This young Vervet monkey is part of a group enjoying early morning winter sunshine while eating berries from the Pigeonwood (Trema orientalis) tree. I like how the youngster is taking advantage of a wild banana (Strelizia nicolai) leaf as a partial hammock.

Most weeks it turns out that something to post about on naturebackin presents itself, even if just in the nick of time. But this week when looking through photos taken in the garden this year, I thought I would pick out a few photos taken during autumn and winter to make a change from exploring a single topic.


One of the winter-flowering aloes. The flower head is long lasting and provides nectar and pollen to insects and birds. The flowers at the lower end are starting to go to seed. This plant has one flower stem and inflorescence only. I thought I’d kept a note of its name – but it seems I didn’t!

Close-up of leaves and thorns of Aloe cooperi, South Africa

 Aloe leaves and thorns are there to be photographed all year round. These are leaves and a dry flower stem of the summer flowering Aloe cooperi

Wild fungi in a garden in South Africa

Photographed in May when the last rains of the season fell, these small mushrooms, which sprout for only a few days, are fed by a decaying tree root. We have had no rain at all during June and July and unusually high temperatures this winter, so now there are no mushrooms to be seen and any bract fungi that are still evident are desiccated


A perching Brownhooded Kingfisher and graceful tree branch in silhouette. I think that this photo looks vaguely Japanese in character though I can’t say why. The Brownhooded Kingfisher is conspicuous in the garden all year round. For a previous post featuring this kingfisher catching crickets see here


Distasteful to most birds, this is an acraea butterfly in its larval/caterpillar stage

Pupa-Blood-red-Acaea butterfly

 A photograph of a pupa of the same butterfly, most likely the Blood-red Acraea. The pupa was very exposed on a leaf of a shrub neighbouring the African Dog Rose, which is the larval host plant of this butterfly. I went to check on it most days hoping to see the butterfly emerging when the time was right. But one morning all I found was a short stump still attached to the leaf. The rest had evidently been snapped off and eaten, most likely by a visiting cuckoo


 And here is a rather quirky shot of a Fork-tailed Drongo catching insects on the wing. It is too far away for detail, but I like the timing and the outstretched foot as the bird zones in to snap up an insect


I seldom see ants as large as this one in our garden. I would guess that this one is between 5 and 10 mm in length. It is a handsome long-legged ant. Perhaps it is one of the formicine ants?


A honey bee seeking food at a Bird of Paradise (Strelizia reginae), which flowers well into the winter months


A Bird of Paradise glowing in the winter sunshine

Young Vervet monkey eating dry grass roots, KwaZulu-Natal

 The dry months of winter can make subsistence hard for many creatures, including Vervet monkeys. Sitting in the crook of a small Fever Tree, this young monkey eats the roots of grasses that I had dug out of a flowerbed a few days before


A ladybird visiting a Wild Dagga (Leonotis leonurus) plant, which also flowers well from autumn into the months of winter

Kniphofia praecox and honey bee

Another autumn-into-winter flowering plant is this Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia praecox). It is a definite favourite with honeybees 


A Hadeda Ibis sunbathing in the winter sunshine shows off the iridescent colours in its feathers. For more on birds and other creatures sunbathing in our garden see here and here


In imitation of real birds these ducks made from scrap metal are sunbathing next to the pond late one winter afternoon


This young Southern Tree Agama is also soaking up some winter sunshine while camouflaged on the trunk of a tree  

Dietes grandiflora in suburban garden, South Africa

A Wild Iris (Dietes grandiflora), with some flowers having already gone to seed, illuminated by the rays of the late afternoon sun


 This last photo features seedheads of the Forest Pink Hibiscus (Hibiscus pedunculatus) with the yellow and green tones of the trunk of a Fever Tree (Vachellia xanthophloea formerly Acacia xanthophloea) as background. Golden-infused tones are very much the colours of our dry winter months

Posted by Carol

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