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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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South African birds

Spring in my step: Some of the joys of the season

It was spring equinox this week, inspiring this collection of spring sightings in the garden to bring a cheering lightness to lift our spirits.

Continue reading “Spring in my step: Some of the joys of the season”

Springtime nesting: Black sparrowhawks beyond the bottom of our garden

Being spring here in South Africa, many creatures have already been a-courting and are turning to nest building or are in the process of brooding their young.

Continue reading “Springtime nesting: Black sparrowhawks beyond the bottom of our garden”

Calling from the rooftops: Egyptian geese in the suburbs

Among the swelling signs of spring is the increasingly noticeable and highly vocal activity of Egyptian geese passing through our neighbourhood. The raucous calling of pairs in flight – or even when they alight on the roof of our or a neighbour’s roof – enlivens especially the early mornings and sometimes also the late afternoons.

Continue reading “Calling from the rooftops: Egyptian geese in the suburbs”

A diminutive and dynamic presence: The African firefinch

I hear the tinkling call of visiting African firefinches more often than I see them. They forage on the ground and in low vegetation, venturing out into open ground when undisturbed.

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The simple art of nature: Connecting with grace

Seeking a sense of calmness in nature, in simplicity and in accepting transience, I have chosen some images that bring to me a sense of grace.

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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”

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