Lilac displays at dead tree bay near Puku Flats

Unusual title for a post – yes. It was an unusual sighting of three Lilac -breasted Rollers on and around a dead tree trunk  in the Chobe river down at Puku Flats.

“To the scientist Nature is a storehouse of facts, laws, processes; to the artist she is a storehouse of pictures; to the poet she is a storehouse of images, fancies, a source of inspiration; to the moralist she is a storehouse of precepts and parables; to all she may be a source of knowledge and joy”.
John Burroughs

It was mid-morning and we had been watching some buffalo wallowing in the mud and a pair of Yellow-billed Storks fighting over a small section of the inlet in the river. We decided to start back to the Lodge for breakfast when we saw three Lilac-breasted Rollers flying around a dead tree in a bay at Puku Flats. There were three Lilac-breasted Rollers flying around the dead tree with one or two of them landing and perching for a short while, displaying with wings spread and calling with the urgency of upset lovers.

Chobe AM 10-Aug-14 1606A

In between the ‘dead tree’ theatrics, we watched spectacular rolling displays, which is where they get their name.

Chobe AM 10-Aug-14 1593A

One Roller, probably a male, flew to the dead tree with a small offering of ‘Cuisses de Grenouille’ to his mate.

Chobe AM 10-Aug-14 1648

“. . the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race”.
 Rachel Carson

Chobe AM 10-Aug-14 1654AA

A little tenderising required.

Chobe AM 10-Aug-14 1696

And then he made his offering with the panache of an exotic dancer.

Chobe AM 10-Aug-14 1705

The would be suitor had no such offering but winged it with a hearty song.

Chobe AM 10-Aug-14 1742

The male in the middle was flanked by an already involved pair.

Chobe AM 10-Aug-14 1772

He gave it his best shot but it was not to be.

Chobe AM 10-Aug-14 1816

And off he flew into the big bright blue.

Chobe AM 10-Aug-14 1627

It was very unusual to see this type of display. It was noisy, flamboyant and dramatic. It felt like we were watching an intense love story being enacted on the ‘dead tree’ stage. It was thrilling to watch nature at her dramatic, colourful best.

“As long as men inquire, they will find opportunities to know more upon these topics than those who have gone before them, so inexhaustibly rich is nature in the innermost diversity of her treasures of beauty, order and intelligence”.
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz

Explore, seek to understand, marvel at its inter-connectedness and let it be.

Have fun,


8 thoughts on “Lilac displays at dead tree bay near Puku Flats

  1. Thanks so much Mike. Viewing these over breakfast this morning was a wonderful way to start my day. Excellent!

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