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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Nature photography

Wordless in the aftermath: KwaZulu-Natal July 2021

This week in the aftermath of the widespread looting and destruction across much of KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng I have few words. Although a semblance of calm might seem to prevail and road delivery routes are opening up, suffering and bereavement, sadness and pain, loss and fear, anger and resentment remain.

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Fungilorious: Four trees hosting fabulous fungi

The variety in shape, form and colour of the fungi that fruit in our garden, usually during the wet and warmth of summer, is incredible. In addition to the mushroom/toadstool forms that were featured in last week’s post, some other forms of fungi include bracket, crust, puffball, bird’s nest, earthstar, stinkhorn, coral, jelly ears, saddle and cup.

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Mushrooms and toadstools in our garden

To my amazement, not everyone with gardens is delighted to find mushrooms and toadstools growing there. Of course many fungi are in gardens anyway, but they are usually unseen until circumstances are right for some species to seemingly spontaneously erupt into fruiting.

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Winter solstice birds in the garden

In our dry winters, visiting birds make the most of the birdbaths in our garden. In this winter solstice week I decided to spend time photographing some of our mid-winter avian visitors.

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Enchantment in a monochrome woodland

Forests and woodlands have old associations with enchantment and mystery. As magical places forests may be benign and even be sacred places, but conversely enchantment may be malevolent.  Forests can provide sanctuary but they can also conceal danger. Wildness can be healing but it can also be threatening.

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Meanwhile back in the garden: Images of early winter

Shorter days and cooler nights bring changes as the daytime temperatures vary between hot and mild. With the dryer air the sunshine has a golden clarity enhancing the colourful winter flowers and mellow berries, and brightening the visiting birds and insects in the garden.

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Here’s looking at you: Some special encounters with African wildlife

Even in conservation areas, wild animals do not always tolerate the presence of approaching vehicles or people on foot. Some are nervous and dash off immediately and others may hesitate before deciding to turn away. But happily many do grant us the privilege of a calm encounter, even continuing as they were before, ignoring intruding visitors or even showing some signs of curiosity. In some ways it’s a shame to view such wild animals mostly through the lens of a camera, but for better or worse here is a random collection of photographs that are special to me.

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Caught on camera: Birds in the suburbs

After last week’s post on doves, I thought I’d share some bird pics taken in the garden over the past year or so. This is an entirely random and not at all representative selection.

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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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