30 November 2008

Life with Suzie - Addo

We decided to spend the weekend at the Addo Elephant National Park, but today's post is not about elephants, but more about taking risks.

We had just travelled from the Main Camp past Carol's Rest, on a quest for lions, when we came across the sign that said that the road was only suitable for vehicles with a high ground clearance. Suzie's Daihatsu Materia does not have a high ground clearance. Suzie on the other hand has a sense of adventure and does not mind the fact that he car does not have a high ground clearance.

"The road looks like it has just been graded," she said, "let's try it." I reminded her of her reluctance to drive on bad roads with her new car, but undeterred she drove past the warning sign and down the road.

The road had not been graded. "Oh well," I consoled myself, "someone with a 4x4 is bound to come down here at some stage today and if we ask them nicely, I'm sure they will tow us out."

As it turned out the road was not bad at all. a few rough spots here and there but nothing the valiant little car could not handle.

And then as we came down a hill we came across this Caracal lying at the side of the road, totally undeterred by our arrival. It was quite contented to pose for us.

You don't see these cats about every day. Caracals are nocturnal, secretive, solitary, and aggressive animals. Due to being hunted as a problem animal by farmers, the Caracal has become even more elusive and thus getting to see one is very difficult. This was a rare sighting for us and was truly the highlight of the the trip.

The moral of the story, take a risk you may be pleasantly surprised.

As you can see this little bus is not a 4x4.

28 November 2008

Redwinged Starlings

I came across a flock of redwinged starlings off Park Drive last Sunday. They found something worth eating, which they were eagerly seaching out.

The link with last weeks Sky Watch picture is purely coincidental

16 November 2008

Sky Watch Friday - Red-winged Starling

One of our local city dwellers stopping long enough for me to take a photo of him. The Red-winged Starling is fairly common in this part of the world, but are generally quite shy.
For more great pictures go to the Sky Watch website.

Pavement specials - Dikkop

This family of Dikkops were observed in Richmond Hill this weekend. I am always amazed at how many birds manage to adapt to city life. My only hope is that they move to a less populated area, where there will be more chance for the chick to survive.
For a picture of the whole family, go to Port Elizabeth Daily Photo.

13 November 2008

Sky Watch Friday - Matters of the heart

I thought today's shot of the Westbank aerobatics team drawing a heart would be appropriate for this weeks Sky Watch.

A year ago today I had a heart attack, which was followed by a bypass operation. I am now as fit as a fiddle, my cholesterol is under control, I am fanatical about my diet and swallow pills every day. The sad fact is that this was all avoidable, had I just heeded the warning signs. But I did not, so there is no point looking back on the past and lamenting the fact that I could have done a better job looking after myself. I have been given a second chance and will embrace it and enjoy every day.

Don't take your health for granted - if the warning signs are there deal with them - once you lose it you don't get it back.

For a great selection of photos and posts visit the Sky Watch site for links to sites all around the world.

09 November 2008

Rememberance Day

Rememberance Day Parade held at the Walmer Town Hall today

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

07 November 2008

Sky Watch Friday - The old and the new

The Dakota C47 TP being taken through her paces at the 2008 airshow. She may be an old bird, but with the new turbo props she has many flying hour left.

The Silver Falcons aerobatic team, of the SA Airforce in the Swiss made Pilatus PC7 MkII put on an excellent display of precision flying.

For more great pictures visit our hosts at the Sky Watch site.

06 November 2008

How did he know!

Thieves in Richmond Hill come in many forms. Suzi-k put this pork roast out to defrost on the porch, on Sunday morning and it was not long before this pied crow found it and managed to have his share.

I suppose this one can be excused - he is acting on instinct. It is the human ones that I find despicable, like those who broke into the Church, next door on Monday night, for about the fourth time this year and stole their sound system, or those who stole a car in Suffolk Street last night.

Road Hogs

It is not surprising that there is such a high accident rate and death toll on the road between King Williams Town and Grahamstown, when you experience first hand the bad driving on that road.

Here we have two for the price of one. The first feels obliged to travel at 60 kph on a main road, when the car obviously has the capability of going faster. It make one wonder whether the driver lacks confidence or is just unlicenced.
The second, a Government vehicle, has no qualms about overtaking on a barrier line and putting the lives of other motorists at risk.
947 FAB EC please note that if you overtake us on a barrier line you will be photographed.

02 November 2008

Ecological Day - Oystercatchers

Oystercatchers are usually seen in pairs but may gather in flocks of up to 40 birds from October to March. I have been coming to the Maitland River Mouth for the past 35 years and I do not recollect seeing oyster caters gathering there in such large numbers in the past.

To me this is an indication of an environment that is conducive to ensuring a growth in their numbers.
There are apparently less than 5 000 of birds left in the world and is the only oystercatcher that breeds in Africa.
It is the encroachment of man in their habitat that is making their continued existence so vulnerable.
Oystercatchers mate for life and may live for up to 35 years. They do not breed until they are three years old.

Its nest is a scrape in the dune. Two eggs are usually laid during summer, at the height of the holiday seasons. The eggs and nest are not easily visible to the untrained eye and eggs can easily be trampled on, which makes them very vulnerable.
The birds eat limpets and mussels and not oysters. The birds can only feed at low tide and do so at day and night. Because of their highly selective feeding area they are much more susceptible to human activity than most shore birds

This brings me to my question, “Why mess up their habitat with another big development. The Cape coast has already been spoilt by the developers, which is why I agree with the sentiments expressed in this sign. What impact will this have on the oystercatcher’s habitat? It will undoubtedly spoil one of our last wide open beaches – a place where you can come and enjoy nature, peace and solitude.
Let’s retain some unspoilt wide open spaces for posterity.
For more ecological day posts, visit Sonia at Leaves of Grass.