“Greetings!” as we say in Uganda.
We may not have the same change of seasons here as in Europe but the insects and other animal species don’t know that! They come and go in phases. If you’ve been reading my blog regularly you’ll have met:
- Mosquitoes and cockroaches – hell, but they do their own relentless thing all the year round!
- Flying ants with enormous wings
- Grasshoppers – or Nsenene – eat them or smoke them?
- Black Jumping Spiders – er… they’re black and they jump! Small and dead comical.
- Black ‘stumpy’ flies. A few millimetres long, they look like their wings have been clipped.
- Ants, o yes. And they’re still here.
- This week I’m noticing “Tim Burton’s” spiders – very very thin scraggly long legs and tiny bodies.
If you’ve ever wondered what my daily routine is like, here here we go, species by species:
I’m usually woken up by a Woodland Kingfisher …
In Uganda there are five or ten of every kind of bird… in the UK we have a starling and a kingfisher; in East Africa there are 15 types of kingfishers and 31 types of starling!
God forbid it’s an enormous (5ft / 1.5m) Marabou Stork flying overhead. They look so clumsy.
I throw open the curtains and out jumps a startled gecko.
Cock a doodle do… at 9 o’clock? The cockerel lives in the shanty town beyond the compound and likes to remind us VERY LOUDLY of his presence on an hourly basis.
As the day warms up a striking brown and bright blue Agama lizard wakes up and saunters along the top of the hedge. He’s ?? long, a mixture of beige and brown and the most vibrant blue. He’s a handsome fella.
Simpson killed another type of lizard (brown body with pale yellow and red belly). Simpson’s very intelligent but doesn’t know much about wildlife. He’s mad about his cows! (A pastoralist from the West, cows are a symbol of wealth and therefore highly valued). I told him off for killing the lizard. He was cornered on the toilet at the time (!) and he said he thought it was going to bite him. “Next time you come and get me” I said “and I’ll remove it for you.”
As the heat of the day builds, we don’t see much other than the odd (but large and brightly coloured) dragonfly skimming past.
And when the insects get too much, I just have to remind myself that without all this food we wouldn’t have this amazing diversity of birds, one of my passions.
I do sometimes feel the Old Testament is being reenacted in my house!
Which reminds me, toads, I often go to the sleep of them croaking very loudly after the rain.
At dusk the insects, birds and geckos reappear again. The geckos come out of their hiding spots, and stand sentry on the outside wall all night next to the security light. There are several in the house too. They TUT TUT at me loudly when I disturb them and I’m sorry that some were unwitting victims of the fumigation. They are my friends (we can forgive the fact I have black gecko droppings decorating my skirting boards!)