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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Have a look at this!!

On Saturday afternoon I received a phone call from someone who said that he had caught an owl in a warehouse and it was having a problem flying, did I want it. Naturally I said yes and he brought it over very early on Sunday morning. The poor little thing was very frightened but I checked him out and could not see anything broken so decided that he was just too young. I went out and found a large cage for him and got some mice, crickets and ground beef to feed him.
He lay very passively in my hand and allowed me to stroke his feathers which are extremely soft. By the evening, he had not eaten any of the mice which were crawling around, but it did look as if he had eaten some of the beef.
Early Monday morning, I received another phone call from the same young man saying he had caught another one and should he bring it over. I said yes again, but when it arrived here I could see it was extremely sick. The young man told me that he thinks someone had put out rat poison and that the owls had eaten them. I do not expect the second one to live, but who knows, maybe he will make it. I certainly hope so. I wonder if people realize how much they affect other creatures in the food chain when they do something like this? The first one should be big enough to fly properly in about 2 weeks time, then I will take him back to that area and let him go. You cannot see it in this image, but although the one eye was closed, he was watching me with the other. Enlarge the last picture and have a look at those talons.
IfI stand near his cage, he will hiss and move his body from side to side in a threatening position with his wings raised to make him look bigger.

Update: It is now Wednesday morning and I am pleased to say the second owl which I did not think will make it has fully recovered, eating well and very active. I will continue to feed him until Saturday and then release him.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Our local museum

There is an interesting selection of pre-historic skeletons in the gardens around the museum.
While inside, a display on the evolution of man makes one reflect on days gone by.
There is a live display on how these giant crickets live and survive.
When living in the bush, the one thing you always do it shake out your boots before putting them on in the morning as the scorpions love to climb into them at night.
This petrified shell is about 18 inches in diameter.
There is a beautiful display of the shells found along our coast.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Montecasino - Bird Park - Part 3

It was a lovely day to spend outdoors. After so much rain, it was cloudy but no rain fell so it was ideal for photography.
They also have reptiles at the Bird Park. This is the Sungazer lizard which is large and can grow up to about 30cm (1 foot) in length. Their name comes from their habit of burrowing a hole and laying in it with their faces outwards and towards the sun.
The Spider Tortoise gets its name from the yellow web-like lines on its shell. They are one of the smallest of the species in the world and come from Madagascar, an island off the African coast.
The Golden Lion Tamarin or Marmoset as got to be one of the most spectacular animals around. They are small orange-yellow monkeys, weighing 500 to 600 grams. They live in the heavily populated coastal region of Brazil, where less than two percent of the forest remains.
They are endangered because their habitat has been fragmented into small, unconnected areas, each area only capable of supporting a small number of groups. Without intervention by the National Zoo, other zoos, organizations, and the Brazilian government, inbreeding would soon lead to the local extinction of many of these small populations of tamarins, and eventually of the entire species.
The Madagascar Plated lizard are normall found in the waters of tropical rain forests. They grow to the length of 70 cm (about 24 inches). Their flanks have a reddish or sometimes a yellowish tint.
The very rare Geomatric Tortoise is found in only a few surviving fynbos (fine leafed - a specific habitat in SA) areas and is regarded as the world's second rarest tortoise.