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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

Journeying from freshwater pans to garden pond

One of the most beautiful fresh water pans in the northern Zululand region (Maputoland) of KwaZulu-Natal is the Inyamiti Pan in Ndumo Game Reserve.  The pan is fringed by fever trees with their pale yellow bark reflecting in the water, especially in summer when the water level is high.

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Going with the flow: Some southern African rivers and wetlands

The freshwater biome can be categorized into lakes, streams and wetlands, and all are interconnected. We depend utterly on freshwater systems that globally comprise only 0.8% of all the water on the planet and cover only 1/5 of the Earth’s surface.

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Looking out to sea: The shoreline, the estuaries and the coral reefs

Aquatic biomes include both freshwater and marine biomes. The marine biome is divided into three main ecosystems: the oceans, coral reefs and estuaries. South Africa has a coastline that is over 3000 kilometres in length and it features coral reefs on its eastern coastline and numerous estuaries along its length.

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Restoring our planet: Showcasing South Africa’s biomes

Today is Earth Day and the theme for 2021 is Restore Our Earth. Three days (20-23 April 2021) of live streaming events connected to the Earth Day campaign can be found here. In this post I highlight South Africa’s major biomes to draw attention to the diversity that, although diminishing, we still have.

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Here’s looking at you: Some special encounters with African wildlife

Even in conservation areas, wild animals do not always tolerate the presence of approaching vehicles or people on foot. Some are nervous and dash off immediately and others may hesitate before deciding to turn away. But happily many do grant us the privilege of a calm encounter, even continuing as they were before, ignoring intruding visitors or even showing some signs of curiosity. In some ways it’s a shame to view such wild animals mostly through the lens of a camera, but for better or worse here is a random collection of photographs that are special to me.

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Tiny spiny flower mantid nymphs hunting in autumn flowers

While watching a solitary bee feeding on nectar in basil flowers in the herb patch a few weeks ago, I noticed a minute spiny flower mantid nestled down on one of the flower spikes with its spiny abdomen curled up over its back.

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Flower picks from the garden

I am saying it with flowers this week – picks from our garden over the past year or so. The header image is of the forest bell-bush, commonly referred to by its beautiful botanical name Mackaya bella. Like many of the plants featured in this post it is endemic to southern Africa.

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Seasons change: Reflections after the equinox

The recent equinox marked a significant change from a very hot and rain-free couple of weeks to relatively cool conditions, and rain is forecast every day for the next ten days at least. This sudden change had me reflecting on the seasons and how they are represented in our neck of the woods.

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Serendipity, scrutiny and surprises in the garden

Alliteration always amuses me, hence the headline – and it does describe some recent ambles around the garden. Peering as I go, I am sometimes amazed at what I come across – often in plain sight but so easy to overlook.

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