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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

Salad in the cupboard: Sprouting lentils

Store cupboard items can produce fresh salad ingredients within two days. That is the magic of seed germination – otherwise known as sprouting. Continue reading “Salad in the cupboard: Sprouting lentils”

Learning from animals in these times: Cats and music in a world where love survives

Starting at midnight tonight it is South Africa’s turn to go into lockdown to try to slow down the transmission of the Covid-19 coronavirus disease so that our fragile health services might be less overwhelmed. Our government is acting decisively in the face of unimaginable challenges and we are all wondering how we will cope. Continue reading “Learning from animals in these times: Cats and music in a world where love survives”

Finding resilience and fragility

Across the globe we are facing the uncertainty and challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Here too in South Africa a State of Disaster has been declared as the number of people who test positive for the virus increases by the day. Continue reading “Finding resilience and fragility”

The beautiful Cape chestnut: Host to the citrus swallowtail butterfly

An African tree renowned for its beauty is the Cape chestnut, which is a larval host plant of the citrus swallowtail butterfly that featured in last week’s post. We are fortunate to have one of these trees at the bottom of the garden and it is mature enough to flower each summer. Continue reading “The beautiful Cape chestnut: Host to the citrus swallowtail butterfly”

Citrus swallowtail butterflies, a caterpillar and an agama too

Although butterflies, including citrus swallowtails, are particularly prolific in autumn, I was surprised to see a small group of butterflies gathering together while they sucked up moisture on the lawn. Even more surprising – I was able to get some photos of them as they were keen on returning to the same patch as they flitted about. Continue reading “Citrus swallowtail butterflies, a caterpillar and an agama too”

Suburban owls: African wood owl and spotted eagle-owl

The African wood owls are particularly vocal in our neighbourhood. But apart from sometimes seeing a dark silhouette at dusk or a flash of flying feathers illuminated by a street light at night, we seldom catch even a glimpse of them. Continue reading “Suburban owls: African wood owl and spotted eagle-owl”

Fab beetle: Large, horned, colourful and unidentified

I had not seen such a large, colourful beetle before, and definitely not one with such an ornate y-shaped horn projecting from its face. This beetle is so large and distinctive, at least it should be easy to identify I thought. Continue reading “Fab beetle: Large, horned, colourful and unidentified”

Eagles in our neighbourhood: The crowned eagle

The crowned eagle, the third largest and the most powerful African eagle, has found a way to survive in close proximity to some urban areas in parts of eastern South Africa. Continue reading “Eagles in our neighbourhood: The crowned eagle”

Urban raptors: Long-crested eagle

It can be surprising to see raptors surviving in urban areas, but in circumstances where persecution is within limits and prey, shelter and nesting sites are sufficient, a number of species have adapted to living in close proximity to humans and built-up areas. Continue reading “Urban raptors: Long-crested eagle”

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