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letting nature back in

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Creatures

Butterflies of the Great Thirstland

The Kgalagadi desert’s butterflies featured in this post resonate with two posts from last year reflecting on resilience and fragility (symbolised by desert flowers) and the need for hope (symbolised by butterflies). It is just over a year since South Africa recorded its first confirmed case of Covid-19 and those posts were in response to the burgeoning uncertainty and fear as the pandemic’s inexorable infection rates escalated across the world.

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Befriending solitary bees

Recently I spotted a lovely bee flitting about as it fed from small anthericum flowers in the garden.  Remarkably my camera was handy and I managed to snap a few photos. In an unusual turn of events, the bee obligingly stopped to preen allowing me to get a closer look.

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Singing cicadas seen at last

So loud and so tantalizingly near, cicadas tend to fall silent when approached, and their camouflage colours make them hard to see. But recently I was in luck as after hearing a faint cicada-like squeak from a tree, I stood still and scanned the stems of the tree methodically and then suddenly several cicadas became surprisingly obvious.

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Southern tree agama ambush hunting and eating ants

They may be tiny but they are plentiful, and ants make up a significant part of the diet of southern tree agamas. For agamas, catching ants seems relatively easy: find an ant pathway and waylay the passing ants. Simply pick them out one at a time using the tongue to scoop and swallow.

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Phoning home: Lockdown nature photos on my phone

As it is easy to carry tucked into a pocket, having my phone with me allows me to be impulsive and experiment with photographing plants and creatures that catch my eye when I am out in the garden.

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Lockdown walking in the woodland, or rather plantation

Various lockdown permutations since March last year have affected when and where we could walk, but current restrictions allow walking and exercising outdoors so long as protocols are followed. Fortunately for us, we have an easily accessible area for outdoor walking as our suburb is skirted by a commercial plantation.

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On the eve of a New Year

Today I remember the New Year’s Eve that we spent in remote Linyanti in Botswana’s Chobe National Park, as we anticipated the first year of this millennium. How different things are now.

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Remembering another solitary Christmas: Botswana, December 1999

There was a time when we wished for solitary Christmases when we had to take our holidays over Christmas and we chose to be away in remote places. But of course this year, a solitary Christmas is thrust upon us. Not having a choice is a different matter, and for many of us it is distressing or at the very least disappointing not to be with family and friends over the festive season.

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Horsewood: Slender tree of the forest margins

Despite its pretty spring flowers and its summer fruits, the horsewood is known more for the smell associated with its crushed leaves than for its attractive appearance. In South Africa it is commonly referred to by its Afrikaans name, perdepis, which literally means ‘horse piss’.  

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