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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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naturebackin

Sharing insights and celebrating the creatures and plants that inhabit and enrich suburban spaces, with images mostly from my own garden in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in South Africa and sometimes from further afield.

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”

Flowers across the spectrum of the rainbow

Are all the colours of the rainbow reflected in the flowers in the garden? I expected that green flowers would be the hardest to find, but I was wrong. Continue reading “Flowers across the spectrum of the rainbow”

How the colourful koppie foam grasshopper sheds its skin

This summer I had the chance to watch nymphs of the koppie foam grasshoppers moulting their exoskeletons. I have been keeping an eye on the juvenile grasshoppers as they congregated in greater numbers this season than usual. Continue reading “How the colourful koppie foam grasshopper sheds its skin”

Wild gardenia: At home in forests and gardens

With attractive flowers, heady scent, glossy leaves and unusual fruit, it is perhaps surprising that the wild gardenia is not more commonly used as a garden staple. It also makes a good container plant and it does well as a flowering bonsai plant. Continue reading “Wild gardenia: At home in forests and gardens”

Likeable lizards: Striped skinks in the garden

Mostly I notice skinks when they are basking in the sun, but last week I watched one on a hunting expedition in the herb patch and understood what focused little predators they really are. Continue reading “Likeable lizards: Striped skinks in the garden”

Reasons to be cheerful part 1: Ella the rescue cat

Starting off 2020 with a good news story about the lovely Ella, one of our rescue cats, seems appropriate enough. I had considered several other ideas, from baby animals in general to flower portraits taken during 2019, but settled on the story of Ella.

Continue reading “Reasons to be cheerful part 1: Ella the rescue cat”

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