About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on More Questions Than Answers

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Nature is very complex. I don’t think.we will ever really understand it. That is probably what makes asking and looking for answers so appealing.

Senior Digital Ranger

Ah, James, you are the best: a great writer, a great story teller, a great photographer, a great philosopher. How lucky Londolozi is to have on its team people like you. And how lucky for the rest of us that you share your thoughts. Thanks a million.

James, I loved all the photos, especially one of the stars, and the Zebras🤗

Nature is fascinating for sure! We will never have all the answers, will we???

Terrific post and beautiful sentiments James!

Senior Digital Ranger

Thank you James for your deep thinking and question-posing piece on the cuckoo. Indeed it makes one question the who, where, what, when of all our individual lives along with the bigger universal lives of nature and beyond. Like a small child who always asks why, your piece opens the option to ask why about everything and not just accept the ‘because I say so’ answer.
My eyes are re-opened to delve deeper and ask why.
Thank you.

Digital Ranger

We have cuckoos here in Great Britain and Ireland from April through to June. They are quite ruthless about laying their eggs in the nests of other species. We hear them making their cuckoo noise loudly. The baby cuckoo grows to a much larger size than some of the other chicks & the parents are worn out trying to feed it! Shame!

Hi James, I have given up asking the questions of Nature. It is. Everything that happens in Nature, exclusive of Homo Sapiens, happens to maintain equilibrium. I have a question for you: How do you know that Cuckoo does not procreate at its destination and then return to Londolozi? If it does, where does its progeny go to in Southern Africa to procreate and return to its point of origin? Then, where….? Yes, the question has no end.
In Hwange in 1959, we came up behind a tailback. In Hwange? you ask. Yes. As the cars moved along very slowly we came up to its attention. A leopard walking along the dirt track beside the tarred road. What was the leopard thinking? Perhaps, “Chicken!”

What wonderful questions and ideas you are asking and presenting, James. I feel exactly the same towards nature. It is full of wonders and unanswered questions and I would like to ask more and more. Only today I went on a long walk with a friend through a beautiful area of forest and ponds. And we were discussing all the wonders and animals of that pretty place. And though she and her husband used to do some research on Galapagos and in Tansania she also had a lot of questions, like me. And we wondering about amazing nature.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to tell you how much I love your photos. The Klaas’ cuckoo is such a pretty bird!

One flip answer…they, that is all cuckoo species, know instinctly who they are.

Much of what happens in nature will forever leave us baffled.

That Cuckoo narrative is really something. My question is how do they know who to mate with having never been with their own kind!

Quite a conundrum, I see. And, those are really good questions. Maybe ‘instinct’ is not in play here?
What are the 2 birds in your first photo? That is a really good picture. We have a parasitic brooder in the brown-headed cowbird. I despise them. I read a story about how they were responsible for the decrease in a warbler species in Michigan, USA. When the cowbirds were eradicated, the warblers began to multiply again. So, when does one know to take those kinds of actions? It amazes me how the numbers could ever have stayed the same before mankind was around to destroy enough environment to have to become the manager of these birds’ lives. Why don’t the cuckoos far outnumber the rest of the birds and why haven’t the host birds developed elaborate schemes to defend against parasitism? I see I went down the rabbit hole… lol

Senior Digital Ranger

This is such an interesting blog James and a great lesson about continuing awareness. Keep asking those questions, enjoy the debates and thanks for sharing with us all!

Great article James … thanks for this reflection! I’m also fascinated by the parasitic relationship of certain birds and different migratory patterns … so much more to read & learn about birds!

Senior Digital Ranger

Brood parasites are very interesting.

I hear you James ! I’m not sure if you read the article regarding ‘Onon, the common cuckoo who surprised and impressed scientists with his incredible flight from Zambia back to Mongolia? He flew 12,000km, crossing 16 countries at average speed of 60km per hr. As a land bird that’s quite remarkable ! The challenge connecting with nature today is ever more acute than in the past primarily because of the growing disconnect between people and the natural world. Whilst it is certainly the case that human pressure has impacted negatively on nature in Malta, the country still has a rich biodiversity which is disproportionately important when compared to the islands size. I find myself questioning so much …but mostly the annual migration of bird life that passes through Malta still has me asking ‘how’ as their habits change to accommodate our encroachment on their lives.

So true……….. makes for great evenings ………..

Amazing bird shots!

You are turning into an idealist always thought you are more materialist

The learning never stops…..so the questions should not stop either.

Hi James..thanks for your in depth thoughts on cuckoos….yes so fascinating and yet the answers are still so elusive to even the most brilliant and educated minds.. think you’re absolutely right…nature is complex and there seems to be a synergy and web of connections with regard to all aspects of it….but as you say, we have to keep endeavouring to understand it….that way it helps give us a deeper appreciation and love of it…..always enjoy your blogs and Londolozi videos, thanks again James…..

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