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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Birds

For the birds: Forest and woodland habitats

Our neighbourhood is at the foot of an escarpment that would have been part of a mosaic of Afro-montane forest and grassland prior to extensive exploitation of the forests for timber and the widespread introduction of intensive agriculture and the establishment of urban areas, which commenced with the colonial era.

Continue reading “For the birds: Forest and woodland habitats”

Winter solstice: Pivoting towards the sun

As winter solstice approaches, cold weather has enveloped the country – earlier than usual and colder too than in recent years. The cold front changed our sunny winter days to overcast, and last night brought some rain.

Continue reading “Winter solstice: Pivoting towards the sun”

At the waterhole: Mkhuze Game Reserve’s KuMasinga Hide

Mkhuze Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal has many reasons to draw visitors, but watching the animals visiting the reserve’s KuMasinga Hide watering point is always one of its highlights.

Continue reading “At the waterhole: Mkhuze Game Reserve’s KuMasinga Hide”

Home from home: Favourite campsites at the Central Kalahari Game Reserve

When away camping in the bush, each campsite becomes a transient home from home. Why we feel more at home at some campsites than at others is hard to say.

Continue reading “Home from home: Favourite campsites at the Central Kalahari Game Reserve”

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”

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”

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”

The hopefulness of a baby bird

First we saw one of the handsome parents, and then we saw the long-legged fluffball: a baby spotted dikkop. How special to see the caring and attention lavished on this precious little chick. Continue reading “The hopefulness of a baby bird”

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