers the dog’s water dish; Spring is still 3 weeks away by the calendar. But the signs are there.  Continue reading “Not Yet Sprung”

Monkey Love

I could write a book about misheard song lyrics, and maybe someday I will. From Jimi Hendrix’s “excuse me, while I kiss this guy” to Dylan’s “knock knock knockin on Kevin’s door.” But one of the most persistent misheard lyrics in my mind has been the Rolling Stones song “Bitch.” Which says “must be love, it’s a bitch.” For many years, in fact until only recently, I heard “monkey love, it’s a bitch.” Granted, monkey love makes no sense, but I was greatly disappointed when I learned the true lyrics. Such a letdown.

I have no great love for the monkeys of the Grand Palm Hotel and Casino in Gaborone, Botswana, however. They are menacing little terrorists. Continue reading “Monkey Love”