By Leigh Kemp
The second category is the 'very interested in birds but not to obsession extent category'. They can show flashes of strangeness but in general are a pretty harmless breed. I was woken by a member of staff at 4.00 am one morning and told that a guest was walking around the camp. I got dressed in a hurry and went searching for the wanderer, thinking that it was the effects of the malaria drug. After a short search I found the lady off in the trees staring up into the top branches.
She was one of a group of Japanese guests who were due to leave that day. With a sense of relief I discovered that she was not suffering any loss of sanity but was only looking for night jars.
She desperately wanted to see one before returning home and as this was her last night in Africa she figured it was now or never. My relief turned to concern when I found out that she had been walking around since 2.00 am, oblivious of the obvious dangers.
I guided a number of Japanese groups on safaris in Botswana and with this came an appreciation for politeness. I can recall the first group I guided because it was the first time I really heard the twisting of the r's and the l's in the way many of them speak English.
Early in the trip we saw one of Botswana's characteristic birds and at the question, 'Mr Leigh what is that beautiful bird?' I looked up and a slow smile spread across my face. This was it! This was the ultimate r and l word. It was the "rirac breasted rorrer" - or, lilac breasted roller!
I feel I need to add another group of birders. There are those who seem to 'hate birds and birders with an all consuming passion'. They have the view that birders waste their valuable safari time by stopping at the smallest movement in a tree or bush. Their slogan is along the old cliché lines, 'The only good bird is a dead bird.'