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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Creatures

Home and away: From near to far

We are about to go away on holiday – the first time since before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our destination is Kruger National Park, which we have not visited since as far back as the 1980s.

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A family of yellow mongooses

This week we move further afield and back in time as I recall a summer morning when we spent an hour or so watching a family of yellow mongooses on the Savuti plains in the south west of Botswana’s Chobe National Park.

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Watching spiny flower mantids grow

From March to July this year we were able to observe several spiny flower mantid nymphs in the basil bush in our herb garden. The basil bush was their home and hunting ground for four months as they developed towards adulthood.

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Elephant rumbles

When I was a child growing up in Kwa-Zulu Natal, elephants had not yet been introduced into our provincial parks, and so apart from sighting elephants on two brief trips to Kruger National Park, it was only in the early 1990s on slightly more extended trips to Botswana that we spent more time observing elephants – usually from our vehicle but sometimes too as they walked by, or even into, our camping site.

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Just saying hi!

This week things have got a bit hectic so I am just saying hi and postponing the post on elephant communication until next week.

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Paying tribute to elephants

I have been thinking about elephants after last week’s post that mentioned the two pairs of elephant tusks framing the South African national Coat of Arms. In this national emblem elephants are seen to symbolise “wisdom, strength, moderation and eternity”, and by coincidence today is World Elephant Day.

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Meanwhile back in the garden: Images of early winter

Shorter days and cooler nights bring changes as the daytime temperatures vary between hot and mild. With the dryer air the sunshine has a golden clarity enhancing the colourful winter flowers and mellow berries, and brightening the visiting birds and insects in the garden.

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Here’s looking at you: Some special encounters with African wildlife

Even in conservation areas, wild animals do not always tolerate the presence of approaching vehicles or people on foot. Some are nervous and dash off immediately and others may hesitate before deciding to turn away. But happily many do grant us the privilege of a calm encounter, even continuing as they were before, ignoring intruding visitors or even showing some signs of curiosity. In some ways it’s a shame to view such wild animals mostly through the lens of a camera, but for better or worse here is a random collection of photographs that are special to me.

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Tiny spiny flower mantid nymphs hunting in autumn flowers

While watching a solitary bee feeding on nectar in basil flowers in the herb patch a few weeks ago, I noticed a minute spiny flower mantid nestled down on one of the flower spikes with its spiny abdomen curled up over its back.

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