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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A place like paradise - our Serengeti - Part 2

I thought I would share some of the scenery which I was riding through.I managed to capture a rainbow early the morning....
.....and thought I would show you the type of terrain I hike through and climb about in when I go bug hunting.
The next few are shots taken as I was driving around....
In the middle of this valley is the dam with the plains around it where I took the elephant shots in Part 1.

This is a good place to look out for leopard.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A visit to the zoo - Part 8 Final

Leopard have very long hairs over their eyebrows and long whiskers sticking out at the side of their faces. As they are nocturnal, these enable them to walk through the bush at night and warn them if there is an obstacle in their path.

This one was have a lazy Sunday afternoon snooze. :)

The garden of the zoo are very nice and all over the show little waterfalls like this can be seen.

Along the banks of the small stream which runs through it there are picnic tables and chair set up for people to use. It is far nicer to put a blanket on the grass and enjoy your meal there.

During the last century, the Black Rhino has suffered the most drastic decline in total numbers of all the rhino species. In 1970, there were about 65,000 Black Rhino in Africa. In 1993, only 2,300 survived. Since then their numbers have been increasing slowly due to intensive anti-poaching and other conservation measures.

This old fellow has been at the zoo for many years. He has a partner and together they have provided the park with many off-spring.

What is better to do on a day like this than to spend ithaving a mud bath? Excellent for the complexion and takes all the wrinkles out. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

A place like paradise - our Serengeti - Part 1

Over the weekend I went to Pilansberg again and the plains were teaming with widlife. This included a breeding herd with three baby elephants, zebra by the hundreds, blue wildebeest, impala, giraffe and kudu to name a few species.


This young male was in musth and was chasing all the animlas around. I had a good laugh at him as he thought he was big stuff!! LOL!!
Aren't they just the cutest?? I wanted to bring one home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Crocodile

Determination of the sex in the embryo is influenced by outside temperature. Warmer weather is conducive to more female than male young being hatched.
Adult crocodiles do not have any natural enemies except man, but when born, they are preyed upon by Marabou stork, mongoose and eagles.
Body temperature is controlled through a membrane in the mouth. If they are seen lying with their mouths open, they are cooling themselves by allowing mucus fluids to evaporate.
They have seventy to seventy-five teeth, and their eyes are a yellow- green in color.
Crocodile can only mate in the water, the male positioning himself over the female, then curling his body under hers. The sexual act itself lasts only about a minute.
One of their purposes in nature is to control the amount of catfish in the rivers and streams. Without this control, rivers would soon be stripped of all vegetation without which, smaller fish, turtles etc. would not be able to survive.
A distance of up to twenty kilometers will be walked by them at night in search of another water hole or stream if their current one dries up.
Their favorite food is medium sized antelope which they kill by holding it underwater until it drowns and then they will break off large portions by shaking it about then swallow it hooves and all. One impala, for example, will keep them satisfied for about 4 weeks and so they will not hunt for anything else during that time.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Birds of Pilansberg - Part 1

As all of you know by now I am not a birder nor do I have the right lenses to take good shots of them. However, with insects being scarce on my last trip to Pilansberg, I started to take some shots of the birds I saw and they did not turn out too badly so I decided to do a weekend series of them. Most of the series will be a variety of birds in each one but this African Hawk Eagle (Hieraaetus spilogaster) came out so well I thought I would do a post on them alone.

One of my greatest problems here was that it was early morning and I was having to shoot almost directly into the sun which did not help at all.
Francolin and Guineafowl are probably its main diet but it also feeds on small mammals such as mongooses and Dassies (Hyrax). Reptiles form part of their daily intake too.
The African Hawk Eagle is distributed from south of the Sahara to just south of the Tropic of Capricorn in South Africa.
Hilly woodland is their favored habitat.
Their nest is about 3 feet in diameter and made in the fork of a large tree.
They will usually breed from May to July. Both the male and female incubate the eggs for a period of up to 44 days.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spring colors

Spring is in full swing and these yellow and orange Clivias are making a beautiful show.
White and pink blossoms cover the trees.

White and purple Petrea (Queens wreath) has masses of flowers on them. They are a vine and belong to the Verbena family. Everygreen, they can reach up to 40 feet in height but are easy to trim.
They enjoy a lot of sunlight and grow best in moist, well drained soil. They are also know as a Sandpaper Vine because of the texture of the leaves which are a mat green.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reflection - Part 2

Not knowing what to write with this post, I decided to Google the word 'reflections' and see what I came up with. It ended up being the lyrics of the songs and so I will add some of them here.

Reflections - Dianna Ross
After all the nights
I sat alone and wept
Just a handful of promisses
Are all that's left of loving you
Reflections of
The way life used to be
Reflections of
The love you took from me
In you I put
All my faith and trust
Right before my eyes
My world has turned to dust...

Reflection - Christina Aguilera
Look at me
You may think you see
Who I really am
But you'll never know me
Every day, is as if I play apart
Now I see
If I wear a maskI can fool the world
But I can not foolMy heart
Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Reflection - from the Disney film "Mulan"
Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection someone I don't know?
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am Though I've tried
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Saturday's walk around the nursery - Part 3

Now days, they make the loveliest ornament for gardens and cater for all tastes.
I am not sure I want this big dog in mine........
...but will take the cheetah and the lion cubs anytime.
Then there are these cute little fellows.......
This family of warhogs would look just great under a tree.......
...and I can this eagle decorating the patio.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A visit to the zoo - Part 7

Southern Bald Ibis (Geronticus calvus) . It is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 3 eggs and they are coloured blue. This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

A wild flower growing on a bush.

The Cape eagle-owl (Bubo capensis)can be seen in many parts of southern Africa, but nowhere is it common. It lives in rocky, sometimes mountainous areas, in various vegetation types. Most of its diet consists of mammals, but it also feeds on birds and invertebrates. Amazingly, it can carry prey that is 4,5 kg, or 4 times its weight! It nests in scrapes in the ground, often on ledges or between cliffs.

It lays 1-3 eggs, and incubation lasts for 34-38 days, the female doing most of it, with the male sometimes taking over while the female feeds. After fledging, juveniles stay dependent on their parents for 2-3 months, before leaving completely.

African barred owlet, Barred owl (Glaucidium capense) is uncommon in most areas of its range, being most prolific in the Miombo woodlands of Zimbabwe, and northern Botswana. It prefers open woodland, with sparse undergrowth and a stream or river nearby.

It eats mainly invertebrates, due to its small size, but it can eat dormice, small birds and reptiles. It nests in natural tree hollows, sometimes 6 metres above ground, laying 2-3 eggs, which are presumed to be incubated by the female. The chicks stay in the nest 32-33 days, after which they learn to fly. They usually can fly at 42 days old.

The young surricat (meerkat) was busy digging all over but not getting any reward for its eforts.

The Yellow-billed Duck/Teal is one of the more widespread duck species and is found everywhere, except in very dry areas. It is common on dams, pans, wetlands, sewage works, some rivers and estuaries. This species is usually found in pairs or small family groups but forms larger flocks when not breeding. Birds feed in the water, often up-ending so that only their tails, lower bellies and backs are visible - so that they can reach aquatic plants below the surface. Yellow-billed Ducks also often feed in agricultural lands.

The uniformly bright-red plumage of the Scarlet Ibis intensifies as the bird grows older. As with flamingos, the brilliant red color of the bird comes from pigments in the bodies of crustaceans on which it feeds. The long curved beak is used to probe for food in mud and shallow water, guided mostly by touch. It flies strongly with its neck extended, almost as if it were gliding. Like other birds, Scarlet Ibis fights with their beak, legs, and wings against enemies in order to protect themselves and their offspring.