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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Creatures

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”

Camdeboo National Park: Resilience amidst desolation in the Karoo

Camdeboo National Park is best known for Desolation Valley with its panoramic viewpoints where tall columns of volcanic rock tower up to 120 m high over the plains of Camdeboo below. The aridity of the region gave rise to the name Desolation Valley. It is even more desolate now in the current drought emergency. Continue reading “Camdeboo National Park: Resilience amidst desolation in the Karoo”

Wild Rescue Nature Reserve: Step out in a peaceful floral kingdom of wonders

At Wild Rescue Wildlife Sanctuary and Nature Reserve, we had the pleasure of staying in a beautiful stone-walled thatched cottage built in the Cape style. We had the opportunity to walk along narrow trails through intriguing vegetation in the reserve, which is classified as a Critical Biodiversity Area. Because of its variety of contrasting soil types, all the major plant communities of the Agulhas coastal plain can be found in close proximity in the 165-hectare nature reserve. Continue reading “Wild Rescue Nature Reserve: Step out in a peaceful floral kingdom of wonders”

Food for birds and wildlife: Planting for heat and drought

In a hot dry spring many birds and animals are struggling to survive even here in suburbia. However, gardens large and small can help wildlife survive in difficult circumstances, especially when gardens are planted with indigenous (native) plants that provide food and shelter. Continue reading “Food for birds and wildlife: Planting for heat and drought”

Well rounded: Monochrome curves in the garden

Curves, rounds and circles are numerous in nature and are reflected in these photos taken in our garden over a period of time. The monochrome serves to emphasise the geometry of the shapes. Continue reading “Well rounded: Monochrome curves in the garden”

Hovering with intent: Tangle-veined Flies and the art of nectaring

Long-nosed Tangle-veined Flies need to be accurate on the wing when hovering to line up the long proboscis to suck nectar from tubular flowers. These amazing flies are interesting to watch and tricky to photograph. Continue reading “Hovering with intent: Tangle-veined Flies and the art of nectaring”

The intertidal zone: Pooled assets

Receding waters at low tide reveal sea life in the lee of onshore reefs and in shallow rock pools. Snorkeling along reefs in even shallow water reveals a dazzling display, and rock pools too provide insights into subaquatic worlds within worlds. Continue reading “The intertidal zone: Pooled assets”

Surprises and encouragements: Learning to see

A process of discovery is available to us if we learn to see what we usually overlook. But what we discover depends more on our own personal filters than on what we think we are looking at. Continue reading “Surprises and encouragements: Learning to see”

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