Pelican lagoon is a beautiful spot about 15 minutes away from Mwamba. There is a family group of elephants which loves to come down to drink and bathe and do the normal elephant activities involving water. The sight of them, especially the little ones, rolling in the mud, legs flailing in the air, always makes us grin and laugh. The sounds of elephant, standing knee deep in the water, pulling up the water grasses to eat add to the atmosphere; the swishing and splashing of water mingling with the bird calls and the whisper of the breeze.
African jacana, yellow-billed stork, saddle-billed stork, open-billed stork, Egyptian geese and lapwings all fish, swim, splash, stalk, wade, hop & trot around the edges and in the water. It is a favorite place for guides (I include caterers here as well!) and guests alike.
An African fish eagle perches prominently in one of the trees and every time it launches itself across the lagoon, the birds scramble to get out of the way. The other day we discovered why. The eagle attacked an adult yellow-billed stork, landing (unexpectedly from the storks point of view, I’m sure) on the stork’s back, gripping the head and a shoulder in its talons, trying to pin it down to kill it, while the stork tried valiantly to get it off, to make its escape.
The photos that our guests took show an epic struggle, with the stork attempting over & over to stand up, flapping its wings to try and dislodge the eagle while the eagle cling on, pecking at the back of the stork’s neck and head to kill it. Neither of these species are small birds (eagle wingspan is about 2 meters, stork about 1 ½ meter) and both were determined, in the stork’s case, desperate. And so the struggle continued until it ended in a completely unexpected way.
A large crocodile came out of the water and lunged at the birds across the mud, only to miss the first time; the second attempt was successful and unfortunately for the stork, the crocodile grabbed it. And took it
back into the water to eat it. The eagle had obviously not looked to this outcome and it flapped slowly back to its perch to sulk quietly and plan its next attempt at lunch.
Our guests came back to camp having seen something out of the ordinary. Our guide Meyam was just a excited, having never seen anything like it before.
As we all know, nothing in the bush is predictable.