Tag Archives: story

Camouflage Techniques in the Wild

Dikkop 1

Look what Little Monkey and I found just down the road; a little family of Spotted Dikkops.

They are amazing birds, with bright yellow legs and knobbly knees, giving rise to their other name of Cape Thick-Knees.

Their colouring blends in so well with their stony surroundings, that their main defence is to stand stock still and hope that a predator simply does not see them.

LM and Dikkop 2

As you can see from the photos, this defence works very well. Dogs notice movement more than anything, so often pass by very still prey.

I have walked with three dogs and passed within a metre of a Black Headed Heron and not one of them noticed it. Now, this is a large bird, standing nearly a metre tall, not including its long beak that it held vertically upwards. But it stood stock still and so escaped detection.

Unfortunately, the tiny youngster did not entirely trust this defence mechanism just yet and he started slowly creeping towards one parent. The other parent, on noticing this, also started walking slowly after the chick, trying to distract us.

Dikkop 3

They are very good parents and the first that I knew they were back in the neighbourhood was when Little Monkey and I came across both adult birds outside the property, with one of them right in the middle of the street.

LM and I crossed to the other side of the road to give them as much space as possible, but the one bird remained chirping in the middle of the road.

Then we saw two dogs dragging their owner round the corner of the road ahead of us and then I realised that the bird was trying to distract them and lead them away from her chick.

Now I’ve met this owner and dogs before, so they know LM needs space and fortunately they stopped and waited. This gave me time to gently herd the bird back into its property. It was extremely unwilling to go back, in its mind leading me towards its chick, but eventually I managed to get him safely to the railings.

LM will not chase birds while on the lead, but the other dogs looked like they knew no such rules.

Then LM and I could proceed on our way, in the opposite direction to the other dogs.

So I am very happy that this little family is back in our neighbourhood and hope that the chick makes it to adulthood.

They are unique birds.

 

Advertisements

Sunday Musings #161

Diet rule #1: If no-one sees you eating it, it doesn’t contain any calories.

– Unknown

 

All the more reason to sneak that mince pie quietly in the kitchen!

 

Rainbow Flowers

Hydrangea 1

Haiku 90

Mystic hydrangea

All colours of the rainbow

Magically appear

.

Hydrangea 2

My ancient hydrangea still produces these large beautifully coloured blooms, year after year, even though half the plant seems to have died recently.

Hydrangea 3

The colours of the petals range from yellow green, through pink and lilac to blue and purple; all at the same time.

Hydrangea 5

The plant was already here when we bought the house, but the poor thing doesn’t get enough sun, so it never grew much.

I’ve seen others in the neighbourhood that grow half way up their house walls and dwarf my little plant.

Hydrangea 6

However, mine lives just outside my front door and every time I pass by I stop.

Hydrangea 7

I look at the lovely rainbow petals.

And I smile.

Hydrangea 4

 

Stirrings

Grape Vine 1

Haiku 89

Seemingly dead plants

Emerging now with new life

Stirrings of Summer

.

Grape Vine 2

While those of you in the North are experiencing winter, with bare branches on most trees, down here in Cape Town, these brand new grape vine leaves are emerging from their stark branches.

 

post script: I started this post two months ago, but somehow never got round to processing the photos. And even though our grape vines are slower to develop than those in actual vineyards, by now they are covered in lots of leafy green foliage. There are even teeny grapelets on the vines. Summer arrives very quickly here.

Also, this is my 1111th post. Cool number!

 

The Last Freedom

LM on the Green Belt 1

Little Monkey loves to roam free along the Green Belt. As you all saw in recent posts: Vixen; Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud; The Creature from the Black Lagoon etc.

LM on the Green Belt 2

She likes to track interesting scents and paddle in the stream.

It is wonderful to meander in the cool shade and reflect upon life.

LM on the Green Belt 3

Alas no more!

There have been too many incidents of dogs biting people or other animals. So now all dogs have to be on the lead or pay a heavy fine if caught off-lead.

Sadly a few irresponsible owners have ruined the Green Belt for all of us.

LM on the Green Belt 4

As you all know LM is reactive with other dogs, so we need plenty of space and for the other dogs to be well balanced and understanding with LM. Mostly the Green Belt dogs were like this.

LM on the Green Belt 5

There are still a few other areas where you are allowed to have your dog off-lead (who knows for how long) but I do not go there as I don’t feel safe. People have been attacked – by other people.

There are no dog parks here.

LM on the Green Belt 6

But I am glad Little Monkey had that one last walk in Freedom.

Just look at that happy little face!

 

post script: I apologise if this post appears multiple times in your WP Reader – or not at all (but then you won’t know!) I adjusted something in my Settings and then everything fell apart!