Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Flower Power

Before I leave on my first tour (as a South African tourist guide) this (new) year & hopefully return with some "magic" photos, I want to share some exotic (NOT indigenous) flower-power. First up: an Azalea . . .

. . . & what I call a Potato creeper - I'm not sure if that is this plant's name!??

Luckily I have no problem identifying this large Sun flower . . .

. . . whilst (colour-wise) these are not very common red Amaryllis . . .

. . . a lily-white Water lily . . .

. . . & last but not least a nice pink Rose - probably the most easily recognised flower in the world??

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Thickbilled Weavers

Again & again I returned to a pond filled with Bulrush (reeds) during our recent vacation at Hole-In-The-Wall [SEE: blog-entry below = 15 Dec 2011] because I had discovered that it was inhabited by a relatively large flock of Thickbilled weavers. Built solely by the male, the nest of a Thickbilled weaver is usually suspended between at least 2 upright stems of Bulrush (or other reeds).

In contrast to the nests of most "true" weavers (of mainly yellow plumage) with their "bottom" entrances, the nest of a Thickbilled weaver has a larger, "side-top" entrance & looks like a domed cup.

With amusement I watched this weaver chick appearing to be as curious as I was fascinated by its existence. 2-4 eggs in a Thickbilled weaver nest are incubated only by the female between 14-16 days.

A chick leaves the nest after 19-22 days, but at first is still fed by the female. I snapped a series of photos of this tiny Thickbilled weaver appearing barely able to "hang on" after obviously having just left its nest for the very first time . . .

. . . whilst 2 somewhat older chicks looked on/appeared amazed by the tiny one's "antics". Whilst this happened in a relatively silent manner . . .

. . . other chicks - precariously balancing on the bulrush - chirped loudly from hunger & to catch their mother's attention.

Occassionally a female Thickbilled weaver - similar in appearance to the youngsters - "made an appearance" . . .

. . . which seemed to appease the chicks, even if they weren't fed. After all the "excitement" the youngsters appeared to tire easily, so the chirping stopped for a while - only to resume the moment they sensed a female's pressence.

With a magnificent specimen (= male) on display, the following came to mind ("pronounced" by 1 of the chicks): When I grow up . . .

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Camouflage or Illusion

I guess that from a human perspective these zebras are not really "blending in with their surroundings" (= camouflaged) but apparently predators - i.e. lions - are completely "confused" once zebras "bunch together". Like all cats, lions have a poor eyesight, especially during the day - so in this case, all a lion would see is stripes!

On the other hand these 2 Black-bellied korhaan are blending in with the environment & therefore are well-camouflaged.

Is this lioness well-camouflaged, i.e. blending in with the environment - or is it more a matter of colour-coordination?

A cheetah - simply well-hidden by long grass or well-camouflaged?

In the case of this small antelope - a duiker - colour functions as concealment = to deceive an enemy.

In contrast to all of the above, this is more a matter of illusion instead of concealment/ camouflage to escape detection - doesn't it appear as if the giraffe (on the right) is bending closer/kissing/licking the group of vultures "parked" at this watering hole?

To end this as it started = another look at a group of zebras "bunching" together/"displaying" a lot of stripes ☺