Category Archives: Nature

Evening Clouds

Clouds

It’s early evening. The sun starts to sink, lighting up the clouds from behind and casting the sky in midnight blue.

Send in the clouds.

Yes they did bring a little rain . . .  at my house, all of 1.5 mm!

But every bit helps and I’m grateful.

 

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Silhouetted

White Eye

I was sitting outside on the stoep enjoying the cool evening air as the sun set. Often if you stay very still then after a while birds will join you.

Sure enough, a few Cape White Eye flew to the grape vines overhead on the stoep and twittered as they flittered about, eating the ripening grapes.

They are tiny and very hard to capture as they dart swiftly around. Also my little Canon does not do well in low light.

Finally, one stopped for a moment on a branch, silhouetted against the dimming sky.

Gotcha!

 

Fuchsia

Fuchsia

This little fuchsia plant used to live in one of my hanging baskets under a large Eugenia tree. It wasn’t doing too well there, mostly because I’d forget to water it!

I moved it to a small pot on my stoep, where I can keep an eye on it. Since then it has flourished; so much so that it produces many of these beautiful blooms.

post script: I had to crawl on my stomach to get this shot from underneath. You can see the rim of the pot in the top left. You’re welcome!

 

Gottle O’ Geer!

Olive Thrush

What have you got there, Buddy?

Oh sorry! I guess you can’t speak with your mouth full!

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This cheeky Olive Thrush is a very regular visitor to my garden. He chases the lovely Cape Bulbuls away from Little Monkey’s water bowls, which they use as bird baths. Seen here, he has just raided the bush for golden berries and has one in his mouth. Yum!

post script: “Gottle o’ Geer” is what you say for “Bottle of Beer” when you are not a ventriloquist! It is very hard to say ‘B’ without moving your lips.

 

Blooming Lovely!

Frangipani 1

My frangipani plumeria is flourishing, despite the on-going drought. It must have been in my garden for decades as it was already here when we got the house.

Frangipani 2

Since the lack of rainfall last winter, we have not been allowed to water our gardens. What survives does so all by itself.

To give you an indication of the size of my frangipani, the angular line you see top left in the photo below is part of the garage roof. The tree grows a good metre above this.

Frangipani 3

My garden is full of plants that manage to thrive without much pampering – it’s just how I garden! – so those that remain tend to be indigenous plants or just very hardy.

Besides, we are in full summer now and it is not supposed to rain in January or February. The indigenous plants know this!

 

Robin Redbreast

Cape Robin – photo credit M

This little guy might not be quite what you were expecting from the title. Maybe you are more familiar with the tiny European Robin, frequently depicted on Christmas cards?

Well, this is a Robin, albeit a Cape Robin. He does all the usual Robin activities, such as flying straight down to investigate any patch of earth you have just dug over in your garden and singing a lovely tuneful song.

Here you see him sitting on a branch of my giant Eugenia tree above a hanging basket (the purple handle.) He’s a frequent visitor to my garden and I much prefer him to the pushy Olive Thrush. Somehow the Robin just seems more sophisticated and has more manners!

 

What Came First?

Chickens 1

The Chicken or the Bark?

The other day I was sitting outside with a friend, having morning coffee at a lovely place in Cape Town, when these smart chickens appeared and approached our table.

I’ve never seen this type of colouring before on a hen and thought it quite striking. The pattern also matched the tree they were scratching around.

Chickens 2

So what am I talking about? What came first, the chicken or the bark?

In real life the bark from the tree and the pattern on the chickens looked very similar. (We humans are really good at spotting patterns after all.)

However, in practice, when I put photos of each side by side, the similarity wasn’t so good. This was partly because the stripes on the tree are large and far apart compared to the closer ones on the chickens. Adjusting the photos to match took ages, but I still didn’t achieve the effect I was looking for. (see the post script)

Chicken or Bark?

So, I was going to say: Take a look at these two photos. Can you tell which one is the chicken and which is the bark of the tree?

But since it is obvious which is which, I’ll just leave it there!

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post script: Thank you to DD who noticed this similarity in the first place. Sometimes I have an idea for a post, which takes a lot more time and effort to achieve than I anticipated. For example, it was quite simple to edit my first two chicken photos for inserting in this post, but oh my goodness, it took me hours to edit the tree and chicken close ups for comparison. Firstly, I had to zoom in and try to find patterns on both subjects which roughly matched. On one shot I had to sharpen the image; on the other blur it. I had to make them both greyscale, because the colours were slightly different.

Finally, I wanted to put the two photos side by side in the same frame, but had no idea how to do this in PowerPaint, the photo-editor I use. But, I figured it out! This is another positive aspect of blogging; I learn many new computer skills.

Though I’m not happy with the final result, there comes a point when I have to stop. I have other things to do after all and spending any longer on this post will not make it any more popular. In fact, due to the nature of the subject, I don’t have high expectations at all.

Still, blogging for me is all about having fun. Hopefully you do too as you read along.