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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Suburban garden KwaZulu-Natal

Black cuckooshrike – named for the unicoloured male, this is the female

Recently a bird I had not noticed in the garden before caught my eye. With all that barring on its underside could it be a cuckoo I wondered? It sat for a fair amount of time in a small tree not far from one of the birdbaths, quietly watching.

Continue reading “Black cuckooshrike – named for the unicoloured male, this is the female”

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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Encounters with flowers and their visitors

Many flowers not only please the eye but brighten the mood – so this post features some mood brightening flowers. And there’s more! All of the featured flowers have attracted a visitor. Some of the visitors might be cheering and others less so, but they are all interesting. Guaranteed!

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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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Visitors galore! A garden birdbath during dry July

The garden birdbaths attract many birds and vervet monkeys too, plus of course insects, such as bees and wasps. I have also seen geckoes venturing out to drink from the rim. The birdbaths are especially heavily used during the winter, which is our dry season.

Continue reading “Visitors galore! A garden birdbath during dry July”

Uh! Whaddya mean its Thursday already?

Maybe it’s the lockdown. Maybe it’s that we had no electricity for a day and a night. Maybe it’s because the municipal dump is on fire and choking us all with toxic smoke. Maybe it’s because there is no electricity again this evening. Whatever, but I thought it was Wednesday.

Continue reading “Uh! Whaddya mean its Thursday already?”

The elusive bushbuck: Surprising survivors in the suburbs

Bushbucks do indeed live up to their name, preferring dense bush or forest thickets that provide good cover and make it possible for them to survive even in human-dominated landscapes where there is suitable habitat such as in our suburb on the urban edge.

Continue reading “The elusive bushbuck: Surprising survivors in the suburbs”

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”

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