31 May 2014

Bling and dung

Since I am on the subject of dung, here are a few more "citizens" of the bush that find it just to their liking. This just goes to show that very little is left to go to waste in the bush - eventually the dung will break down and return to the soil as essential nutrients - but while it is still lying about, some creature will find a use for it.

At a certain time of the year (January and February) the Park is swarming with Brown-veined White Butterflies when they start their migration from the drier parts of the country to the more moist regions. Though moisture is not a problem for them in Addo, as long as there is fresh elephant dung lying about.

This Cape Glossy Starling, aka Bling Bird, is looking to see what delights it can find in a pile of elephant dung. In case you are wondering about the bling, click here for the origins.

30 May 2014

The gentle art of the flightless dung beetle

When you drive around the Addo Elephant National Park there are signs on the road warning that the dung beetles have the right of way and you had better believe it.  They are often seen scurrying along the road looking for nice fresh piles of elephant or buffalo dung to make their balls.

It was interesting watching this guy make his dung ball from scratch, carefully breaking off pieces of dung and compacting them into the right shape.

King of his "castle"

If you want more information on these fascinating creatures click here for a post I did on them in 2008.

29 May 2014

Skywatch Friday - Silver Sky

The sun was on its downward journey as we drove into the city and it was that magic moment, a few minutes before the sky would start to take on the red and orange hues of sunset. I was in the passenger seat and here was an opportunity not to be missed. I quickly opened the window and took a few shots as we passed some trees along Cape Road. The only suggestion that this picture was taken in the city is the street lamp, trying to blend in with the stem of a tree.

More sky pictures from around the world can be seen at the Skywatch site.

28 May 2014

Birding in the RSA - Black-shouldered Kite

I find the beady red eye of the Black-shouldered Kite very intriguing. This one was trying to escape the heat of the day in the shade of the tree at the Addo Elephant National Park. One usually sees these birds perched on the tops of trees or on power lines, where they are able to see all around.

27 May 2014

The march of the elephants

I never tire of the experience of meeting the elephants along the road at Addo. When you are sitting in your car and these giants of the bush come ambling past you, so close you could reach out and touch them, it is a humbling experience. And once they are gone you slowly let out your breath and then chuckle as you realise that you were holding your breath while they were passing.

This young cow was ambling by with real attitude and a proper swagger

This family group was heading for a nearby water hole and we sat quietly and watched, with the engine turned off as they ambled by. We did not feel threatened and neither did they, as they were coming into our space and then, all too soon it was over as they disappeared into the bush behind us.  

I just love the way this young bull is stirring up the dust, with his breath, through his trunk.

Whatever you do never take an elephant for granted or provoke them. If they display any of the warning signs, give them space - you are after all in their territory.

Life with Suzie - The lure of the open road

Suzie and I have become avid travelers and it is not just about reaching a particular destination, the destination is only one part of the journey. As soon as we hit the road, the holiday begins and the cameras start clicking. There are so many beautiful places to see in this country and photos to take, so why rush it. On one occasion it took us over an hour to travel 20 kms and on another we had 700 kms to travel that day, but only managed 180 kms.

But that is the way we are. The only rule when we travel is to shout "stop" when we want to take a photo. This of course means that the time and distance become subordinate to site-seeing and photography.

When we travel we always try to take a route we have not been on before and to preferably take the back roads. We try not to book our accommodation ahead, because we are apt change our routes on a whim and inevitably fall behind our schedule - and with today's smart phones it is easy enough to search for accommodation when we want to call it a day - provided there is cell phone reception.

This road from the Seweweeks Poort to Laingsburg epitomizes the lure of the open road for us. Always something new to see and experience. A dusting of snow on the mountains, the leucadendrons making a bright statement against the darker green of the fynbos - what lies over the the next hill, or what will we see when we go round the next bend......it's all a big adventure.

25 May 2014

Birding in the RSA - "Love birds"

When it comes to photographing wild life I have often found that many of my favourite shots taken when I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. Sure, you can sit and wait to capture a picture, but you may not get the spontaneity of the moment.

These two White-faced ducks were photographed alongside a small pond at Tsitsikamma, "loveingly" preening each other.

23 May 2014

Cheetah cub #2

Who can resist a cheetah cub!  It was such a privilege and delight to experience these animals from close up at the Kragga Kamma Game Park outside Port Elizabeth recently.

This is the shy one from a litter of four. Who needs a fluffy toy when you can snuggle mamma's tail.

Tackling the mamma is all part of growing up

Play time - there's always time for fun and games

22 May 2014

Skywatch Friday - Double rainbow

It was a wet and rainy afternoon and the inclination was to curl up in bed with a good book, but with a view like this the bed and the book could definitely wait.

Doringkloof Farm in the Baviaanskloof valley

More sky pictures from around the world can be seen at the Skywatch site.

The streets of Richmond Hill - Early morning coffee

Living in the inner city has its compensations, like being able to pop into one of the many restaurants for a cup of coffee while out on an early morning walk and then while sitting on the veranda to enjoy the sites and sounds of the awakening city.

Sit down and relax and smell the roses............

..........and don't forget the cappuccino...............

......or if you are like me there is nothing quite like a cup of rooibos tea.

21 May 2014

Birding in the RSA - Cape Weaver

I've enjoyed wildlife for as long as I can remember, but more recently I have taken my interest one step forward and become a "birder". I am perhaps not a very serious one so there won't be many rare or shy birds appearing on this site, unless they come and pose right  in front of me. But still, whenever I get the opportunity to photograph birds I take the opportunity and snap away.

The series I am starting now is to post pictures of the birds I have photographed on trips around South Africa and those I have discovered living in the inner city of Port Elizabeth.

This Cape Weaver was very actively building nests at a campsite where we were staying at Matjiefontein, near Nieuwoudtville....the guy just never stopped.

20 May 2014

Turning season

I made the comment the other day that we are having a particularly mild Winter and immediately had one of those, "oh dear" moments when I reaslised it was still Autumn. Well maybe, we will and maybe we won't have a cold winter. We just have to wait and see, but I expect it will be rather a cold one, for this part of the world anyway.

For now I will just enjoy the scenes as the seasons turn..........

Poplar trees starting to shed their leaves outside Bedford

19 May 2014

Cheetah cub

One of the new cheetah cubs at the Kragga Kamma Game Park outside Port Elizabeth that entertained us with its antics this afternoon. It is really a treat to have such a well stocked game park on our doorstep.

18 May 2014

Playing in the rain - or should that be painting

One of favourite photographic pastimes is jumping in the car on a stormy night and seeing what  pictures I can create through the windscreen. I was very tradition in my approach to photography but now I don't mind the blurry and indistinct, in its place. If that's what I see through the windscreen, then why not capture it - I am often surprised by the results.

This one was taken in Suffolk Street in Richmond Hill.

17 May 2014

Striped field mouse - the Prey

This is one of the many striped field mice that hang around Jack's picnic place at the Addo Elephant National Park, waiting patiently for someone to "accidentally" drop a treat. I can spend hours enjoying the little animals as much as I enjoy the big ones.

Of course being near the bottom of the food chain many fall prey to the local predators, like the Jackal Buzzard in the previous post.

16 May 2014

Jackal Buzzard - the Predator

A dramatic shot of a Jackal Buzzard with it's prey, a striped field-mouse. These magnificent birds are a common sight in the Eastern Cape.

15 May 2014

Skywatch Friday - Golden Skies in the Baviaanskloof

Out chalet, at Doringkloof Farm in the Baviaanskloof valley, was nestled in a basin over-looking a small dam. The front porch faced East, which was not the best view to enjoy the sunset and with the light rain that was falling, the temptation was to remain inside and enjoy the limited view we had. But something about the colour of the sky prompted me and Suzie to leap into our vehicle and head out for the open spaces where we could experience the sunset............and we were not disappointed.

More sky pictures from around the world can be seen at the Skywatch site.

14 May 2014

I am back again - or is that a maybe?

It's been a while since I last posted, but not through lack of trying. Blogger would not let me access my dashboard in any manner or form for some time now.

Internet Explorer rendered a blank page whenever I signed in to my dashboard and Google Chrome still won't even let me view my blog on line - it informs me that "It doesn't look like you have been invited to read this blog. If you think that this is a mistake, you might want to contact the blog author and request an invitation."

"Hello Google, I am the blog author and have been since 8 July 2007, nothing has changed"

After a few posts on the Blogger forum, changing passwords, some cursing and much frustration my blog finally became accessible again in Internet Explorer. Alas Google Chrome still wants me to contact the blog author, which is not a problem as I am in constant contact with myself. I have checked all the settings and still nothing has changed - so my browser of choice remains IE.

My intention was to publish a photo with this post, but after several unsuccessful attempts I realise that this is not going to happen.

Is it only me or has Google lost the plot?