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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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South African birds

For the birds: Forest and woodland habitats

Our neighbourhood is at the foot of an escarpment that would have been part of a mosaic of Afro-montane forest and grassland prior to extensive exploitation of the forests for timber and the widespread introduction of intensive agriculture and the establishment of urban areas, which commenced with the colonial era.

Continue reading “For the birds: Forest and woodland habitats”

Richtersveld redux: Reviving remoteness and the great out there

The Richtersveld is a reminder of vastness out there while the pandemic constrains us. Our (cancelled) three-week trip to three nature parks would have started in mid-May, so instead of actually going away, while under continuing lockdown I reminisce about a previous trip out into nature. Continue reading “Richtersveld redux: Reviving remoteness and the great out there”

Suburban owls: African wood owl and spotted eagle-owl

The African wood owls are particularly vocal in our neighbourhood. But apart from sometimes seeing a dark silhouette at dusk or a flash of flying feathers illuminated by a street light at night, we seldom catch even a glimpse of them. Continue reading “Suburban owls: African wood owl and spotted eagle-owl”

Eagles in our neighbourhood: The crowned eagle

The crowned eagle, the third largest and the most powerful African eagle, has found a way to survive in close proximity to some urban areas in parts of eastern South Africa. Continue reading “Eagles in our neighbourhood: The crowned eagle”

Urban raptors: Long-crested eagle

It can be surprising to see raptors surviving in urban areas, but in circumstances where persecution is within limits and prey, shelter and nesting sites are sufficient, a number of species have adapted to living in close proximity to humans and built-up areas. Continue reading “Urban raptors: Long-crested eagle”

The hopefulness of a baby bird

First we saw one of the handsome parents, and then we saw the long-legged fluffball: a baby spotted dikkop. How special to see the caring and attention lavished on this precious little chick. Continue reading “The hopefulness of a baby bird”

Following the coastal path at Onrus

The coastal path at the settlement of Onrus meanders through fynbos vegetation above the rocky shoreline. On our recent visit we enjoyed the sea air, wonderful views of the kelp-laced ocean swells and breakers, and walking among the diversity of plants and birdlife. Continue reading “Following the coastal path at Onrus”

Walking in the Gamkaberg

A morning walk following the Tierkloof Hiking Trail through a narrow gorge between towering sandstone cliffs was a highlight of our recent stay at Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Little Karoo region of the Western Province. Continue reading “Walking in the Gamkaberg”

Food for birds and wildlife: Planting for heat and drought

In a hot dry spring many birds and animals are struggling to survive even here in suburbia. However, gardens large and small can help wildlife survive in difficult circumstances, especially when gardens are planted with indigenous (native) plants that provide food and shelter. Continue reading “Food for birds and wildlife: Planting for heat and drought”

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