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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Urban wildlife KwaZulu-Natal

Salad in the cupboard: Sprouting lentils

Store cupboard items can produce fresh salad ingredients within two days. That is the magic of seed germination – otherwise known as sprouting. Continue reading “Salad in the cupboard: Sprouting lentils”

Citrus swallowtail butterflies, a caterpillar and an agama too

Although butterflies, including citrus swallowtails, are particularly prolific in autumn, I was surprised to see a small group of butterflies gathering together while they sucked up moisture on the lawn. Even more surprising – I was able to get some photos of them as they were keen on returning to the same patch as they flitted about. Continue reading “Citrus swallowtail butterflies, a caterpillar and an agama too”

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”

Likeable lizards: Striped skinks in the garden

Mostly I notice skinks when they are basking in the sun, but last week I watched one on a hunting expedition in the herb patch and understood what focused little predators they really are. Continue reading “Likeable lizards: Striped skinks in the garden”

Owed to a tree: For its beauty and bounty many thanks

This springtime, at first we didn’t have rain. Then we had a lot. And one morning a favourite old tree, sodden with the weight of the water, fell with a shuddering thud. Continue reading “Owed to a tree: For its beauty and bounty many thanks”

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”

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”

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