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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Urban wildlife KwaZulu-Natal

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.

Continue reading “A diminutive and dynamic presence: The African firefinch”

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 pigeonwood tree: Providing food, refuge and fun

The Pigeonwood tree does indeed attract pigeons and many other birds and creatures besides. It is one of the faster growing trees and is a vigorous pioneer plant establishing itself in disturbed soil and along watercourses. It can be useful for new gardens or to provide shelter where other slower growing plants need protection.

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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”

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”

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