I’ve spend the last few days of Wild June in Morocco, chasing a few wild birds, so apologies for the break in transmission. I was travelling with my old mate Rod Tether of the travel organisation Natural High, and he told me this story.
He worked for 12 years in North Luangwa National Park in Zambia, a wild and glorious place. Some of the finest birds you could ever see are a daily pleasure: lilac-breasted roller, all iridescent blues, the cherryade colour of carmine bee-eaters, in hundreds and sometimes thousands, the softly bugling crowds of crowned crane; in the wet season the red bishop shines out like a live coal and the male paradise whydah somehow manages to fly with a tail longer than himself –
And on and on and on…
Extravagances beyond our imaginings are a matter of routine. People come to see the big mammals and go home birders. This is a place to inspire minds and change lives… as it changed mine…
The food – always amazingly good – is cooked in open-air kitchens beneath thatched shades. Here the cooks bake bread daily in a tin buried beneath the fire and pull vast sticky cakes from the same unlikely place.
One day in camp the kitchen staff called Rod. Come and see – come and see! We have a bird in the kitchen – and it is the most beautiful bird we have veer seen!
They were entranced, in awe, knocked sideways by loveliness.
Rod hurried to the kitchen. He had no trouble identifying the beautiful bird, even though it was the first time this species had been recorded in the North Luangwa National Park.