For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kruger National Park - The other side - Part 10

It is that time of year when the younger (but not much smaller) elephants are in musth, they can be fairly ill tempered and you need to look out for them.

Musth is described as follows: "Some males showed "tears" streaming down the side of their faces (secretions from temporal glands), and continual dripping of urine onto their legs. Besides these physical changes, there were associated changes in behaviour. Males that were streaming tended to follow females that were in oestrus, and were markedly more aggressive than others."

I have left these photographs untouched to give you the feeling of him getting closer.

This last was taken pointing the camera over my shoulder as I got out of there!! LOL!! I must stress that this is NOT and everyday experience. Most elephants ignore you when they are around even though sometimes, when it is a breeding herd with babies, one of them will mock charge.
The next few pictures are some of the tiny jumping spiders I found on my walk.

These wild pear trees have very soft wood and are quite often damaged by the elephants. This results in them growning up having strange shapes like this one with the hole through the middle.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I found some nesting Starlings and was happy to get this sequence of the female being fed by the male. As usual, they are not the best quality pictures but they were no too bad so I thought I would post them. Their nest was in a hollow of a palm tree.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kruger National Park - The other side - Part 9

Before it was established as a game reserve, this was the main route to Delagoa Bay in neighbouring Mozambique as it was the nearest port for importing and exporting supplies from the area where I live.
The book "Jock of the Bushveld" was written by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick in 1905, for his young children, and tell the story of his dog "Jock" and their adventures in South Africa some 20 years before. Jock - a bull-terrier - was born in the present day Kruger National Park near the Pretorius Kop Camp. He was the runt of the litter and the young Fitzpatrick saved him from certain death by adopting him as a pup.

Percy Fitzpatrick became a transport rider - carting supplies for the goldfields at Pilgrim's Rest and Barberton from Delagoa Bay (now Maputo) in Lourenco Marques (now Mozambique). Jock grew up to be a faithful and obedient companion, as well as a champion fighter and hunter. Jock accompanied Fitzpatrick on his journeys through the KNP, as well as through the towns of Sabie, Graskop, Pilgrim's Rest, Barberton and Lydenburg.

In 1983 the Lowveld Digger's and Transport Rider's Society erected these bronze plagues on rocks wherever Jock's original route crossed the present day roads.
Another interesting moth.
A Wooly Bee Fly. They are small, less than 1/2 inch in body length.
A bee fly about 1 inch in length.
Smoky Orange Tip Butterfly

This is called a BFL. LOL!! Here I am cheating on a public forum....I do not know what it is called but I named it a Big Fat Lizard!! Look at those long back toes!!
A beautiful lizard sunning itself on the road.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birds of Pilansberg - Part 4

The colors of the early morning light are beautiful........
and coming around a corner, I startled this tiny little Steenbok who promptly jumped up and ran away as I was too close for comfort.
A young Crested Francolin was marching down the road scratching in the sand for a early morning feast.
The following three species of Hornbill are the most common in the park and are found all over. They loose their fear of humans very fast and love to be food at the picnic sites. The Grey Hornbill below was fast asleep on a branch.......
while the Red Hornbill look to see if I had brought something tasty along.
All of these are mainly insect eaters and will eat anything which crawls or flies. The Yellow Hornbill decided he was not going to be like the others and go begging for a morsel. Too much below his dignity.
Do you think this one was trying to tell me something? LOL!!
At one of the pools this Hadeda Ibis came in to land much to the disgust of the Egyptian Geese.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kruger National Park - The other side - Part 8

Another grey day with low cloud settling on the small hills.
The flower from the Flamboyant tree.
This bush is called Pride of de Cape. Most plants which have these kidney or heart shaped leaves turn to follow the sun.
Ah!! Bugs!! LOL!! This little beetle is tiny, about the size of a 1 cent piece.
He shall have to remain nameless as I cannot find him in any of my books or other sources.
After chasing this butterfly for about 20 minutes I managed to get this one (not so good) picture of it before it was gone. It did not settle for long anywhere and was most unco-operative. I cannot find him anywhere either. I find it quite strange as he has a most unusual body too.
A beautiful moth lies hidden amongst the fallen leaves, so quiet and still, you hardly even notice he is there.
We only have two types of squirrel here, the Ground Squirrel and the Tree Squirrel. The Ground one likes arid areas and is not found in the Park.
They are small and cute and are having a feast on all the new buds and things, with time for grooming thrown in as well.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Flap-Necked Chameleon 2

Before I get to my usual post today I would like to wish two VERY special people a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! These miniture roses are as perfect as you. With love, hugs and best wishes always. Have a wonderful day.
If I had seen this picture without knowing the size, I would have thought it to be a dragon from days gone by. Did they really exist? Are they a myth? Maybe they did live and only the size has been exaggerated?
I am not going to add information on chameleons as I have already given you most of their interesting information in: Flapped-necked Chameleon and Dwarf Chameleon to which you can click these links if you want to read more about them.
I have never seen one with these yellow markings and by the picture above, you can see just how small she actually is.
She kept on wanting to climb onto my camera. :)
So, what ya lookin' at? Take that thing outta my face will ya!! What's a gal gotta do to get some peace around here?"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kruger National Park - The other side - Part 7

This is a Monster Tiger Beetle and at about 3 inches in body length, it is a monster alright!!
If disturbed, it will fall on its back and play dead. They are flightless and nocturnal predators feeding on unsuspecting ground-dwelling insects.
Would you look at those mandibles!! It is thought that the male uses them to hold onto the female when mating. If I was a female, I would not willingly mate with this ugly male either. :)
An unexpected hitch-hiker flew into the car begging for a lift.
This is one of the most colorful moths I have ever seen and quite small.
The begining of summer finds the wild fig trees full of ripening fruit. These trees are about 20 foot in height and grow where there is underground water.
Then as we all know, figs are actually a flower and not a fruit.
These trees are buzzing with many species of birds right now because of the abundance of fruit.
They look just like normal figs inside but are prone to have lots of insects inside them.
The sun tried vainly to come out today without much success.