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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Urban wildlife

Rediscovering a sense of wonder: Seeing insects as tiny treasures

Highlighting a bleak future in the wake of the unchecked use of pesticides, Rachel Carson’s landmark book Silent Spring (1962) raised awareness of the vulnerability of nature and our dependence on it and motivated many people to become active in environmental protection. Possibly less well known is the sense of wonder in nature that inspired her, a wonder that stirs joy and a sense of mystery in children and adults alike

Continue reading “Rediscovering a sense of wonder: Seeing insects as tiny treasures”

Hadeda ibis: From wetlands to birdbaths

From being primarily associated with wetlands and woodlands the hadeda ibis has successfully expanded its range across much of the country even where it was formerly absent, and nowadays populations flourish even in urban areas. In suburbia it continues its association with water in the form of well-watered lawns, ponds and swimming pools. Continue reading “Hadeda ibis: From wetlands to birdbaths”

Ornately elegant engineer: Garden orb-weaving spider

The first creature that caught my eye on the first day of 2019 and caused me to pick up my camera, was this garden orb spider. Its complex round web was strung across the vertical spikes of a Common Rush (Juncus effusus) next to our garden pond. Continue reading “Ornately elegant engineer: Garden orb-weaving spider”

The ongoing saga of the nesting Chorister Robin-chats

Chorister Robin-chats are in permanent residence in our garden, but until now we have not known where they nest. Continue reading “The ongoing saga of the nesting Chorister Robin-chats”

Wild and free canaries in the garden

This Forest Canary didn’t seem to notice me sitting with my camera in a corner of the garden, and it approached really close, even drinking from the nearby birdbath before seeing me and flitting up into a tree. Continue reading “Wild and free canaries in the garden”

The forest-dwelling Lemon Dove

Because the Lemon Dove forages discreetly on the ground or in the shrubby understorey it is often overlooked. It occurs in forest habitats and also in gardens that are well wooded. Continue reading “The forest-dwelling Lemon Dove”

The grasshopper that shrieks in the night

Perhaps because Bladder Grasshoppers are active at night, they are heard rather than seen. The call of the male Bladder Grasshopper, something between a bleat, a shriek and a croak, is alarmingly loud. Continue reading “The grasshopper that shrieks in the night”

Weekly Photo Find: River frogs

Taken in spring last year, these Common River Frogs are making sure of a fecund spring. Common River Frogs are very variable in colour, so I hope that I have identified this pair correctly. Continue reading “Weekly Photo Find: River frogs”

Gimme shelter: Juvenile Natal Green Snake finding overnight lodging

Only eventually did we notice a small, juvenile Natal Green Snake apparently trying to climb the smooth surface of a high window pane, when we were having coffee out on our back deck.  The small creature seemed more than a little agitated as it struggled to climb to the top of the window. Continue reading “Gimme shelter: Juvenile Natal Green Snake finding overnight lodging”

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