There is a saying that if you sit at a waterhole Africa comes to you. One day this last trip we spent five hours at a busy pan much of it watching National Geographic live in the form of a running battle between a pair of Blacksmith Lapwings and a Slender Mongoose. The lapwings had a small chick which spent the day patrolling the edge of the water on spindly legs constantly under the watchful gaze of its parents. If it wasn’t for its incessant chirping which started to become annoying after a few hours it would have been a nice peaceful wild family scene.
As the sun got higher and the temperature edged towards thirty degrees C the tempo of wildlife coming down to drink increased. One of the more interesting animals to appear was a Slender Mongoose that was at first very hesitant to come out in the open. After surveying the scene from an anthill for quite a while it decided to make a dash for the water not too far away from where we were sitting.
This is when lapwing hell broke loose. Even though the chick was hundreds of meters away on the other side of the pan the two adult plovers decided the mongoose was a threat and decided to see him off. Its dash down to the water for a drink was a dash back into the bush without sating its thirst. Over the next few hours it tried again and again to get down to the water, each time emerging from a completely different spot and each time it was subjected to Ariel bombardment and harassment.
The lapwings became so agitated and paranoid they even dive bombed some baboons who, like the mongoose were miles from the chick. Like the mongoose the baboons could not figure out what it was that they had done to upset the lapwings and it was amusing to see them nervously having a drink while watching the water for crocodiles and at the same time watching out for the angry birds.
Unfortunately, whilst we had a good view of the scene, most of the best dive bomb action took place quite far away from where we were parked resulting in less than perfect shots. But it was an interesting scene to watch.