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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Urban wildlife KwaZulu-Natal

Watching spiny flower mantids grow

From March to July this year we were able to observe several spiny flower mantid nymphs in the basil bush in our herb garden. The basil bush was their home and hunting ground for four months as they developed towards adulthood.

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An unusually confiding tambourine dove

I don’t see tambourine doves in the garden as much as I used to and in any event they are shy and skittish, so the other day when I looked out of the window and saw a tambourine dove foraging on the ground I fetched my camera.

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Winter solstice birds in the garden

In our dry winters, visiting birds make the most of the birdbaths in our garden. In this winter solstice week I decided to spend time photographing some of our mid-winter avian visitors.

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Sombre greenbuls can be loud and splashy too

The sombre greenbuls that visit our garden all year round are mostly evident from their loud and penetrating contact calls as they forage while concealed in dense vegetation or high up within the tree canopies.

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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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