Our hostess, Julia escorts us on an early morning ‘sounds’ walk. We are off by 6:15 or so and Julia is feeding us information about the features of the forest. It isn’t long before she says, “That’s the call of the Great Blue Turaco!” This is a large metallic blue bird that this area is known for. Julia gestures to a nearby tree just off the road. She instructs, “Watch, one will call another will answer, then one of them will move to another tree.”A moment later we see our big bird, full wing span and distinctive crest make its short trek to a nearby tree. It’s still too dim to make out the color but we know it’s our bird by the call and crest.
As we turn into a path off the main road, Julia points out a tiny toad stool. A few more steps and our soft conversation disturb some Colobus monkeys overheard and then begin jumping from tree top to tree top.
I turn to go back as the others go on. This time alone is the time I can really hear the forest. Birds I can’t name crisscross the road. I stop to take a photo of a flower and listen to a bird whistle that sounds like a person starting to whistle a tune. I freeze. I want to hear it again but I can’t even bring myself to try to imitate it. I don’t want to chase it away. I wait. It whistles again, less confident itself. I press on.
Behind me is such a deep and loud croaking sound that I imagine a frog the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. But I remember Julia saying that the Blue Monkeys make that croaking. I turn to see if they are following me. I can’t see anything there, thankfully. This type is the more aggressive ones and I had a couple of up close encounters with them during our stay. They must have helped coin the British saying, “cheeky monkey” since they are fairly bold about coming in the house, etc.
In the afternoon I try to finish a water color painting I’ve started on an earlier day of a very large tree in the garden of Rondo. My friends think it’s pretty good but my mother wouldn’t be impressed. Not that she’d discourage me from continuing to practice and probably give me a few pointers – mostly on lighting.
It’s a wonderful place and so restful but it will be good to get back home too. We travel back by bus the following morning and it takes us all day to get home. We get to see the landscape of Kenya on the way. We agree the tea fields are probably the most beautiful carpet of green the countryside wears. Some places we pass are all tea fields as far as the eye can see.