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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Birds

Sunrise, dawn and times of transition

Conventionally, the rising of the sun indicates the promise of a new day Dawn brings a transition from darkness into light ranging from the subtle to the dramatic, a transition associated with awakening, hope and possibility. Continue reading “Sunrise, dawn and times of transition”

A feisty strategist: The Fork-tailed Drongo

Fork-tailed Drongos are active visitors to our garden. In the summer months they are at their most conspicuous, issuing their jumbled call while perching in trees, sallying forth to hawk insects.

In the 1985 edition of Roberts Birds of South Africa the calls of the Fork-tailed Drongo are rather delightfully described: “Song loud jumble of strident twanging, creaking and rasping sounds like unoiled wooden wagon wheels; imitates other birdcalls; call note single trumpetlike twank or twilling; vocal on moonlit nights”. Continue reading “A feisty strategist: The Fork-tailed Drongo”

Hadeda ibis: From wetlands to birdbaths

From being primarily associated with wetlands and woodlands the hadeda ibis has successfully expanded its range across much of the country even where it was formerly absent, and nowadays populations flourish even in urban areas. In suburbia it continues its association with water in the form of well-watered lawns, ponds and swimming pools. Continue reading “Hadeda ibis: From wetlands to birdbaths”

The cackling presence of the Green Wood-Hoopoe

Although striking in appearance and obvious because they are gregarious, it is usually the loud cackling that first alert one to the presence of Green Wood-Hoopoes in the garden. Continue reading “The cackling presence of the Green Wood-Hoopoe”

Holiday cheerfulness: The sunshine colours of yellow

There are two dictionary definitions of cheerfulness: first, the quality or state of being noticeably happy and optimistic; and second, the quality of causing happiness. Continue reading “Holiday cheerfulness: The sunshine colours of yellow”

The ongoing saga of the nesting Chorister Robin-chats

Chorister Robin-chats are in permanent residence in our garden, but until now we have not known where they nest. Continue reading “The ongoing saga of the nesting Chorister Robin-chats”

Wild and free canaries in the garden

This Forest Canary didn’t seem to notice me sitting with my camera in a corner of the garden, and it approached really close, even drinking from the nearby birdbath before seeing me and flitting up into a tree. Continue reading “Wild and free canaries in the garden”

The courtship dance of the endangered Grey Crowned Crane

A practical way of letting nature back in is through the activities of the Conservancy movement. There are nearly 100 Conservancies in KwaZulu-Natal, and in addition to their conservation work, many host activities enabling people to visit these special areas. For example, the Karkloof Conservancy in addition to hosting guided walks, has two bird hides in the wetland where three species of cranes may be seen.  Continue reading “The courtship dance of the endangered Grey Crowned Crane”

The forest-dwelling Lemon Dove

Because the Lemon Dove forages discreetly on the ground or in the shrubby understorey it is often overlooked. It occurs in forest habitats and also in gardens that are well wooded. Continue reading “The forest-dwelling Lemon Dove”

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