Published: February 3rd 2012December 19th 2011
I had heard the bubbling numerous times during the rainy season. It was always came from the same spot. At the time, turtles were a common sight, so I had just assumed this was another turtle my presence had driven into the water. A few days ago I discovered otherwise.
On this day I thought I spotted a Sun Lark and went for a closer look. By now rainy season has been a thing of the past for almost 2 months and the puddle that brought in so many wetland birds has finally dried up. Namaqua Doves, Chestnut-backed Sparrow Larks, and Cinnamon-breasted Rock Buntings have taken the place of Black-headed Herons, Hamerkops, and Lilly-trotters.
Indeed it was a Sun Lark, the first I had seen of the month, so I make a note in my notepad. I was in “bird-brain mode” where my mind registers any and all bird sounds and movements and little of anything else. That stated, I wasn't tuned in to be on the lookout for giant lizards. I watched the Sun Lark for a bit, committing its features and body language to memory when a monitor lizard, 3-feet at least, darted below my feet. I
was standing on a ledge that once was the shoreline of the wetland puddle. I realized then that the many times I had heard bubbling, it was not a turtle, but a monitor lizard. They prefer digging in mud or termite mounds for their dens, the ground is softer that way.
It is not the first I have seen, but it has become a reliable friend. I have been out birding several days since, and he is still there, at the entrance keeping watch and, assuming the bubbles were his, he has been there for at least 3 or 4 months.