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Three Foxes (A Camera Trap Post)

So here is a post based on what the blog is named after, a camera trap in Cornwall. I had a lot of chicken pieces left over from dinner and...

Friday, 14 November 2014

Congo Watercolours

Over the last few weeks I have decided to start painting some scenes from my time in the Congo. I enjoy painting and it brings back memories. Over time I hope to improve on my technique. Below are scans of my paintings so far.  Each one has a small story to it. I hope you enjoy them.

The Congo peacock is endemic to the D.R. Congo. I had read about the species beforehand and hope to see one. When I arrived in camp I was pleased to hear that everyone had seen at least one, and usually a pair. However it took me over 3 months before I first saw one. I heard them plenty before hand calling out of the darkness. When I finally saw my first pair I was ill. I was returning from the forest after feeling unwell during a shift. Just 300m from camp a pair crossed the transect. Even though I was ill I still followed them. I was so happy I had finally seen this beautiful bird, and a pair at that. I then realised I had not paid attention to where I was and stumbled around the forest for a while trying to find camp. I saw a few more pairs before leaving but never good enough views to get a photo.

Kebo was about 3 years old when I arrived. He was a confident young bonobo and often would watch us with fascination. 

 Just a quick outline here as the story is a long one. We had a platform built over a baii where elephants go to collect salt. I decided to sleep at the platform on a full moon to search for them. We had not had any rain in August so I went at the full moon at the end of August. I spent the afternoon there seeing birds and as night fell I scanned using my night vision scope. I eventually drifted off. I was woken up at 4am by a rumble. I was so excited thinking it was an elephant. Then The sky lit up and another rumble as a storm approached bringing the only rain in August. I packed up and tried to stay in the tree but the rain became very heavy as did the wind. I gave up and walked home in the storm not seeing any elephants. I tried again but in the day and did see a bongo. Another researcher slept in the tree a few months later and was lucky to see a herd of elephants.

Mangos was quite a character. He was one of our local bonobo workers. One day after a shift we came across Mangos in the river bending over with his machete. He struck the water and picked up a fish. We thought it was a lucky blow until he unwrapped a leaf and placed the fish in it with two more fish. He carried on and caught many more. It was quite a feat having to compensate for refraction. Each shot was on the head so the fish died instantly. I was impressed by the accuracy.

One day after the rains one of the pirogues (dug out canoe) floated out of the "port" and into the main river. It sailed away before getting lodged in a fallen tree. It required many of us to free it. As we where doing so a storm was brewing so we had to hurry. Once free we had a race back to camp in the pirogues.