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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Garden birds South Africa

A dry season: Just add water

The main seasons in our part of the world are only two: wet season and dry season. But prolonged drought over much of the country has erased that distinction into one long dry bleakness where rain of any significance is a memory or a hope. Continue reading “A dry season: Just add water”

The Tassel Berry tree: Bountiful in fruit and flower

I first fell in love with a Tassel Berry tree at the Hluhluwe Game Reserve Hilltop Camp. It was old, gnarled and shaped by the prevailing wind. By contrast, the tree in our garden leads a sheltered life. Continue reading “The Tassel Berry tree: Bountiful in fruit and flower”

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”

Mannikins: Gregarious seed-eaters gracing the garden

Small flocks of mannikins are frequent garden visitors, arriving in a sudden flurry often accompanied by high-pitched chirping. These are very small birds weighing only 10 g (less than half an ounce). Continue reading “Mannikins: Gregarious seed-eaters gracing the garden”

African Emerald Cuckoo feasts on hairy caterpillars

The Processionary Caterpillars are out in full force again this autumn, providing easy pickings for this female African Emerald Cuckoo. Continue reading “African Emerald Cuckoo feasts on hairy caterpillars”

Just pondering: Reflecting on our garden pond

A pond or water feature can add liveliness to even the drabbest of backyards. No, I am not promoting a garden makeover, but thought I’d share something of the enjoyment I get from our garden pond, not least because a variety of wildlife get to enjoy it too. Continue reading “Just pondering: Reflecting on our garden pond”

Sunbrushed

Painted by the glow of the late afternoon sun, the reflective water illuminates a Sombre Greenlbul at the garden birdbath. Continue reading “Sunbrushed”

Black-collared Barbets: Duets and warfare in the garden

I am sure I am not the only one to wonder why these barbets have been named for the black collar and not for their distinctive and bright red head – surely a little perverse? Continue reading “Black-collared Barbets: Duets and warfare in the garden”

This season’s layered look

A layered look is definitely in for this Olive Sunbird.  Although she is slightly dishevelled after preening, one stray feather randomly adds panache to a style where fluffy wins out over sleek. Continue reading “This season’s layered look”

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