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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Insects 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”

Winter in the garden: a selection of photos

This young Vervet monkey is part of a group enjoying early morning winter sunshine while eating berries from the Pigeonwood (Trema orientalis) tree. I like how the youngster is taking advantage of a wild banana (Strelizia nicolai) leaf as a partial hammock. Continue reading “Winter in the garden: a selection of photos”

Blood-red Acraea butterfly: A complete life cycle in one shrubby tree

The African dog rose is usually admired for its flowers, but it also plays host to many small creatures, including a species of butterfly, enabling it to complete its life cycle from egg to adult. Surprising as it was to find one plant sustaining so much life, it surprised me more that it sustained so much interest in me. Continue reading “Blood-red Acraea butterfly: A complete life cycle in one shrubby tree”

Rediscovering a sense of wonder: Seeing insects as tiny treasures

Highlighting a bleak future in the wake of the unchecked use of pesticides, Rachel Carson’s landmark book Silent Spring (1962) raised awareness of the vulnerability of nature and our dependence on it and motivated many people to become active in environmental protection. Possibly less well known is the sense of wonder in nature that inspired her, a wonder that stirs joy and a sense of mystery in children and adults alike

Continue reading “Rediscovering a sense of wonder: Seeing insects as tiny treasures”

Being there: The diversity of solitary bees

I noticed a decoratively marked black-and-white pollinator, studiously visiting flowers on our lavender bushes last week. I had not seen one of these unusually marked insects before, but guessed that it might be a solitary bee. Continue reading “Being there: The diversity of solitary bees”

Ladybirds: Not a bird but a beetle

I seldom see ladybirds nowadays, so I was pleased when I noticed this pair of ladybirds when I was doing some planting in the veggie patch. They were rapidly twirling and whirling as they made the way up and down the stalks. Oh good, I thought, they might munch some of the aphids, but I just hope they are not ladybirds of the invasive alien kind. Continue reading “Ladybirds: Not a bird but a beetle”

Weekly Photo Find: Oleander Hawk-moth

A large and beautifully marked Oleander Hawk-moth, photographed on a wall in our garden two years ago. I assume that it laid the small green eggs visible on the wall below it. Continue reading “Weekly Photo Find: Oleander Hawk-moth”

Weekly Photo Find: Colourfully toxic grasshopper

This week’s find is a photo of one of a range of colourful foam grasshoppers that occur in Africa. If threatened, foam grasshoppers can produce a toxic foam that can be fatal to even a large animal that is foolish enough to eat one. Continue reading “Weekly Photo Find: Colourfully toxic grasshopper”

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