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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Urban wildlife KwaZulu-Natal

Tiny spiny flower mantid nymphs hunting in autumn flowers

While watching a solitary bee feeding on nectar in basil flowers in the herb patch a few weeks ago, I noticed a minute spiny flower mantid nestled down on one of the flower spikes with its spiny abdomen curled up over its back.

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Serendipity, scrutiny and surprises in the garden

Alliteration always amuses me, hence the headline – and it does describe some recent ambles around the garden. Peering as I go, I am sometimes amazed at what I come across – often in plain sight but so easy to overlook.

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Singing cicadas seen at last

So loud and so tantalizingly near, cicadas tend to fall silent when approached, and their camouflage colours make them hard to see. But recently I was in luck as after hearing a faint cicada-like squeak from a tree, I stood still and scanned the stems of the tree methodically and then suddenly several cicadas became surprisingly obvious.

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Lockdown walking in the woodland, or rather plantation

Various lockdown permutations since March last year have affected when and where we could walk, but current restrictions allow walking and exercising outdoors so long as protocols are followed. Fortunately for us, we have an easily accessible area for outdoor walking as our suburb is skirted by a commercial plantation.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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