Category Archives: Nature

Cascade!

Camellia

Haiku 257

Blooms cascading down

Like a tumbling waterfall

Camellia bush

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My camellia bush is in full bloom.

Year after year it increases in size and “bloomage”; having started out as a mere tiny stick thing, a few decades ago.

This year it has excelled itself.

 

In the Moment

Hibiscus

Haiku 256

Stop and take a breath

When everything falls apart

Be in the moment

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No matter how busy I am, I always stop to admire these beautiful hibiscus blooms, lit up by the late afternoon sun.

With everything going on at the moment, I’ll take my peace when I can.

 

The White Squirrel

White Squirrel 1

I was sitting out in my garden one morning, when I heard a splash. I looked up and saw a white thing dragging itself out of the pool. I thought at first it was a cat, then realised it was a young squirrel.

He was being chased by the resident fully grown, and much larger, grey squirrel.

White Squirrel 2

This is why the white kid had fallen in the pool on the first place – and why he looks so bedraggled in the photos, with a stringy wet tail!

I have never seen a White Squirrel before, so this was very exciting!

You probably can’t tell from these photos, but he didn’t look like an albino (no red eye), just a grey squirrel with a white coat.

White Squirrel 3

The grey squirrel continued to harry the white teenager, chasing it all over.

The white one tried to escape up the fence, but couldn’t make it and fell back down again.

I had my phone in my hand, so approached them and tried to take a photo, but they were dashing about far too quickly. So I took a few short videos. Some of the photos here are stills taken from video, which explains the poor quality.

White Squirrel 4

As I got nearer to the pair, they both suddenly stopped. (First photo) The youngster wasn’t sure what to make of me and for a moment, I seemed to be a bigger threat than the grey squirrel.

But they quickly resumed their mad chasing.

Eventually the white one managed to escape through the fence and the grey one left it.

White Squirrel 5

The grey squirrel is in the photos above, but harder to spot, which is why they aren’t usually white in the first place!

I haven’t seen the white one since and can only hope he is still alive. He wasn’t a tiny baby, so had at least survived to be a teenager.

It just goes to show, that if you sit somewhere long enough, even your own garden, all sorts of amazing things will come your way!

 

post script: I can’t find a wiki article on white squirrels: Shocker! But I found this informative site about White Squirrels in the USA. 

 

Sunbird in my Window

Sunbird 1

Haiku 254

Morning visitor

The smallest of wild creatures

Come to say hello

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Early one morning I heard a very high-pitched twittering coming from outside the window.

Although I couldn’t see him from my position in the room, I knew he was a male Lesser Double-Collared Sunbird proclaiming his territory.

He was in the honeysuckle planted right underneath the window, but if I stepped closer to try to see him, he would instantly fly away.

Sunbird 2

So I grabbed camera phone and keeping well back out of sight, I very carefully sneaked my hand past the curtains. Shooting blind, I clicked.

This is what I got.

A beautiful Sunbird drinking nectar from the honeysuckle.

What a treat.

 

A Last Fling

Kirstenbosch 1 – Flower

Haiku 253

Wander through Nature

Renew your soul with fresh air

Beauty and birdsong

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Here is another beautiful flower from my visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town a few months ago.

At the entrance to the gardens, they check you are wearing your face mask and take your temperature, before allowing you to proceed. You then use the foot-operated hand sanitiser provided and go to the window to pay.

Kirstenbosch 2 – Bird Bath

Everyone has to wear a face mask when outside of your own property; whether in a shop or on the street, driving alone in your car, strolling on a deserted beach, or walking round the vast expanse of a botanical garden.

However, I still saw people not wearing a mask once inside the gardens. I wonder if they were aware that it is illegal and if caught, you face being arrested and having a criminal record!

Kirstenbosch 3 – Stream

I had been sitting alone on the stone steps by the Bird Bath. It’s a wonderful place to renew your soul, by watching the clear mountain stream trickle by and listening to all the birds singing in the canopy above.

When two people arrived at the Bird Bath, one wearing a mask (SA by his accent) and another with no mask in sight, not even dangling round her neck (foreigner by her accent) it was time to leave.

I gave them a very wide berth and headed back to the entrance.

Kirstenbosch 4 – Mountain

There is a lovely restaurant there, where you can sit outside and enjoy the view, while socially distancing. I walked past it at a distance, looking longingly at the tables, desperate for a cup of tea and toasted cheese sandwich. I stopped and studied the numbers, but decided it was too crowded and just not worth the risk. I headed back to my car and consoled myself with my bottle of water and energy bar.

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Now South Africa is bang in the middle of a third wave, driven by the highly contagious Delta Covid Variant. Lockdown is back up to Level 4. Restaurants are closed again.

I won’t be going out anywhere for a while yet.

 

A Host of Golden –

Golden Apple Leaves 1

Haiku 251

Carpeting the lawn

Autumn hues of yellow-gold

Winter wonderland!

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Following on from my Lonely Cloud post, I present:

A Host of Golden Apple Leaves,

An adaptation of the line A host of golden daffodils, from William Wordsworth’s poem;

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Golden Apple Leaves – Tree 2

With all the colourful blossoming going on, as seen in my last post, Winter Solstice, my winter garden could pass for summer, except for a few tell-tale signs that it is, in fact, mid-winter.

The ancient apple tree, with its winter carpet of golden leaves, is one of those signs.

 

post script: Yes, I know it is confusing! It is mid-Winter here in Cape Town; today anyhow. The temperatures have plummeted, gales are howling and icy rain falls intermittently. Yet the apple tree is shedding its leaves as though it were Autumn, while next to it, the large Camellia bush is covered in buds waiting to burst forth as in Spring, and most days a Summer sun beats down, while Sunbirds sip nectar from the honeysuckle! Cape Town is beautiful!

 

The Winter Solstice 2021

Winter Flowers 1 – Plumbago

Haiku 250

A bleak mid-winter

While seasons keep on turning

Another solstice

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Winter Flowers 2 – Poinsettia

Today, Monday 21 June 2021, is the winter solstice down here in South Africa. It is the shortest day, the longest night, of the year. For most of my readers however, it is quite the reverse, as you reach mid-summer in the northern hemisphere.

Winter Flowers 3 – Lavender

For us, the sun will now start returning; though to be honest, I can’t say it’s ever been far away!

Winter Flowers 4 – Honeysuckle

However, winter proper has yet to come. July and August are the coldest, wettest months in Cape Town. Actually, I hope we do get some decent rain, as once again, our “rainy” season has been fairly dry so far.

Winter Flowers 5 – Viola

Dotted among the text in this post, are photos from my garden.

You would hardly know it is winter!

 

post script: A bleak mid-winter refers to one of my favourite Christmas carols; In the bleak mid-winter. 

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For those interested: Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate; warm wet winters and dry hot summers. However, South Africa is very big and other parts of the country have completely different climates. Some places north of the Western Cape have snowfalls in winter and many places are much colder. Johannesburg, 1400km to the north of CT, has hot wet summers, but cold dry winters. When we lived there the temperatures dropped to minus 8C one winter, and the fountains froze in town!

 

Exquisitely

Daisy 1

Haiku 246

Gloriously gold

Petals absorbing sunshine

Glow exquisitely

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Daisy and bee 2

This exquisite flower, an orange Cape Daisy, entices insects to itself, with alluring scents and ultraviolet markings, hidden to us. Here is a Cape honey bee making use of all this bounty, though I don’t think it’s the same little guy from my garden the other day!

How lucky are we, to enjoy Nature’s beauty, even if it was never meant for us!

 

Flower seen at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town.

 

Busy Little Bee

Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 1

Haiku 244

Busy Little Bee

Buzz from flower to flower

Pollinate away!

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Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 2

Hard to believe it is winter here in Cape Town, when the honeysuckle is in full bloom.

And bees are hard at work collecting nectar and pollen, while pollinating the colourful flowers for the next generation.

Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 3

This little guy is a Cape Honey Bee  Apis mellifera capensis and is indigenous to South Africa.