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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

Ring-necked doves, Namaqua doves and a lanner falcon on the hunt

Although I love the four species of doves and pigeons that visit our garden, there are several other species in the country that I have missed seeing in these travel-free times. In this post I showcase the almost ubiquitous ring-necked dove (except in our specific neighbourhood it seems) and the Namaqua dove, which I have mostly seen in the more arid regions.

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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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Finding solace in trees and woodland

In these dark days I found sombre solace in the quiet strength of woodland trees and the plants and fallen leaves of the understorey. It seemed fittingly subdued to shoot these photos in monochrome.

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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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