Friday, August 27, 2010

Birds in Abundance

Those who regularly visit my blog know that birds are my favourite "targets". Every time I have the opportunity to view a Burchell's coucal so "close at hand", I get every excited, because generally this bird is known to be shy = prefers to hide instead of "posing".

Although flowers aren't in abundance yet during the month of August in the southern hemisphere, birds like this Collared sunbird can find an ample supply of nectar from mainly winter-flowering plants like aloes.

In the Kruger National Park, birds like this Spotted-backed weaver were also in abundance during our last tour.

This bird bath at the day-centre at the Lower Sabie camp is one of my favourite sites in the Kruger Park to observe (& of course, to photograph) birds "at play".

Birds "of all feathers" gather at this bird path to drink & of course, to have a refreshing "splash".

However often I visit the African penguin colony at Boulders Beach (on the False Bay-side of the Cape Peninsula), I don't get tired of photographing these flightless birds, which look so cute when they "waddle" along.

Just as these penguins (formerly known as Jackass penguins, because of their donkey-like braying) breed throughout the year, the moulting process takes place throughout the year, lasting for about a month.

An immature penguin is dependent on either of its parents for food - seen "begging" for it in the photo - which adults regurgitate for the benefit of their youngsters.

After feeding its hungry youngster, the adult penguin is seen relaxing - although the youngster appears to want more!?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Uninterrupted Wilderness

During the last tour [See: previous blog entry] we sighted these 3 Vervet monkeys on a rock in the Sabie River (Kruger National Park) - what was "unusual" about the situation? They were surrounded by water.

The next moment one of the monkeys jumped "through the air", landed on a nearby rock . . . .

. . . . and took off again, now "flying" through the air.

"Down the road" we encountered a herd of elephants, always endearing in the way they intimately care for each other . . . .

. . . . especially revealing concern for the wellbeing of youngsters amongst them.

Members of the cat family often are illusive, especially during the "heat of the day", so "discovering" these lions created great excitement.

When smeared with blood, this lioness appeared, we realised that behind the bushes, the lions had just finished feasting on a kill.

On to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve (KwaZulu-Natal), where the game viewing was rather disappointing, until . . . . we spotted this wild dog. What a sighting - creating great excitement - even for frequent visitors to the wild.

As was the case with the lioness, the wild dog in the road ahead was "coated" with blood. It also was panting heavily - as if it had just "overtaxed" itself!?

This assumption proved to be correct, because "just around the corner", we encountered the rest of the pack of wild dogs feeding frenziedly on a nyala antelope amongst the bushes and right next to the road!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Winter Landscape

At this time of the year, winter still has "a grip" on most parts of South Africa, which the German-speaking visitors I guided on a tour through our country for the last 2 weeks experienced in "full force". Although nature sometimes looks bleak, especially when fires appear to have had a devastating effect, the wild animals still find enough food to survive.

From Joburg and the highveld we travelled to the lowveld & toured along the Panorama Route - where the Blyde River Canyon was also "decked" in winter colours.

Once we reached the Kruger National Park, nature "revealed" that all was not bleak - along the river systems the colour green is eminent throughout the year. Although cold at night, the days are warm & similar to humans, these hippos enjoy basking in the sun.

From the Kruger Park we travelled via Swaziland to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal & as expected, saw Nyala antelopes, which are similarly prominent in this part of the country as Impala antelopes are in KNP.

On reaching the Garden Route along the southern coast of our country, one can't help but admire the magnificent beach & rolling waves at Wilderness - especially during brilliantly sunny weather, as we were "blessed" to experience during most days on this tour.

Last stop = Cape Town & the Cape Peninsula - where at the Cape of Good Hope, the weather continued to be "brilliant" - even better than during some days in summer. We really were lucky not to experience the "full force" of the cold & wet weather often part of winter in this part of our country.

Although the Soccer World Cup in South Africa is by now "come & gone", reminders of it can still be found all over our country - like this "Welcoming Sign" in Graskop (Mpumalanga Province) . . . .

. . . . or this multitude of flags at the Waterfront in Knysna . . . .

. . . . or this extra-ordinarily large vuvuzela in Cape Town on the what I call "the road to nowhere" (= a part of a highway never completed).