After spending the morning with Douglas Groves and his elephants, we arrived at our lunch spot to find this elegantly set picnic table with a crisp white tablecloth and napkins. If you look closely, or click on the photo, you can see the elephants in the background.
While we waited for the elephants to catch up with us, I used the opportunity to photograph the birds that shared their space with us. I think they tolerated us knowing that crumbs were on their way.
Even though Zazu of "The Lion King" is a red-billed hornbill and the one we saw was yellow-billed (opening photo), the similarity was so striking that I couldn't help but expect a Morning Report à la Zazu:
I think this Red-billed Francolin is a prime candidate to become a Disney character because the yellow ring around the eye makes this bird look like he has a perpetually perplexed look on his face.
Red-billed Francolin (Francolinus adspersus)
I heard the rapid "rat-tat-tat" long before I located this Cardinal Woodpecker at the top of a very tall tree stump.
Cardinal Woodpecker (Dendropicos fuscescens)
When Douglas Groves arrived, he placed some exotic African fruits on the table:
and he even showed us some elephant teeth:
We enjoyed a delicious lunch while the elephants enjoyed more special treats of fruits and vegetables, their reward for patiently posing for photographs with every party at the picnic table.
After lunch, the elephants continued their ambassadorship by giving each and every one of us a great big elephant trunk kiss on our cheeks. It was impossible not to flinch. The trunk was wetter, slimier, and hairier than I imagined.
Slimy or not, it was one of the most memorable send-offs I have ever received.