The miracle of life in the bush...What a wonder!


And, there she was, Ms. Bushbuck, on the bottom step of our veranda with her precious newborn, proudly showing her off.
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
This newspaper article appeared in yesterday's local paper, definitely befitting a "Sighting of the Day in the Bush!
It's 4:30 pm and we just returned from Kruger National Park after an exciting and a harrowing day which we'll share in tomorrow's post.  All I can say is...WoW!

We recognized this mom based on her "dots" formation and how readily she approached us.  She's been visiting us every day over the past several weeks.
As for today's story, I wished I'd have prepared and posted it prior to leaving for Kruger since now as the evening wafts in, I'm a little bit off-kilter by writing this late in the day. 
When Tom and I discussed whether we'd go to Jabula for dinner tonight or stay in, get the post done and cook something easy for dinner, we opted for the later.  After sitting in the car for hours, the thought of getting ready to go out after I finish here isn't particularly appealing.
The baby wasn't quite sure what to do when she had never seen a pellet before.   She didn't partake, only watching her mom take them from my hand.


As we're sitting on the veranda, lightning, and thunder filling the skies above us, after it finally cooled after days of outrageous heat, we're content, especially after we came "home" to nine kudus, four warthogs and one male bushbuck all waiting for us. 
Now, for today's little story...a story of love and a wonderment...a story of nature at it's finest for us humble animal lovers who can't miss an opportunity to share a tender story of a birth, a life, and devotion.
She was curious as to what was transpiring and showed no fear.

It all began about three weeks ago (we've been here almost five weeks), when the most beautiful and friendly female bushbuck came into the yard to introduce herself.  Keeping in mind, most of the animals in Marloth Park of a species are hard to differentiate one from another when they often have almost identical markings and features.
But, this lovely young lady has some specific "polka dots" on her body that has made it easy for us to know it was her each time she's come to visit over these many weeks.
Another special aspect to "Ms. Bushbuck" has been her willingness and eagerness to eat the pellets from my hand even more readily than taking those we've tossed onto the ground, as we do for most species.  She lifts her head and makes eye contact with me as if asking, "Will you feed me?"  How can I possibly turn her down?
The baby hung around when we fed mom the pellets but soon lost interest and wandered a few meters away.

Unlike some female animals, she welcomes Tom equally and doesn't skitter away when he comes close.  She relates to him feeding her pellets as well but not quite as up close and personal as I do. 
Several times each day, she's stopped by and each time, we've both smiles at one another, happy to see her return.  About a week ago, we noticed she's stopped by at around the same time each early evening while we sit on the veranda winding down for the day with a glass of iced tea, wine or beer (for Tom).
Mom stopped eating to check on the whereabouts of her infant.

I feed her a few pellets which she accepts gingerly but without the usual enthusiasm, she exhibits during daylight hours.  After a few handfuls, she moseys off to the same spot in the bush in our yard where she settles in for the night, nestling into what appears to be the same spot each night, almost as if she's built a comfy spot to sleep.
Once darkness falls we could no longer see her there but we've sensed she still is.  We haven't wanted to startle her by taking a light out there to check.  In the morning, when we're finally outdoors by 6:00 and 6:30 am, she's be standing near the veranda waiting for us to come out.
By 9:00 or 10:00 am, she returns to see us, enthused for more pellets and a sip of water from the cement pond in the yard, not far from where she nestles at night.
We were thrilled and surprised to see Ms. Bushbuck returned with her tiny newborn.

One morning, while I was getting ready for the day, Tom was outside with her, feeding her pellets.  The warthogs tried to drive her away.  She nestled in, close to Tom's legs while he sat the edge of the veranda, looking for protection from the aggressiveness of the warthogs.  He didn't hesitate to make her feel safe.
Oftentimes, she returns a few more times during the day, only to repeat this same pattern in the evening over the past week.  We simply assumed she's become comfortable with us and sleeps nearby, most likely up and about in the mornings long before us.
Lo and behold, on Wednesday night, we never saw her return for the night but assumed we'd see her again soon.  Last night, after a 24-hour absence, she returned but this time...she wasn't alone...our hearts melted...at her side was the tiniest and I mean tiniest...little bushbuck we've ever seen.
At first, as they approached, the baby was a little hesitant.  But, mom, knowing she needed to nurse, wanted all the sustenance she could get.  She ate her fair share of pellets.

Sure, we can make all the assumptions we'd like about wildlife and their patterns and behavior.  And most times, we'd be wrong.  But, somehow, this time, we feel confident we are right.  Ms. Bushbuck returned to show us her precious tiny newborn.
Of course, we oohed and aahed over her shy baby, which undoubtedly she'd given birth to in that 24-hour time span we hadn't seen her and her response was to enthusiastically accept countless handfuls of pellets from me, all the while keeping a watchful eye on her little bundle of joy.
Periodically, the baby would wander a few meters away but mom never failed to take note and gather her baby back into the fold.  Together, they stayed with us for hours, mom nibbling, baby suckling and us, smiling from ear to ear.
She's a proud and happy mom, very young herself.

Tonight, it's blissfully raining in buckets and we don't expect to see them in this downpour.  But I assure you, we have no doubt, they'll return while we have the joyous opportunity to watch this little one grow and this loving mom nurture her along the way. 

Safari luck?  Perhaps.  Or, maybe we happen to be in the right place at the right time.  However, in our heart of hearts we'd like to believe that somehow, just somehow, our love of nature has put us in these divine situations because we belong here.
Thank you, dear readers, for sharing this magical place with us.  We couldn't be more appreciative and humbled. 
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Photo from one year ago today, March 16, 2017:
The Esplanade, a walkway along the shore in Circular Quay in Sydney, Australia.  For more photos, please click here.

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